- Home »
The origins of the Quaker State brand of motor oil date back to 1914 when Thomas G. Phinny of Oil City and his son, Hopewell, arranged to provide a motor oil to the H. H. Franklin Co. of Syracuse, New York. This Syracuse firm manufactured automobiles with air cooled engines that placed extreme demands on the engine’s lubricating oil.
The Oil Region’s independent producers and refiners met in January 1895 in Butler to discuss consolidation of their interests. As a result of those Butler meetings, the Pure Oil Co. was formed in the autumn of 1895 as a marketing company to serve the business interests of the independent refiners, producers and pipeline operators of the Pennsylvania Oil Region.
The Pennsylvania Refining Co. was organized in Butler, Pa. in 1878 by John and George Beck. The Beck brothers purchased that year an existing one still refinery, the Producers Refining Co. plant, located in Karns City.
The Bradford refinery that became known as the Kendall Refinery was built in 1881 on a 4.5-acre site along Kendall Creek. This plant was very small and suffered through bankruptcy, three sales and fire over the next several decades.
The success at Spindletop near Beaumont, Texas in January 1901 set events in motion that led to the formation of the Gulf Oil Corporation. The first well drilled at the site was drilled with cable tools and was a failure. The second attempt was with a rotary drill and succeeded, succeeded spectacularly.
The Franklin heavy crude district in Sugarcreek Township produced an unusual oil naturally suitable for railroad car applications after simply reducing the crude to eliminate volatile components and screening it to remove grit. A small refinery at the base of Point Hill on lower French Creek in 1864 began mixing this reduced heavy crude with a lead oxide soap to improve its performance.
The Freedom Oil Works Co. was established in Freedom, Pa., Beaver County in 1879. J. W. Craig was the President in the latter nineteenth century when the company refined illuminating oils and all types of lubricating oils.
A. L. Confer established his small refinery in Reno in 1879. This was a one-man show. Confer did everything. He proudly painted the Empire name on his one storage tank. The name stuck and grew in stature.
The Crew Levick Co. was an old Philadelphia company organized in 1862. In time, the Philadelphia firm built a large refinery, the Seaboard Oil Works, on the Delaware River. In the latter 1880’s, William Muir built two refineries in Warren that Crew Levick would become a partner in.
The Atlantic Refining Co. was created in the nineteenth century by consolidating several Standard Oil Pennsylvania refining operations that were organized in the earliest days of the oil industry. Charles Lockhart and William Frew built their first Pittsburgh refinery, the Brilliant, in 1860.