The Venice Police Fill up with Purr-Pull Gasoline in Los Angeles
Purr-Pull gasoline looked just like it sounds it was purple and being a premium grade of fuel, part of it s name came from the fuel s good pulling power. Its slogan was: It will make a motor purr on the hard pull. According to the book, Little Giant of Signal Hill. the fuel was a mix of casinghead and manufactured gasoline colored with a purple vegetable dye. The United States Refining Co. produced it, and it was sold at Signal Products Stations. The casinghead portion of the mix came from the Signal Hill Oil Field in Signal Hill, California.
In these photos taken during 1930, you can see three members of the Venice, California Police Department posing with their vehicles. Shown are a 1930 Model A Ford Coupe and a pair Henderson KJ Streamline model motorcycles. The two-wheelers produced between the years of 1929 and 1931 were powered by 40 h.p. straight four-cylinder engines and were capable of reaching 100 m.p.h. Note the small airplane ornament that has been installed on the front fender of one of the motorcycles. You can view over 175 more vintage motorcycle photos here on The Old Motor.
The purple fuel in the Station s clear glass visible pump cylinders must have been a sight to see at this location at 11520 West Washington Boulevard, in Los Angeles. The photos are courtesy of the USC Libraries. The postcard at the bottom of the post titled: Air View, Famous Signal Hill, is courtesy of the Boston Public Library. You can view over 150 more old gasoline station related photos here on The Old Motor.
21 responses to The Venice Police Fill up with Purr-Pull Gasoline in Los Angeles
Dennis S November 26, 2014 at 10:28 am
From Wikipedia. By 1925, Venice s politics had become unmanageable. Its roads, water and sewage systems badly needed repair and expansion to keep up with its growing population. When it was proposed that Venice be annexed to Los Angeles, the board of trustees voted to hold an election. Annexation was approved in the election in November 1925, and Venice was formally annexed to Los Angeles in 1926.
This means that in 1930, these policemen would have been LAPD.
Dennis, Good point and and you may be correct about the officers being part of the LAPD, but at the time they could have still of been referred to as the Venice Police.
The link below goes directly to the LAPD history for further info:
Dennis S November 26, 2014 at 11:39 am
According to locationstalk, the Venice Division station was built in 1929. This building is at 685 Venice Blvd and is a two-story, reinforced concrete Art Deco building. This facility is now a community center.
It was taken out of service in the early seventies when LAPD moved to the Pacific Division at 12312 Culver Boulevard.
Bob Ricewasser November 26, 2014 at 4:16 pm
It looks like the motorcycle on the right has Goodyear Diamond Tread tires. These were popular tires on Model A s as well and I believe are still available from some of the various antique car tire dealers.
Tom M. November 26, 2014 at 4:44 pm
I m afraid I can t add to the Venice vs. LA discussion, but I d like to know more about casinghead being used in the gasoline formulation.
Does anyone know how that works? My understanding is that the casinghead is the cap that covers of the producer pipe. Casinghead gas is the gas which often comes up with the oil. and which can be captured separately from the crude. But how does casinghead get formulated into real gasoline?
Tom, The only thing I can add is the snippet view of Little Giant of Signal Hill I found mentioned that the company sent casinghead gasoline a couple of miles through a pipe line to a refinery and blended it with manufactured gasoline .
Signal Oil, Sponsor of the Whistler mentions: They were just getting this natural gasoline which if run on its own produced large holes in engine pistons. Very high octane volatile stuff but when blended with gasoline would make great starting fuel in the winter and more power like adding ethyl . http://www.goldenageradio.com/2013/09/signal-oil.html
Donald Ellis November 26, 2014 at 5:57 pm
I wonder at what stage in the process the color was added? I remember Red and Green colored gasoline in those visible pumps, but no purple. Until tetra ethyl lead I suppose gas was gas! ..or?
Eric Armstrong November 26, 2014 at 6:28 pm
The Model A looks new but I ve never seen one with the body and fenders the same color. I thought the fenders were always black.
Eric, By special order for fleets like police departments and trucking companies Ford would apparently paint them the color the buyer desired.
Larry Huffman November 26, 2014 at 8:25 pm
Very interesting, both the photo/story and the comments. However, I still don t know if I could sell Purr-Pull gasoline with a straight face.
Kevin Preston November 27, 2014 at 11:30 am
If you rotate to the left, you will see up the street another building that was in the background of one of the shots still there too, now a market!
Purple gas was sold here for years. The dye was added to identify gas sold tax free for off road (farming) use. Anyone caught with purple gas in their car tank was subject to a fine.
Graham Clayton November 28, 2014 at 12:02 am
The KJ Henderson was the second last model built by the Excelsior owned company. The KL came out in 1931, the last year Henderson motorcycles were manufactured. Every Henderson model from the commencent of production in 1912 up to 1931 was powered by an in-line 4-cylinder engine.
Dick Sargent November 29, 2014 at 10:08 am
Have you an idea what the gear or sprocket on the sergeant s front wheel is. The other one doesn t have it.