FERGUS FALLS (AP) -- Mark Morrissette spent nearly four years looking for the perfect piece of nostalgia to add to his store. The manager of Champion Auto Store in Fergus Falls found it in one of the most unlikely places: behind a chicken coop on a farm in Brandon.
What he found he hopes will take some of his customers back in time to when gas cost a mere 20 cents a gallon. The 1940s-era Wayne gas pump was the first model to automatically calculate the price of a gallon of gas and was advertised to ''make sure you get your penny's worth of gas.'' The treasure had been sitting behind the chicken coop for close to 40 years on a bed of leaves, where it was probably put when removed from a nearby farm or gas station. The leaves helped to protect the pump from the elements.
''The basics were all there. The glass was broken and the globe was gone,'' he said.
Morrissette said he's always been interested in finding a gas pump to restore, but has never been able to find the right one until now. ''I did find some that were very expensive,'' he said.
The uniqueness of the model of the pump and its Shell brand made it a particularly good find. ''It was almost a form of art back then,'' he said. ''All the globes were different then. The idea was to attract the motorist.''
He started the restoration process a year ago. ''It was just packed full of leaves and dirt, so it was a lot of cleaning,'' he said.
Comet cleanser and a scouring pad slowly cleaned the rust stains from the porcelain face carrying the numbers, and the porcelain signs informing the customer the gas contained lead. Though the numbers had to be replaced, as did the glass Shell globe and the glass protecting the numbers, the pump was in pretty good shape, Morrissette said. The lead spout leading into the pump still has the government certification tag on it from 1952.
Morrissette went down to making sure every little piece was authentic as possible, down to the unique rivet-like fasteners that held on the nameplates.
The pump made its way into Champion Auto recently. Morrissette plans to place a book with a copy of the original advertisement near the pump so his customers can read a little more about it. The pump has already attracted the attention of some of his older customers who may remember seeing a pump like his on afternoon drives.
''It's a pleasant memory in time for them,'' Morrissette said.
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