E Burnside & 12th, 1937

This 1937 photo is a little different perspective on the E. Burnside, NE Sandy and 12th intersection seen on this site a number of times. Today we’re looking northwest from just east of 13th Avenue on Burnside with NE Sandy Blvd. cutting between the Standard and Richfield service stations. Cars are lined up for the light at 12th. You can see an aerial view of the same intersection here with the Standard station in the upper left.

(City of Portland Archives)

10 thoughts on “E Burnside & 12th, 1937

  1. My guess is the three pumps are leaded, unleaded, and super (high octane). Tetraethyl lead wasn’t commonly added to gas until the late 1920s, so even in 1937, there might have been a need for unleaded to serve older cars.

  2. Ever found any pictures of North Central School at was at the NE corner of 12th & Burnside before Sandy was extended westward from 16th?

  3. Three grades of octane commonly 88,92, 98 were sold with minor variation between brands, all leaded. What your car actually required depended on the engions compression ratio. The higher the compression ratio the higher the octane (tetra ethyl lead) level required to suppress per-ignition (knocking), Again all leaded. Aviation grades are all above 100 octane.

    In practice the difference between actual need and perceived good presented the oil companies with some wonderful opportunity’s for creative marketing. And they still do. The most lucrative additive is always BS. The most beneficial additive is common sense
    Marketing folks Marketing.

  4. Tad: When unleaded showed up on the market in the 70s & 80s, it was a revival of an older practice. Gasoline is naturally unleaded, and was typically used that way until the late 1920s, when oil companies started adding tetraethyl lead. I own a 1926 car that was designed to run on unleaded.

    As for what was in the pumps in 1937, I’ll defer to those who have memories of that era.

  5. @Dan. Product contamination. I would guess that the day after the first lead was added to a tank of gas it started cross contaminating. Impossible to prevent at any reasonable cost and that continued until lead was all phased out. From too many sources not limited to pipelines, tank farms, vessels of every type, including ships,trucks,rail cars and you name it. And I’m not just talking about a little retain. Careless handling, human error and sometimes greed all play a part. Since we are importing refined from other countries you can use your own judgement about whether we are out of the woods now.

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