Friday, 13 July 2012

Total, Prignac-et-Marcamps

This sign in the small hamlet of Prignac between Saint-André-de-Cubzac and Bourg-sur-Gironde must have been a relief for drivers running low on petrol! Seven hundred metres further, they would have been able to refuel with Total, the petrol brand launched on 14 July 1954 by the Compagnie Française des Pétroles (CFP). The following year the CFP created a subsidiary, Total Compagnie Française de Distribution, for the purpose of developing a distibution network for the Total brand.

The CFP was created in 1924. In the aftermath of the First World War the French government wanted to encourage the creation of an instrument capable of implementing an independent national oil policy. It also needed a company to manage the interests previously held by Deutsche Bank in the Turkish Petroleum Company and seized as war reparations. The CFP group adopted the name Total in June 1991. To find out more about the evolution of the CFP and about the other companies that merged to form present-day Total, you can check the illustrated history available on Total's website. It includes pictures of service stations with adverts painted on their walls.

This wall is a real palimpsest. Indeed there are two Total signs, plus another, older one.
The particular design of both signs for Total (the name in red on a diagonal white stripe at a 30 degree angle surrounded by two blue triangles and with the 'A' slightly tilting towards the left) indicates they were painted between 1954 and the mid-1960s. The company chaged the Total logo in 1963 but signs painters may have continued to use the original design for a while. Still there are some differences between the two. On one the name is right in the centre of the frame formed by the white stripe and blue triangles. However on the other, the name appears more towards the left. The reason is this ghost sign incorporated towards the right the gas pump logo, designed in 1955, with a red flame on a blue circle against a white background. The distance to the petrol station was painted at the same time. My guess is this rather unusual design may well have been used first but was replaced by the simpler and much more common sign design mentioned first.

à 700 m.

The blue triangle above the Total signs is the logo of the advertising company that rented this wall: AMO.

With regards to the ghost sign painted before the Total ones, it stood against a yellow background. All I managed to read from it is:

À Bourg-sur-Gironde

Location: Avenue des Côtes de Bourg, Prignac-et-Marcamps, Gironde / Pictures taken in May 2012

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