INDIAN REFINING COMPANY, INCORPORATED
HAVOLINE Motor Oil
The Texas Company / Texaco Inc.
- Informal History Notes -
In Memory of R. R. Hinds, Consignee
1. These notes consist of information which I (with appreciable assistance) have been able to piece together on the corporate history of INDIAN REFINING COMPANY, INCORPORATED, the origins of HAVOLINE Motor Oil, and (to a lesser extent) the history of The Texas Company / Texaco Inc. Emphasis was placed on INDIAN REFINING COMPANY, and on an accurate account of HAVOLINE’s early days, since surprisingly little such information (especially on the “old INDIAN”) is readily available elsewhere. They are by no means a comprehensive history of The Texas Company / Texaco Inc. but only attempt to cover those events which I believe were most relevant to the histories of INDIAN REFINING COMPANY and HAVOLINE Motor Oil.
2. I am aware that these notes conflict, in some details, with “The Texaco Story – The First Fifty Years 1902-1952” (Marquis James, The Texas Company, 1953) which has come to be viewed as the “official history” of The Texas Company. Based on information which I have verified through multiple, independent sources, however, it appears that portions of the material with which Mr. James was given to work were either erroneous or misinterpreted.
3. It is recognized that “The Texas Company”, “TEXACO”, “HAVOLINE”, “INDIAN”, “FIRE-CHIEF”, and “Sky Chief” are or were registered trademarks of Texaco Inc. (a subsidiary of ChevronTexaco Corporation) or of its antecedents. They are used here for informational and historical research purposes, only. These notes are in no way an official publication of Texaco Inc. nor of ChevronTexaco Corporation.
28 March 1901 The Texas Fuel Company is among some 200 companies organized in the days
immediately following the famed oil strike at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont,
Texas. The company establishes an office in Beaumont.
4 October 1901 John F. Havemeyer of Yonkers, New York incorporates The Havemeyer Oil
Company under the laws of that state, for purposes (as detailed on its certificate
of incorporation) related to "lubricating and all other oils of every kind and
nature” (probably referring to whale oil, other animal renderings, and - possibly –
to various seed oils, in addition to petroleum).
2 January 1902 The Texas Fuel Company begins business.
7 April 1902 The Texas Fuel Company becomes The Texas Company and incorporates under the
laws of the State of Texas.
1 January 1903 “TEXACO” (having originated as the cable address of The Texas Company) is first
used as a product name.
13 November 1903 The Texas Company begins operations at its first refinery – Port Arthur
14 November 1904 Although its plant is physically located in the tiny northwestern-Indiana hamlet
of Asphaltum, and 99.8% of its common and 100% of its preferred stock are
listed in the name of 23-year-old Richmond M. Levering (a Lafayette, Indiana
native currently residing in Chicago, Illinois), Indian Asphalt Company incor-
porates under the laws of the State of Maine. (While not recorded, it is
speculated that the name “Indian” is an allusion to Indiana - meaning land
or place “of Indians”.)
1904 The Havemeyer Oil Company - having developed a unique cold-filtration process and
blending package for oils - coins, and first uses, the name “HAVOLINE”.
1905 Realizing that the Jasper County, Indiana oil field which it originally intended to exploit is
effectively depleted, Indian Asphalt Company is persuaded (in “an extensive campaign by
the [Georgetown] Board of Trade”) to move its offices and plant to Georgetown, Kentucky.
1 May 1906 Growing quickly in both size and scope, Indian Asphalt Company changes its name to
INDIAN REFINING COMPANY. Its plant is upgraded to “refinery” status and its
product line expanded to include paraffin wax, paint, "Sunset Engine Oil", and
“Blue Grass Axle Grease" in addition to asphalt. Richmond M. Levering
becomes the first president of the renamed company and is soon joined in business
by his father and mentor - Indiana banker, financier, and entrepreneur
J. Mortimer Levering - who becomes the company’s secretary.
8 December 1906 “HAVOLINE” is registered as a trademark of The Havemeyer Oil Company for
use as a brand name on oils (not strictly motor oil) and greases.
5 January 1907 Havoline Oil Company (a “spin-off” of The Havemeyer Oil Company) is incorpor-
porated under the laws of State of New York. As with The Havemeyer Oil Com-
pany, its stated purposes include production, purchase, refining, sales, and
other dealings involving "animal" oils and fats as well as "mineral" (i.e. petrol-
1907 Construction of INDIAN REFINING COMPANY’s Lawrenceville, Illinois refinery is completed
and the refinery begins operation.
1908 Although continuing to operate its Georgetown refinery, INDIAN REFINING COMPANY
relocates its offices to Cincinnati, Ohio. The company also begins operation of a small
refinery near East St. Louis, Illinois.
20 May 1909 As part of a program of rapid expansion, INDIAN REFINING COMPANY incorporates
under the laws of the State of New York and purchases The Havemeyer Oil Com-
pany, Havoline Oil Company, and the by-now established “HAVOLINE” name (which
is then registered as a trademark of INDIAN REFINING COMPANY as a brand name
for lubricating oils - again, not strictly motor oil).
1909 Production of HAVOLINE products at the Lawrenceville refinery begins.
1 December 1909 Following a brief illness, J. Mortimer Levering (secretary of INDIAN REFINING
COMPANY) passes away.
17 December 1909 The Havemeyer Oil Company is dissolved.
2 September 1910 INDIAN REFINING COMPANY (Maine) is chartered to do business in the State
of Louisiana and begins operating a refinery in New Orleans.
1909-1911 Also included in this period of INDIAN REFINING COMPANY’s expansion are the
purchases of the Bridgeport Oil Company (Bridgeport, Connecticut), the Record Oil
Refining Company (Newark, New Jersey), and the control of a large storage station at
Kearny, New Jersey. The company launches a program aimed at making a full-scale
entry into the European market.
16 March 1911 Primarily in anticipation of expanding to the west coast, INDIAN REFINING
COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA is created (and is incorporated under the laws of the
State of New Jersey).
20 March 1911 INDIAN REFINING COMPANY (New York) changes its name to INDIAN REFINING
COMPANY OF NEW YORK and becomes the principal operating subsidiary of
INDIAN REFINING COMPANY (Maine). The parent company’s main offices are
moved from Cincinnati to New York City. (Although its offices are moved, the
company retains its close ties to the Cincinnati business community (which have
existed since its inception as the Indian Asphalt Company) for many years.
Its stock continues to be traded on the Cincinnati Stock Exchange and its board of
directors includes (at various times) such well-known Cincinnati businessmen as
William C. Procter, M. C. Fleischman, Lazard Kahn, and Bernard Kroger.)
17 September - 6 November 1911 HAVOLINE Motor Oil lubricates the 28-horsepower engine of the
first airplane to fly across the United States. Piloted by Calbraith
Perry ("Cal") Rodgers, the Wright EX bi-plane publicizes the
new soft drink "Vin Fiz", after which the the plane is named.
1 April 1912 INDIAN REFINING COMPANY OF LOUISIANA incorporates under the laws of the
State of Louisiana.
December 1913 - January 1914 In conjunction with a sweeping organizational and financial re-
structuring, INDIAN REFINING COMPANY (Maine) applies for and
receives “authority to do business” in the States of New York and
California. It assumes those functions formerly performed by
INDIAN REFINING COMPANY OF NEW YORK. The planned
expansion to the far-West, however, is effectively cancelled and
INDIAN REFINING COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA is dissolved.
1915 INDIAN REFINING COMPANY closes its Georgetown and East St. Louis refineries and the
company’s overly-ambitious European venture (which has proven to be a severe financial
drain) is abandoned.
1916 INDIAN REFINING COMPANY (Maine)'s president, Richmond M. Levering, resigns, as do
several other senior officers of the company.
December 1918 - January 1919 In yet another reorganization, INDIAN REFINING COMPANY OF
NEW YORK, INDIAN REFINING COMPANY OF LOUISIANA,
Havoline Oil Company, the Record Oil Refining Company, and the
Bridgeport Oil Company - all subsidiaries of INDIAN REFINING
COMPANY (Maine) (hereafter referred to simply as INDIAN
REFINING COMPANY) - are dissolved. The New Orleans plant
1920 INDIAN REFINING COMPANY purchases the capital stock of the Central Refining Company,
which is located immediately north of the Lawrenceville refinery. The Central refinery
facilities are ultimately reconfigured for lubricants manufacture.
1923 The general offices of INDIAN REFINING COMPANY are moved from New York City to
1924 INDIAN REFINING COMPANY sells its remaining producing properties (consisting mainly of
wells and leases in Illinois and Ohio) to the Ohio Oil Company (later to become the Marathon
1924 The globes for INDIAN gasoline pumps are redesigned: a red “ball” with “INDIAN” arched
above and “GAS” arched below (both in blue letters) on a white globe, replaces the reddish-
brown and black “running Indian” design which was previously used. (One-piece globes
also include “HAVOLINE”, in letters, vertically on each side.)
1924-1925 Wishing to even more closely associate the two names, INDIAN REFINING COMPANY
adopts a totally re-designed “HAVOLINE” trademark and virtually identical “INDIAN
GAS” logo, both of which prominently feature the red-white-and-blue “ball” which had
first been incorporated into the “HAVOLINE” logo in 1922. A “dot” is added to the
middle of the “D” and above the second “I” in the word “INDIAN” (replicating the dots
within the “O” and above the “I” in “HAVOLINE”). “INDIAN HI-TEST” Gasoline (made
identifiable by red dye) is introduced on a limited basis.
1926 The subsidiary Indian Pipe Line Corporation is sold to the Illinois Pipe Line Company.
May 1926 The Texas Company introduces “New and Better TEXACO Gasoline”.
26 August 1926 The Texas Corporation is incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware
and, by exchange of shares, acquires substantially all outstanding stock of The
Texas Company (Texas).
20 April 1927 The Texas Company incorporates (under the laws of the State of Delaware) as the
principal operating subsidiary of The Texas Corporation. All assets of The Texas
Company (Texas) are transferred to The Texas Company (Delaware) and The Texas
Company (Texas) is dissolved. The Texas Corporation becomes the “parent com-
pany” of the by-now numerous “Texas Company” entities and other subsidiaries.
2 March 1928 The Texas Corporation acquires the California Petroleum Corporation, which is
reorganized as The Texas Company (California).
16 August 1929 Its chemists and engineers (led by Dr. Francis X. Govers) having perfected a
revolutionary solvent-dewaxing process, INDIAN REFINING COMPANY introduces
“HAVOLINE WAXFREE” motor oil, replacing “HAVOLINE –the power oil” (which had,
early in the 1920’s, supplanted "HAVOLINE It Makes a Difference”). (An economy
"Blended HAVOLINE" is also offered, primarily in bulk.)
By 1930 “HAVOLINE” sales (both nation-wide and overseas) not only remain strong but grow,
markedly, following the introduction of “HAVOLINE WAXFREE”. But, while it had once
been in the retail gasoline, kerosene, and fuel oil markets (to varying extents) in over 25
states, the growing effects of the Depression, increasing difficulty in competing with the
larger oil companies, the lack of reliable sources of crude, and (especially) the huge
amount of money spent in developing the Govers solvent-dewaxing process, combine to
force INDIAN REFINING COMPANY to retrench and restrict such marketing to Indiana,
Michigan, eastern Illinois, northern Kentucky, and western Ohio. (Within this limited area,
however, the company still has a well-developed and efficient distribution and sales
network. Into the latter 1920’s, for example, “INDIAN” accounts for some 20% of all
gasoline sales in Indiana.)
1930 The Texas Corporation introduces “TEXACO Ethyl Gasoline” (which is renamed
“FIRE-CHIEF Ethyl” 15 April 1932).
August 1930 INDIAN REFINING COMPANY introduces a higher-octane "regular" gasoline which is
made identifiable by green dye and which is dubbed "INDIAN Green-Lite" Gasoline.
14 January 1931 The Texas Corporation gains controlling interest in INDIAN REFINING
COMPANY, including the rights to HAVOLINE Motor Oil (and the all-important
Govers solvent-dewaxing process) and INDIAN REFINING COMPANY’s
remaining active and inactive subsidiaries (the Indian Realty Corporation, the
Central Refining Company, and the Havoline Oil Company of Canada, Ltd.). This
also gives The Texas Corporation an established distribution and sales network
and entry into the retail gasoline market in Indiana, Michigan, eastern Illinois,
northern Kentucky, and western Ohio – areas in which it has not previously had
any significant presence. (The Texas Corporation limits use of the “HAVOLINE”
name to motor oil, only; it is not again used on products other than motor oil
until the mid-1990’s)
14 January 1931 – 15 March 1943 INDIAN REFINING COMPANY continues in operation as an
“affiliate” of The Texas Corporation, although all sales outlets
and company facilities and equipment are re-badged as
“TEXACO”. Production of “TEXACO” gasolines begins at the
Lawrenceville refinery. An “INDIAN”-brand gasoline becomes a
“sub-regular” (priced below “TEXACO” gasolines) and is added
to the product line at most outlets, nation-wide. Production of
“INDIAN” gasoline is included at other Texas Corporation
refineries. (It is during this period that "INDIAN" pumps bear a
distinctive plate - either round or rectangular - featuring an
art deco Indian beadwork design.) National marketing and sales
offices for INDIAN REFINING COMPANY are opened in
15 April 1932 “TEXACO FIRE-CHIEF Gasoline” is introduced.
1934 Furfural solvent-extraction (developed by The Texas Corporation) is combined with the
Govers solvent-dewaxing process in the manufacture of “HAVOLINE WAXFREE”.
1935 Production of “HAVOLINE WAXFREE” at Port Arthur Works is begun in order to supplement
the output of the Lawrenceville refinery.
May 1936 “New TEXACO Motor Oil” (also produced with the solvent-dewaxing/furfural solvent-
extraction process but with a totally different and less-expensive formulation than that
of HAVOLINE) is introduced.
1938 “HAVOLINE – DISTILLED AND INSULATED” is introduced.
October 1938 “TEXACO Sky Chief Gasoline” is introduced (replacing “FIRE-CHIEF Ethyl”).
1 November 1941 The Texas Company (California) is instructed to transfer all assets to The
Texas Company (Delaware) and is then dissolved. The Texas Corporation
“merges itself into” The Texas Company (Delaware). The Texas Company
(Delaware) - hereafter referred to simply as “The Texas Company” - becomes
the “parent company”.
15 March 1943 INDIAN REFINING COMPANY’s stockholders transfer all of the company’s
property and assets to The Texas Company in exchange for shares of that
company’s stock. The Texas Company discontinues “INDIAN” gasoline and all
other use in trade of the INDIAN name.
24 April 1943 An agreement is implemented under which The Texas Company (partially by what
amounts to cash purchase but, primarily, through exchange of shares) secures all
INDIAN REFINING COMPANY stock, which is then cancelled. (INDIAN REFINING
COMPANY, INCORPORATED is thus liquidated and is placed in “inactive corporation”
status by the State of Maine (under whose laws it was incorporated) 31 December
30 April 1943 The Texas Company creates a second “Indian Refining Company”, which it
incorporates under the laws of the State of Delaware - a “shell” company which it
lists as an inactive subsidiary.
1946 “New and Improved HAVOLINE” is introduced.
1950 “Custom-Made HAVOLINE” is introduced.
Early 1950's Lubricants production at the Lawrenceville refinery is discontinued; the lubricants
production facility is dismantled and portions of that area of the property are
1953 “Advanced Custom-Made HAVOLINE” is introduced.
1955 “Advanced Custom-Made HAVOLINE Special 10W-30” is introduced.
26 August 1958 INDIAN REFINING COMPANY, INCORPORATED is officially dissolved by the State of
1 May 1959 The Texas Company becomes Texaco Inc.
1962 New HAVOLINE cans are introduced. The “TEXACO” trademark replaces the INDIAN REFINING COMPANY-era red-white-and-blue “ball” in a totally re-designed “HAVOLINE” logo.
1980 For numerous reasons (among them the expense of needed technological upgrades), the
prospects for the Lawrenceville refinery’s future profitability have eroded significantly.
Unable to establish what might be a viable alternative means of supplying product to the
area, Texaco Inc. makes the decision to withdraw from the retail gasoline market in that
portion of the upper Midwest traditionally serviced by Lawrenceville.
1982 The marking of all 55-gallon TEXACO drums becomes black with a red band. TEXACO
oil drums had, historically, been gray with a green band with two exceptions. Drums of
multi-grade (SAE 10W-30 and 10W-40) HAVOLINE Motor Oil were painted dark blue with a
gold band and "head". Those of "straight-grade" HAVOLINE were painted dark blue with a
white band and head – Texaco Inc.’s last remaining use of The Havemeyer Oil Company's
March 1985 The diminution of reasonably-accessible sources of suitable crude, the ever-
increasing costs of compliance with governmental regulations, and other business
considerations combine to make continued operation of the Lawrenceville refinery
economically unfeasible. Texaco Refining and Marketing Inc. (a recently-formed
subsidiary of Texaco Inc.) completes the withdrawal from the retail and wholesale
motor fuels market in a contiguous area spanning Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and
Wisconsin. The Lawrenceville refinery is closed.
1. Texaco Refining and Marketing Inc. “sold” the idle Lawrenceville, Illinois refinery facilities to fellow Texaco Inc. subsidiary Indian Refining Company (Delaware) in 1988. In August 1989, follow-ing another change in ownership, both the refinery and Indian Refining Company (Delaware) were acquired by “second tier subsidiaries” of a Pennsylvania firm. The refinery was extensively re-furbished and put back in operation in November 1990. Unfortunately, it was again closed in September 1995, underwent subsequent changes in ownership and, as of this writing, is in the final stages of being dismantled.
2. While they were similar in name, were both associated with The Texas Company / Texaco Inc.,
and had a common place of business, there does not appear to have been a true lineal connection between the original INDIAN REFINING COMPANY, INCORPORATED and the second “Indian Refining Company” (a Delaware corporation). The property, assets and stock of the former had been transferred directly to The Texas Company before the latter was created, and the former was still in existence (albeit in “inactive corporation” status) for more than 15 years thereafter. All available information clearly indicates that the latter Indian Refining Company (Delaware) was a separate entity from INDIAN REFINING COMPANY, INCORPORATED and should not be confused with the “old INDIAN”.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
United States Patent and Trademark Office
United States Securities and Exchange Commission
Office of the Secretary of State of the State of Connecticut
Office of the Secretary of State of the State of Delaware
Office of the Secretary of State of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Office of the Secretary of State of the State of Louisiana
Office of the Secretary of State of the State of Maine
Division of Commercial Recording, Department of the Treasury of the State of New Jersey
Office of the Secretary of State of the State of New York
Corporate Archives, ChevronTexaco Corporation, San Francisco, California
Corporate Archives, Texaco Inc., White Plains, New York
California State Archives
Indiana State Archives
Westchester County, New York Archives
Reference Section, Indiana State Library
Indiana Division, Indiana State Library
Reference Section, Louisiana Sate Library
Government & Business Department, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio
Reference Section, Georgetown and Scott County, Kentucky Public Library
Reference Section, Jasper County, Indiana Public Library
Cincinnati, Ohio city directories, 1909-1913
Indianapolis and Columbus, Indiana city directories, 1929-1932
“The Texaco Story - The First Fifty Years 1902-1952” (Marquis James, The Texas Company, 1953)
"Texaco People", Vol. 30, Nr. 5, September-October 1961
“Moody’s Analyses of Investments”, “Moody’s Manual of Investments”, “Moody’s Industrial Manual” (various years from
1918 through 1960)
“Illinois Journal of Commerce”, May 1926
“Gas Pump Globes” and “Oil Company Signs” (Benjamin and Henderson, Motorbooks International, 1993 and 1995,
“Images of America – Georgetown and Scott County” (Bevins, Johnson, and Apple, Arcadia Publishing, 1998)
“A History of Scott County as Told by Selected Buildings” (Ann Bolton Bevins, Kreative Grafiks, 1989)
“Lafayette [Indiana] Journal and Courier”, various dates from 1902 through 1952
“The Vincennes [Indiana] Sun”, 15 August 1929
Informational Booklet, 22 September - 2 October 1948 Open House, The Texas Company - Lawrenceville [Illinois] Works
The Lawrenceville, Illinois “Daily Record”, 20 September 1974
SOURCES OF INFORMATION (CONTINUED)
Collection of articles, photographs, and notes of Ms Irene Black, Bridgeport, Illinois
Collection of articles, photographs, and notes of Mr. James Coleman, Olney, Illinois
Collection of articles, photographs, and notes of Mr. John Jacobsen, Sumner, Illinois
Notes of Mr. John Harper, San Ramon, California
Notes of Mr. Lee Lohman, Terre Haute, Indiana
Notes of Mr. Charles Reister, Scottsdale, Arizona
Notes of Mr. Don Waggoner, Lawrenceville, Illinois
Notes of Mr. Paul Weeditz, Houston, Texas
[This message has been edited by indianrefining1931 (edited 11-16-2003).]