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History

Competition

Signs for kerosene began to appear among the others on the walls of groceries and emporia; repair shops and gasoline vendors began with placards or signs generally indicating the type of goods on sale, to which were then added those of precise brands.

It was, however, a slow process by comparison to the marketing of other products whose consumer base was from the start much more vast.

In the USA, where marketing was a serious matter, the first signs of competition among gasoline brands began in the ‘Teens.

The closest battle was between the producers of lubricating oil, who had already by the first of the century (at least in America) positioned their publicity signs. Not all were in baked enamel: serigraphy on sheet steel and lithography on tin were also used.

But for outdoor display, enamel was without rival both in terms of effect and durability. In the American petroleum and automobile markets, the “sign” phenomenon remained contained until the middle of the second decade; Europe would have to wait at least another ten years before seeing the exterior walls of garages, repair shops and filling stations bedecked with signs.

When the producers of gasoline, oil, tires and other accessories finally did unleash them, the hapless motorist who stopped by for a tankful of gas was drowned in a flood of brilliant color.