carried oil in their inventories as to why the army didn't issue it (or enough of it) is anybodies guess. They also carried other items that you would normally think of as 'army issue' such as other cleaning and polishing agents. But come to think of it when I was in the army didn't issue me polish for my boots, that what the PX was for.
My guess would be that in the pre-war army soldiers were kept so busy cleaning and polishing their weapons (what else did they really have to do in a peacetime army that they couldn't find a couple of hours a week for polishing) that the need for oil to protect it was not considered important.
Another option as far a container is concerned would be to find a period container used for other fluids and clean it out. If I was a sutler I would have bought the oil in larger containers and then 're-packaged' it in small quantities for resale.
I don't use oil at the reenactments (although I do carry it). Generally I just clean the monster with hot water every time I use it, elbow grease clean the outside and save a through breakdown and maintenance for when I get back to the 'barracks'.
Co C 125th NYSVI
"Out beyond the ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field. I'll meet you there." -
Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi
"If you find yourself in a fair fight, someone screwed up." - A new variation of Murphy's Law based on current Military experience in Iraq:
“In war the first principle is to disobey orders. Any fool can obey orders!” - First Sea Lord Admiral Sir “Jackie” Fisher