old oil cans - no info on them?

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Sep 8, 2005
Just for fun, recently I've had a look on e-bay at old automobile oil cans. The one thing that has struck me while looking at them is how little product info they had on them!

Most of them just have a company name, and something like 'engine oil' on them. The grade and other info, if it is there, is usually on the lid, often faintly stamped into the metal! Most of them don't even have this info.

It must have been maddening to buy engine oil back then, you had to hunt for what type of oil you had in your hand and if it didn't say so, you just had to hope you had the right one!

Some can from the late 1970's were better, but it seems that most of them just don't say to much about what is in them.......
In the old days, it was common for engine manufacturers/vehicle manufacturers to specify a recommended specific motor oil, or at least a specific brand of motor oil. Perhaps some of that was to steer the vehicle owner to a reputable oil. The rest was probably due to the oil manufacturer paying to be recommended.
Yep, back then , other than weight, oil was oil, we heard there some sort of refining process but we figured that was just to get the major impurities out of it from crude. what made oil good or not we figured was not any additives or the refining, but which well it came out of! and that is how we decided on a brand.
From 1930 until 1971 you had four API oil service
1930 SA
1963 SB
1967 SC
1971 SD

Diesel ratings started in 1959 at CA, 1961 was CB, and CC was for upto 1990.

Every manufacturer didn't have their own oil spec of the month. Life was simpler. You chose a brand, since they all pretty much only had the same API spec on them.
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