Large, double-sided national benzole tin sign



  • £720.00
  • €799 Euro
  • $773 US Dollar

United Kingdom

Hoarde Vintage Member since 2016
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  • Description
  • Location
  • About dealer
National Benzole was founded in London in 1919 and the company is an interesting player in early automotive history. Benzole is a coal-tar product consisting mainly of benzene and toluene and was initially used as a 'motor spirit' - an alternative to petroleum spirits. Use in ammunitions as well as fuelling engines meant there was mass production of Benzole during WW1 and an excess of it remained after the war - a group of entrepeneurs saw this opportunity and the National Benzole Company was formed. There were concerns that neat Benzole was too potent for the average engine and these concerns coupled with coal strikes causing supply issues lead to the company supplying a 50/50 Benzole + Petroleum mix. It was this product that the company would supply for the coming decades.

This double-sided tin sign dates back to the era when a petrol station would supply a choice of brands and each would produce advertising to help promote their product. Mr Mercury - the company's logo was introduced in 1928 and was redsigned with a more modernist-angular look in the late '50s. This sign probably dates to the late 1940s/early '50s. It's a particularly large example of it's type, double-sided with two hanging loops on the upper edge it would have probably swung from a post on a bigger forecourt.

Being a litho printed alloy sign (as opposed to enamelled), it does show more signs of wear. The outer edges of both faces, esp. the lower edge have fairly heavy paint loss. One side (pictured second). Both sides have staining running down from the metal hanging loops, the side pictured second has darker staining than the side pictured first. Both sides have some other areas of loss and some surface scratching along with discolouration but generally the colours are bright and the sign remains fantastically bold. A striking piece of automobilia at a fraction of the price of it's enamel counterparts.

The sign measures 1m high / wide and the hanging loops are 3cm thick.


  • H: 100cm (39.37in)
  • W: 100cm (39.37in)
  • D: 3cm (1.18in)



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By phone:

Mobile: +44 (0)7703104788


LJW @ Atlam
111 Portobello Road
W11 2QB
United Kingdom


I’m Louis Walpole. Over a decade of working for and alongside some of the best antique dealers in the country at London’s renowned Portobello Road have helped me to form a detailed understanding of, and appreciation for, a diverse array of antiques. In 2016, after ‘dabbling’ in the trade since childhood I decided to follow my heart and (ignoring a myriad of people advising against it) leave my salaried job to trade full time. Since then I have travelled around England and Western Europe collecting the pieces that particularly interest me. These pieces loosely follow the themes of; automotive, advertising, scientific and industrial. I have a select number of items on display in Atlam on Portobello Road. The shop is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and on Saturdays from 8am to 5pm.

If you would like to view any of my pieces in London, please get in touch to confirm that they’re at the shop or to arrange for me to take them there for you. It may also be possible for me to bring items to your home/bar/garage/pub etc so that they can be fully appreciated in-situ, again please just get in touch and we’ll see what can be organised."

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