The first volumetric pumps arrived in Italy in 1932; two years later Bergomi started producing its Insuperabile (or Unsurpassable) model; from 1936 come the volumetric pumps by Siliam; and in that same year the first contometric display gauge, imported by the American Wayne, was approved by decree.
The official documents of the epoch record a fervent demand for the approval of new devices, but in most places the volumetric revolution was late in arriving.
These were difficult years for the Italian economy, during which the consumption of fuel, among other things, was discouraged, imports were reduced to a minimum, and the order of the day vi/as to avoid any form of waste.
The clock-face pumps were introduced very slowly, starting with the more important locations where they served considerations of prestige.
None of the old models were disposed of: they were simply displaced to secondary locations.
The first volumetric pumps of American provenance (and their Italian counterparts as well) were fashioned a pilastrino and made conspicuously show of the clock-face display gauge.
Originally circular, its form evolved into a polygon inscribed in a square or rectangle, so the advent of the contometric display gauge didn’t bring all that surprising an esthetic change; meanwhile, the spy-hole on the exterior flank was incorporated into the logic of the frontal decoration.
The quest for the esthetic perfection of the gasoline pump which was all the rage across the ocean was slow to catch on in Italy.
Some of these extremely refined imports made their way onto the streets, but the less sophisticated products of local manufacture prevailed.
The exceptions however were not few, first among them being the Imperiale model of Siliam: elegant in its sobriety yet forcefully characterized, fruit of that 20th-century style with which the regime so strongly identified.