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Energy & Natural Resources - ExxonMobil - Timeline

The corporate entities that would become Exxon and Mobil began the 20th century as components of one company. At the end of the century, they came together as a single premier organization. Each company placed an individual imprint on the energy industry and on a dynamic era of world history. Both Exxon and Mobil trace their roots to the late 19th century, when American industry was booming in numerous sectors—steel, railroads and banking, to name a few. The nation's young petroleum industry picked up the pace, too, to meet the growth in demand for its products.

1870    John D. Rockefeller and partners form the Standard Oil Company of Ohio.

1882    Standard Oil Trust was formed to organize the interests of a group of oil producers led by John D. Rockefeller.

1882    Two refining and marketing organizations—Standard Oil Company of New Jersey and Standard Oil Company of New York—were incorporated. "Jersey Standard" and "Socony," as they were commonly known, were the chief predecessor companies of Exxon and Mobil, respectively.

1903    Predecessor companies supplied the Wright Brothers with oil and fuel for their early flights.

1906    Standard Oil's "Mei Foo" kerosene lamps introduced illumination across China and opened a vast new market. These lamps were imported by the millions and spread throughout China.

1911    The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of the Standard Oil Trust, resulting in the spin-off of 33 companies, including Jersey Standard and Socony.

1911    The nation's kerosene output was eclipsed for the first time by a formerly discarded by-product, gasoline.

1920    The growing automotive market ultimately inspired the product trademark Mobiloil, registered by Socony.

1927    Charles Lindbergh uses Mobiloil as a lubricant in the Spirit of St. Louis, on the first solo flight across the Atlantic.

1931    Socony merged with Vacuum Oil Company, an industry pioneer founded in 1866 and a growing Standard Oil spin-off in its own right.

1932    Distribution remained an issue for both companies. In the Asia-Pacific region, Jersey Standard had oil production and refineries in Indonesia but no marketing network. Socony-Vacuum had Asian marketing outlets supplied remotely from California.

1933    Jersey Standard and Socony-Vacuum merged their interest in the region into a 50-50 joint venture. Standard-Vacuum Oil Company, or Stanvac, operated in 50 countries, from East Africa to New Zealand, before it was dissolved in 1962.

1939–1945    The spirit of expansion was temporarily interrupted by World War II. Each company beefed up refining output to supply the Allied war effort. Also aiding the cause were new technologies, such as Jersey Standard's groundbreaking process for boosting fuel octane and Socony-Vacuum's synthetic lubricants. Both companies suffered wartime casualties. Tankers and their crews were lost on the seas. Refineries and other facilities in Europe and Asia were destroyed.

In the post-war years, renewed prosperity in the U.S. and rebuilding in Europe helped put Jersey Standard and Socony-Vacuum firmly back on their global growth tracks. New technologies and growing markets also spurred the development of petrochemicals and an array of derivative products. Over the next years, ExxonMobil's predecessor companies learned to transform refinery by-products into many basic petrochemicals and numerous derivatives. Since the end of World War II, the two companies have each advanced theologies, expanded business lines and established markets in more than 100 countries.

1955    Socony-Vacuum became Socony Mobil Oil Company.

1960     Mobil Chemical Company was established.

1963    Esso Chemical Company was established.

1966    Socony Mobil Oil Company becomes Mobil Oil Corporation

1970s    The oil industry and the world were rocked by an Arab oil embargo and by revolution in Iran. Both events triggered disruptions in oil supplies, extreme price hikes, conservation efforts and the development of alternative energy sources. Exxon, Mobil and other companies escalated exploration and development outside the Middle East—in the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, Africa and Asia. By the early 1980s, oil was in surplus and prices fell.

1972    Jersey Standard changed its name to Exxon Corporation and establishes Exxon as an uncontested trademark through the United States, replacing the brand names Humble, Esso and Enco used by Humble Oil & Refining Company, its major domestic affiliate. In other parts of the world, Exxon and its affiliated companies continue to use its long-time Esso trademark.

1980s–1999    For the remainder of the 20th century, Exxon and Mobil continued to operate in a relatively low-price, low-margin environment. Markets in the United States and Europe matured.  Regulations became more stringent. Competitiveness tightened worldwide. Each company continued to advance new technologies, introduce marketing innovations and extend its reach into emerging, high-growth markets. The two companies became more efficient, reduced costs and increased shareholder value.

1988    Mobil Chemical Company's principal products included basic olefins and aromatics, ethylene glycol and polyethylene. The company produced synthetic lube base stocks as well as lube additives, propylene packaging films and catalysts. Manufacturing facilities were located in 10 countries.

1988    Exxon Chemical Company was a major producer and marketer of olefins, aromatics, polyethylene and polypropylene along with specialty lines such as elastomers, plasticizers, solvents, process fluids, oxo alcohols and adhesive resins. The company was an industry leader in metallocene catalyst technology to make unique polymers with improved performance. Manufacturing facilities were located in 24 countries.

1999    Exxon and Mobil signed a definitive agreement to merge and form a new company called Exxon Mobil Corporation.


Exxon Corporation
Standard Oil Company (New Jersey)
Standard Oil Company of New Jersey

Mobil Corporation
Mobil Oil Corporation
Socony Mobil Oil Company
Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, Inc.
Socony-Vacuum Corporation
Standard Oil Company of New York (Socony)
Vacuum Oil Company, Inc.