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Gasoline went into the cans

As soon as the automobile became an appreciable phenomenon, gasoline went into the cans as well the same ones used for kerosene, save for a change of color and label.

Prior to the advent of the pumps, they were an efficacious means of refilling one’s gas tank. With their notable capacity (in Italy, twenty liters) the cans functioned as reserve tanks to be carried in the car or kept in the garage.

In many European countries they didn’t disappear immediately with the advent of pumps; in remote areas, they remained an especially long while in service.

The automobile required not only fuel. In particular, it burned large quantities of oil, which was furnished in bulk or in glass containers packaged by the storekeeper.

But it was also offered in cans to those who wanted a particular kind of oil, guaranteed by a sealed package.

The many other products specific to the automobile, such as additives and grease, came most often in cans or small metal drums.