An odd valve

I was cleaning out a storage shed prior to tearing it down, and found a can of pipe fittings.
There was a brass valve, with a piece of rectangular stock with a hole through it on the top, and a screw/washer/nut on the bottom. Looking into the valve, there is a slot on each end. It wouldn't turn, so I took it apart and found that there is a tapered cylinder in it, with a slot corresponding to those in the body. Turned one way it blocks the water; turned 90 degrees, it passes the water. (yes, pretty much like a ball valve.)
So, my questions... After cleaning, it works fine, but I presume it needs some sort of grease between the body and cylinder. I have some "plumbers grease". Is that okay, or do I need something else? I have never seen a valve like this before. It seems to be in good condition, but should I toss it and get a $8 ball valve, or is it worthwhile? (I only started doing plumbing stuff a few years ago, so if it went out of style 10 years ago, it is ancient to me...)
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toller wrote:

It's a plug valve with a tapered stem, commonly used on low pressure gas service.
They were common 50 years ago but wouldn't pass today. Polish it up and keep it.
Jim
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That makes sense; it was in with a bunch of flare fittings, which were probably for the propane system. Thanks.
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Speedy Jim wrote:

...
That so? I thought I saw some on the shelf at supply house just recently...maybe I was mistaken (or they're really old, that place probably never threw anything out)...
Do you consider there to be any real problem w/ them? There must be 20 around the place here on all the outbuildings, etc., ...
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

Eventually the grease dries out, the taper loosens and you have a (small) gas leak. Whether that's a problem all depends...
It's just that there are better valves for gas service today so one wouldn't use them on a new install.
Jim
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As a heating and AC guy, I've seen a bunch of what you describe. It's used for natural gas. I see them frequently. The grease dries up. You can clean it out with some solvent (gasoline, kerosene, ether spray) and regrease it.
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toller wrote:

It sounds to me like it is a natural gas valve rather than water. I'd keep it for maybe some day using for compressed air, etc.
Bob
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zxcvbob wrote:

It is, but almost certainly not rated for anything except low pressure...applying it to compressed air line would almost certainly be a mistake.
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