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The Untouchables Gulf Oil Products

The Untouchables Gulf Oil ProductsAdvertising Button Museum
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Gulf logo in the center of the button, encircled by blue text on a white background.

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The business that would become Gulf Oil started in 1901 with the discovery of oil at Spindletop, near Beaumont, on the Gulf Coast of Texas. A group of investors - the largest of whom was William Larimer Mellon, grandson of Thomas Mellon, founder of the Mellon Bank - promoted the development of a oil refinery at Port Arthur, to refine the oil found at Spindletop and in 1907, the Gulf Oil Coroporation was founded.  The company chose the color orange for their tank wagons because it wasn't being used by any other refinery company and the colour was later adopted for their company logo.


The business grew steadily and achived notable commercial and technical innovations including establishing the first drive-in service station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1913 - where they also sold the first commerical road maps in the US - and building the world's first over water oil platform in Caddo Lake, in 1911.  In 1932, Gulf Oil finished construction on their headquaters in Pittsburgh, a 44-story skyscrapper known as the Gulf Building, which was the tallest building in Pittsburgh until 1970. Gulf Oil expanded worldwide until the early 1970's, acquiring privately owned chains of gas stations through which they would then sell Gulf products.  The company became substantially invested in product technology and developed many speciality products for the maritime and aviation sectors, most notably its range of greases and lubricants.


After a period of decline in the 1970s, Gulf Oil ceased to exist as an independent company in 1985 when it merged with the Standard Oil Company and rebranded as Chevron. The Gulf brand was licensed by Chevron to Cumberland Farms in 1986 which operated around 500 gas stations in 11 states with the Gulf brand.  The US rights to the Gulf Oil brand were subsequently sold by Chevron to Cumberland Farms (now operating as Gulf Oil Limited Partnership) in 2010, which is headquarted in Framingham, Massachusetts, and the company now distributes fuel to more than 2,000 Gulf branded gas stations across the US.


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