The old-style Texaco gas stations, the ones that were painted white with forest-green streamline stripes and a free-standing post bearing the red Texaco star logo on a white disk, were designed by Walter Dorwin Teague (also known for designing the Kodak Brownie camera and a host of other streamlined artifacts). In his book "Design This Day" (1940) Teague shows his original work for Texaco, the exhibition hall he designed for them at the Texas Centennial fair in 1935, plus photos of the small gas stations which were built cookie-cutter-like all over America.
It is clear from the text and illustrations in "Design This Day" that Teague was well-versed in the principles of sacred geometry and had been deeply influenced by the writing of Jay Hambidge (author of the 1925 book "The Parthenon and Other Greek Temples, Their Dynamic Symmetry"), which he cited repeatedly.
I first read "Design This Day" during the early 1970s. Studying the text and looking at the pictures, i became convinced that Teague's two basic Texaco gas station plans, small and large, had been based on the root-5 rectangle, the same basis used for the Partheon's proportions, and that he did this to show off to best advantage the Texaco logo -- a 5-pointed star -- because that form of star is subtly keyed to the root-5 rectangle.
Despite my certainty, Teague's written allusions to the geometric relationship between the star, the root-5 rectangle, the Parthenon, and his own gas station designs were so slight that until the late 1970s, i thought i might be mistaken. But sure enough, the building's windows seem indeed to be root-5 rectangles, and the entire facade looks as if it were based on root-5 geometry. Good for Walter Dorwin Teague -- and a nasty snarl to the faceless corporate overlords who caused all his work to be undone when they remodelled the facades of the company's remaining Teague-designed stations in the 1980s and 1990s and then painted them a hellish charcoal grey and red.
Today your only chance of seeing an original Texaco station facade is to find one that was sold off to a private owner before the stations were remodelled. Typically these buildings are now the home of car body shops, small used car dealerships, or junk stores. The Texaco colour scheme will have been repainted, but the stations are identifiable by the three streamlines along the roof canopy and by the presence of the free-standing circular sign.
A further note on the 5-pointed Texaco star logo: This is, of course, the so-called "Texas Star," which appears on the state's flag, and hence it was a logical logo design for a gasoline company based in Texas...but there is more to it than that.
The Republic of Texas was founded in the 1830s by a group of Freemasons (Austin, Houston, Travis, Bowie, Crockett et al). At that time the well-known Masonic symbol of a square and compasses surrounding the letter G had not yet replaced the older Masonic symbol of a square and compasses surrounding a 5-pointed star. This star, called by Masons the "Blazing Star," is said to represent the Great Architect of the Universe, namely, the creator-god. (This older symbol of a square and compasses with a Blazing Star is still a preferred Masonic emblem in Europe and in American Co-Masonry.) Due to the fraternal connections of the founders of the Republic of Texas, it is highly likely that the use of the Masonic star as the emblem of their new nation was intentional. When Texas became a state in the United States, it retained the same flag it had had as a republic. Thus, whether or not the owners of the Texaco company knew it, they were carrying a Masonic emblem for the Great Architect of the Universe across the nation with their gas stations.
Did Walter Dorwin Teague know that the Teaxas star that became the Texaco star was ultimately the Masonic star when he designed the Texaco stations according to the principles of that worthy "brother of Masonry," Pythagoras?
To put it more bluntly: Was Walter Dorwin Teague a Freemason?
No evidence remains and i have been unable to find a clue in Teague's writing -- but my good friend Barrance C. Lespine did ascertain that Teague's close friend and colleague, the architectural draftsman Hugh Ferriss, was indeed a Mason and worked on the plans for a number of Masonic projects, and that this must have been known to Teague because Ferris was so public about it.
Any further information on the possible Freemasonic affiliations of the founders of Texaco or of Walter Dorwin Teague would be greatly appreciated.
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