Rusteration – A Love Story, part 4

Putting a masterpiece back together after it has fallen into disrepair is really kind of a beautiful thing to witness. As all the pieces fall back into place and the luster of what once was returns, it’s almost like there’s a new energy in the room.

Photo of vintage Bowser gasoline pump in the midst of restoration.So it was with putting this old man back together. It’s been mentioned before in parts one and two of this series that Mark is something of a “whisperer.” From the very beginning, he knew this guy had a story to tell. His patience and care in bringing this pump back to life is now written into every turn of every bolt that holds it together.
Photograph of a side view of a restored vintage Bowser gasoline pump.
As faceplates and glass were installed, as panels and doors were attached, it was if the old man was slowly regaining his life. Images of where he may have once stood and the customers who he served over the years began to dance in the air. And, with the lighting of the new globe that sits atop his sturdy metal frame, it was if he finally exhaled and came into his own once more. He may not ever pump gasoline again, but, if you listen carefully, you can almost hear him breathe, “Let me tell you a story about the old days.”

Mark did a remarkable job (and in a very short time frame, too!) in giving this old pump new life. The sharp contrast of deep black, vivid yellow, and bright white are enough to draw you in, but just light this guy up and he’s the center of attention!

Before and after photo of a restored vintage Bowser gasoline pump.


We’re very proud of the work that’s been done but we have only been his caretakers for a time. Now it’s time to find him a new home. If you’re interested in being that home, head over to our store for more details. And, if he hasn’t found a new home yet, we’ll have him with us at the Portland Swap Meet, April 7th-9th, at the Portland Expo Center. Come by “Hell’s Corner” (booth #s 6140, 6141, and 6156 just outside the D Building) and see him for yourself! We’d love to say “hi” and introduce you!

Photo of a restored vintage Bowser gasoline pump.


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The tables are filled with items to prep for Swap Meet and we haven’t even scratched the surface yet! We’re going to have LOTS of items to choose from! Signage, cans, vintage advertising, parts and pieces, upholstery, clothing, gas pumps, and sooooo much more! Don’t miss us at the meet! We’re in booth numbers 6140, 6141, and 6156 just outside the D Building!

Rusteration – A Love Story, part 3

When it comes to any artistic creation – whether it’s a painting, a costume, a piece of architecture, or even a gas pump – the devil’s in the details.

As you saw in part one of our saga, this old pump was in rather rough shape when we found him. Years of neglect and being left to the elements had robbed him of his once grand stature but surely not his character.

In part two, we stripped him down to his bones and began developing the vision that we hoped would begin to bring him back to his glory. When we left off, his exterior pieces had been sent off to the powdercoater to have him work his magic. In the meantime, there was work to be done at home.

With his exterior parts being worked on away from home, we knew we had some time to begin addressing all the little things that needed to be tinkered with and polished. But, wow, our powdercoater works FASTĀ so we really didn’t have too much time to waste!

There were parts that needed to be ordered such as faceplates, decals, and a new globe. We managed to find some outstanding pieces from dealers in the US and waited for those to arrive in the mail. Photo of a Signal gas pump globe wrapped in plastic in a shipping box.

We were fortunate that the old man still had one piece of original glass in him that was intact. No small feat considering his age! Replacement glass was cut to fill in his missing pieces and we even managed to score an original nozzle from a swap meet we attended at the beach. Chrome was polished and buffed and readied for the old guy. His wiring was reconnected and, with the addition of a couple of new lightbulbs, he lit right up when plugged in (and there were no sparks or fire; hurray!) And then…we picked up the pieces from the powdercoater. W.O.W. They were beautiful!

Photo of a freshly powdercoated yellow door to a vintage Bowser gas pump.

All that was really left was to put him back together. Witness his transformation in part four!

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Portland Swap Meet 2017

Swap Meet is coming up in just two weeks. TWO WEEKS! Great googly moogly, we’ve got a LOT of stuff to prep for this epic weekend! More details about the event and how to find us there are on our Facebook page under Events!

Rusteration – A Love Story, part 2

Once the Bowser was in the garage, we were able to do a little more assessing of its condition. As noted in part one of this story, Mark began whispering to the old guy, and we weren’t disappointed in his reply.

Piece by piece, the old man was taken down to a mere skeleton of his former self. Doors, top, and side panels were carefully removed and set aside, electrical was disconnected (well, the cut wires at the base had already rendered it disconnected!), and the cleaning began. And, fortunately, all the parts that were supposed to move did! Even more fortunate was that the parts thatĀ weren’t supposed to move didn’t!

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This is when the dreaming began, too. We knew we wanted to have the exterior powder coated but what color scheme? We knew we needed to purchase a globe for the top but what kind? There was much discussion and looking online at examples of other pumps and a decision was made. Off to the powdercoater his pieces went while we hunted down the appropriate globe, face plates, etc!

What did we decide to go with? You’ll have to tune in to part three in our series!

Other Posts in the Rusteration SeriesRusteration – A Love Story, part 2


Rusteration – A Love Story, part 1

Several months ago, we were fortunate enough to come upon a small cache of gas pumps just waiting for someone to scoop them up and breathe life back into them. This is one of their stories…

This vintage Bowser gas pump had certainly seen better days. When we found it, it had been sitting outside uncovered and completely exposed to the elements for countless months (years?). The old guy whose farm we found it and three others on wasn’t so much interested in selling them at that time.

Photo of 4 salvaged vintage gas pumps loaded in the back of a pickup truck.

Coming home…the Bowser in question is the second to the left.

“I’m going to restore them,” he told us, “after I get rid of all this stuff!”

We looked around. There was a lot of stuff. A LOT of stuff.

Six months later we returned. There was still a lot of stuff. In fact, there was MORE stuff! And, so, we inquired about the pumps again and he made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. Thus, the Bowser and its comrades came to be in our possession.

Photo of doors from salvaged vintage Bowser gas pump.He was rough, for sure, but he had good bones and, like many other items manufactured well over 50 years ago, he had stood the test of time remarkably well considering his outward appearance. All that was left to do was determine if his moving parts would still move!

Enter the Gas Pump Whisperer aka Mark. Truth be told, the man can whisper at just about anything old and he seems to have an ear for hearing the response. And, as expected, this old guy breathed out a reply…

Stay tuned to hear more of his story!

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