Researching a Chicago oil products company sign.


A Chicago college student contacted the American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) seeking oil history research suggestions about a porcelain sign from the Star Oil Company. “I’ve tried to do some research on it but I haven’t even found a place to start,” the student noted.

Star Oil Company Sign image submitted for oil history research.

Star Oil Company Sign image submitted for AOGHS oil history research.

“All I have to go off of is the sign with the name of a building in Chicago in the bottom corner,” he explained, adding that another collector had found a Star Oil Company booklet also tracing back to Chicago. “I’m hoping you could help me find out even a little information about this company, I’m not looking to sell or anything.” 

“My dad and I just have a passion for anything with an engine as well as history and are very curious about this company and why it seems to have been all but forgotten. Any help would be greatly appreciated,” the student’s email concluded.

Oil History Research

AOGHS research revealed some information about Star Oil Company and its high grade auto oils. As always with historical society petroleum history articles, suggestions and research tips are welcomed in the comments section. Hundreds of old petroleum exploration companies are featured in Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything?

Old petroleum trade publications reported Chicago’s Star Oil Company as a manufacturer and jobber of lubricants and greases. The company was an Ebeneezer Hamilton family business with roots as far back as 1890.

Advertisement for Star Oil o.

Oil history research discovered a Star Oil Company ad in the 1911 trade publication International Steam Engineer.

By 1905, company president Ebeneezer Hamilton reported $5,000 in common stock with the business located at 307 South Des Plains Street (it would move to Chicago’s 348 Irving Avenue and later to 440 Halsted Street). Star Oil Company supplied oil products for both steam and gasoline engines.

By the time of America’s first auto show in November 1900, the company was rapidly increasing its varieties of lubrications.

By 1920, Star Oil capitalization had grown to $30,000 as the company submitted patent and trademark applications for branding Class 15 oil and grease products. Other Star Oil Company trade name applications included Royal, Comet, Star, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn (a cylinder oil).

Also a distributor of Quaker State motor oils, Star Oil trademarked the brand Golden Star Oil in 1926. According to AOGHS oil history research, after a century in business, Grant Hamilton sold the family business in 1992.


The American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) preserves U.S. petroleum history. Become an AOGHS annual supporting member and help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact © 2023 Bruce A. Wells.

Citation Information – Article Title: “Seeking Star Oil Company.” Authors: B.A. Wells and K.L. Wells. Website Name: American Oil & Gas Historical Society. URL: Last Updated: April 12, 2023. Original Published Date: January 21, 2001.


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