michael g

8th Jan 2020

The Birds (1963)

Question: When the birds attack the town a gas station attendant is hit by a bird and drops the gas hose he is using to fill a car. The gasoline flows down the street and under a car; a man drops a match and lights the gas causing an explosion. Why didn't the gas pump shut off when the man dropped it?

michael g

Answer: The movie takes place in the 1960s, so presumably gas pumps worked a bit differently back then. There may not have been automatic shut-offs, or if there was, it was faulty.

raywest Premium member

The automatic shut off is in the handle of the hose. When a person grips the handle they have to lift a levered switch to allow gas flow; the lever is spring loaded so that if it is released the gas will stop flowing. I have looked at older antique gas pumps and they are all the same; even the visible glass gravity flow ones. If that hose was dropped the the gas should have stopped flowing.

michael g

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