SHELL TANKER CAR
KEROSENE WAS A MUCH MORE DEMANDED COMMODITY THAN GASOLINE IN THE 1920s
The tanker was manufactured in 1922 for the purpose of hauling liquids. Toppenish in the 1920s did not have a lot of autos or tractors yet nor did they have electricity. However there was a need for kerosene for lighting. Oil companies such as Shell or Standard Oil would ship a tanker full of kerosene would ship a tanker to a local, often independent, distributor to sell to the general public. The local distributor delivered personally the 5 gallon can of kerosene much like the milk man of the past. He would pick up the empty and leave a full can on the porch.
This is how the car came to us. Volunteers helped paint and stencil the lettering.
Right: Loading docks for Shell Oil Tankers
Typical delivery trucks before the automobile caught on in the Yakima Valley. courtesy of J L Whitnall collection
Toward the 30s autos and trucks soon replaced horses. However it would be a while until electricity would be brought into the Yakima Valley. Kerosene distribution continued into the 40s until the completion of the Bonneville and Grand Coulee Dams.
To the right is the Teapot landmark, a gas station in Zillah WA a few miles north of the museum. Even though the gas station is long gone Zillah residents took pride in preserving their history. Courtesy of the J L Whitnall collection