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Texaco: an early case of corporate identity

Texaco Service Station, 1939

Walter Dorwin Teague, the designer of the Kodak brand from logo to cameras to stores, was commissioned in 1937 by Texaco to design a corporate identity that included a standard gas station.  Texaco sold gas in each state of the USA, unique evidently, as well as throughout Canada.  Teague had gone to Europe in the late 1920s, seen Corbusian modernism and brought it home.  The Texaco Service Station was a clean, white vitreous enamel-panelled box with a canopy.  Three green bands tie the canopy to the box, red stars are affixed above this dado, the T of Texaco sits in the red star of Texas.  The stations are like three-dimensional line drawings, delicate, much like the vitreous enamel panels – the material of pots and pans, strangely durable and at the same time fragile if in the wrong place.
Because of the clarity of these stations, they sit in their landscapes much as Arne Jacobsen's station did: a precise bit of industrial sculpture.  20,000 were built between 1940 and 1960.  They linger, these white stations, although the company is gone from public view, as have gas stations: they are now, generally, self-serve pumps attached to convenience stores, part of an invisible, banal service landscape.  The Teague Texaco station in this neighbourhood, closed as a gas station in the late 70s, sold computer parts for a long time and now is used, by someone, for storage.  The wide plate glass windows are full of cardboard boxes.  

This image isn't the one in my neighbourhood, it is somewhere in New York I think, but no matter, they were all the same. 

Walter Dorwin Teague Texaco Service Station in a state of advanced decline.

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Reader Comments (1)

It's nostalgic for that one grew up watching these types of stations that one immediately associates with good memories, that's the power of branding, which lasts over time as collective imagination associated with our modern lifestyle.

April 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIdentidad corporativa

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