The first gas station to sell leaded gasoline. Dayton, Ohio, February, 1923
Courtesy of Dayton History Books Online.
“The discovery of Ethyl Gasoline – by Curt Dalton
In 1916, Thomas Midgley Jr. began working for the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco) in Dayton. His boss, Charles F. Kettering, assigned Midgley to search for the cause of knock in gasoline engines.
It was discovered that the fuel, not the engine, was the cause of the problem. Unfortunately, this knowledge did not bring an answer as to how to solve the problem. It would take another half dozen years and thousands of experiments before Midgley discovered that tetraethyl lead was the answer.
The first test of ethyl gasoline, as it came to be known, was made on December 9, 1921. It was found that, although the knocking ceased, the additive caused lead deposits on the engine valves, which would ruin the engine. Fortunately Midgley found that adding ethylene dibromide solved this.
Ethyl gasoline was first sold to the public on February 2, 1923, at the Refiners Oil Station on South Main Street in Dayton. It proved to be quite popular until environmental laws enacted in the 1970s all but stopped the use of leaded fuel in automobiles.”