Hog (Oiler) Heaven
(Page 2 of 5)
According to Robert Rauhauser's booklet, Goodbye Mr. Louse, there were more than 157 patents for such hog-operated oilers. Many manufacturers, though, didn't bother with the patent process. "There are probably more hog oilers manufactured that were never patented than were patented," Rauhauser wrote. Other collectors estimate that some 600 different brands of swine skin soothers were invented from the early 1900s to the early 1960s.
Based on the booklet's collection of vintage ads, oilers ranged in price from $4.50 to $12. Some manufacturers even promised a 30-day, money-back guarantee. "But what respectable company would buy back an oiler that's been in the hog lot for a month?" Moore jokes.
At the height of the hog oiler years, farmers had their choice of brands from Watermelon to Hog Joy, and from Swine-Ezer to "Rub Hog or Die." The shapes were limited to only the inventor's imagination. Some looked like watermelons or footballs. Others were upright in design and spilled, instead of rolled, oil onto the scratching swine. Others were still more complex.
The most complicated machine in Moore's collection is the Health oiler. The upright hog oiler's reservoir is operated with a cam, a shoe and two deflectors. When hogs rub against the bar, the internal machinations allow oil to trickle down from the reservoir. Oil missing the hog is saved in a catch basin.
Another complex oiler, and certainly the largest, is the Swine-Ezer, made by Lisle Manufacturing Co. of Clarindo, Iowa. It stood as tall as a washing machine and had three rotating balls with a hefty 10-gallon reservoir. The company's ads boasted that the Swine-Ezer could easily accommodate three full-grown hogs.
Moore would like to boast that he has one in his possession, but can't. He estimates there are only seven of these oversized oilers still around. "These are the Cadillac of hog oilers," says Moore. "I'd love to have one."
He spotted one once at a gas engine show. "I offered the ridiculous amount of $3,000," he recalls with a laugh. "The guy countered with $5,000." That was too rich, even for Moore.
Moore has "more affordable" oilers by Watermelon, Hogs Delight, Schultz, Dexter, Faultless, Columbian, Lennox, Rub Hog or Die, Ball and many rare ones that he's yet to identify. He believes his collection of Ball Oilers (manufactured in Washington, Iowa) is one of the largest.
His interest in Balls began with the idea of buying enough of them to make a set of pool balls. Once he discovered it was possible, he began cornering the Ball market. Two years later, he "noticed" he had accomplished his goal. "I originally wanted to buy 16, but I didn't really keep track," says Moore. (The last time he checked, he had 42.)
Page: << Previous 1
| 2 | 3
| Next >>