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|Best or Super||99-101|
|Standard or Regular||89-91|
Also in the 1920s there was another common type of pump, a tall slender affair, still hand operated but self priming and with a meter and dial in place of the glass reservoir. These had a rectangular base supporting a cabinet of oval section with doors to either side which could be locked (the sketch below shows the pump both closed and open for business). The photo is of a pump installed in a taxi depot in the 1920s and which remained in use when the building became a funeral parlour. It is no longer used by the back-street garage which took over the building in the 1960s. The doors on the meter and pump section were sometimes painted white as shown in the photograph, when operated by an oil company owned filling station they usually had the company logo applied. There was sometimes a circular metal plate mounted high up on the pump on which the oil company logo was applied. These pumps usually had the white glass illuminated sign on the top, although some had a plain white version with no logo.
These hand operated pumps were sometimes seen outside other establishments as well, several pubs added a petrol service to attract the wealthier 'motor car people' of the day. The sketch shows the early glass container type (left), the later glass container 'cabinet' type (centre) and the tall thin type. Heights of all of these could vary and it was quite usual to have two pumps of the same type but different heights beside each other.
Also found on the forecourt of our local garage was an engine oil storage tank. This was a tank some six feet by three feet in plan and about six foot high. The tank was divided into an upper and lower section. On the front of the tank was a lift up door that was hinged along its top edge and could be folded up onto the top of the tank and gave access to the top section. The lower section was divided into three oil storage compartments. A solid steel plate divide the upper and lower compartment and provided a mount for the dispensing pump on top of each oil compartment. A lockable capped port was provided for the refilling of each of the tanks. There were 3 different grades of motor oil in the tank. At one time there were only single grades of oil but when I was at the garage there was a multigrade and two other single grades.After Word War Two the oil companies took a greater interest in lube oils and a great many smaller firms faded away. The main suppliers of lubricants in the retail market in the twenty years following World War Two were Wakefield (now Castrol Ltd.), S.M. & B.P., Esso, Mobil and Regent. Petrofina entered the market in 1953 and there were a dwindling number of smaller specialist companies.
Oil was pumped out through a pump with a wooden handled rotary pump into plain metal measuring jugs with an enclosed spout. I used to get to pump oil out into the two pint jug and taking it to the mechanic in the garage. A great job for an eight year old.
I also remember some customers changing oil with the seasons.
I also used a floor standing pump. This was out 3 feet tall to the top of the pump. It had a reservoir base that was like a cone. The top was wider than the bottom and had a pump like a stirrup pump mounted in the top, This dispensed oil through a hose. Where the stirrup pump entered through the top of the reservoir there was a dial. The pump could be rotated to select the oil fuel ratio. Then a single pump of the stirrup pump would dispense enough oil for one gallon of fuel. This pump was a Redex 2 stroke oil dispenser, two stroke oil was commonly dispensed this way to make a fuel/oil premix in the tank in the age before Japanese bikes made on bike oil metering the way forward.The sketch below shows Mike's Redex dispenser (in the lower right) along with an Esso UCL pump (also about ten inches high) and a sketch of the floor standing two stroke oil dispenser. The UCL dispensers usually lived on top of one of the petrol pumps, on the island close by the pump base. The two stroke oil pump was also usually found on the island close by the pumps with its delivery hose coiled loosely around it. Since the introduction of self service in the 1960s (it didn't catch on until the late 1970s) the forecourt oil dispensing pumps have been replaced by small bottles of these oils which can be sold to the customer.
A smaller hand pump was provided to supply 'upper cylinder lubricant', the most common make (certainly from the 1950s to the 1970s) was Redex (about ten inches high). Upper cylinder lubricants were common years ago and were said to reduce engine wear and reduce carbon build up and hence the need for decoking. More recently they have been produced with magnesium additives to allow older car engines to run on unleaded petrol. The picture shows a Redex dispenser like the one I used years ago. Mine was red and had a flexible spout. I cannot remember the volume each shot was but we used one shot per gallon.
I don't know when car companies first started to allow multi-franchising but certainly when I began selling for Lookers of Manchester in 1970 all garages were single franchise and dependant on wealth of the owners, or lack thereof. Some had no showroom at all and sold from open sites, some had small showrooms and kept a storage compound, depending on their financial stocking plan with the manufacturer (which was a can of worms I won't open here! ) and some of the well-to-do's had giant showrooms, big compounds stuffed with cars and even bigger headaches. This is a really complicated area because some were distributors, linked directly to the manufacturer whereas others were dealers only and so on.