Before disposable metal, paper, and plastic engine-oil containers became commonplace, drivers pulling into gas stations and asking for oil often had to watch and wait as the lubricant was hand pumped from a drum into a spouted glass bottle. Sometimes the oil would be waiting in quart bottles that sat in special racks. Either way, back in that golden full-service era, the attendant would pour the oil into the car's engine for the customer.

Assuring motorists that the oil in those drums was really as advertising and not just some inferior-quality substitute, oil companies embossed their names and logos on the sides of these clear bottles. Sometimes they were given distinctive shapes to make the customer feel better about the bulk-oil purchase. Mobil Oil went so far as to to make diamond-shaped “Filpruf” bottles, with embossed gargoyles on their sides. The metal spouts of these bottles were the Filpruf parts, because they could only be filled with a corresponding nozzle attached to a drum of Mobiloil.

Collectors look for these embossed bottles, the metal spouts, and even the racks they sat in. A side interest for serious petroliana fans are the salesmen samples and briefcases these bottles were carried in. Sample bottles are typically tall and narrow, almost like test tubes, so lots of them could fit into a portfolio. They were also clear, so prospective customers could see the differences in color between the different types of oil at a glance. Companies such as Illinois Glass made these bottles, which had paper labels on their sides and cork stoppers to keep the liquid inside.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Primarily Petroliana

Primarily Petroliana

Jim Potts’ site for petroliana collectors, featuring image galleries and community features such as a discussion … [read review or visit site]

Historic Glass Bottle Identification

Historic Glass Bottle Identification

Bill Lindsey's fantastic bottle identification and information site. Loaded with detailed descriptions and diagrams… [read review or visit site]

Petroliana.co.uk

Petroliana.co.uk

Alan Chandler’s impressive collection of early British and European petroliana, including galleries with beautifu… [read review or visit site]

Antique Bottle Collector's Haven

Antique Bottle Collector's Haven

There's a ton of information here, but as with bottles, you have to dig to find the best stuff. Start with the famo… [read review or visit site]

Bottle Cap Index

Bottle Cap Index

Assembled by Gunther Rademacher with the help of several other contributors, this collection of over half a million… [read review or visit site]

Petromobilia Switzerland

Petromobilia Switzerland

Alex Wyler’s site is mostly in German, but the collection and images speak for themselves. You’ll find old gas … [read review or visit site]

Falvo Collectables Gallery

Falvo Collectables Gallery

Ralph and Carol Falvo's excellent collection of automobiles, petroliana, jukeboxes, soda, and general store items. … [read review or visit site]

Plopsite.de

Plopsite.de

Norbert Lamping's collection of 600+ ceramic bottle stoppers, Hutter stoppers, swingtops, swivel stoppers, and ligh… [read review or visit site]

Old Spice Collectibles

Old Spice Collectibles

Lather up with Creighton Fricek's complete chronology of collectible Old Spice shaving products. Start with the bot… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Mobiloil Gargoyle Filpruf Diamond-shape Motor Oil BottleVintage Standard Polarine Motor Oil Glass Bottle Jar W/spout Can SignVintage Sunoco Motor Oil Glass Bottle Jar W/spout Can Sign~niceRare Original Castrol Motor Oil Bottle Tin Top Castrolite Dust CapVintage - Tydol / Flying A - Motor Oil Bottle - S.a.e. 30 - Master Spout & Cap1950's Vintage Socony Oil Mobil Pegasus Sovasuds Car Wash Glass Bottle CanOld Mobiloil "b" Motor Oil Tin Top S.a.e. 60 Vacuum Oil Company ~ No BottleVintage Atlantic Refining Co. Motor Oil Bottle W/ Spout Estate Fresh Keen Kutter Oil, Simmons Hardware, St. Louis, Mo..tool, Gun & Machine Oil BottleEsso Extra Rack Of 8 One Quart Motor Oil BottlesVintage Top Master Mfg. & Bottle Duraglas Motor Oil Glass Bottle Liquid Quart Rare Old Enamel Mobil Motor Oil Bottle Advertising Pegasus AshtrayVintage Glass Motor Oil Quart Bottle W/ Matching Spout, Master Mfg Co, C1940, NrVintage Mobil Mobiloil "af" Gargoyle Spout For Motor Oil Glass Bottle Can SignMobiloil One Quart Motor Oil Bottle1930's Shell Quart Motor Oil BottleVintage Viscoyl Sae 20 Motor Oil Glass Bottle Jar W/spout Can Sign~niceVintage Rapid Oiler Motor Oil Glass Bottle Jar W/spout Can SignVintage Huffman Motor Oil Glass Bottle Jar W/spout Can SignVintage Very Rare 1932 Imperial Quart Oil Glass Bottle Marvelube 20 Not A TinOld Castrol Xxl 40-50 Ms Motor Oil Tin Top & Embossed Castrol E R Tas BottleVintage Motor Oil Can Glass Bottle Spout Lot Of Five Stubby 5" One The Master NrVintage Original Moore And Kling Quart Oil Bottle With Gargoyle Mobiloil SpoutOld Neptune Motor Oil Tin Top S.a.e. 30 ~ No BottleVintage Pennzoil 1 Quart Outboard Motor Oil Bottle Nice Nr! Vintage Rack Of 8 Glass Motor Oil Bottles W/ 4 Huffman & Master Spouts Can/signVintage "tiolene Motor Oil" Tall Glass Motor Oil Bottle - Pure Oil Co Not A RepoVintage 1920’s Sunoco Co Oil Bottle PristineVintage Oil Bottle With Metal SpoutBeautiful Small Aquaglass Antique 1890's "3 In One Oil Co Three In One" BottleThe Master Mfg Co Oil Spout Litchfield Ill Pat 1926 For Glass BottleOld Miniature Fire Zone H. C. Sleigh Limited ~ Tin Top ~ No Oil BottleBottle Candle Turn A Wine Bottle Into An Oil Lamp 2 Stoppers With Wicks NewSocony,socony Gargoyle Oil Bottle, Gas Pump Globe,gas Pump Glass Lense,oil CanVintage Conoco Oil Bottle Cap NosVintage Republic Household Oil Bottle Pittsburgh Pa Gas & OilCollectible Pompeian Olive Oil Old Bottle Unique Urn Shaped 1.5 Fl Oz. Sample? Ww2 Australian Smle Lithgow Enfield Oil Bottle Washers X 3 Tropic Proof NosGreen- Fish Shaped Glass Bottle Wine Oil Decanter Vintage Avon Blue Bottle Full With Charisma OilKorean Pottery Onggi Bottle For Olive Oil Rice WineTriangular Shaped Excelsior Sewing Machine Oil Bottle From ChicaSignal 2 In Oil Bottle Decals, Hd 10-30 Decal. Copy Of Original, Happy HolidaysVintage Avon Glass Cruet Bath Oil Bottle 5 Fl Oz. Full1876 Cape Cod CollectionMurano Crystal Glass Heart Ribbon Charms Bump Roses Essential Oil Bottle StopperAntique Glass,clear Vintage,old, Unsealed Bottle,kerosene Oil,filled.