Garbage man finds tin can that completes his Sinclair collection

Sinclair oil can in my office

I haven’t put up a blog post since the beginning of the week, so I’m feeling a bit rusty. This Sinclair oil can should do the trick.

Sinclair oil can, right where I found it the Brooklyn basement

Just last Monday, I was hired to give an estimate for an estate clean out job in Brooklyn. Although I’ve been collecting antiques on the job for quite some time, I went into it without any expectations of finding cool objects. I find a lot of stuff on a lot of jobs, but it would be impossible to find something on the job every single time. I mean, I’m good, but I’m not THAT good.

A 5-foot doublesided porcelin sign that gets mounted on a pole about 20 feet in the air at the corner of the gas station

This particular house had been under the same owner for the previous 70 years, so he kind of eyed me as I made my way through the place. I was observing everything, getting a good view of how much garbage needed to be removed, all the junk along the walls, and how much it might cost to get rid of it.

Sinclair porcelain sign that mounts on the front of gas pump

As we walked through the basement, I saw this can, sitting on the ledge of the foundation underneath the staircase.

“Can I check that out?” I asked the owner, who had been walking alongside me during the estimate.

“Sure,” he said, but seemed a bit confused by my request.

Sinclair soap in the shape of a dinosaur; I think it was a promotional give-away back in the 1950s.

I picked it up and examined it for a while. I was so enamored by this can, that I didn’t even notice the owner was eying me down, not in a worried or angry way but in a kind of “What the heck are you doing?” type of way.

Finally, I looked up. “Can I have this?” I asked him.

He kind of laughed and said, “Sure. But why do you like that old can? It’s garbage.”

My oil can collection

CLEARLY, he didn’t know me. But he was about to.

This simple dialogue evolved into a 20-minute conversation about my company, my love for antiques and, ultimately, the fact that I now combine the two and collect antiques while working for my company. And what I explained to him, I’ll now explain to you.

Sinclair advertisement

I’ve been collecting Sinclair oil memorabilia on various jobs for the last several years. I’ve got the Sinclair gas pump in the office; I have the porcelain Sinclair sign hanging up on the wall in my garage; I have a bar of soap in the shape of a dinosaur in its original box, which was a giveaway promotional object at a Sinclair gas station; and I have a photo of an advertisement with the gas station attendant tipping his hat. And now, I’ve got the can.

Sinclair Bennett gas pump from the 1950s

I recognize that it’s from the 1940s, just based on the styling of the can. I like the patina on the can and the old writing. I like the way the logo is designed. It’s obvious that this can is extremely old, and I believe it had been sitting in the same spot in that basement for a minimum of 50 years.

The estate owner was thrilled that I was taking the can to display in my office. After all, he explained, at least it wasn’t going in the trash.

But that’s what makes this job so exciting — rescuing amazing items from the garbage. And over time, piece by piece, a collection is made.

DiMola Bros Rubbish Removal
1640 Summerfield St.
Ridgewood, NY 11385
Phone: 718-326-6969
Fax: 718-326-7979 /

~ by DiMolaBros1956 on July 2, 2011.

3 Responses to “Garbage man finds tin can that completes his Sinclair collection”

  1. Hi Nick, Enjoy your treasures…like the old saying goes, One Man’s Trash is Another ones Treasure! carole

  2. Hi Nick, Like they say…one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! Carole

  3. This is one cool NYC garbage man, almost as cool as the can!! LOL

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