ROCCO petrol pump, c. 1930

 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Traffic & Transport
Road Traffic
1930 - 1939
“You can get that at any service station” – but what if there are no service stations? The nationwide network of service stations we now take for granted once had to be painstakingly set up.

Motorisation was contingent on setting up an infrastructure of petrol stations. And around 1900 buying petrol for your automobile or motorcycle was not always simple. Petrol was a petroleum distillate that was actually used as a stain remover, so it was available mainly from chemists’ and drugstores.

Later on, ironmongers and general stores also began to sell petrol. The Rosenthal Metallwarenfabrik [Metal Goods Factory] in Vienna’s 20th district initially specialised in manufacturing petroleum lamps, heating lamps and gas cookers. Then Rosenthal became the exclusive supplier of fuel for the Austrian Automobile Club in Vienna.

In 1899, with the Club’s consent, Rosenthal began to open petrol stations throughout Austria. In 1900 there were 70 petrol stations; by 1908 there were more than 600 stations selling petrol for automobiles and motorcycles. 

Service stations as we know them today first began to appear in 1930.

Inv.Nr. 20448

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