In 1959, auto mechanics used one of two types of filters when they changed motor oil: a spin-on type in a metal canister that became popular in the mid-1950s, or one with a removable filter element that fit inside a canister mounted on the engine.
Today, mechanics are called service technicians and nearly everything under the hood has gone high-tech. But technicians use the same spin-on oil filter or the same removable element, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. Most nonpremium filters still use paper to trap tiny particles floating in the oil.
The first automobiles generally didn't use any oil filter. If they did, the filter had a crude metal screen that wasn't effective. That changed in 1923, when Ernest Sweetland and George Greenhalgh patented one of the first automotive oil filtration systems.
They called their system Purolator for "pure oil later," according to a company history. The early filters used a cloth weave; in 1946, the company switched to a paper element.