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Time Travel

I was thrilled to add this 10# American grease can to my collection recently. ab13
I know it’s got condition problems, it’s not a collectible size can, and it’s really not all that desirable in any way. So you’re probably wondering why I’m so happy to own this can.

This can has a great story!

A couple months ago my nephew Joe and I had a conversation about one of the buildings where my Dad, brother and I all worked. Dad started there in the early 1960’s doing maintenance. The job grew from a part time maintenance of one 5 story office building to a full time gig maintaining and remodeling 20 commercial buildings and several houses. My brother worked with Dad for several years, and I spent a short time working there when I was a senior in high school and the summer after graduating from high school.
I’m getting ahead of myself……

I was only 3 or 4 years old when Dad started there. Unlike most kids, I got to tag along to work with my Dad. He always had something for me to do if I wanted. Things like filling nail holes, cleaning up the work site, etc. Or I could just watch him work. It was a great learning experience. I didn’t realize until much later how much knowledge I had absorbed from just watching Dad work. The 1st floor was mostly retail space, but the upper floors were all office space. Several of the tenants were very influential business and civic leaders. Not only did I learn about many aspects of construction from framing to finish carpentry, to electrical and some HVAC. I learned about maintenance of boilers, pumps, etc. And I also learned about how to deal with people and how to handle certain situations. My favorite part of the building was the basement with it’s boiler room, pump room, store rooms, Civil Defense Fallout Shelter, etc.

Joe relayed some of the stories he had heard from his dad and grandpa from their time working there. I told him about what I remembered from being there as a kid and later working there. Joe suggested that I contact the current owner to see if I could tour the basement. I figured a guy with several million dollars of commercial real estate had better things to do than be bothered by someone that worked in one of his buildings forty years ago. That night I thought about the conversation I had with Joe. Old memories that I thought were long gone started coming back. I sent Joe a long email detailing many memories. Everything from putting several boxes of legal documents in a store room in 1976, to cleaning a boiler, to the very early years when one of the boilers was still coal fired, etc, etc, etc.

Joe called a few days later to ask if I had a couple hours to meet with him. I asked what was up. He said he had called the owner of the building and got us a tour. I think Joe could sell ice to an Eskimo. So a few days later I found myself in the basement of the building where I worked forty years ago. The building was completely remodeled in 2004, but the basement hasn’t changed that much. The lawyer who gave me a couple bucks to put the boxes of legal documents in storage is long gone……but one of the boxes is still there! There’s still a fiber drum with a Civil Defense label in what was once the fallout shelter. The oil fired boiler that I maintained is still there, but no longer in use. The coal bin is still there. About the fortieth thing I pointed out to Joe, that was just as I had described in my email, Joe said this is unreal. In my email to Joe, I had told about accompanying my Dad to a Standard Oil Company (IND) bulk plant to get a can of grease when I was four years old. A dozen or so years later I was tasked with using grease from that very can to lube a pump. Now some forty years later I was back in the pump room holding that same grease can that I first saw around 1964!

And thanks to my nephew Joe, and a very kind building owner, that grease can that I first saw in my childhood is now in my collection. Yeah, it might not be much of a can, but it has a great story.

Thanks Joe, and thanks Buck! It means a lot to this sentimental old guy.

Also posted in oil can Tagged |

Happy Independence Day!

I thought you might enjoy seeing these globes on Independence Day.
boty16 15
boty16 17
boty16 5

Also posted in glass body globe, globe, metal body globe


Some of you may have had visions of Chevy Chase and his infamous weekly pratfalls on SNL when you read the title of this blog entry. If you’re looking for comedic relief you’ll have to look elsewhere. This blog entry is about my collecting adventures late this summer and early autumn.

In the closing minutes of the spring Chicagoland Petroleum and Advertising Show in Peotone, IL I made a deal for a rare Sinclair “Triple Check” sign which was to be delivered to the fall show.
Sinclair used the “Triple Check” signage in a few select markets from 1956 until they came out with the familiar “Dino” logo in late 1958.

The agreement to purchase the experimental Triple Check sign was the first deal in what would turn out to be a fantastic fall of collecting for me.

In mid August I made a deal for a group of signs that were to be delivered to the fall show in Peotone.
The SuperFlame/H-C porcelain curb sign is one that is seldom offered for sale.

The painted tin Sinclair Credit Card sign is another sign that’s difficult to find.

The colorful cardboard Power-X sign dates from the 1950’s.

Anything from 4 Brothers is incredibly hard to find so I was happy to add this early tin sign to my collection.

The Sinclair/Covey Credit Card sign is hand painted. Anything Covey is scarce as hen’s teeth.

The purchase of these five signs plus the Triple Check are a good example of why it’s important to network with collectors and dealers when attending swap meets and auctions. None of these signs were offered at a swap meet. If it wasn’t for the friendships made through the hobby I may not have known these signs were available. The fall Peotone show was still two months away but I was already anxious to take delivery of the six signs!

This M&M Super Ethyl globe was an ebay purchase. M&M was based in central Illinois. The seller originally had a crazy buy it now price on the globe. After months of negotiations we agreed to a reasonable price that was only $20 more than my original offer.

I found this Pittsburgh Paint sign in an antique mall Labor Day weekend. You’d be hard pressed to find a more colorful porcelain sign.

A buddy from Minnesota asked me to pick up a gas pump for him. While picking up the pump, my wife and I purchased several items. The most interesting, at least to me, being this Soap Box Derby type car.
Back in the day some lucky kid was cruising in style in this 1920’s or 30’s inspired boat tail speedster!

Everyone in the hobby was talking about the upcoming series of auctions featuring Kyle Moore’s former collection. My collecting fund took a big hit with the sign purchases, but I was still planning on attending the first auction in October.

I attended a car show/swap meet in early September. Because of the upcoming auction I hadn’t planned on buying anything at the swap meet. There was a nice die cut Conoco sign that was priced to sell, so of course I had to buy it.

It turns out the guy selling the Conoco sign also had a globe for sale. Not just an ordinary globe, but a metal body Aladdin globe. This is the only known example! Illinois Farm Service is the company that used this globe.

This single sided porcelain Opaline oil cart sign came from the same collection.

My wife and I made a quick trip to the high profile auction in Pennsylvania. I think I bid on twelve items. I was the under bidder (first loser) on eight of them, and totally out to lunch on the other four.
I did buy these two porcelain coated metal globe bodies from friend while at the auction.

Next up was the Thursday night auction that was held in conjunction with the Peotone show. There was one item I really wanted in the auction. It was a high end globe. I made a serious bid on it, but came up short once again.
The Friday auction was a different story. I picked up two graphic capco body globes. “Picture globes” are sought after by collectors.
Before I left the auction I purchased this Johnson Ethyl lens from a fellow collector from Illinois. I’d say I had a pretty good day!

In addition to taking delivery of the six signs I mentioned previously, I was able to purchase several nice items at the Chicagoland show at Peotone.
A couple of unusual Sinclair cans and a rare Sinclair Stock Spray sprayer with good graphics.
A box for Sinclair Extra Duty quarts.

A picker friend from North Carolina made me a great deal on these four NOS capco bodies.

I traded for this cool 1950’s era Ford ignition parts cabinet.

Some of these deals were pre-arranged while others were being in the right place at the right time.
Being in the right place at the right time enabled me to buy the North Star Ethyl and Lion Knix Knox globes. If I had been 20 seconds later I would have missed out on the North Star globe.

I got one more item at the show that I’ll save for a future blog entry.
It truly has been a fantastic fall of collecting for me. Even though my collecting fund has been completely obliterated, I’m thrilled about adding some great items to my collection!

Also posted in 4 Brothers, Auctions, CAPCO, Collecting, Covey, glass body globe, globe, metal body globe, networking, painted sign, porcelain sign, Sinclair, Sputnik, Swap Meets Tagged , , , , , |

Images added to the Globe Galleries

I’ve added some images to the Advertising Globe Gallery and the Gas Pump Globe Gallery.
Take a look!

Also posted in 1 pc globe, glass body globe, globe

It’s An Illinois Thing

Many globe collectors collect globes from their home state. I happen to be from Illinois which wasn’t exactly a hotbed for the oil industry, but there were some Illinois based companies that used very attractive globes.

Illinois Oil Company from Rock Island, IL used some globes that pictured the outline of the state. Any globe from this company would be considered rare. This metal body globe dates from the 1930’s.

Next up we have a few globes from Martin Oil Company of Carbondale.
This glass body Kerosene globe would have been used in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
These unusual Martin globes would have been used in the 1950’s and 60’s. The Premium Ethyl globe has six colors, red, white, blue, black, yellow and grey. That’s very unusual as the majority of globes only have three colors.

Once part of Martin Oil Company, Martin Oil Service from Alsip and Blue Island used these globes in the 1960’s.

Growmark (FS) is headquartered in Bloomington.
The Illinois Farm Supply globe was used in the early 1950’s.
The very plain FS globe was used from the mid 50’s through the 70’s.

Stephen was based in Morris.
This globe likely dates from the 1940’s.

Hicksatomic was located in Roberts.
This oval CAPCO body globe was used in the 1960’s and 70’s. It’s the most common globe in this blog entry.
If anyone knows where I can find the round Hicksatomic globes with red and orange lettering on a light blue background I’d like to hear from you!

Vaught’s was a very small operation from Flora.
These globes are from the 1940’s. I like the slogan on the kerosene globe “Hotter Than Blue Blazes”. These two globes are the rarest in this blog entry.

Owens was based in Bloomington.
This Oco-Pep globe has an original red CAPCO body and would have been used in the 1950’s into the 60’s.
I’d like to add an Oco-Pep Ethyl globe to my collection. Anyone know where I can find one?

I believe Mileage Mart was based in north central Illinois. These lenses would have originally been used on white, yellow, red, or orange CAPCO bodies. It’s shown here on a red ripple glass body. Mileage Mart globes date from the 1950’s and 60’s.

I got most of my Illinois globes from auctions, swap meets or other collectors right here in the Land of Lincoln. A few came from collections as far away as Tennessee. Most of the globes pictured were used by small regional discount operations. Henderson & Benjamin’s Gas Pump Globes reference CD was indispensable in dating some of these globes.

I’m always looking to add more globes to my collection. Contact me if you’re looking to sell.

Also posted in Auctions, CAPCO, Collecting, glass body globe, globe, metal body globe, ripple, Swap Meets Tagged , , , , , , |

Auctions, Shows and Building a Network

Here we are nearly a quarter of the way through 2015 already. It seems like the older I get, the faster time goes by. Money and time to dedicate to my hobby are tough to come by these days, so every now and then I pause to look back and see if I’m utilizing those commodities wisely. So far I’ve attended two collector auctions, two petroliana swap meets and a general advertising show in 2015. One of the shows and one auction weren’t all that productive in terms of adding significant items to my collection, but they were worthwhile in terms of networking with collectors and dealers in the hobby. It’s important to keep in touch with others in the hobby to let them know you’re active in the hobby and what you’re looking for. Plus attending the shows and auctions affords the opportunity to see old friends and make new ones.

Looking back at what I’ve added to my collection so far this year I see a good mix of purchases made at auctions, swap meets and from friends in the hobby.

This week’s major purchases came from an old friend and can be seen in the Gas Pump Globe Gallery

Also posted in Auctions, Collecting, globe, networking, Swap Meets

Oil Can Lights…..Talk about hard to find!

There are many sub-categories of petroliana collectibles.

I’ve managed to find one of the more obscure categories to collect……Oil can lights.

They consist of a thin plastic cylinder that’s painted to look like an oil can. Most are “motion lights” where the heat from the bulb rises through louvers in the top causing the outer cylinder to spin. Collecting these lights has been a challenge. It’s not that they are terribly expensive. They’re just difficult to find. I doubt that many survived because they are so fragile.
My wife bought this Mobiloil motion light at an auction over twenty years ago.

Mobiloil motion light

This Sinclair light is the only stationary oil can light I have. This light uses paint can lids for the top and bottom.

Stationary oil can light. Circa 1950's

Stationary oil can light. Circa 1950’s

This Kendall Superb motion light is a recent acquisition and among my favorites.

Early 1950's motion light

Early 1950’s motion light

I’ve searched auction listings, and swap meets for over 20 years and I’ve only managed to collect six oil can lights!

You can see them in the Miscellaneous Petroliana Gallery. There are others out there somewhere. I know Conoco had one or two that looked like their oil cans from the 50’s. I suspect there’s a motion light version of my stationary Sinclair light, and Pennzoil used both stationary and motion lights. There are stationary and motion oil filter lights as well. I don’t have any of those…..yet.

Also posted in Auctions, Collecting, oil can, Swap Meets Tagged , , , |