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  COTM: Company of the Month for 03/05: Mobil (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   COTM: Company of the Month for 03/05: Mobil
pegasus
Active Member

Posts: 373
From: Hills of Southern Ohio
Registered: Mar 2003

posted 03-01-2005 10:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for pegasus   Click Here to Email pegasus     Edit/Delete Message
The “Company of the Month” for March, 2005 is Mobil. I worked at Mobil for 21 years, and most of the historical information I’ll present comes from several pamphlets issued by the company in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s…..and another entitled “The Story of Hiram B. Everest” issued by Vacuum Oil Company in 1930. If you see errors or omissions, please feel free to post corrections or additional information…..this is all about gathering and exchanging knowledge about this hobby we all love.

The two main predecessor companies of Mobil were Vacuum Oil Company and Standard of Company of New York (Socony). Both companies were formed in the state of New York and operated essentially as competitors until they merged in 1931 to form Socony-Vacuum Oil Company. I say “essentially as competitors” because for a number of years they were both part of The Standard Oil Trust, but were operated independently.

The oldest of the two, Vacuum Oil Company, got it’s start in Rochester, New York in 1866. At the time, before the invention of Edison’s light bulb, kerosene was the country’s best source of light. Matthew Ewing, a local carpenter, developed a method of distilling crude oil under a vacuum, and convinced Hiram Everest, a local grocery store owner, to invest $20 to help test his idea. Everest’s track record for investing in successful business ventures wasn’t good….he’d previously started two tree farms that were destroyed by frost, and the sawmill he built burned to the ground twice! Nonetheless, with Everest’s money they purchased a kitchen stove, a washboiler, assorted fittings, and some crude oil and constructed a makeshift still in Ewing’s backyard. Ewing thought his vacuum method of distilling would result in the entire volume of crude oil being changed into kerosene, which would have been a big improvement over other refining methods in use at the time. WRONG!! The method turned out to be no more efficient at making kerosene than any other. However, it did create a residue at the bottom of the still that turned out to be a superior product for lubricating machinery and currying leather. On September 11, 1866 a patent application was submitted for this vacuum process of creating lubricants, and the Vacuum Oil Company was incorporated in Rochester on October 4, 1866.

What amazes me is that most people experienced in the lubrication of modern industrial machinery and equipment agree that Mobil STILL makes the best lubrication products available, almost 140 years later!!
Maintaining a competitive advantage for that long is truly a rare occurrence. As an example, Gargoyle 600-W Steam Cylinder Oil, which was patented in 1869, is still in demand today.

The formation of Socony isn’t quite as interesting as that of Vacuum Oil. When John D. Rockefeller formed his Standard Oil Trust in 1882, the headquarters were moved from Cleveland to New York City and Socony was created to serve as the administrative arm of the trust. It also refined and marketed products in the New York – New England area.

Following is a diagram I created depicting the time-lines and the various major component companies that ended up being part of the Mobil Oil Corporation. I use it as a reference when trying to date various items in my collection.

There’s more history to follow later, but for now it’s your turn. Mobil has had marketing operations in all the lower 48 states, so I’d guess that just about everyone’s had at least one Mobil item in their collection at one time or another. So show us what you’ve got !!! This is one of my favorites…….the earliest Pegasus image, first used by Vacuum Oil Co. South Africa in 1911.

If you need help posting an image, send it to me in an email and I’ll post it for you (click the email icon on the first line of this post).

[This message has been edited by pegasus (edited 03-01-2005).]

[This message has been edited by pegasus (edited 03-01-2005).]

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pegasus
Active Member

Posts: 373
From: Hills of Southern Ohio
Registered: Mar 2003

posted 03-01-2005 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for pegasus   Click Here to Email pegasus     Edit/Delete Message
OOPS.....looks like that email icon isn't up there where I thought it would be. My email address is: pegasusdude@yahoo.com

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Richard Weir
"Pegasus"
Hillsboro, Ohio

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Kysoilman
Active Member

Posts: 1512
From: Owenton, KY U.S.A.
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 03-01-2005 11:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kysoilman   Click Here to Email Kysoilman     Edit/Delete Message
Guys were in for a treat Richard has a great Mobil collection and is one of the most knowledgeable Mobil historians.
Thanks for takeing on the task.
.........
REX LIKES MOBIL
............
Another South Africa sign.

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quartcans
Active Member

Posts: 2492
From: Kansas City, Missouri
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 03-01-2005 07:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for quartcans   Click Here to Email quartcans     Edit/Delete Message
Here are some pictures of some Mobil stuff I photographed at some of the shows last year.





------------------
Scott Shipers
WANTED: Imperial Refineries Items
Kansas City, Missouri 64151

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pegasus
Active Member

Posts: 373
From: Hills of Southern Ohio
Registered: Mar 2003

posted 03-02-2005 03:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pegasus   Click Here to Email pegasus     Edit/Delete Message
Here's a couple of different Cycle Burning Oil cans from Vacuum Oil in England. They were for oil burning lamps used on motor vehicles, before the use of electric lights. I figure they date from 1900-1910 and are probably my oldest cans.

I've shown you mine....now you show me yours!!

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Richard Weir
"Pegasus"
Hillsboro, Ohio

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the poor mans museum
Active Member

Posts: 1650
From: Solvang, CA, USA
Registered: Oct 2004

posted 03-02-2005 07:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for the poor mans museum   Click Here to Email the poor mans museum     Edit/Delete Message
Hope this stuff isn't too new for this post. This is my Mobil shrine. Oldest Gargoyle can is on the shelf in the middle of the cans. Little mix of the old and the newer.

Here's a local newspaper ad from 1956

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todd peterson
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Posts: 35
From: Centerville, SD
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 03-02-2005 07:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for todd peterson   Click Here to Email todd peterson     Edit/Delete Message
This is a pump I did a couple years ago. I found the porcelain top while hunting in MN covering an old guy's tiller. 50 bucks later I had the top and he could buy a pail to replace it! I matched the color to the top and left it o riginal.

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Kysoilman
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Posts: 1512
From: Owenton, KY U.S.A.
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 03-02-2005 08:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kysoilman   Click Here to Email Kysoilman     Edit/Delete Message
MAYBE THIS WILL HELP BRING SPRING ON.

MOBIL PRODUCTS WERE USED IN MANY FOREIGN COUNTRIES,TWO FOREIGN SIGNS.


..................
GREAT STUFF GUYS KEEP IT COMEING........REX

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pegasus
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Posts: 373
From: Hills of Southern Ohio
Registered: Mar 2003

posted 03-02-2005 10:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pegasus   Click Here to Email pegasus     Edit/Delete Message
Scott: Great signs, especially like that diamond bottle sign....I want one just like it!!

Poor Man: No age limits here....anything with a red Pegasus or Gargoyle works for me!!

Todd: I don't have any pumps, but if I ever get one that's the one I want....nice size, simple lines, great look.

Rex: Keep 'em coming, buddy!!

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Richard Weir
"Pegasus"
Hillsboro, Ohio

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Gary Drye
Active Member

Posts: 1208
From: Clarksville, Tn. USA
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 03-03-2005 04:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gary Drye   Click Here to Email Gary Drye     Edit/Delete Message
As great as all these items are, the Vacuum Cycle Burning Oil can just blows me away. What a great can Richard.

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pegasus
Active Member

Posts: 373
From: Hills of Southern Ohio
Registered: Mar 2003

posted 03-03-2005 01:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pegasus   Click Here to Email pegasus     Edit/Delete Message
The natural marketing area for both Vacuum and Socony in the early days was New York and the New England states. Both companies also looked overseas for expansion opportunities. Vacuum opened a sales office in London in 1885, and by 1900 had affiliates in France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, India, Singapore. Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Cuba. Socony also built its’ foreign trade, particularly in Asia. They developed a foothold in China and it’s vast market for kerosene by using tall-masted, square-rigged sailing vessels called “kerosene clippers” to ship their products half way around the world. As a marketing tool, Socony developed and manufactured the equipment to use the fuel…..small lamps that burned kerosene efficiently, gave off a bright light, and sold for only a few cents. From 1906 these lamps were exported to China in vast quantities, becoming known as “Mei-Foo” lamps, from the Chinese symbols for Socony, meaning “beautiful confidence”.

This may sound like a fairly simple development, but apparently it was very significant in the growth of Socony. Every account I’ve read of the company’s history mentions the Mei-Foo lamps, and many include pictures or drawings of them. Several different sizes of the lamps were displayed at the corporate headquarters offices in New York and later in Virginia. The belt buckle I received as a 15-year employee service award depicts images of Hiram Everest, the founder of Vacuum Oil, and a Mei-Foo lamp. Using these oil lamps as a competitive advantage, Socony was able to develop profitable export markets in Asia, which in turn helped fund the company’s growth a few years later when it was “spun-off” from the Standard Oil Trust.

The lamps are fairly hard to find here in the U.S., although I would think there must be quite a few that survived in China. If you’re a serious Mobil collector you should probably look to add one of these oil lamps to your collection. Here’s a picture of a Mei Foo lamp, and a close-up of the three Chinese characters that gave it the name. Also pictured is a Socony porcelain sign…..the three Chinese characters directly under the “SO” are the same ones that appear on the lamps.

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Richard Weir
"Pegasus"
Hillsboro, Ohio

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troach
Active Member

Posts: 1351
From: Lodi, CA.
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 03-03-2005 04:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for troach   Click Here to Email troach     Edit/Delete Message
One of my favorite pump plates from my collection. Ted If you want more I can post them. Let me know??? Thanks

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Ted & Pam Roach
Lodi CA.
pca-west.org
vintage-logos

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the poor mans museum
Active Member

Posts: 1650
From: Solvang, CA, USA
Registered: Oct 2004

posted 03-03-2005 05:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for the poor mans museum   Click Here to Email the poor mans museum     Edit/Delete Message
My one and only real deal Mobil pump plate. A West Coast Special.

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5 quart
Active Member

Posts: 1085
From: Stockton NJ USA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 03-03-2005 09:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 5 quart   Click Here to Email 5 quart     Edit/Delete Message
Heres a few of My Favorites will post more later- Round can is a qt- Square are seldom seel 1/2 gal- Old front facing gargoyle is about 1905?? says prepared for launches-

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Wanted 5 quart cans

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pegasus
Active Member

Posts: 373
From: Hills of Southern Ohio
Registered: Mar 2003

posted 03-04-2005 01:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pegasus   Click Here to Email pegasus     Edit/Delete Message
Nice pump plates guys!! So why don't we just talk some more about pump plates?

One of the most widely known trademarks in the petroleum business has to be the five-pointed shield with the red Pegasus, like the one shown here…..



This image was used by Socony-Vacuum from the early 1930’s to the late 1950’s, when the company’s name was changed to Socony Mobil. The shield is essentially square (it’s as wide as it is tall) and is most often seen on porcelain signs and product containers. Strangely enough, I don’t think this shield was ever used on pump globes. The most commonly seen signs are pump plates……I don’t recall ever going to a swap meet, oil show, or petroliana auction where I didn’t see at least one of these signs offered for sale. They’re approximately 12 ½” x 12 ½” and come in four different “versions”, as shown below…….



The ones with solid blue borders have a manufacturer’s mark and date on the bottom right corner….in this case “I.R. 46”. The 46 means 1946, and the I.R. refers to the manufacturer Ingram-Richardson (thanks to Claes - Fast 66 for providing this name). These pump plates are the earlier version (dated in the 1940’s up to 1953) and were used mostly in the eastern U.S.



The ones with the thin white and blue border have a manufacturer’s mark and date on the bottom center….in this case “I.R. 54”. These are a later version by the same manufacturer (Ingram-Richardson) and are dated 1954 and later.


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Richard Weir
"Pegasus"
Hillsboro, Ohio

[This message has been edited by pegasus (edited 03-06-2005).]

[This message has been edited by pegasus (edited 03-24-2005).]

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