Esso

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See also: Exxon, Mobil and ExxonMobil
Esso
Founded 1912
Headquarters Irving, Texas, U.S.
Products Oil, Fuel
Parent ExxonMobil
Website www.esso.com

Esso /ˈɛs/ is an international trade name for ExxonMobil and its related companies. The name is a phonetic version of the initials of the pre-1911 Standard Oil (SO = Esso),[1] and as such became the focus of much litigation and regulatory restriction in the United States. In 1972 it was largely replaced in the U.S. by the Exxon brand after it bought Humble Oil, while Esso remained widely used elsewhere. In most of the world, the Esso brand and the Mobil brand are the primary brand names of ExxonMobil, with the Exxon brand name still in use only in the United States alongside Mobil.

An Esso station in Stabekk, Norway (2006)
A combination gasoline/diesel pump at an Exxon in Zelienople, Pennsylvania (2008)
The Esso sign in 1940, used until 1966

History[edit]

In 1911, Standard Oil was broken up into 34 companies, some of which were named "Standard Oil" and had the rights to that brand in certain states (the other companies had no territorial rights). Standard Oil of New Jersey ("Jersey Standard") had the rights in that state, plus in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia. By 1941, it had also acquired the rights in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Louisiana. In those states, it marketed its products under the brand "Esso", the phonetic pronunciation of the letters "S" and "O". It also used the Esso brand in New York and the six New England states, where the Standard Oil Company of New York (Socony - Vacuum, later Socony - Mobil) had the rights, but did not object to the New Jersey company's use of the trademark[citation needed] (the two companies did not merge until November 1999). However, in the other states, the other Standard Oil companies objected and forced Jersey Standard to use other brand names. In most states the company used the trademark Enco ("Energy Company"), and in a few "Humble". The other Standard companies likewise were "Standard" or some variant on that in their home states, and another brand name in other states. Esso ranked 31st among United States corporations in the value of World War II production contracts.[2]

During the years of racial segregation in the United States, certain Esso franchises gave out "The Negro Motorist Green Book: An International Travel Guide".[3]

In 1973, Standard Oil of New Jersey renamed itself as the Exxon Corporation, and adopted that trademark throughout the country. It maintained the rights to "Standard" and "Esso" in the states where it held those rights, by a token effort, by selling "Esso Diesel" in those states at stations that sell diesel fuel, thus preventing the trademark from being declared abandoned. It retained the "Esso" brand in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands until 2008, when it sold its stations there to Total S.A.[4] The Enco brand name was still used on locations in the Midwest until 1977 when they were sold to Cheker Oil Co. (now part of Marathon Petroleum subsidiary Speedway LLC[5]); Exxon continues to have a presence in Southern Ohio today (as it does throughout much of Appalachia in general), though Mobil is the company's primary brand in the Midwest.

United Kingdom[edit]

An Esso service station in Wetherby, West Yorkshire

In 1888, the Anglo American Oil company opened its head office in London, which eventually became a part of Esso.[6]

Esso Blue[edit]

Esso Blue was the brand name of Esso's paraffin oil (kerosene) for domestic heaters in countries such as the United Kingdom. Their TV advertising song from the 1950s through to the 1970s was the famous "Bom, Bom, Bom, Bom, Esso Blue!" A later campaign used the well-known song tune of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" cleverly reworded as:[7]"They asked me how I knew, it was Esso Blue, I of course replied, with lower grades one buys, smoke gets in your eyes. The non-smoking paraffin". The track was released as a flexi disk which was given away free in hardware stores.[8]

Cleveland[edit]

In the 1930s Esso acquired Cleveland, an independent company based in North East England. The name comes from the fact that the founder and principal shareholder, Norman Davis, spent some of WWI with his brother Manuel in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland's products included a benzole blend and an alcohol blend called Discol. Both the Esso and Cleveland names continued in use until 1973, when the Cleveland filling stations were re-branded as Esso.

Northern Ireland[edit]

Esso traded in Northern Ireland up until the early 2000s. Their forecourts were re-branded as Maxol and some remained private.

Affiliates[edit]

Canada[edit]

Main article: Imperial Oil
An Esso location in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

In Canada, the Esso brand is used on stations operated by Imperial Oil, which is 69.8% owned by ExxonMobil. Esso also provides aviation fuel services at 80 airport locations in Canada (Aviation and Avitat).

Australia[edit]

Main article: Esso Australia

In Australia, Esso is an affiliate of ExxonMobil, it operates oil and gas production. Its retail petrol stations were acquired by Mobil Australia in 1990.

References[edit]

  1. ^ ExxonMobil: History of Esso in the UK
  2. ^ Peck, Merton J. & Scherer, Frederic M. The Weapons Acquisition Process: An Economic Analysis (1962) Harvard Business School p.619
  3. ^ McGee, Celia (August 22, 2010). "The Open Road Wasn’t Quite Open to All". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-04-25. Although Victor Green’s initial edition only encompassed metropolitan New York, the Green Book soon expanded .... The 15,000 copies Green eventually printed each year were sold as a marketing tool not just to black-owned businesses but to the white marketplace, implying that it made good economic sense to take advantage of the growing affluence and mobility of African Americans. Esso stations, unusual in franchising to African Americans, were a popular place to pick one up. 
  4. ^ Lett, Christine (March 11, 2008). "Total Petroleum to take over Esso's fuel business in V.I.". The Virgin Islands Daily News. Archived from the original on Mar 13, 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  5. ^ http://www.marathonpetroleum.com/content/documents/mpc/about/MarathonMarketingHistory.pdf
  6. ^ "Our early days in Europe". About us. Exxon Mobil Corporation. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  7. ^ the great blue singer — Esso Blue flexi disk recording, Juzp 
  8. ^ "The Great Blue Singer " at Discogs

External links[edit]