Story: Cars and the motor industry

Old petrol pumps

Old petrol pumps

These 1940s electric petrol pumps, or ‘palometers’, advertise the brand of petrol that they hold. These were made in New Zealand and were designed by Estonian immigrant Karl Pallo in the 1930s. Petrol pumps, also known as bowsers, were first introduced in the early 1920s. Prior to this petrol had been sold in four-gallon tins (around 18-litres), with two tins in a case.

About this item

Private collection, Pallo Collection

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How to cite this page:

Eric Pawson, 'Cars and the motor industry - Motor services', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 23 October 2016)

Full story by Eric Pawson, published 11 Mar 2010, updated 15 Dec 2014