Service with a smile!

I thought your readers might find this article interesting. In going through some old photos, I came across pictures of our family service station, Christensen’s Atlantic Service. My dad and I started the business together in 1953 in Cromwell, Conn., and the station was located at 529 Main Street (at that time the main road going through Cromwell).

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By 1957, the station received new lights on the gas pump island, as well as more product displays and an additional pump.

In one of the photos of the station taken in 1954, the signage at the street (difficult to see) has a gas price of 21-9/10 cents (and that included tax). The photo taken in 1956 of the station’s truck has the price of gas at 23-9/10 cents. The gas pumps at that time would only pump a maximum of $9.99, as you could not get more than that amount of gas in a tank. Also of interest is the price on the Goodyear tubeless tire sign at $19.95. As you can see by the stacks of tires in the picture showing the Ford, we did a good amount of business selling tires.

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Signs everywhere around the building promoted Atlantic gasoline and oil, Goodyear tires, car conditioning service, lubrication and more.

In those days, when you brought your car to a service station for service, the price of lubrication was $2, which included checking and filling all the fluids in the steering box, brake cylinders, differential and transmission (on standard transmissions only). Also included in this service, your car was swept out, all windows were washed (inside and out), the tires were checked and the lights, belts, hoses and wiper blades were inspected. When you brought your car in for an oil change, the charge was only for the oil (no labor charges), and what you paid depended on the grade of oil your car used. At that time, there were three grades which cost 35 cents, 45 cents or 55 cents a quart. For an additional $1.50, you could get your car hand washed and the inside cleaned; for 50 cents more, we would clean the whitewalls.

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The trusty Ford sedan that we used at the service station advertised our business as well as Cooper tires. Look at all those stacks of tires!

My dad has been gone for years and I have settled into retirement. The station was torn down and replaced with a new gas station with a handy convenience store. The current price of gas is $3.15-9/10. It’s fun to look back at these pictures, and even though we all complain about the price of gas, I just chuckle, because you can’t take all the memories away.

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Our 1946 Chevy truck was fitted with a big wooden front bumper for pushing vehicles. Adding some class to the pickup was a pair of fender skirts.

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