Vacuum Oil Company

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Socony-Vacuum gas station, Tiberias 1946

Vacuum Oil Company was an American oil company known for their Gargoyle 600-W Steam Cylinder Oil. Vacuum Oil merged with Standard Oil Co of New York, commonly known as Socony Oil to form Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, and is now a part of ExxonMobil.


Vacuum Oil was founded in 1866 by Matthew Ewing and Hiram Bond Everest, of Rochester, New York. The lubrication oil was an accidental discovery while attempting to distill kerosene. Everest noted the residue from the extraction was suitable as a lubricant. Soon after, the product became popular for use by steam engines and the internal-combustion engines. Ewing sold his interest to Everest, who carried on the company.[1] Vacuum was bought by Standard Oil in 1879. It originated the Mobil trademark in 1899 (as "Mobilgas;" "Mobiloil" came later). When Standard Oil was broken up in 1911 due to the Sherman Antitrust Act, Vacuum became an independent company again.[2]

Socony-Vacuum station in the Dutch East Indies.

Vacuum Oil and Standard Oil of New York (Socony) merged in 1931, after the government gave up attempts to prevent it. At the time, the newly combined company made Socony-Vacuum Corp. the 3rd largest oil company, worldwide. Everest remained with the firm, and was given a salaried job as president.[3]

During World War II, the Tschechowitz I & II subcamps of Auschwitz in Czechowice-Dziedzice provided forced labor for Vacuum Oil Company facilities in Poland which were captured and operated by Nazi Germany.[4]

In 1955, the company became Socony Mobil Oil Company. In 1963 it was renamed Mobilgas then just Mobil.

Legal problems

In 1887, founder Hiram Bond Everest and son Charles M. Everest were charged with conspiracy to destroy competitor Buffalo Lubricating Oil Co. It is said that they were attempting to destroy the buildings, preventing them from manufacturing petroleum products, as well as acquiring their skilled employees. One said employee included Albert A. Miller who was being bribed to construct defective machinery so that it would explode. Hiram Everest and Charles Everest were both found guilty.[5]

In 1907 the Vacuum Oil, Standard Oil, New York Central Railroad, and Pennsylvania Railroad were all indicted for violations in Inter-State Commerce laws. Vacuum Oil was charged for shipping 228 cars of petroleum and petroleum products to Standard Oil at unlawful rates via the New York Central RR and Pennsylvania RR.[6]


  1. ^ "Vacuum Standardized". Time Magazine, 1930. 1930-03-03. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
  2. ^ Marius Vassiliou (2009). Historical Dictionary of the Petroleum Industry. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-5993-9.
  3. ^ "Business & Finance: Socony-Vacuum Corp". Time Magazine, 1931. 1931-08-10. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
  4. ^ "Sub-Camps of Auschwitz Concentration Camp". Archived from lwork=Auschwitz-Birkenau: Memorial and Museum the original Check |url= value (help) on 2009-06-02. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
  5. ^ "The Everests Convicted" (PDF). New York Times, 1887. 1887-05-16. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
  6. ^ "Standard Indicted By New York Jury" (PDF). New York Times, 1907. 1907-08-10. Retrieved 2009-12-01.

External links

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