I'm a diehard thrifter and garage sale addict! I love the thrill of the hunt! And I love making CASH from trash so I also resell on eBay and Etsy. I share my successes to inspire you ... and my failures so you learn from my mistakes. Please join me on this wild and crazy ride of making cash from trash!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Best Things I’ve Sold on eBay ~ #8 Vintage Shell Oil Service Attendant Cap

Starting Bid: $9.99 Winning Bid: $18.58
Paid: $0 From:  Free
Ended: 06/08/08 Winner:  N/A

Do some of you remember when gas stations were full-service … and self-service was rare if non-existent?  You drove up to the pump, and a service station attendant would pump gas for you, wash your windows and check your oil.  He would take your money or credit card, go to his cash register and return with your receipt.  No need to ever get out of your car.  Wow, did service like that really exist or was it all a dream?! 
Yup, it was real … and as recent as the 1990’s, you could still choose full-service or self-service.  I think for as much as we pay for gas today ($3.00-$3.15/gallon in my area), they should not only check the oil and wash the windows, they should wash the whole car!!  We now pay more and get less.

Anyway, I got this really neat Shell Oil Service Attendant Cap for free when I volunteered to help a disabled, widowed & elderly gentleman clean out his garage.  Actually, there was a group of volunteers who not only cleaned out his garage, but also painted his house and weeded/trimmed his yards.  His garage was jam-packed with stuff, and he wanted to get rid of everything. 

Unfortunately, 99% of it was damaged & worthless, and ended up in the trash dumpster.  We did manage to salvage a few items, and he said we could have whatever we wanted.  One of the items I salvaged was this neat cap.  Surprisingly, it was in very good condition; I don’t think it was ever used.  What a great piece of nostalgia and memento of days when customer service was so important.
History of Gasoline: When cars were first invented, gas stations weren’t around yet. People actually bought their gasoline at the general store. They filled their own buckets with gasoline and used a funnel to pour it into the car’s gas tank.

As more and more companies got into the business of making gasoline, stations began to appear. Some of them were just a single gas pump right alongside the curb with an attendant ready to help when you drove up.

In the 1920s stations got fancier with new pumps. It took a long 8 minutes to fill the small 5-gallon car tanks that were common in those days. While the tank was filling up, the gas station attendant wiped the windshield, checked the oil and water for you, and if necessary, cranked the engine to get it started again.

By the 1950s pumps were more efficient and could fill the larger 14-gallon gas tanks quickly.  Gas attendants could work part time and it was a great job for high school boys.

When a gas shortage caused prices to go up in the 1970s, customers wanted the best price they could find. To keep prices down, gas stations changed over to self-serve and gas attendants eventually became a thing of the past.  (For more information: go to Chevroncars.com)


  1. What a cool find! I have never seen one of these hats. Awesome!

  2. what a neat find, and great story. thanks so much for sharing it! we're doing our basement in a retro 50's sort of way, and how fun would this be to display!

    so glad you came by the cape on the corner, it's nice to hear from you. and you're right, free is best! have a great day!

  3. OMG! How funny! My kids and I were just talking about this the other day. They didn't believe me that the gas staion attendant (a non-existant label now) would fill your tank and check the oil and then even wash your windows. Boy havwe thongs changed huh? Not for the better in some cases.
    Great post! Thank you for the visit too!
    Have a great week and even better Thanksgiving!

  4. Hi Rita, Wanted to say thanks for stopping for a visit on my blog. I've been looking around yours and see that you are an avid thrifter and E-Bay seller! In addition to my decorating job, I keep thinking I should be selling off all the stuff I thrift and get at estate/yard sales, except I think I would like to have a booth space in a nice antique mall. I love to create vignettes... Maybe in my "free" time sometime in the near future! LOL Hope you'll visit again, sometime. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. :-)
    ~ Sue

  5. Cool hat! I've never seen one of those before- great find.