Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,123 pages of information and 245,598 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Anglo-American Oil Co

From Graces Guide
Drain cover seen in Gatehouse of Fleet, Galloway, Scotland, in 2019.
Drain cover seen at The Quay, Appledore, North Devon, in 2021.
Advertising Sign.
Advertising Sign.
Advertising sign.
Advertising sign.
Advertising Sign.
Advertising sign.
Advertising sign.
Advertising sign.
Advertising sign.
Advertising sign.
Advertising sign.
July 1900.
July 1900.
May 1901.
January 1902.
November 1902.
January 1903.
November 1903.
January 1903.
February 1903.
May 1903.
May 1903.
July 1903.
December 1903. Pratts Motor Spirit.
May 1904. Pratts Motor Spirit.
May 1904.
September 1905.
September 1908.
October 1909.
November 1909.
July 1910.
July 1910.
March 1916.
March 1919.
November 1919.
December 1919.
January 1920.
January 1920.
January 1920.
February 1921.
May 1921.
Dec 1921.
February 1922. Golden Pump.
March 1922.


April 1922.
November 1922.
November 1922.
June 1923.
August 1923.
August 1923.
October 1923.
March 1924.


June 1924.
August 1926.
September 1927.
November 1927.
1927. Valor.
June 1928.
April 1928.
August 1928.
September 1928.
December 1929.
October 1931.
1933. Stanavo.
October 1933.
February 1935.
May 1935.
October 1936.

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 with an office in London and a depot at Purfleet in Essex. The depot stored paraffin being shipped from New York for use in lamps throughout England.

1888 The company was registered on 27 April. [1]

1889 the company began bulk distribution of refined petroleum products in the UK. Two steam tanker vessels, 'Bayonne' and 'Manhattan' were commissioned to import oils from America.

1890 Anglo-American leased a three acre site at Broad Pill, Avonmouth, for the construction of oil storage tanks

1892 Began to supply gas oil for the manufacture of town gas.

1896 Began marketing Pratt's motor spirit. Later introduced Taxibus, Valor and Royal Daylight Lamp Oil.

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.

1910 Advert by Anglo-American Oil Co of Pratt's motor spirit[2].

1914 the company was importing 14 million gallons of fuel per year to the UK

1916 Sales of lamp oil were surpassed by those of motor fuel.

1917 Became a member of the Pool Board, set up by the government to control distribution of petroleum products[3].

1920 Anglo-American introduced the first hand-operated petrol pumps with underground storage tanks of 300- to 500-gallon capacity.

1921 Refinery opened at Fawley, Hants[4].

Post-WWI: Acquired G. L. I. Co

1925 Anglo-American acquired control of the British-Mexican Petroleum Co. Ltd, which included 10 storage and bunkering plants, a large fleet of motor lorries and eight 10,000 gallon distribution tankers.

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[5].

1931 Merger of Redline Motor Spirit Co and Glico Petroleum Company

1933 Anglo-American introduced the first hydrogenated lubricating oil Essolube[6].

1934 Anglo-American Oil Co replaced the brand name Pratt's by Esso, to align with other products such as Essolube, Essolene, etc[7].

All the company's fuel brand names were changed to Esso within a year except that the Pratt's brand name remained in use for lubricant products until the 1950s.

1935 Mr J B R Morton retired as director of Anglo-American Oil Co, British Mexican Petroleum Co, and Redline-Glico - presumably indicating these companies were closely associated by this time[8].

1937 Petrol and oil suppliers. [9]

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 Began production at the UK's first oil well in Dalgeith, Scotland, which produced 10-20 barrels a day.

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.

The company's tanker fleet was requisitioned by the UK Government to maintain fuel supplies to the UK.

Operation PLUTO supplied petroleum from the Anglo-American refinery at Fawley for the D-Day landings.

1948 The Petroleum Board was dissolved in June.

1949 Major construction work began at Fawley to create the UK's largest refinery.

1951 the new Fawley Refinery opened, processing 124,000 barrels of crude oil per day within a year. A petrochemicals plant was constructed alongside the refinery and began operations in 1958

1951 The company changed its name to Esso Petroleum Co Ltd.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  2. The Times 29 March 1910
  3. New York Times May 5, 1917
  4. The Times, 19 November 1973
  5. The Times, 30 May 1929
  6. The Times, 29 April 1933
  7. The Times, 5 April 1935
  8. The Times, 9 August 1935
  9. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  • Competition Commission [1]
  • [2] Esso