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Grease gun for pin style grease zerk 1925 & 1926 Buick


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  The early Buick grease guns (1923 & 1924) had a flex hose and an Alemite fitting with pins on each side.  These twisted in place and would pull down on the fitting so a flex hose is appropriate.  Then for 1925 and 1926 there was a change to a pin style "Zerk" grease fitting.   A 3/16" diameter pin sticking out of the fitting, so I would think you needed a rigid tube to hold the grease gun to force the grease into the zerk.  The Part number changed to 119892 in 1927 and I am not sure if Buick still had the pin fittings and a new style grease gun, or changed to the ball zerk that would have have a rounded internal connection that grips on the ball like a modern gun.   First photo is the grease gun used in 1923 and 1924.    Second photo is what these pin style zerk fittings looked like that were used in 1925 and 1926.   Does anyone have a photo of the original grease gun that would have come with a 1925 or 1926 Buick for the pin style zerk fittings.  This grease gun is part number 115086 but these numbers will not be on the gun.     Thank you,   Hugh



Edited by Hubert_25-25 (see edit history)
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I found the following history on grease fittings.  


Backtracking Through History – Grease Fittings

Arthur Gulborg was a son of a co-owner of a small die-casting plant in Chicago. His job was to relubricate the die casting machines by refilling their oil cups several times a day.

This labor-intensive task led him to invent the grease gun (screw type) and grease fitting in 1916. He invented the fitting, a braided metal hose having a special end connection, and screw-type grease gun.

Arthur Gulborg and his father named it “The Alemite High-Pressure Lubricating System” after the Alemite Die Casting and Manufacturing Company where the idea was first formed.

In 1918, the Gulborgs approached the U.S. Army with this invention. Several test installations were made on white trucks in army service. Gulborg’s invention vastly simplified the task of lubricating army trucks. On July 10 of that year, it became standard equipment.

By 1922, Alemite introduced the “Button-Head” system to serve on a more rugged, heavy-duty lubricating system for many industrial applications.

The “Junior Button-Head” system was used to lubricate motorcycles and “Standard” and “Giant” versions of the button-heads were used in a wide range of industry including heavy construction equipment. The automobile industry, however, was the greatest immediate potential for sales.

Within five years of Gulborg’s patent, the passenger car became equipped with an Alemite hand grease gun and hose assembly. Grease guns became familiar to the general public, and most automobile lubrication was performed by the car owners. In 1924, the Allyne-Zerk Company of Cleveland, Ohio was purchased by Alemite, and the Zerk line of lubrication fittings and hand grease guns was added to the Alemite line.

The Zerk design, named after Oscar Zerk, used a fitting much smaller than the Alemite pin-type and did not lock the hose coupler or hand gun and fitting together. Instead, the seal between them was maintained by the pressure of a pushing action when the operator applied the coupler to the fitting. This became known as a push-type system.

In 1930, Alemite introduced new hydraulic fittings. Today’s hydraulic fittings are very similar to the original version and remain the most popular grease application system in the world.


This fits with the change to the pin connections in 1925 for Buick.  Also finding several "Allyne" grease guns on Ebay.  There seems to be two sizes 6B and a size 3B so not sure if that is based on the grease volume or the tip or the gun style.  The pin I have is a 3/16" OD on the Zerk type fittings.  For sale is also this fitting from MACS Ford but I suspect this tip is different from the old style gun tip.    Hugh    


grease gun end.JPG

Edited by Hubert_25-25 (see edit history)
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Found a little more history on zerk fittings, along with the patent that shows the end of the grease gun that should be used for these early pin style zerk connections.  The switch to the ball end zerk fitting was perhaps around 1934.  Those style would have a wire clip just inside the tip of the grease gun to hold the tip onto the ball.  The early pin style just had a rounded inner hole in the tip as shown in the patent figure #3.    Hugh


Automotive History

How the Zerk fitting changed the automobile forever

Kyle Smith

24 July 2020

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The advancement of the automobile has always been a steady stream of small, incremental improvements. Sure, there were revolutionary moments along the way, but the vast majority of what shifted the car from a novelty to this country’s primary form of transportation came in the form of steady progress. One such step was how to keep moving parts lubricated easy and clean. You can thank Oscar Zerk and his 1923 patent for a special fitting for that.

The process for maintaining such lubrication had advanced somewhat, but it was Zerk that created a design that made truly meaningful improvement. Early cars were lubricated like machines, by manually slathering grease where it was needed. Then came drilled-out oiling holes, requiring the operator to regularly circle the machine with an oil can and inject a dollop of oil to avoid the parts self-clearancing themselves into destruction. The next step in the evolution was to add spring-loaded caps that prevented dirt and debris from entering those oil holes.

Ben Woodworth

Then, the grease cap. It was a threaded fitting that had two parts; one threaded into the piece that needed lubrication and had a hole that allowed the second piece to force grease into the part when the second piece was tightened down. The end user had to keep grease on hand to keep the cap full. This design made the task of keeping parts lubed much simpler and easier, but it required the large cap be placed on parts, forcing design changes in some cases.


Ben Woodworth

Zerk took this idea to its next logical place. As early at 1919 he was marketing a fitting that allowed grease to be forced into a part using a simple nipple and a grease gun that sealed to the nipple, and the fitting also included a spring-loaded check ball which then retained the grease inside the part. He marketed and sold these fittings for 10 years before they were adopted by auto manufacturers.

image.thumb.png.b36286ea6d1ef7e58eac50b026b91103.pngUS Patent

It was a design that caught the eye of a big brand from Dearborn, but only after Zerk sold his Allyne-Zerk Company to Bassick Manufacturing Company. (The owner of the Bassick Manufacturing Company was also partner in the Stewart Company which produced the speedometers for Model T Fords.) Ford took a liking to the fitting and made it standard issue on the 1928 Model A.

The next advancement came in 1934 when an engineer at Stewart-Warner modified Zerk’s design to have a slight bulb at the end of the fitting, which allowed a redesigned grease gun to seal to the fitting without requiring the operator to apply pressure. That change made the design more popular than ever, and it is estimated that 99 percent of vehicles produced in 1934 featured these new Zerk fittings.


Kyle Smith

Such humble parts, developed over time, are what that have allowed the advancement of the automobile to reach the high level of reliability, efficiency, and performance that we enjoy today. Zerk fittings can still be found in use on new cars, on the u-joints of a driveshaft for instance, with the same essential design of the 1934 piece. It’s quite something for a part to soldier on like that for nearly 90 years, so let us salute Oscar Zerk, the man who greased the gears of progress.

The original Zerk fitting design. 


Kyle Smith





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  • 2 months later...

After more digging, it turns out the the McLaughlin book of parts gave me the answer regarding the correct grease gun for 1925 and 1926 Buicks.  Allyne Zerk 3B is called out.  Attached is a copy of the 1925 Mclaughlin Standard book of parts tools.  Also a comparison of the Allyne Zerk 6B and 3B grease guns.  The 3B (earlier version) has a flatter cone, while the 6B (later) is a longer smoother taper.     Hugh 



Edited by Hubert_25-25 (see edit history)
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  • 3 years later...

Was GM using both systems at same period, Alemite pin type fitting and Zerk fitting ? My 1927 LaSalle uses the Pin Type.

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