In parts of Australia, gas pumps are known colloquially as petrol bowsers. In England, Bowsers refer to large mobile water tanks. Bowsers can also refer to aircraft fuel tankers, army fuel tankers, seaplane refueling boats and vehicles that transport fuel for construction equipment, including excavators and bulldozers.

In all cases, the source of the name is Sylvanus F. Bowser, an inventor from Indiana.

S.F. Bowser!

Sylvanus Freelove Bowser was born August 8th, 1854 in Fort Wayne, and was the first person to build and sell gasoline pumps. Bowser’s first pump was sold in 1885 as a dispenser to re-fill kerosene lamps, but by the early 20th century, he was altering his invention to accommodate the automobile.

In 1905, Bowser added a dedicated hose and adopted various safety measures, rebranding his invention as the “Self-Measuring Gasoline Storage Pump”.