I've been doing some research on this topic the past few months. Here is what i've come up with.
1906: Luke and John Hancock create the Pure Oil of Minneapolis
1920: Pure Oil of Minneapolis is sold to the well known Pure Oil Company. Luke Hancock continues to work for Pure Oil.
1924: John Hancock creates the John Hancock Oil Company.
Oct, 1929: John Hancock Oil Company is sold to Phillips. The sale involves 15 bulk plants and 51 stations.
Nov 2, 1929: After a two year illness, John Hancock dies.
Here is more information I was able to gather, but haven't been able to nail down dates:
- John Hancock did indeed found both the John Hancock Oil Company AND the Yale Oil Corp. He founded Yale along with Phil Fortin.
- I was able to date the Litening map which lists both Yale and John Hancock Oil from 1927. Based on the site: http://www.montanapioneerandclassicautoclub.org/oil/montanaoil.html
, it lists Litening as having its beginnings in 1928. I'll have to ask Joe Ashley about this if I see him at Iowa Oil.
Most of my information is from obituaries from Luke and John Hancock, and John Hancock's widow, Bessie Hancock, who died in Montana in 1967. My guess is that John Hancock formed two different corporations, but utilized the same logos for the oil cans and gasoline. Yale Oil might have supplied the oil for the John Hancock Oil Company. After Mr. Hancock developed his illness, he probably sold out to Phillips, knowing he might not live too long. His ownership in Yale was at the very least transferrred to his children. I know from one article that his son Warren owned stock in Yale, as well as helped run the company prior to its sale to Carter in 1943.
As Yale contintued to use the Litening logo and name after John Hancock's sale to Phillips leads me to believe that either Yale had ownership of it from the beginning, or they bought the rights prior to the Phillips sale. Since there is clear crossover between the two companies prior to the sale, my guess is that the possible Yale ownership was in name only; the John Hancock Oil Company marketed Litening as if it was its own, since it really had the same owner anyways.