Not being raised on the West Coast, and not being a collector of petroliana, I had never heard of Gilmore Oil until researching this trade card, (or possibly had but hadn’t payed enough attention) but have since discovered a lot of fascinating information. I am just including some things here that I’ve learned from other websites, to go along with this trade card post. The Gilmore Oil Company was based out of Los Angeles, California, and started by Arthur Fremont Gilmore. A.F. Gilmore owned and operated a 256-acre farm, near the La Brea Tar Pits and found oil (that makes sense) while drilling for more water for his dairy herd. A.F.’s son, E.B. (Earl Bell) joined his father, and became chief executive of the company, and a master at promoting and marketing. The company, among other things, sponsored race cars, airplanes, boats, motorcycles, had it’s own sort of traveling circus, a radio show, and a lion cub mascot named “Gilmore” who flew thousands of miles as “co-pilot” in a company plane. The pilot was Roscoe Turner (lots already written about Roscoe and Gilmore, the cub. See below for sources.) And Gilmore Oil was highly successful. According to the Farmer’s Market website (www.farmersmarketla.org) ” A.F. Gilmore and his son, Earl Bell (E.B.) turned their Gilmore Oil Company into the largest distributor of petroleum products in the Western U.S.” Why does a farmer’s market website have facts about an oil company? Because the Gilmore land that was once dairy farm, then oil field, eventually became the site of a farmer’s market, and that is another whole story.
More interesting stuff: Gilmore the cub logged over 25,000 air miles, and is said to have been the inspiration for MGM’s “Leo” the lion. E.B. Gilmore is said to have been the first to offer a self-service gas station. And the company’s radio show called “The Gilmore Circus” featured “Blu-Green, the longest song in the world.” It was advertised as such since every week, a new verse on the excellence of Blu-Green gasoline was added, chosen from hundreds? that had been submitted by the public. Winners were awarded weekly and monthly prizes.
Price: $45.00 AVAILABILITY STATUS: SOLD – No longer available
Images of America, Los Angeles’s Original Farmer’s Market by David Hamlin and Brett Arena. Copyright 2009 by A.F. Gilmore Company. Published by Arcadia Publishing. (googlebooks online)
Airspace blog post by Allan Janus, Dec. 27, 2010 (http://blog.nasm.si.edu/archives/lion-cubs-yeah-weve-got-lion-cubs-too/)
Another great post to read on the subject of Roscoe and Gilmore: “Rosco and ‘Gilmore the Lion’ – March 13, 2013” at Robert Novell’s Third Dimension Blog. (http://www.robertnovell.com/blog/roscoe-and-gilmore-lion-march-15-2013)