Today, there are over 50 different fuel station brands and many of your favorites can trace their roots back to one man and one oil company – John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company.
The Standard Oil Company was founded in Ohio in 1870 by Rockefeller and his brother, John. Industrialist Henry Flagler, chemist Samuel Andrews, businessman Oliver Burr Jennings, and silent partner Stephen Harkness were also involved in the start-up.
After dominating the competition in Ohio, Standard Oil spread to neighboring states and by 1885, the company moved its headquarters from Cleveland to New York City and began focusing on efficiency. It used gasoline to fuel its machines (instead of dumping it in the river like most other companies), recycled waste, and more. The company continued to grow and by 1890, it controlled 88% of the U.S.’s refined oil flows. Soon after, Standard Oil looked for exporting opportunities and began marketing kerosene to China.
When New Jersey changed its incorporation laws in 1899, the Standard Oil Company became a holding company by the name of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, or SOCNJ. It held stock in over 40 other companies, and because those companies controlled other companies, Standard Oil became a conglomerate. By 1909, it was sued by the U.S. Department of Justice under a federal anti-trust law for its “monopolistic practices” and was split into 33 different companies.
Fuel Vendors from Standard Oil
Among the 33 companies were companies that went on to become well-known fuel brands we use today. They include:
- Exxon (the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey)
- Mobil (the Standard Oil Company of New York)
- Conoco (Continental Oil Company)
- Chevron (the Standard Oil Company of California)
- Amoco (the Standard Oil Company of Indiana)
Oil Companies from Standard Oil
In addition to fuel vendors, other oil companies that stem from Standard Oil include:
- Anglo-American Oil Co., now Esso UK.
- Buckeye Pipe Line Co.
- Borne-Scrymser Co.
- Chesebrough Manufacturing, now Unilever
- Colonial Oil.
- Crescent Pipeline Co.
- Cumberland Pipe Line Co.
- Eureka Pipe Line Co.
- Galena-Signal Oil Co.
- Indiana Pipe Line Co.
- National Transit Co.
- New York Transit Co.
- Northern Pipe Line Co.
- Prairie Oil & Gas.
- Solar Refining.
- Southern Pipe Line Co.
- South Penn Oil Co., now Pennzoil
- Southwest Pennsylvania Pipe Line Co.
- Swan and Finch.
- Union Tank Lines.
- Washington Oil Co.
*Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org