“The Denver Powerine Company” on February 7, 1913, in Denver, Co. incorporators were J.R.Ross, W.S.Dawson, and Arther Ponsford. The charter was to “buy, sell, and deal in, job and distribute gasoline, naphtha, kerosene and other petroleum products.
The authorized capital stock was 50,000 shares, at a par value of $1.00. Fred Cramer a miner who had made his fortune in Breckenridge Colorado during the gold rush took over Powerine after only 6 months of operation.
The “Power-Lube” brand name was immediately joined by “Autocrat” in 1917. In 1918 the change to the final form, “AutOKrat”, was re-registered. The final form of Power-Lube was registered in 1925 (Tiger, lettering style, colors, etc.).
On April 8, 1927 the company name was officially changed to “The Powerine Company”. The end was in sight in 1945, when The Powerine Company, The Powerine Company of California, and Powerine Marketers, Inc. were completely bought out by a Jersey Standard subsidery-Penola.
Penola immediately registered the Oval E trademark and started rebranding the 450+ Powerine stations and redesigning all the product containers. The end of Powerine came in with the beginning of 1946, with the acquisition of all it’s assets by the Carter Oil Company. The Carter Oval E signage disappeared around 1959, as it evolved into the Enco brand.
The porcelain signs were made by at least 2 different manufacturers, the Wolverine Porcelain Company (with white-outlined letters) and the ENESCO Company (without the white-outlining). The common size is the 24”x28” two-sided sign. They also made a reflector-ized tin sign, in that same size, which was used as a curb sign.
An original curb sign in it's wrought iron frame was discovered in San Diego. Also a small embossed, one-sided tin sign from the Cork & Badge Company, St.Louis, MO, however, to date only one sign known to exist.
Beware of the tin and porcelain signs from the AAA-Sign Company!!! They are all Reproductions, no matter how beat up they are! For that matter, never buy a sign from the Desperate Sign Company either! All Repros!
Little known tiger trivia… Legend has it that the early Power-Lube Tiger was copied in Great Britain, as the more familiar Esso Tiger. When the famous Esso / Exxon Tiger was imported to the U.S. from Great Britain, for the 1960’s “Put a Tiger in your Tank” ad campaign, it was actually the Power-Lube Tiger brought back, after being exported to Great Britain in the first place! This article was in part written by Craig Palmer and Scott Wright.