The “holy grail” of vintage gas pumps, this circa 1924 Wayne manufactured model 492 Roman (Greek) Column visible gas pump is a perfect candidate for a restoration. In 1923 the designers and engineers at the Wayne Tank and Pump Company introduced a new style of visible gas pump known as the 490. This new 490 pump was described as Wayne’s newest, America’s finest and the world’s most beautiful visible pump. The 490 was the first version in a series of visible pumps known as the 490 series, which would eventually include the 491, 491-F, 492, and the 492-F. The 490, 491, and 492 pumps were 10 gallon capacity pumps, while the 491-F and 492-F were 5 gallon capacity pumps. In an effort to create a better looking gasoline pump, Wayne decided to manufacture a more ornamental pump that would stand out from the competition. As affluent residential areas began to grow in most American cities during the early 20’s, there became a need to build more modern filling stations to serve the motoring public in these areas. Wayne was quick to recognize that these new filling stations, and the gasoline pumps used at these new stations, should reflect the architectural beauty of the surrounding areas.
Today the Wayne 490 is one of the rarest, most sought after gasoline pumps in the US. Only a very small number, 2000-3000 perhaps, of these visible pumps were produced between 1923 and 1924, and there are only three or four of the 490 units known to exist in pump collections today. The overall design elements carried over to the 491 and 492 series. The fluted column on the 490 was much smaller in diameter than the “fatter” 491 and 492. Even the gallon indicators are significantly different. The gallon indicators on the 490 are made of cast iron and most gallon indicators on the 491 and 492 series were constructed out of aluminum. By 1924 Wayne had discontinued the original 490 design in favor of the new larger 491 and 492 series. Wayne greatly expanded the production of the new 491 and 492 versions. They also began to promote the new versions as descendents of beautiful, ancient Greek architecture. The 490 series of pumps are commonly referred to as “Roman Column Pumps”, “Corinthian Pumps”, or “Greek Column Pumps”.
The degree of difficulty in restoring a 490 series Roman Column Pump is much higher than other manufactured pumps of the same era. The rarety of all of the 490 series pumps dictates the fact that they deserve a quality restoration effort.
The pump was totally disassembled and every working part was refurbished to make them operational again. All parts were either sandblasted or stripped before refinishing. The exterior parts were primed and sanded several times then painted white with a Murano pearl in the clear topcoat to give it a rich “porcelain like” appearance.