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March 17, 2021  –  Oil & Gas History News, Vol. 2, No. 3


Oil & Gas History News


As a welcomed Spring arrives, our March newsletter looks back at events that shaped the U.S. petroleum industry. These summaries link to updated articles from “This Week in Petroleum History” on the AOGHS website. This month features the origin of the iconic red Pegasus logo, some new technologies, and a few noteworthy petroleum product polymers.


This Week in Petroleum History Monthly Update


Links to summaries from four weeks of U.S. oil and natural gas history, including new technologies, oilfield discoveries, petroleum products, and pioneers.

March 16, 1911 – Pegasus Trademark takes flight


A Vacuum Oil Company subsidiary in Cape Town, South Africa, trademarked a flying horse logo inspired by Pegasus of Greek mythology. Based in Rochester, New York, Vacuum Oil had built a successful lubricants business long before gasoline was a branded product. When Vacuum Oil and Standard Oil of New York combined in 1931, the new company adopted the Pegasus trademark…MORE

March 9, 1930 – Prototype Oil Tanker is Electrically Welded


The world’s first electrically welded commercial vessel, the Texas Company (later Texaco) oil tanker M/S Carolinian, was completed in Charleston, South Carolina. The shipbuilding boom during World War I had encouraged American and British shipbuilders to develop new electric welding technologies. The 226-ton vessel was a prototype…MORE

March 1, 1921 – Halliburton improves Well Cementing


Erle P. Halliburton patented his “Method and Means for Cementing Oil Wells,” helping to improve a key oilfield technology. “It is well known to those skilled in the art of oil well drilling that one of the greatest obstacles to successful development of oil bearing sands has been the encountering of liquid mud water and the like during and after the process of drilling the wells,” he noted…MORE

February 22, 1923 – First Carbon Black Factory in Texas


Texas granted its first permit for a carbon black factory to J.W. Hassel & Associates in Stephens County. Scientists had discovered that carbon black greatly increased the durability of rubber used in tires. Produced by the controlled combustion of petroleum products, carbon black could be used in many rubber and plastic products…MORE


Featured Image


A Japanese postcard from World War II commemorates the 1942 submarine attack on the California refinery and storage facilities at Ellwood, a small oilfield community north of Santa Barbara. Image courtesy John Geoghegan.


Japanese Submarine shells California Oil Refinery

Less than three months after the start of World War II, Imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-17 attacked a refinery and oilfield near Los Angeles. The submarine fired armor-piercing shells at the Bankline Oil Company refinery in Ellwood for 20 minutes before escaping into the night. The bombardment caused little damage — but created the largest mass sighting of UFOs in American history.  Learn more in Japanese Sub attacks Oilfield.


Energy Education Articles


Updated editorial content on the American Oil & Gas Historical Society website includes these articles:

On St. Patrick’s Day of 1949, Texas independent producer Glenn H. McCarthy hosted the grand opening of his $21 million, 1,100-room Shamrock Hotel on outskirts of Houston. McCarthy, who had discovered 11 oilfields by 1945, spent another $1 million for his hotel’s opening day gala. He also arranged for a 16-car Santa Fe Super Chief train to bring friends from Hollywood. Learn more in “Diamond Glenn” McCarthy.


While seeking the right material for making new toys in the 1950s, Wham-O chose “Marlex,” the world’s first high-density polyethylene plastic recently invented by chemists at Phillips Petroleum Company. The Bartlesville, Oklahoma, oil company’s marketing executives were relieved, since the transition from lab to market had proven difficult for the new plastic. Learn more in Petroleum Product Hoopla.


Former Harvard professor Wallace Carothers discovered the first synthetic fiber – nylon – while working at a DuPont research lab in 1935. After experimenting for more than six years, Carothers created a long molecule chain, a stretching plastic. The new petroleum product would be first used commercially in a nylon-bristled toothbrush in 1938. Learn more in Nylon, a Petroleum Polymer.


Thank you for reading our latest monthly “Oil & Gas History News.” Special thanks to new supporting members, who are helping AOGHS maintain its website, expand research, and add articles. All subscribers can help further by simply forwarding this newsletter to friends and colleagues!

— Bruce Wells

AOGHS membership ad for 2020

“Any survey of the natural resources used as sources of energy must include a discussion about the importance of oil, the lifeblood of all industrialized nations.” — Daniel Yergin, bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize

© American Oil & Gas Historical Society, 3204 18th Street NW, No. 3, Washington, District of Columbia 20010, United States, (202) 387-6996

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