Old Standard advertisement - Micanopy, FLWhatever Happened to Standard Oil?

A highly abridged history of the petroleum companies that have used the "Standard" brand name.

John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust is one of the most famous industrial organizations ever. The Trust controlled a lion's share of the production, transport, refining, and marketing of petroleum products in the United States and many other countries. Originally, this Trust was an attempt to cash in on the lucrative home lighting market which was converting from whale oil to kerosene. The emergence of the automobile and its thirst for the formerly near worthless refining by-product called gasoline brought dizzying wealth to this industrial group. The 1911 decision to break up the Trust had the result of making the seperate pieces more valubale than the whole was, and stock prices rose sharply. When he was informed of the US Supreme Court's descision to breakup of Standard Oil, Mr. Rockefeller turned to his golfing partner and said, "Father Lennon, have you some money?" And the priest was very startled by the question and said, "No." And then he said, "Why?" And Rockefeller replied, "Buy Standard Oil." (1) The break up of Standard Oil mirrors a more modern monopoly breakup - AT&T - a.k.a. The Bell System, "Ma Bell". Both developed ubiquitous brand names: Bell for telephone service, Standard for oil. Like the "Baby Bells", many of the "Baby Standards" kept the old company identity as they went into business for themselves. Unlike the various Bell companies, they were restricted from using Standard name in each other's territory. They defended the exclusive territorial rights to the name vigorously. Both fractured entities rose again to dominate the market and became more valuable than the original parent. More Standard Oil Companies were created as some successor organizations declined to use the venerable Standard name in favor of pre-trust identities and the other Standards expanded into those marketing areas. As national advertising and travel blossomed, the various Standards ended up in competition, often adopting the names of smaller oil companies they had purchased. The goal of this site is to track the history of the Baby Standards, discovering what became of Rockefeller's petroleum powerhouse.

Bell Logo 1969 If you want to find out what became of Ma Bell, check out this link. The breakup and reconsolidation has happened on a much faster time table than Standard's. The old '69 Bell logo is still in use, at least by Verizon in a secondary manner on some of thier remaining pay phones. No word on Qwest, though they have a swoop logo in advertising and I can't recall ever seeing them use the Bell. The new at&t is led by SBC (Southwestern Bell) after having absorbed Pacific Telesis, then purchasing the remains of AT&T. BellSouth was also absorbed by SBC. BellSouth made extensive use of the old Bell logo before the merger. Now they use the at&t "Death Marble" adaptation of the AT&T "Death Star" logo. Verizon's Bell logo is red or white on a red background. Cincinnati Bell quit using the classic bell in 2005. If the Bell company consolidation was the pattern for Standard Oil Company consolidation - Sohio (Cincinnati Bell) would still be independent, ExxonMobil would be Verizon (Exxon = BellAtlantic + Mobil = Nynex) and Chevron (SBC / Pacific Telesys) would have purchased Amoco (Ameritech), then finally turned and purchased KYSO (BellSouth). If the Bell reconsolidation had mirrored Standard Oil's: SBC/ Pac Tel would have bought BellSouth early on. British Telecom would have bought Sohio. BellAtlantic and Nynex would have merged. Lastly, British Telecom would have merged with Ameritech, told everyone they were changing thier name to Ameritech for US operations, then changed thier minds and used "bt" - Beyond Telecommunications.
 
 

Click HERE for answers to some Frequently Asked Questions

Standard Oil : Pre-1911 or go to 1911 1941 1961 Today World

Before the Trust breakup, there were other Standard Oils. You need a timeline of Standard's history to understand what happened to them.

Other Standard Oils:

Standard Oil of Colorado was chartered in Denver in 1922, the unused charter was recinded in 1926. In 1927, it was re-incorporated as Standard Oil Company of Colorado and sold stock by 1930 to small investors trying to get a piece of the fractured Trust as the demand for gasoline increased. The company had no oil wells, no refineries, and no gasoline stations. In 1930, Indiana Standard was extending its "Standard" marketing area into Conoco territory - Colorado and other Rocky Mountain states. After much confusion, in 1931 Indiana Standard sued Colorado Standard over the use of the Standard Oil name and won. In 1934, the suit was upheld and Colorado Standard was relegated to the footnotes of history.

Stan-o-conn Standard Oil of Connecticut was chartered as Standard Coal and Charcoal Company in Stratford, CT in 1913. The company's local focus and lack of an oil connection at that time left it beneath the radar of Socony (New York's Standard Oil). The company survived the Great Depression and became Standard Fuel in 1945. After the great re-branding of Esso as Exxon in the USA in the 1970's, the local rights to the Standard Oil name became available. Standard Fuel took the opportunity and became Standard Oil in 1980. Since then they have also added the trademarks Standard Oil of New York (SONY?) and Standard Oil of Massachusetts (SOMA?), which has never been used by any other Standard Oil company. They have even branched into supplying gasoline and diesel as Standard Petroleum since 1987.

Someone attempted to register Standard Oil of New England, Standard Oil Company of New England, and Standard Oil of New Hampshire as trade names in New Hampshire around 1954, according to this website. Esso Standard Oil (Jersey Standard) didn't care to have motorists confused, considering it was operating Esso stations in the state at the time and spending significant funds on advertising. They won a court case and three more Standards found themselves on the sidelines of history.

Standard Oil around the World - the story of Standard Oil is bigger than the USA. See who else has called themselves Standard Oil.

Standard Oil pre-1911 . Standard Oil in 1911 . Standard Oil in 1941 . Standard Oil in 1961 . Standard Oil Today . Standard Oil Worldwide

Save The Ball
ConocoPhillips, a granddaughter company of Standard Oil, planned to discontinue the using the traditional Union Oil (76) 'ball' sign. Click the above link! While C-P has agreed to keep some of the balls around if they are colored the new C-P red, we need to keep our eyes on them. Make sure we save the Union 76 Ball! Don't let ConocoPhillips become the company without Balls.
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Q: Do you know what happened other to oil companies besides the ones listed on this site? A: It's very unlikely. I have eneough trouble watching the various Standard Oils. Your best bet is to contact the government in the state your company of interest was chartered.
  • Q: I inherited this stock certificate or found it my relative's papers. Do you know what this is worth? A: No. You should consider asking a lawyer or stockbroker. As a representation of equity in a corporation, odds are your paper is worthless. As an antique document, you may have a valuable collectible. I urge you to go to http://www.scripophily.com/ to find out more. Many of these old stock certificates are worth over a hundred dollars or more to collectors.
  • Q: Do you know what happened to any employees or managers of these oil companies? A: No, except for my own relatives. I don't have any personnel records. Your best bet is to contact the company in question or its successor. ExxonMobil has placed much of their historical records, including employee records, at the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Q: Do you have any connection to these companies? A: Mostly as a customer. Employees within ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, bp and ConocoPhillips are, or were, aware of this site. I value their input. This site is mirrored in bp's Intranet, with my permission. ExxonMobil has informed me they do not endorse any extenal websites.
  • Q: Would you be willing to do research on former Standard Oil employees, stock certificate value, and / or other oil company histories? A: Yes, but that would take a lot of my time and even more of your money. Hiring a private investigator would probably be much cheaper and they would work a lot faster. http://www.scripophily.com/ does that sort of thing professionally, and at a much better rate than I'd give you. Considering that, if you have a lot of free cash you still want to throw at me to surf the internet and give you the results, I'm up for it.

If you any have thoughts, comments, additions, or suggestions, Click here to E-mail the webmaster. Information presented here is accurate to the best of my knowledge, and is current as of the last update. If you have differing facts or better information, please contact me, especially if you represent a company who shares in the Standard Oil heritage.

(1) Titan, by Ron Chernow

This page first posted February 8, 2000.
This page last edited Sunday, November 09, 2008

In 1980, Standard Oil of California published a bar graph form of this site, named the same as this site "Whatever happened to Standard Oil?". Mark Greaves scanned in his copy, and it is linked here for your perusal. This is a big graphic. You have been warned.

LEGAL NOTE: The use of oil company logos and names on this website is meant to educate, illustrate and clarify, and is not meant as a challenge to the copyrights of the companies represented on this site, their predecessors, or their successors. Research and commentary 2004 R.V. Droz.

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