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INDIAN REFINING COMPANY,  INCORPORATED

 

 

 

HAVOLINE  Motor Oil

(through 1962)

 

 

The Texas Company / Texaco Inc.

(through 1985)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-  Informal History Notes  -

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compiled By

 

Jim Hinds

Columbus, Indiana

 January 2003

 

In Memory of R. R. Hinds, Consignee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOREWORD

 

 

1.  These notes consist of information which I (with appreciable assistance) have been able to piece together on the corporate history of INDIAN REFINING COMPANY, INCORPORATED, the origins of HAVOLINE Motor Oil, and (to a lesser extent) the history of The Texas Company / Texaco Inc. Emphasis was placed on INDIAN REFINING COMPANY, and on an accurate account of HAVOLINE’s early days, since surprisingly little such information (especially on the “old INDIAN”) is readily available elsewhere. They are by no means a comprehensive history of The Texas Company / Texaco Inc. but only attempt to cover those events which I believe were most relevant to the histories of INDIAN REFINING COMPANY and HAVOLINE Motor Oil.

 

2.  I am aware that these notes conflict, in some details, with “The Texaco Story – The First Fifty Years 1902-1952” (Marquis James, The Texas Company, 1953) which has come to be viewed as the “official history” of The Texas Company. Based on information which I have verified through  multiple, independent sources, however, it appears that portions of the material with which        Mr. James was given to work were either erroneous or misinterpreted.                      

 

3.  It is recognized that “The Texas Company”, “TEXACO”, “HAVOLINE”, “INDIAN”, “FIRE-CHIEF”, and “Sky Chief” are or  were registered trademarks of Texaco Inc. (a subsidiary of ChevronTexaco Corporation) or of its antecedents. They are used here for informational and historical research purposes, only. These notes are in no way an official publication of Texaco Inc. nor of ChevronTexaco Corporation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28 March 1901  The Texas Fuel Company is among some 200 companies organized in the days

                          immediately following the famed oil strike at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont,

                          Texas. The company establishes an office in Beaumont.

 

4 October 1901  John F. Havemeyer of Yonkers, New York incorporates The Havemeyer Oil

                           Company under the laws of that state, for purposes (as detailed on its certificate

                           of incorporation) related to "lubricating and all other oils of every kind and

                           nature” (probably referring to whale oil, other animal renderings, and - possibly –

                           to various seed oils, in addition to petroleum).

 

2 January 1902  The Texas Fuel Company begins business.

 

7 April 1902  The Texas Fuel Company becomes The Texas Company and incorporates under the

                      laws of the State of Texas.

 

1 January 1903  “TEXACO” (having originated as the cable address of The Texas Company) is first

                            used as a product name.

 

13 November 1903  The Texas Company begins operations at its first refinery – Port Arthur    

                                 [Texas] Works

 

14 November 1904  Although its plant is physically located in the tiny northwestern-Indiana hamlet

                                 of Asphaltum, and 99.8% of its common and 100% of its preferred stock are

                                 listed in the name of 23-year-old Richmond M. Levering (a Lafayette, Indiana

                                 native currently residing in Chicago, Illinois), Indian Asphalt Company incor-

                                 porates under the laws of the State of Maine. (While not recorded, it is

                                 speculated that the name “Indian” is an allusion to Indiana -  meaning land

                                 or place “of Indians”.)

 

1904  The Havemeyer Oil Company - having developed a unique cold-filtration process and

          blending package for oils - coins, and first uses, the name “HAVOLINE”.

 

1905  Realizing that the Jasper County, Indiana oil field which it originally intended to exploit is

          effectively depleted, Indian Asphalt Company is persuaded (in “an extensive campaign by

          the [Georgetown] Board of Trade”) to move its offices and plant to Georgetown, Kentucky.

 

1 May 1906  Growing quickly in both size and scope, Indian Asphalt Company changes its name to

                     INDIAN REFINING COMPANY. Its plant is upgraded to “refinery” status and its

                     product line expanded to include paraffin wax, paint, "Sunset Engine Oil", and

                     “Blue Grass Axle Grease" in addition to asphalt. Richmond M. Levering

                     becomes the first president of the renamed company and is soon joined in business

                     by his father and mentor - Indiana banker, financier, and entrepreneur

                     J. Mortimer Levering -  who becomes the company’s secretary.

 

8 December 1906  “HAVOLINE” is registered as a trademark of The Havemeyer Oil Company for

                               use as a brand name on oils (not strictly motor oil) and greases.

 

5 January 1907  Havoline Oil Company (a “spin-off” of The Havemeyer Oil Company) is incorpor-

                            porated under the laws of State of New York. As with The Havemeyer Oil Com-

                            pany, its stated purposes include production, purchase, refining, sales, and

                            other dealings involving "animal" oils and fats as well as "mineral" (i.e. petrol-

                            eum) oils. 

 

1907  Construction of INDIAN REFINING COMPANY’s Lawrenceville, Illinois refinery is completed

          and the refinery begins operation.

 

 

 

1908  Although continuing to operate its Georgetown refinery, INDIAN REFINING COMPANY

          relocates its offices to Cincinnati, Ohio. The company also begins operation of a small

          refinery near East St. Louis, Illinois.

 

20 May 1909  As part of a program of rapid expansion, INDIAN REFINING COMPANY incorporates

                       under the laws of the State of New York and purchases The Havemeyer Oil Com-  

                       pany, Havoline Oil Company, and the by-now established “HAVOLINE” name (which

                       is then registered as a trademark of INDIAN REFINING COMPANY as a brand name

                       for lubricating oils - again, not strictly motor oil).

 

1909  Production of HAVOLINE products at the Lawrenceville refinery begins.

 

1 December 1909  Following a brief illness, J. Mortimer Levering (secretary of INDIAN REFINING

                               COMPANY) passes away.

 

17 December 1909  The Havemeyer Oil Company is dissolved.

 

2 September 1910  INDIAN REFINING COMPANY (Maine) is chartered to do business in the State

                                of Louisiana and begins operating a refinery in New Orleans.

 

1909-1911  Also included in this period of INDIAN REFINING COMPANY’s expansion are the

                   purchases of the Bridgeport Oil Company (Bridgeport, Connecticut), the Record Oil

                   Refining Company (Newark, New Jersey), acquistion of a small refinery in Jersey City,

                   New Jersey, and the control of a large storage station at Kearny, New Jersey. The

                   company launches a program aimed at making a full-scale entry into the European

                   market.

 

16 March 1911  Primarily in anticipation of expanding to the west coast, INDIAN REFINING

                          COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA is created (and is incorporated under the laws of the

                          State of New Jersey).

 

20 March 1911  INDIAN REFINING COMPANY (New York) changes its name to INDIAN REFINING

                          COMPANY OF NEW YORK and becomes the principal operating subsidiary of

                          INDIAN REFINING COMPANY (Maine). The parent company’s main offices are

                          moved from Cincinnati to New York City. (Although its offices are moved, the

                          company retains its close ties to the Cincinnati business community (which have

                          existed since its inception as the Indian Asphalt Company) for many years.

                          Its stock continues to be traded on the Cincinnati Stock Exchange and its board of

                          directors includes (at various times) such well-known Cincinnati businessmen as

                          William C. Procter, M. C. Fleischman, Lazard Kahn, and Bernard Kroger.)

 

17 September - 6 November 1911  HAVOLINE Motor Oil lubricates the 28-horsepower engine of the

                                                          first airplane to fly across the United States. Piloted by Calbraith

                                                          Perry ("Cal") Rodgers, the Wright EX bi-plane publicizes the

                                                          new soft drink "Vin Fiz", after which the the plane is named.

 

1 April 1912  INDIAN REFINING COMPANY OF LOUISIANA incorporates under the laws of the

                      State of Louisiana.

 

December 1913 - January 1914  In conjunction with a sweeping organizational and financial  re-

                                                      structuring, INDIAN REFINING COMPANY (Maine) applies for and

                                                      receives “authority to do business” in the States of New York and

                                                      California. It assumes those functions formerly performed by

                                                      INDIAN REFINING COMPANY OF NEW YORK. The planned

                                                      expansion to the far-West, however, is effectively cancelled and

                                                      INDIAN REFINING COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA is dissolved.

 

 

1915  INDIAN REFINING COMPANY closes its Georgetown, East St. Louis, and Jersey City

          refineries and abandons the company’s European venture (which has proven to be a

          severe financial drain due largely to the First World War).

 

1916  INDIAN REFINING COMPANY (Maine)'s president, Richmond M. Levering, resigns,  as do

          several other senior officers of the company.

 

December 1918 - January 1919  In yet another reorganization, INDIAN REFINING COMPANY OF

                                                      NEW YORK, INDIAN REFINING COMPANY OF LOUISIANA,

                                                      Havoline Oil Company, the Record Oil Refining Company, and the

                                                      Bridgeport Oil Company - all subsidiaries of INDIAN REFINING

                                                      COMPANY (Maine) (hereafter referred to simply as INDIAN

                                                      REFINING COMPANY) - are dissolved. The New Orleans plant

                                                      is closed.

 

1920  INDIAN REFINING COMPANY purchases the capital stock of the Central Refining Company,

          which is located immediately north of the Lawrenceville refinery. The Central refinery

          facilities are ultimately reconfigured for lubricants manufacture.

 

1923  The general offices of INDIAN REFINING COMPANY are moved from New York City to

          Lawrenceville.

 

1924  INDIAN REFINING COMPANY sells its remaining producing properties (consisting mainly of

          wells and leases in Illinois and Ohio) to the Ohio Oil Company (later to become the Marathon

          Oil Company).

 

1924  The globes for INDIAN gasoline pumps are redesigned: a red “ball” with “INDIAN” arched

          above and “GAS” arched below (both in blue letters) on a white globe, replaces the reddish-

          brown and black “running Indian” design which was previously used. (One-piece globes

          also include “HAVOLINE”, in letters, vertically on each side.) 

 

1924-1925  Wishing to even more closely associate the two names, INDIAN REFINING COMPANY

                   adopts a totally re-designed “HAVOLINE” trademark and virtually identical “INDIAN

                   GAS” logo, both of which prominently feature the red-white-and-blue “ball” which had

                   first been incorporated into the “HAVOLINE” logo in 1922. A “dot” is added to the

                   middle of the “D” and above the second “I” in the word “INDIAN” (replicating the dots

                   within the “O” and above the “I” in “HAVOLINE”). “INDIAN HI-TEST” Gasoline (made

                   identifiable by red dye) is introduced on a limited basis.

 

1926  The subsidiary Indian Pipe Line Corporation is sold to the Illinois Pipe Line Company.

 

May 1926  The Texas Company introduces “New and Better TEXACO Gasoline”.

 

26 August 1926  The Texas Corporation is incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware

                            and, by exchange of shares, acquires substantially all outstanding stock of The

                            Texas Company (Texas).

 

20 April 1927  The Texas Company incorporates (under the laws of the State of Delaware) as the

                        principal operating subsidiary of The Texas Corporation. All assets of The Texas

                        Company (Texas) are transferred to The Texas Company (Delaware) and The Texas

                        Company (Texas) is dissolved. The Texas Corporation becomes the “parent com-

                        pany” of the by-now numerous “Texas Company” entities and other subsidiaries.

 

2 March 1928  The Texas Corporation acquires the California Petroleum Corporation,  which is 

                         reorganized as The Texas Company (California).

 

 

 

16 August 1929  Its chemists and engineers (led by Dr. Francis X. Govers) having perfected a

                            revolutionary solvent-dewaxing process, INDIAN REFINING COMPANY introduces

                            “HAVOLINE WAXFREE” motor oil, replacing “HAVOLINE the power oil” (which had,

                            early in the 1920’s, supplanted "HAVOLINE It Makes a Difference”). (An economy

                            "Blended HAVOLINE" is also offered, primarily in bulk.)

 

By 1930  “HAVOLINE” sales (both nation-wide and overseas) not only remain strong but grow,

               markedly, following the introduction of “HAVOLINE WAXFREE”. But, while it had once

               been in the retail gasoline, kerosene, and fuel oil markets (to varying extents) in over 25

               states, the growing effects of the Depression, increasing difficulty in competing with the

               larger oil companies, the lack of reliable sources of crude, and (especially) the huge

               amount of money spent in developing the Govers solvent-dewaxing process, combine to

               force INDIAN REFINING COMPANY to retrench and restrict such marketing to Indiana,

               Michigan, eastern Illinois, northern Kentucky, and western Ohio. (Within this limited area,

               however, the company still has a well-developed and efficient distribution and sales

               network. Into the latter 1920’s, for example, “INDIAN” accounts for some 20% of all

               gasoline sales in Indiana.)

 

1930  The Texas Corporation introduces “TEXACO Ethyl Gasoline” (which is renamed           

          “FIRE-CHIEF Ethyl” 15 April 1932).

 

August 1930  INDIAN REFINING COMPANY introduces a higher-octane "regular" gasoline which is

                       made identifiable by green dye and which is dubbed "INDIAN Green-Lite" Gasoline.

 

14 January 1931  The Texas Corporation gains controlling interest in INDIAN REFINING

                              COMPANY, including the rights to HAVOLINE Motor Oil (and the all-important

                              Govers solvent-dewaxing process) and INDIAN REFINING COMPANY’s

                              remaining active and inactive subsidiaries (the Indian Realty Corporation, the

                              Central Refining Company, and the Havoline Oil Company of Canada, Ltd.). This

                              also gives The Texas Corporation an established distribution and sales network

                              and entry into the retail gasoline market in Indiana, Michigan, eastern Illinois,

                              northern Kentucky, and western Ohio – areas in which it has not previously had

                              any significant presence. (The Texas Corporation limits use of the “HAVOLINE”

                              name to motor oil, only; it is not again used on products other than motor oil

                              until the mid-1990’s)

 

14 January 1931 – 15 March 1943  INDIAN REFINING COMPANY continues in operation as an

                                                          “affiliate” of The Texas Corporation, although all sales outlets

                                                          and company facilities and equipment are re-badged as

                                                          “TEXACO”. Production of “TEXACO” gasolines begins at the

                                                          Lawrenceville refinery. An “INDIAN”-brand gasoline becomes a

                                                          “sub-regular” (priced below “TEXACO” gasolines) and is added

                                                          to the product line at most outlets, nation-wide. Production of

                                                          “INDIAN” gasoline is included at other Texas Corporation

                                                          refineries. (It is during this period that "INDIAN" pumps bear a

                                                          distinctive plate - either round or rectangular - featuring an

                                                          art deco Indian beadwork design.) National marketing and sales

                                                          offices for INDIAN REFINING COMPANY are opened in

                                                          Indianapolis, Indiana.

 

15 April 1932  “TEXACO FIRE-CHIEF Gasoline” is introduced.

 

1934  Furfural solvent-extraction (developed by The Texas Corporation) is combined with the

          Govers solvent-dewaxing process in the manufacture of “HAVOLINE WAXFREE”.

 

1935  Production of “HAVOLINE WAXFREE” at Port Arthur Works is begun in order to supplement

          the output of the Lawrenceville refinery.

 

May 1936  “New TEXACO Motor Oil” (also produced with the solvent-dewaxing/furfural solvent-

                  extraction process but with a totally different and less-expensive formulation than that

                  of HAVOLINE) is introduced.

 

1938  “HAVOLINE – DISTILLED AND INSULATED” is introduced.

 

October 1938  “TEXACO Sky Chief Gasoline” is introduced (replacing “FIRE-CHIEF Ethyl”).

 

1 November 1941  The Texas Company (California) is instructed to transfer all assets to The

                               Texas Company (Delaware) and is then dissolved. The Texas Corporation

                               “merges itself into” The Texas Company (Delaware). The Texas Company

                               (Delaware) - hereafter referred to simply as “The Texas Company” - becomes

                               the “parent company”.

 

15 March 1943  INDIAN REFINING COMPANY’s stockholders transfer all of the company’s

                          property and assets to The Texas Company in exchange for shares of that

                          company’s stock. The Texas Company discontinues “INDIAN” gasoline and all

                          other use in trade of the INDIAN name.

 

24 April 1943  An agreement is implemented under which The Texas Company (partially by what

                        amounts to cash purchase but, primarily, through exchange of shares) secures all

                        INDIAN REFINING COMPANY stock, which is then cancelled. (INDIAN REFINING

                        COMPANY, INCORPORATED  is thus liquidated and is placed in “inactive corporation”

                        status by the State of Maine (under whose laws it was incorporated) 31 December

                        1943.)

 

30 April 1943  The Texas Company creates a second “Indian Refining Company”, which it

                        incorporates under the laws of the State of Delaware - a “shell” company which it

                        lists as an inactive subsidiary.       

 

1946  “New and Improved HAVOLINE” is introduced.   

 

1950  “Custom-Made HAVOLINE” is introduced.

 

Early 1950's  Lubricants production at the Lawrenceville refinery is discontinued; the lubricants

                      production facility is dismantled and portions of that area of the property are

                      disposed of.

 

1953  “Advanced Custom-Made HAVOLINE” is introduced.

 

1955  “Advanced Custom-Made HAVOLINE Special 10W-30” is introduced.

 

26 August 1958  INDIAN REFINING COMPANY, INCORPORATED is officially dissolved by the State of

                            Maine.

 

1 May 1959   The Texas Company becomes Texaco Inc.

 

1962       New HAVOLINE cans are introduced. The “TEXACO” trademark replaces the INDIAN REFINING COMPANY-era red-white-and-blue “ball” in a totally re-designed “HAVOLINE” logo.

 

1980  For numerous reasons (among them the expense of needed technological upgrades), the

          prospects for the Lawrenceville refinery’s future profitability have eroded significantly.

          Unable to establish what might be a viable alternative means of supplying product to the

          area, Texaco Inc. makes the decision to withdraw from the retail gasoline market in that

          portion of the upper Midwest traditionally serviced by Lawrenceville.

 

 

1982  The marking of all 55-gallon TEXACO drums becomes black with a red band. TEXACO

          oil drums had, historically, been gray with a green band with two exceptions. Drums of

          multi-grade (SAE 10W-30 and 10W-40) HAVOLINE Motor Oil were painted dark blue with a

          gold band and "head". Those of "straight-grade" HAVOLINE were painted dark blue with a

          white band and head – Texaco Inc.’s last remaining use of The Havemeyer Oil Company's

          original colors.

 

March 1985  The diminution of reasonably-accessible sources of suitable crude, the ever-

                      increasing costs of compliance with governmental regulations, and other business

                      considerations combine to make continued operation of the Lawrenceville refinery

                      economically unfeasible. Texaco Refining and Marketing Inc. (a recently-formed

                      subsidiary of Texaco Inc.) completes the withdrawal from the retail and wholesale

                      motor fuels market in a contiguous area spanning Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and

                      Wisconsin. The Lawrenceville refinery is closed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFTERWORD

 

 

1.  Texaco Refining and Marketing Inc. “sold” the idle Lawrenceville, Illinois refinery facilities to fellow Texaco Inc. subsidiary Indian Refining Company (Delaware) in 1988. In August 1989, follow-ing another change in ownership, both the refinery and Indian Refining Company (Delaware) were acquired by “second tier subsidiaries” of a Pennsylvania firm. The refinery was extensively re-furbished and put back in operation in November 1990. Unfortunately, it was again closed in September 1995, underwent subsequent changes in ownership and, as of this writing, is in the final stages of being dismantled.

 

2.  While they were similar in name, were both associated with The Texas Company / Texaco Inc.,

and had a common place of business, there does not appear to have been a true lineal connection between the original INDIAN REFINING COMPANY, INCORPORATED and the second “Indian Refining Company” (a Delaware corporation). The property, assets and stock of the former had been transferred directly to The Texas Company before the latter was created, and the former was still in existence (albeit in “inactive corporation” status) for more than 15 years thereafter. All available information clearly indicates that the latter Indian Refining Company (Delaware) was a separate entity from INDIAN REFINING COMPANY, INCORPORATED and should not be confused with the “old INDIAN”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCES OF INFORMATION

 

 

United States Patent and Trademark Office

 

United States Securities and Exchange Commission

 

Office of the Secretary of State of the State of Connecticut

 

Office of the Secretary of State of the State of Delaware

 

Office of the Secretary of State of the Commonwealth of Kentucky

 

Office of the Secretary of State of the State of Louisiana

 

Office of the Secretary of State of the State of Maine

 

Division of Commercial Recording, Department of the Treasury of the State of New Jersey

 

Office of the Secretary of State of the State of New York

 

Corporate Archives, ChevronTexaco Corporation, San Francisco, California

 

Corporate Archives, Texaco Inc., White Plains, New York

 

California State Archives

 

Indiana State Archives

 

Westchester County,  New York  Archives

 

Reference Section, Indiana State Library

 

Indiana Division, Indiana State Library

 

Reference Section, Louisiana Sate Library

 

Government & Business Department, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio

 

Reference Section, Georgetown and Scott County, Kentucky Public Library

 

Reference Section, Jasper County, Indiana Public Library

 

Cincinnati, Ohio city directories, 1909-1913

 

Indianapolis and Columbus, Indiana city directories, 1929-1932

 

“The Texaco Story - The First Fifty Years 1902-1952” (Marquis James, The Texas Company, 1953)

 

"Texaco People", Vol. 30, Nr. 5, September-October 1961

 

“Moody’s Analyses of Investments”, “Moody’s Manual of Investments”, “Moody’s Industrial  Manual” (various years from

     1918 through 1960)

 

“Illinois Journal of Commerce”, May 1926

 

“Gas Pump Globes” and “Oil Company Signs” (Benjamin and Henderson, Motorbooks International, 1993 and 1995,

     respectively)

 

“Images of America – Georgetown and Scott County” (Bevins, Johnson, and Apple, Arcadia Publishing, 1998)

 

“A History of Scott County as Told by Selected Buildings” (Ann Bolton Bevins, Kreative Grafiks, 1989)

 

“Lafayette [Indiana] Journal and Courier”, various dates from 1902 through 1952

 

“The Vincennes [Indiana] Sun”, 15 August 1929

 

Informational Booklet, 22 September - 2 October 1948 Open House, The Texas Company - Lawrenceville [Illinois]  Works

 

The Lawrenceville, Illinois “Daily Record”, 20 September 1974

 

 

SOURCES OF INFORMATION (CONTINUED)

 

 

Collection of articles, photographs, and notes of Ms Irene Black, Bridgeport, Illinois

 

Collection of articles, photographs, and notes of Mr. James Coleman, Olney, Illinois

 

Collection of articles, photographs, and notes of Mr. John Jacobsen, Sumner, Illinois

 

Notes of Mr. John Harper, San Ramon, California

 

Notes of Mr. Lee Lohman, Terre Haute, Indiana

 

Notes of Mr. Charles Reister, Scottsdale, Arizona

 

Notes of Mr. Don Waggoner, Lawrenceville, Illinois

 

Notes of Mr. Paul Weeditz, Houston, Texas