An old gas pump, once used in Lowertown, has been restored and is now on display at the Summerland Museum.
The pump is a Bowser C111, manufactured in Toronto in 1925. Bowser was an American company, but the pump was manufactured in Canada and measures gasoline in Imperial gallons rather than U.S. gallons.
It was initially used at a gas station in Summerland’s Lowertown, but the specific gas station is not known.
There were at least five gas station in Lowertown in the 1920s: Home, Shell, Union, Imperial and 76.
Glass cylinder pumps of this design were used in the community until the early 1950s.
“Although we cannot prove that this pump came from one of these stations, we can prove that it does have a history in Summerland,” said Ken Dunsdon, one of the people who promoted the restoration work.
The pump was later used at the cannery and packing house in Lowertown from 1948 to 1961.
It was housed in a small block building which was constructed in 1948 and shared by the Cornwall Cannery and the Co-op Packing House until 1957, when the Co-op burned down.
The pump was still used by the Cornwall Cannery until 1961.
At the time, it was used to fuel forklifts sued at the site.
The pump was found in Lowertown by George Downton and was taken to the museum in 1993, on behalf of the municipality.
Dunsdon said the restoration work involved individuals and businesses from Summerland and beyond.
Alder Street Auto Body, Northern Fireplace, G and E Inglis Enterprises and BASF/RM Paint Supplies by White and Peters donated services and supplies.
Jim Forgie of New Westminster, Kevin Zeoli of Thorold, Ont. and Jack Sim of St. Louis, Mo. provided information and guidance about the project.
Because the original location of the pump was not known, the globe on top has a generic “Gasoline” logo rather than the logo for any specific gasoline company.
The old pump and the restoration work had earlier been the source of controversy in Summerland.
In the fall of 2016, the Summerland Museum chose to deaccession the pump.
Among the reasons given were that storing the pump at the museum exceeded its historical value and that that the amount of restoration work was more than the museum could provide.
However, a group of museum members disagreed with the decision and as a result, efforts were made to restore the pump, without any cost to the museum.
Julien Butler, curator and archivist at the Summerland Museum, said the museum has a policy governing collections and acquisitions.
“We are looking for things that are relevant to Summerland’s history or to people who lived in Summerland,” she said.
Not all old objects meet this mandate.In the case of the gas pump, she said the response from the community was a factor in the decision to have the restored pump displayed.
The pump will remain on display inside the museum.
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