Posted 5 years ago
Here are some of the oilers that I have collected over the years. They range in age from the mid 1800's to the 1920's. The oil lubricant timely dripped to the bearings. The drip flow was controlled by adjusting the needle screw that allowed the oil to flow. Engines of this era, both steam and gasoline, used a method known as the "total loss method". The total loss method of lubrication means that after the lubricant drips to the bearings, the wasted or spent oil is next directed to the ground or totally lost to further use. No oil pump to recover and reuse the lubricant. Today, OSHA would have a field day handing out fines to the manufacturers of this system.
Photo #1 shows my oilers on a stepped display that I sometimes take to engine shows. Photo #2 shows a few swing top oilers. Photo #3 shows a what they call a wine glass oiler. Photo #4 shows a few connecting rod oilers. All of these oilers are uncommon and some are quite rare, especially the connecting rod oilers because most engines used grease cups to lubricate the connecting rods. The old timers used to call the use of grease for engine lubrication "hard oil" and many prefered the use of soft oil throughout their engine's lubrication. Only a few mfg. of engines used oil to keep the babbit bearings of the connecting rod lubricated. Because of being made out of brass and glass, and of many different styles and shapes, oilers have become quite collectable, especially the less common variety. Because of this, they have become quite pricy, sometimes into the $500 range.