Oil cans must have been a real PITA!

Messages
15,081
Location
Canada
I've read a lot of posts from people who are old enough to have used oil in cans that it was not fun or convinient - the spouts leaked, carboard ones collapsed.... I'm wondering about another part of this - when you had to add less than a quart, either in top-up, or in changes, what did you do with the leftover part of the can? You can't re-seal a can like you can a plastic bottle, so if you left it lying around, it must have gotten contaminated pretty badly... Did people wait until they had to add a quart or more to use a can or did you put the leftover in another jar? Its sounds like we have it so easy now, gradiated plastic botte where you can re-seal it almost as tight as when new!
 
Messages
5,763
Location
Da Swamp
As I recall, I used one of those metal puncturing spouts to open the can and pour, then I jammed paper towels into the mouth of the spout. Darned if I can remember where I kept partly used cans, though. I've never had a garage, and have always been short on closet space until recently. Maybe I threw it down the storm drain (remember, we're talking The Olden Days) with the used oil! -- Paul W.
 

addyguy

Thread starter
Messages
15,081
Location
Canada
ouch...man, if some enviro-nazi heard you say that, you'd be done for! (Although i'm not 100% sure we are any better these days - at the WalMart I used to work at, we used to wash spilled oil off the floor down the drain w/laundry soap, and throw out piles of oil-soaked oil absorber into the trash!)
 
Messages
3,202
Location
Far North East Texas
Most of the time, I used to wait until it needed a quart, or almost a full quart, & then pour in the whole can. Otherwise, use what was needed by "guesstimate" & set the open can on a shelf in the carport closet. Might put something over it to keep dust out, but more often didn't even mess with that. [Eek!] I used a spout occasionally, but back then every teenage boy kept a can opener/bottlecap lifter(AKA "church key" [Wink] ) in his car. I used that most of the time, even when at home where we had a spout. No, shame on you for thinking that- we had pop-top cans by then! [Big Grin] Of course, twist-off bottlecaps were still to come in the future. [Cheers!] As I recall, Quaker State was the first brand of oil available in plastic bottles, happened in the middle '70's(~73-75?). The big consensus among people who changed their own oil was usually "what took them so long?". Some other brands kept using cans for much too long after that. I bet Quaker State made lots of extra $$ from other oil co's dragging their feet. I've never known anyone who use the old cans that regretted their passing even one little bit. Plastic bottles are Much better! No poener needed, easy to re-seal after partial use, and with the see-thru window down the side & volume markings, they're almost perfect!
 
Messages
809
Location
Granville, Ohio
We didn't have BITOG back then, so I don't believe there was much though given as to how oil works, besides the basic concept of lubrication. The average guy on the street knew nothing about TBN, changing viscosity or additives. Personally, I didn't add a quart until I was a quart low. Remember, most cars had large engines, and held a lot more than 4 quarts of oil. If I needed to fill up my oil squirt can, I might pour some in there. Those oil spouts were relatively easy to use, and didn't require a funnel to hit the hole. I didn't have a clue back then how lousy the oil was. If I knew then what I know now....
 
Messages
449
Location
Minneapolis MN
I poured any leftover oil into a big glass jar, one with a metal screw-on cap. When I needed to top-off, I poured it right out of the jar. I don't recall any of the stuff I used being green, though...
 
Messages
2,724
Location
Herndon, Virginia
quote:
We didn't have BITOG back then, so I don't believe there was much though given as to how oil works, besides the basic concept of lubrication. The average guy on the street knew nothing about TBN, changing viscosity or additives.
BITOG? There was no INTERNET back then. Or Cable TV, even! I remember our shop teacher in 72 or so telling us how troublesome electronic ignition was going to be, how crappy those little imports were, and lastly, his take on additives was, if it was added to the oil, it was just that much less oil! Got news for you, Slalom: The average guy on the street still knows nothing of TBN, viscosity, or additives. If they aren't industry related, or read here, or something like this here forum, how would they know? Heck, I'd bet 98 out of 100 guys out there think Frams are just fine and dandy,,
 
Messages
13,132
Location
By Detroit
I remember when my dad wanted only part of a quart he would pierce the lid with a phillips screwdriver or an awl so he could plug it with sheet metal screws. The nice thing about the old cans is they are very stackable:  - That Veedol is rated API Service MS. The Kendall has a center poke in spout (a modern plastic spout is behind it in the photo), which I had never seen before getting this at a garage sale. Not sure but I think the red cap is my modern addition from a small spray can. I always used the side poke spouts and they always caused oil to run down the side of the can. Funny thing, I don't remember the changeover.
 
Messages
9,797
Location
Central Coast, Calif.
aircraft oils still come in cans, especially mil spec stuff!. it is a PITA! Hydralic fluid, turbine engine oil, all in steel cans. you get 1/2 pint cans, 1 quart cans, 1 gallon cans or 55 gallon drums. one of the downsides is if you need 1 pint but have a 1 quart can, you have to throw out half of the can because you can't reseal it. an allison T-56 engine takes 12 gallons to fill the oil tank. that's 48 cans of oil!
 
Messages
1,203
Location
Oregon
I always thought the glass bottles were kind of cool. You could actually see the product you were buying. There was a local gas station that sold motor oil in glass bottles up till the lated 70s. Seems like it was called Ray Lube of something along those lines. A buddy in High School used it in his car. He used to stated it was to thick to burn. He was not joking, it was nasty thick stuff and real cheap only slightly thiner than honey. I don't think it even had a oil weight stated on the bottle. None the less it still looked cool in the bottle.
 
Messages
8,711
Location
Nothern USA
Your father didn't patronize Sunoco. They tried to dye the oil blue and it came out a sickly green. I have seen it all, the glass bottles with the tin spouts filled from bulk, tin cans, aluminum, cardboard, and never want to go back to any of them. I think it was wait until it was down at least a quart. My dad bought 2 1/2 gallon cans and used his glass oil bottle and spout. I still have it. Bet they go pretty good on Ebay, but never will sell it.
 
Messages
78
Location
Rochester, MN
Yeah, there were good spouts and not so good spouts. I dunno if they could be sharpened to puncture better, but they did leak. Seems like there was a gasket on them. You used to be able to buy oil in small drums too, then fill up a steel can with the funnel attached. I don't remember the change to plastic either, but I'm as glad as everyone else.
 
Messages
498
Location
N. Texas
now as much as i like the ease of bottles these days, there was a certain satisfying experience wiht using that metal puncture spout to pierce the top of the can so easily and handily just up end the can with the spout into the oil fill hole and just let it gurgle however much you felt like putting in there. Go about your business and come back in a few minutes if you absolutely wanted every drop out of the can, or if there was some left over the oiler can could always use some or a glass jar filled with drill bits or something, or like many just stuff a rag in the spout to leave till later. I remember what a hassle it seemed to be to have to now find a funnel to put the oil in with when cans first started disappearing, and thinking how funnels attract dirt so much more easily and need cleaning and a place to store it afterwards and it always gets aa little oil where you don't want it, where before you always knew where that spout was and you never had to worry about cleaning it or storing as it was always just handily in the last can of oil you used with rag in the end. Ah yes, I remember the last time I used the spout and thinking with sadness that it would not be used again and gone were the days of simplicity cause you know a funnel just doesn't fit as well in the tool box either. Yes i tried a few times just do the quick line up the bottle neck and stuff into the oil fill routine, but that never worked as well and usually ended up with more than a few drops spreading out over the valve cover, and the bottles just aren't vented to be able to regulate satisfyingly the flow of the golden nectar that the simply designed but exquisitly utilitarian spout could achieve. Gone now is the gurgle and and the harmony of the oil change has forever been lessened by the demise of the old trusty oil can.
 

Kestas

Staff member
Messages
13,959
Location
The Motor City
There's pros and cons to both bottles and cans. Though bottles are less prone to damage, they are harder on the waste stream. That's a lot plastic to throw out every oil change. I used to incinerate the cans (except for the metal ends). The plastic is just too nasty to burn.
 
Messages
1,815
Location
South Dakota
I can remember using the punch in spout on the card board containers. Heck of a mess when you accidently punctured the side and had oil leaking everywhere.
 
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