Green’s Dictionary of Slang

axle grease n.

1. (orig. Aus., also pin-grease) butter.

[UK]Portsmouth Eve. News 15 Dec. n.p.: Cow’s butter is no longer fashionable. I wanted some of this oleomargarine, made up [...] of axle-grease [...] that looks like butter.
Leeds Obs. 28 June 2/7: ‘What is the price of this axle-grease,’ asked the clerk of a Chicago grocery [...] ‘It depends on your customer. If he asks for axle-grease, charge him fifteen cents a pound; but if he wants butter, make it thirty-eight cents.
[Aus]Evelyn Observer (Vic.) 8 July 25: Keeping cows to make axle grease butter is living next door to the poorhouse.
[US]L.A. Times 9 Apr. 5: ‘Wake up,’ he cried, ‘one brown stone front, side of a funeral; two Irish lemons with all clothes on; plate of punk; an easy smear of axle grease and draw one in the dark, cap it all off with a farmer’s alliance.’.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 58: Pass the axle-grease!
[Aus]W.H. Downing Digger Dialects 9: axle-grease — Butter.
[US]Lima (OH) News 5 June 6/3: Butter is ‘axle grease.’.
[US]‘Dean Stiff’ Milk and Honey Route 199: Axle grease – Butter.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 75: In a railroad eating-house, [...] ‘a string of flats, plenty of pin grease and a tank of murk,’ would be merely an order for a plate of griddle or pancakes with plenty of butter, and a cup of coffee.
[Aus]Sydney Mail 14 Oct. 2/4: You'll find some more damper in there, flybog, cocky’s joy, bullocky’s delight, axle grease, and a bit o’ junk. That day we had some doughboys and ‘underground mutton’.
[US]Mencken Amer. Lang. (4th edn) 582: Milk is cow-juice, butter is salve or axle-grease.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

2. semen.

[US]R. Klein Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].

3. (Aus., also axle) money.

[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl. 6: axlegrease: money.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak 14: Axle grease – a bribe. The shortened version axle is more common.

4. a thick application used for one’s hair.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 33/2: since late 1930.