LP gas equipment and technology from 1941

January 21, 2016 By    

February 1941 marked the very first issue of LP Gas magazine. Back then, the publication was known as LP-Gas Merchandising, published by Robbins Publishing Co. Inc. in combination with Gas Appliance Merchandising. The monthly magazine was “for all liquefied petroleum gas dealers and distributors,” and it cost $1.50 per year in the United States. To commemorate the magazine’s 75th anniversary in 2016, our editors will look back at 1941 and, in each issue this year, highlight notable topics in the propane industry at that time. This month we’re giving special attention to equipment and technology.

Meters solve ‘annoying problems,’ add credibility to gas industry in 1941

Metering was a noticeable trend in the 1941 pages of LP-Gas Merchandising, as businesses made a strong push to sell customers on the benefits of gas-fueled appliances.

We found several references to the importance of meters in the LP gas industry at the time, from companies such as The Sprague Meter Co., Pittsburgh Equitable Meter Co. and American Meter Co.

“Good measurement is just as essential in supplying LPG as it is in the supply of water, natural gas or electricity,” a Pittsburgh Equitable Meter Co. ad reads.

Another message from a company ad: “Metering is becoming more and more the accepted method of measuring and charging for LPG, both in the liquid state and as a vapor.”

And from the company’s ad promoting its EMCO butane-propane meter: “The liquefied petroleum industry is finally presented with a successful solution to one of its most annoying problems – accurate measurement with safety.”

The Sprague Meter Co. tried to generate excitement for its new meter by promoting it ahead of the National LP-Gas Association expo in Chicago. The ad reads: “It’s coming – the smallest meter especially designed for measuring LP gas.”

Another Sprague ad reads, “For your protection and that of your customer, it is the trend today to have an accurate record of the gas consumed.”

American Meter Co. considered another way customers should view metering’s role in the LP gas industry at the time.

“Above all, metering means ‘honest measure,’ from the consumer’s viewpoint,” its ad reads.

The ‘mighty’ gauge

Most of the equipment and technology-related advertisements in the first half of 1941 focused on meters. But in August, Rochester Instruments made a big splash with gauges. “Just as the mighty Boulder Dam is specifically designed and built to withstand tremendous water pressure, so are Rochester Criterion Gauges specifically designed and built to withstand up to 2,000 lbs. pressure,” its ad reads.


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Heat-control technology

We give little thought to preheating an oven by turning the dial to a desired temperature. A Robertshaw Thermostat Co. ad, however, touts the development of such heat-control technology. “Complete control of both fuel and temperature in one dial!” the ad reads.


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RegO plays role in sharing technical information

The Bastian-Blessing Co. and the RegO trademark had a strong presence in the publication throughout the year, showcasing its line of valves, regulators and other LP gas equipment. The company launched an LP Gas Pocket Guide in the April 1941 issue. As stated in the issue, the guide “brings together technical and specialized knowledge in connection with merchandising and handling of LP gases.” This guide focused on a number of topics throughout the year: troubles associated with water in an LP gas system, alcohol for freeze-up prevention, the proper filling of cylinders and containers, cylinder-drying processes, the definition and physical properties of LP gases, the limits of inflammability, flame temperature, gauging liquid levels, as well as information about valves and regulators.


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Thoughts of the time

“The industry sells a process in which gas of unusual characteristics, regulated and controlled by carefully engineered equipment, serves as a fuel in qualified appliances for a variety of purposes.” – In a column by Ellsworth L. Mills, vice president of The Bastian-Blessing Co., as told to Gerald E. Stedman, contributing editor

“Once again, man’s misery and mistakes are kicking civilization forward across new frontiers into virgin fields of human endeavor.” – Floyd W. Parsons, editorial director
“It is also safe to assume that victory will go to the nation that secures leadership in the field of technology – science, research, engineering and chemistry.” – Parsons

“The new frontier now beckoning to the people of the United States is one that leads on into realms of science not yet explored. In this great field of technology are boundless possibilities. It was through the exploitation of opportunities disclosed by engineering and chemical research that our nation succeeded in raising man’s standards of living to heights never before attained, and our advance in this direction has hardly more than begun.” – Parsons

Photos: LP Gas Magazine

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