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Gas Station Stuff "As Good As Old"
Bob Crowell's hobby for many years was collecting old gas station pumps, signs, and other memorabilia. He finally decided to start making his own reproduction "collectables" using some parts he already had and producing others as needed from scratch.
"Air towers like mine were used in the early 1900's to light the gas pump area and also to provide air and water to customers," says Crowell. "I found a guy to do the metal spinning needed to make the shade. Customers use them to decorate offices, rec rooms and around collections of antique cars and motorcycles."
The standard air tower is 7 ft., 8 in. tall but can be customized to any desired height. The tower comes in a powder-coated finish or can be left unfinished for those who want to do their own.
The towers have a cast aluminum base with an aluminum pipe and cast harps (braces that support the shade and light fixture). The shades are spun aluminum, a process where a disc of aluminum is pressed against a spinning form to create the perfectly round, thin shape.
The towers are equipped with brass air and water elbows, hoses and hose hangers. A cast plate held in place with brass screws on the column provides access to interior plumbing and wires.
Crowell also offers a custom designed air-only light tower that's topped with a glass globe. It can also be topped with a shade if desired.
"The towers are built to be used, so they can actually provide water, air and light," says Crowell.
Once he had the casts and suppliers in place to provide castings and spun shades, Crowell decided to use some of the parts to make a "gas station" table lamp for himself. When a friend asked him to make one with an Esso Oil logo, Crowell decided to sell them as well. Today he assembles and sells a variety of table lamps and interior/exterior wall fixtures. The original reproduction air tower sells for $975, the custom built 7-ft. air-only light tower sells for $685, and the 38-in. table lamp sells for $385.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Shop Bob's Barns, P.O. Box 103, Batesville, Ind. 47006 (ph 812 934-4364; Bob@ShopBobsBarns.com; www. shopbobsbarns.com).

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #1