Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 132,191 pages of information and 209,712 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
Anglo-American Oil Co. Ltd, distributor or motor spirit, of 36 Queen Anne's Gate, London, SW1 (predecessor of Esso)
1888 Anglo-American Oil Co was established as the UK distributing subsidiary of the Standard Oil Company of America.
1888 The company was registered on 27 April. 
1899 introduced the use of sealed two-gallon cans for petrol distribution. Through its commercial policy and by the acquisition of competitors the company achieved a dominant position
1890s Russian oil entered the market which challenged the dominance of Anglo-American. By 1900 about one-third of all petroleum products imported came from Russian sources.
1917 Became a member of the Pool Board, set up by the government to control distribution of petroleum products.
1920 Anglo-American introduced the first hand-operated petrol pumps with underground storage tanks of 300- to 500-gallon capacity.
Post-War: Acquired G. L. I. Co
1928 Introduction of a superior grade of petrol: Pratt's Ethyl.
1929 In response to competitive pressures, Anglo-American would supply Pratt's Motor Oils directly to garages.
1933 Anglo-American introduced the first hydrogenated lubricating oil Essolube.
1937 Petrol and oil suppliers. 
1938 Anglo-American Oil Co acquired a majority interest in Cleveland, an independent company. Cleveland's products included a benzole blend and an alcohol blend called Discol developed by Distillers Co. The Cleveland name continued in use until 1973, when the Cleveland filling stations were re-branded as Esso.
1938 the principal suppliers of petrol in the UK, namely Anglo-American Oil Co, National Benzole Co, Shell-Mex and B. P. and Trinidad Leaseholds, joined together with Government approval to form the Petroleum Board to consider the problems of petroleum distribution in the event of war.
1939 On 3rd September, the Board became an executive body under Government direction. All products were sold under a Pool description, the selling price of each product being subject to Government control.
1948 The Petroleum Board was dissolved in June.
1951 The company changed its name to Esso Petroleum Co Ltd.