The service attendant, was not only a welcoming smile and a friendly face but he was also that one person that you could trust to tell you what would be the best thing for your car and your pocketbook. Much like the attendants of the "good old days", you no doubt have a specific mechanic that does the work on your car that you trust to be fully honest and helpful.
Some of you may be wondering what are some things that the gas station attendant would have done to the car as it was getting filled up. Well there are a lot of things, but let's take a look at three things that most likely happened to your father’s 1936 Oldsmobile or grandpa's (if you're my age).
One thing the attendant would have done is wash the windshield on your car. He would have had a spay bottle in one hand and a rag in the other. Sometimes if your car was fortunate enough you could get it hand washed for a low cost right then and there. Now you have to get the squeegee out of the wash box and do it yourself or go through a machine.
Another thing they would have done is check your oil level. If you had to, you could buy a quart of oil out of the case next to the gas pump. Some of the big gas companies of the time had two or three service bays with lifts so if you wanted to get your oil changed, you could. The attendant could pull it in the bay and have one of the lube techs change the oil. In this day and age you still see gas stations with service bays, but you can always go to the trusty family quick lube down the road.
Lastly, the attendant would have had a tire gauge in his shirt pocket to make sure the tires were all at the proper air level. If any of the tires were low, the attendant would use an ECO air meter or a hand pump to inflate to proper air level.
Here are some interesting facts that I found on the attendants. The gas station attendants were the closest thing to a GPS system of that time because they knew where everything was.
A lot of times the stations were run by the owner’s family, like Don Mitchell's. He had a "Hi-Speed" gas station in downtown Owosso, MI in the 1940's.
Prior to the introduction of self-starting vehicle engines, attendants would also start vehicle engines by manually turning the crankshaft with a hand crank. Some interesting facts indeed.
Unfortunately the days of the full service gas station are gone, but you may stumble upon one in your travels. If you do, make sure to take a moment and say thank you to the attendant and give him a nice tip.
Let's also not forget these two attendants even though they were a bit goofy. Goober and Gomer were among the iconic service attendants.