Tiger Power: “Flying A” Gasoline

November 13, 2011 § Leave a comment


1951 Flying A gasoline advertisement

The power of Flying A gasoline, 1951

Not exactly a car ad as such, of course, but close enough – a 1951 ad that appeared in a Polack Bros. Shrine Circus program for “power-packed” Flying A ethyl gasoline. It definitely has some great graphics going for it, including that station attendant with his pump at the ready.

Flying A – at least for most of its existence – was a product of the Tidewater Oil Company, which was founded in New York in 1887. Tidewater started selling gasoline in the years leading up to WWI, though at that point it was not using the “Flying A” moniker; that only came into existence in 1932, coined by J. Paul Getty’s Associated Oil Company for its premium-grade gas. When Tidewater merged with Associated in 1937, Flying A became its main brand.

Flying A gas stations lasted until 1966 on the West Coast, when Phillips bought Tidewater’s western network, and 1970 on the East Coast, when Getty dropped the name in favor of its own. The logo, however, lives on; it was registered by a northern California company called Royal Petroleum. As they explain on their website: “North of the Golden Gate Bridge in Sonoma and Marin Counties, three consignees joined forces to create the Royal Petroleum Company in 1975. Since the Flying A logo was no longer in use at the time, the three former Flying A consignees registered the trademark for Royal Petroleum’s use.” The company, which employs 31 people, “is a locally owned business providing custom fuel and lubricant service to the agricultural, construction, and commercial business communities of Sonoma and Marin counties.” You can actually buy Flying A T-shirts and other items on their website.

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