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A fuel dispenser is a machine at a filling station that is used to pump gasoline, petrol, diesel, CNG, CGH2, HCNG, LPG, LH2, ethanol fuel, biofuels like biodiesel, kerosene, or other types of fuel into vehicles. Fuel dispensers are also known as bowsers (in Australia),petrol pumps (in Commonwealth countries), or gas pumps (in North America).
The first gasoline pump was invented and sold by Sylvanus Bowser in Fort Wayne, Indiana on September 5, 1885. This pump was not used for automobiles, as they were not yet being sold. It was instead used for some kerosene lamps and stoves. He later improved upon the pump by adding safety measures, and also by adding a hose to directly dispense fuel into automobiles. For a while, the term bowser was used to refer to a vertical gasoline pump. Although the term is not used anymore in the United States, except as a term for trucks that carry and dispense fuel to large aircraft at airports, it still is used sometimes in Australia and New Zealand.
The first fuel dispenser was patented by Norwegian John J. Tokheim in 1901. Fuel retail industry giant Tokheim-OPW, was named after him.
Many early gasoline pumps had a calibrated glass cylinder on top. The desired quantity of fuel was pumped up into the cylinder as indicated by the calibration. Then the pumping was stopped and the gasoline was let out into the customer's tank by gravity. When metering pumps came into use, a small glass globe with a turbine inside replaced the measuring cylinder, but assured the customer that gasoline really was flowing into the tank.
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