Historical Facts On Mobile Oil
Mobil continues to operate as a major brandname of ExxonMobil. Many of its products feature the Mobil symbol of a winged red horse, Pegasus, which has been a company trademark since its affiliation with Magnolia Petroleum Company in the 1930s.
Mobil, previously known as the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, was a major American oil company which merged with Exxon in 1999 to form ExxonMobil. Today Mobil continues as a major brand name within the combined company, as well as still being a gas station sometimes paired with their own store or On the Run. Its former headquarters in Fairfax County, Virginia, are currently used as ExxonMobil's downstream headquarters.
Following the break-up of Standard Oil in 1911, the Standard Oil Company of New York, or Socony, was founded, along with 33 other successor companies. In 1920, the company registered the name "Mobiloil" as a trademark.
Henry Clay Folger was head of the company until 1923, when he was succeeded by Herbert L. Pratt.
Beginning February 29, 1928 on NBC, Socony Oil reached radio listeners with a comedy program, Soconyland Sketches, scripted by William Ford Manley and featuring Arthur Allen and Parker Fennelly as rural New Englanders. Socony continued to sponsor the show when it moved to CBS in 1934. In 1935, it became the Socony Sketchbook, with Christopher Morley and the Johnny Green orchestra.
In 1931, Socony merged with Vacuum Oil to form Socony-Vacuum and Jersey Standard (which had oil production and refineries in Indonesia) merged their interests in the Far East into a 50-50 joint venture. Standard-Vacuum Oil Co., or "Stanvac," operated in 50 countries, including East Africa, New Zealand and China, before it was dissolved in 1962.
In 1935, Socony Vacuum Oil opened the huge Mammoth Oil Port on Staten Island which had a capacity of handling a quarter of million gallons of petroleum products a year and could transship oil from ocean going tankers and river barges
The Mobil Economy Run generated publicity and promotions such as this 1962 advertisement by Champion spark plugs with a Rambler American.
In 1955, Socony-Vacuum was renamed Socony Mobil Oil Company. In 1963, it changed its trade name from "Mobilgas" to simply "Mobil," introducing a new logo (created by a prominent New York graphic design firm, Chermayeff & Geismar). To celebrate its 100th anniversary in 1966, "Socony" was dropped from the corporate name.
From 1936 to 1968, Mobil sponsored an economy run each year (except during World War II) in which domestic automobiles of various manufacturers in several price and size classes were driven by light-footed drivers on cross-country runs.
The Economy Run originated with the Gilmore Oil Company of California in 1936 (which was purchased by Socony-Vacuum in 1940) and later became the Mobilgas Economy Run and still later, the Mobil Economy Run. The cars driven in the economy run were fueled with Mobil gasoline and Mobiloil and lubricants were also used. The vehicles in each class that achieved the highest fuel economy numbers were awarded the coveted title as the Mobilgas Economy Run winner.
During US involvement in WW II, April 29, 1942, Socony's unescorted tanker, named Mobiloil, was sunk by a German U-boat (U-108 captained by Klaus Schlotz), and all 52 people survived after 86 hours adrift in lifeboats.
Through the years, Mobil was among the largest sellers of gasoline and motor oils in the United States and even held the top spot during the 1940s and much of the 1950s. Various Mobil products during the Socony-Vacuum and Socony-Mobil years included
Metro, Mobilgas and Mobilgas Special gasolines; Mobilfuel Diesel, Mobil-flame heating oil, Mobil Kerosine, Lubrite, Gargoyle, Mobiloil and Mobiloil Special motor oils; Mobilgrease, Mobillubrication, Mobil Upperlube, Mobil Freezone and Permazone antifreezes, Mobilfluid automatic transmission fluid, Mobil Premiere tires, Mobil Stop-Leak, Mobil Lustrecloth, among many others.
In 1954, Mobil introduced a new and improved Mobilgas Special in response to trends toward new automobiles powered by high-compression engines that demanded higher and higher octane gasolines. The newest formulas of Mobilgas Special was advertised as offering "A Tune-Up in Every Tankful" due to a combination of chemicals known as the "Mobil Power Compound" which was designed to increase power, check pre-ignition ping, correct spark plug misfiring, control stalling and combat gumming up of carburetors. Later Mobil campaigns advertised Mobilgas as the "New Car Gasoline" following extensive testing during the annual Mobilgas Economy Run.
Antique pumps, manufactured by Tokheim, using the pre-1962 "Mobilgas" product name In 1962, the gasoline product lines marketed as Mobilgas and Mobilgas Special were rebranded as Mobil Regular and Mobil Premium in a move to emphasize the shortened brand name "Mobil" in promotional efforts although Mobiloil continued as a single word term until the 1970s.
After a few years of advertising Mobil gasolines as "Megatane"-rated and as "High Energy" gasolines, Mobil began, in 1966, to promote both its Regular and Premium fuels as "Detergent Gasolines," due to the inclusion of additives designed to clean carburetors and various internal engine parts. During the early 1970s, Mobil ran a TV commercial featuring a character known as "Mr. Dirt" to show the ruinous effects that dirt had on automotive engines for which a tank of Mobil Detergent Gasoline could provide a cure and preventive medicine against damage that could lead to costly repairs.
As automakers were switching en masse from carbureted to fuel injected engines during the early to mid-1980s, the detergent additives that existed in most available gasolines proved not to be enough to prevent injection clogging, leading to drivability problems, Mobil received accolades from General Motors and other automakers for increasing the detergency of its Super Unleaded gasoline in 1984 to prevent formation or deposit build-ups of the injectors but also remove existing deposits as well in normal driving.
At the end of the 1980s Mobil sold its fuel stations in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark to Norsk Hydro, who converted them into Hydro stations.
William P. Tavoulareas was President of Mobil Corporation until succeeded by Allen E. Murray in 1984.
Mobil moved its headquarters from New York to Fairfax County, Virginia in 1987.
In 1998, Mobil and Exxon agreed on a merger to create ExxonMobil, which was completed on November 30, 1999. Lou Noto was Chairman of Mobil at the time of the merger and Walter Arnheim was treasurer.