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Gulf Oil Company

September 5th, 2008 · 14 Comments

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Gulf Oil Company

Gulf Oil “Stop at the Sign of the Orange Disc”

Gulf Oil was established in 1901 by a group of investors after a discovery of oil at Spindletop, Texas. The largest investor in the company was William Larimer Mellon, who became the head of the corporation and continued in that position for 45 years. In 1907 several oil companies combined to form the Gulf Oil Corporation.

Gulf Oil opened up the first ever drive-in service station in 1911. In addition to offering complimentary road maps, Gulf was a pioneer in the early days of product branding by selling gasoline from gas pumps with their logo on them. It not only helped to create a brand identity, it also assured the customer that the gas they were purchasing was a quality product. This was at a time when many businesses were offering gasoline of an inconsistent quality, or that was possibly even contaminated.

In 1917, the Gulf Oil tanker fleet went into military service during WWI. In 1928 Gulfpride Oil was first introduced. Gulf Oil had become a major US corporation by the early 1930’s. In 1934, with British Petroleum (BP) as an equal partner, Gulf formed the Kuwait Oil Company.

Gulf Oil continued to grow and expand into new ventures. In addition to oil refineries and exploration, Gulf Oil produced plastics, and agricultural, industrial and household chemicals. In the 1960’s the Gulf logo was redesigned to make it easier to identify. Around 1970 Gulf Oil reached the peak of its success. But a downturn occurred in 1974 when the Kuwait National Assembly acquired 60% of the Kuwait Oil Company, with Gulf Oil and BP sharing the remaining 40%. By 1974 Kuwait had total ownership.

Gulf Oil merged with the Standard Oil Company in 1984 to protect itself from a buyout. The newly formed company became known as Chevron. This was the largest corporate merger to have occurred up until that time. In 1985 Chevron sold Gulf’s gas stations, a refinery and some of their international operations to BP and Cumberland Farms of Canton, Massachusetts. Both still use the Gulf name on their gas stations, as do some independently owned stations. The Gulf Oil Limited Partnership in Massachusetts bought the rights to use of the Gulf brand from Chevron, although Chevron still owns the Gulf brand.

Gulf Oil Company Limited Partnership
275 Washington Street
Newton, Massachusetts
At Retroplanet.com we offer reproduction Gulfpride motor oil cans and a vintage-style steel Gulf sign. We also have loads of other automotive signs and other products to add to your garage, home or office.

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Tags: Gas & Oil Companies · Gulf · Manufacturer Histories

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 IrvGoldin // Oct 14, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    I live in Connecticut and am a happy user of Gulf Gasoline from my local Cumberlain station. My question is if you do not mind; who is Gulf Gas in Commecticut? Is it either Chevron, BP, or whom?
    From what I have already read it appears as though Gulf Gas is not from American wells and is a by-product of the Middle East. Is that a fair assumption?
    I must admit that Gulf Gas has kepts my 2000 Cady going and in great shape.
    Please advise at your convenience. Your cooperation is gratefully appreciated.
    Thank You,

  • 2 Lama Milkweed L. Augustine PhD // Mar 17, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    I have always loved the old GULF logo, especially back in the late 1960’s through the early 1970’s in most particular. In fact, in my 12th book title that is in production right this moment, I warmly and affectionally mention the wonderful old gas station I well recall with much fervent delight; most in particular, the newer GULF ORANGE DISC sign that was upheld by an extension of the white enammeled pole that held it’s prolific presence, that neither rain nor shine, it remained ever in eternal vigilance as one can see the light in the darkness od those backwoods of that glorious era of a better and slower time.
    Lama Milkweed L. Augustine

  • 3 Cynthia Mathis // Dec 24, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Looking for an owner of a Gulf Station in Cathedral City, Calif during the early 1960’s could you help me to locate them?

  • 4 Tommi // Mar 3, 2010 at 11:09 am

    I have a Gulf gas station sign that reads
    reg. u.s. pat. off
    Two sided with hanging frame. A few dings
    Could you please give me an idea of what it is worth.

  • 5 vintagevending // Mar 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Hi Tommi,

    We aren’t able to give estimates on the values of items. Try ebay or Craigs List, sometimes items like yours pop up, and it will give you a ballpark figure to go by. If anyone else can help, please comment.

  • 6 William Lynn // Mar 24, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    What a great company..Worked 82 to 85 in Houston at Harwin and Corporate Drive. I worked in the Repro depart in the basement…Loved it…I got alot experience in the camera department buring plates for the big presses

  • 7 jorge herrera // Jun 1, 2010 at 12:02 am

    I have a gulf sign 1964, 4 sale in good condition, 350dlls, if interested contact me and I will send you a photo.

  • 8 Betty Ames // Aug 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    anyone know about history of Gulf Oil,
    Mr EV Miller who was with Gulf Oil years ago.

  • 9 mario // Aug 8, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I found a old gulf oil solar power sign. It is porcelian and stands 4′6” and 3′ across. Does anybody know anything about it. It is a plain sign with just the gulf symbol and solar power on the bottem. I am guessing late 20’s early 30’s. Very brite colors though.

  • 10 harryhgagner // Jan 16, 2011 at 7:11 am

    i have a pic of golf oil refining co port author tx 1926 worth anything???? HARRY

  • 11 Alma Elliott // Apr 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I have a gulf gas pump telephone, it is 9 1/2 inches, has gulf on the top where the round part is. I have tried to find it on line but so far nothing. is it worth anything? it still works. thanks

  • 12 Mary Rother // Jun 7, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I am looking for a picture of a gulf station in the 1970 era in the state of Texas. Is there anyway you could provide this to me. Thank you

  • 13 Revis Edmonds // Sep 3, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Gulf Oil Limited Partnership completely purchased the Gulf trademark from Chevron in 2010 and now has the rights to market the brand nationwide. They are now in 22 states, as far west as Nashville, Tennessee and Austin, Texas. Thier goal is to reestablish a presence in the southern states where Gulf once dominated.

  • 14 Jim // Mar 2, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    I have a vintage Gulf girl’s bike. If interested email me. witz@blomand.net

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