Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bill's Bits


When you went to buy gas for your car, there was a uniformed man that pumped your gas, cleaned your windows all the way around, checked your oil and added if you needed any and also checked your radiator water level and last, but not least swept or vacumed out the floor mats and emptied your cigarette ash tray.

I remember one time in the 50's or early 60's when I stopped for gas at a Standard Station in Fairmont, Minnesota. 3 attendants showed up and did the whole thing and you got that first-class service whether you bought a dollars worth or got a fill-up.

I believe the last gas station to offer full service in Cold Spring was the station run by Roger Johannes and he also added girl attendents to wait on customers.

Back then, many gas stations offered oil changes and tire repair. You could repair and patch your own tires, but the service station had a hot patch that was known as vulcanizing and was much more reliable. My favorite part of watching tire repair was when they put the inner tube under water to locate the hole in order to get the correct spot to patch the inner tube.

When adding oil, it was usually in a glass quart bottle with a long metal spout attached. I won't mention the price of oil, but it was less than 50 cents a quart.

It was also a practice for the attendant to check your wiper blades, especially when the snow season was approaching.

Another snow season must was to get snow tires for the two back drive wheels and if the snow really got deep, you had the "fun job" of putting on snow or tire chains. After driving through a lot of snow on smaller Township roads, you finally got to a cleared road and it was usually a black top or cement roadway. That was hard on the tire chains and before long a chain link or two woud break and there was this constant "bang-bang" on the rear fender till you got tired of it and took off the chains and bought some new chain links to replace the broken ones.

The car's radiator could be a "fun" job also. Before Anti-Freeze. a type of Alcohol was used to prevent freeze-ups. The alcohol had a strong odor and also had a lower boiling point, so freeze-ups and boiling over were quite common. To off-set the problem, the front part of the car and radiator core area were covered to prevent freezing up and making for more problems. I remember my Dad carrying a big old sheepskin coat in the back seat to put over the hood if necessary. On a particular cold Minnesota morning it was a fairly common sight to see several cars in a gas station with steaming radiators.

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