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]

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]

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]

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    

Early Pontil Bottle With Original Castor Oil Label Ex Charles Gardner CollectionVintage Motor Oil Bottles With Gargoyle "bb" And "b" SpoutsVintage Motor Oil Bottles And Gargoyle "artic" And "a" SpoutsVintage Motor Oil Quart Glass Bottle With Master SpoutLot Of 5 Original Metal Dust Caps For Glass Motor Oil Bottle SpoutsOld Peerless Motor Oil Bottle W/ Rhodes Spout No ReserveVintage Gas & Oil Service Station Imperial Hep Glass Quart Bottle & Metal SpoutAntique Sunoco Oil BottlesJay B. Rhodes Co., Kalamazoo Michigan Vintage Glass Motor Oil Bottle CarrierGlass Quart Oil Bottle- VintageVintage Texaco Oil Bottle With Pouring Spout--glass CheckeredCirca 1900's Victor Victrola Motor Oil Bottle W/ Wooden Box Part. No. 6794/6793Nice Glass Quart Oil Bottle With Spout & CapEarly M1 Garand M3 Combination Tool And Oil Bottle Vintage Clark Stanley's Snake Oil Horse Liniment Clear Glass Bottle Rheumatism Vintage 2 Original Cities Service Spot Remover Oil Bottle Can From Gas StationNear Mint 1934 Vintage Pyroil Crank Case Oil Old 1 Qt Glass Bottle ~ Old Oil Can " Bp Gun Lubricating Oil Bottle " With ApplicatorOld Vintage Oil Bottle Spout " Jay B. Rhodes Co.1922 "kalamazoo Mich. AntiqueLee Enfield Oil BottlesJr Ewing Mini Dallas Oil Whiskey Bottle. Cowboy Hat Lid/ Jr's Photo On Front.Old Vintage 1 Quart Size Glass Oil Bottle & Spout Duraglas Model Bw1228 Gas Pump10 X 10ml Bottles E Liquid Refill E Oil Shisha Hookah Juice Premium Flavours Longaberger Pottery Oil Bottle With Lid And Plate Dino Sinclair Glass Oil Bottle & Spout"boe Mfg Co" Oil Glass Bottle W Spout 1 Qt W Fill Line Arrow, Minneapolis MinnAntique Vintage Victor Phonograph Record Duster Brush & Motor Oil Bottle LotVintage Standard Oil Indiana Qt.glass Oil Bottle With Spout And LabelVintage 2 Original Cities Service Valve Utility Oil Small Clover Bottles HandyAntique Archer Household Oil Clear Glass Bottle W LabelRare Rumely Oil Pull Tractor Porcelain Sign Gas Pump Plate Vintage Rack BottleNice Glass Quart Oil Bottle With Spout & Vent TubeVintage Renault French European Glass Motor Oil Bottle 11.5"Cast Iron Texaco Gasoline Oil Advertising Soda Pop Wall Mount Bottle Opener!Vintage Mosso's Oil-o-sol Wet Dressing 1940s Glass Bottle Full 2oz. Vtg 1960's Milkmaid Satin Dew Essence Of Bath Oil Bottle 1 Oz 97% FullRare Vintage Motor Oil Can Rack Oil Bottle 8 Pack Carrier Very DurableVintage Barbers Bottle Wildroot Cream Oil Hair DressingVintage Buescher Valve Oil Bottle 35 Cents Elkhart Indiana Instrument OilCastrol Oil Bottle Tin Top Cw 30-40 Ms, No CapVery Rare Stoeger Arms Gun Handy Oil Bottle Full London Oil Finish Gas & OilVintage Texaco Outboard Oil With Royal Guard Quart Bottle - 1970 Mint Condition