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 dispensed. These were made in New Zealand and designed by Estonian immigrant Karl Pallo in the 1930s. Petrol pumps, also known as bowsers, were introduced in the early 1920s. Before that petrol was sold in four-gallon tins (around 18 litres), with two tins in a case.

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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 8 December 2021)

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