Memorabilia: Texaco


This month FMM assistant curator Cheslynne Ruiters lubricates these pages with the brief history of a famous oil company…


During the late 20th century, Texaco was one of the world’s largest oil companies in terms of sales. Texaco was founded in Beaumont, Texas in 1902 by Joseph S Cullinan, a former Standard Oil field worker, and Arnold Schlaet, a New York investment manager. Their original idea was to buy and refine oil in Texas and sell it. Its primary petroleum-based products include automotive fuel and oils, as well as aviation and heating fuels.


The Texaco star arrived in 1903, when a 19-year-old Italian refinery worker suggested the company embrace the five-pointed symbol of Texas. Its current logo features a white star in a red circle, a reference to the lone star of Texas, leading to the long-running advertising tag lines, “You can trust your car to the man who wears the star – Star of the American Road”. Over time the logo changed subtly, and the company added new brands such as Havoline Oil after acquiring the Indian Refining Company in 1931.


In 1911 Texaco opened its first filling station in Brooklyn, New York. By 1916, 57 such stations were in operation across the country. Powered by the growth of the automobile industry and the high demand for petroleum created by WWI, Texaco launched its first nationwide advertising campaign with the slogan “Clean, Clear, Golden” – oil products were displayed in glass bottles. After WW1, Texaco continued to concentrate on its automotive gasoline and oil production, introducing new products and expanding its national sales network. By 1928 Texaco owned or leased more than 4 000 stations in all 48 states


With the end of WW2, Texaco faced renewed customer demand at home. US consumption of oil exceeded its production for the first time in 1947, and Texaco reacted by tapping new foreign sources for its crude oil. In 1945, Texaco’s jointly-owned Caltex companies increased their refining capacity in Bahrain, reaching 180, 000 barrels per day by 1951. The current Texaco star and modern station design was launched in 1981.In 1984; Texaco purchased the Getty Oil Company, but was sued for contract interference by the Pennzoil Company, whose own imminent acquisition of Getty had been derailed by Texaco’s successful bid.


In 2001, Texaco and Chevron merged to become ChevronTexaco. Not long after, Texaco added the cleaning power of Techron to every grade of its petrol. Today, the Texaco star shines in 16 states and in countries around the globe.