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Sinclair Oil

Sinclair Oil Corporation
Public until 1969
Subsidiary 1969 - 1976
Private since 1976
FoundedMay 1, 1916
HeadquartersSalt Lake City, Utah, USA
Key peopleEarl Holding
Stephen Holding
Peter M. Johnson, President
IndustryOil and Gasoline
Slogan"Sinclair...we're about as American as it gets."
"Drive with care and buy Sinclair."

Sinclair Oil is an American petroleum corporation, founded by Harry F. Sinclair on May 1, 1916, as Sinclair Oil & Refining Corporation, by combining the assets of eleven small petroleum companies.[1] Originally a New York corporation, Sinclair Oil was reincorporated in Wyoming in 1976.[2] The corporation's logo features the silhouette of a large green dinosaur.



Sinclair the company has a long history of being a fixture on American roads (and briefly in other countries) with its dinosaur logo and mascot, an apatosaurus (brontosaurus). Harry Sinclair as an oilman holds a very famous place in the politcal history of the U.S.A. through his deep involvement in the Teapot Dome Scandal of 1920-1922, which stained the administration of President Warren G. Harding even though Harding himself was not involved in the illegal oil leases in Wyoming.

Sinclair, A Great Name In Oil (1916-1969)

During September 1919, Harry F. Sinclair restructured Sinclair Oil & Refining Corporation , Sinclair Gulf Corporation, and 26 other related entities into Sinclair Consolidated Oil Corporation.[3] In 1932, this new entity was renamed as Consolidated Oil Corporation. In 1943, it was renamed for the last time, as Sinclair Oil Corporation.[4]

Near the beginning of the Great Depression, Sinclair sold the remaining interest in their pipeline subsidiary to Standard Oil Company (Indiana) for US$72.5 million (Standard Oil had purchased a 50% interest in the pipeline subsidiary in 1921).[5] With these funds, including an additional US$33.5 million from an additional common stock issue, Sinclair retired a number of bank notes and prepared to weather the depression with the remaining supply of cash.

During the Great Depression, Sinclair saved a number of other petroleum companies from receivership or bankruptcy and acquired others to expand its operations. In 1932, Sinclair purchased the assets of Prairie's pipeline and producing companies in the Southern United States, and the Rio Grande Oil Company in California. The purchase of Prairie also gave Sinclair a 65% interest in Producers & Refiners Corporation (or Parco), which Sinclair subsequently acquired when Parco entered receivership in 1934. Lastly, in 1936, Sinclair purchased the East Coast marketing subsidiary of Richfield Oil Company which had operated in receivership for several years. Richfield then underwent a reorganization which resulted in the creation of Richfield Oil Corporation. Sinclair was instrumental in transferring capital and managerial assets into Richfield. Thirty years later, Richfield merged with Atlantic, located on the East Coast, forming Atlantic Richfield.[6]

At the Chicago World's Fair of 1933-34, Sinclair sponsored a dinosaur exhibit meant to point out the correlation between the formation of petroleum deposits and the Age of Dinosaurs, and included a two-ton animated model of a brontosaur. The exhibit proved so popular it inspired a promotional line of rubber brontosaurs at Sinclair stations, complete with wiggling heads and tails, and the eventual inclusion of the brontosaur logo. Later, inflatable dinosaurs were given as promotional items and an anthropomorphic version appeared as a station attendant in advertisements.

At the New York World's Fair of 1964/65, Sinclair again sponsored a dinosaur exhibit, "Dinoland", featuring life-size replicas of nine different dinosaurs, including their signature brontosaurus. Souvenirs from the exhibit included a brochure ("Sinclair and the Exciting World of Dinosaurs") and molded plastic figurines of the dinosaurs featured. After the Fair closed, Dinoland spent a period of time as a travelling exhibit.

In 1955, Sinclair was #21 on the Fortune 500, but by 1969, it had fallen to #58.[7]

Sinclair and Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) (1969-1976)

In 1969, Sinclair was acquired by the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO). Federal anti-trust provisions required the new entity to divest itself of certain of the Sinclair assets, and as a result, the East Coast operations of Sinclair were sold to BP (BP has since purchased ARCO). After the acquisition by ARCO, the dinosaur was phased out, but at least one service station, in Winona, Minnesota, retained the original look through the 1980s. Many Sinclair stations in the Midwest continued to use the dinosaur logo along with ARCO's "diamond spark" logo and at least some Sinclair stations were branded as such for a time with ARCO's blue rectangular logo including the "spark" but with the word "Sinclair" substituted for ARCO.

Sinclair and Earl Holding (1976-Present)

In 1976, ARCO spun-off Sinclair by selling certain assets to Earl Holding. Assets divested in the spin-off included ARCO's retail operations from the region between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, and the rights to the Sinclair brand and logo, resulting in many stations along Interstate 80 keeping the dinosaur logo. The ARCO stations in Texas, New Mexico, Illinois and some portions of Oklahoma were not affected by the divesture and continued until ARCO pulled out of those states in the 1980s.

Sinclair has been owned by the Holdings since 1976. Earl Holding also owns Sun Valley Resort in Idaho, Snowbasin Resort in Utah, the Little America hotels, the Westgate Hotel in San Diego, California, and the Grand America Hotel, a five-diamond hotel and member of the Leading Hotels of the World, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Currently headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, Sinclair ranks #38 among the largest private companies in the United States.[8] There are 2,607 Sinclair gas stations in 20 states in the western U.S. and the Midwest. The corporation operates three refineries: one in Casper, Wyoming, one in Sinclair, Wyoming (near Rawlins), and another in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Other operations include 1,000 miles of pipeline.

Sinclair continues to use the green dinosaur, affectionately called "Dino", and markets all its products under the logo. Sinclair patented the gasoline additive SG-2000. The high-octane fuel blend is called "Dino Supreme", a trade name used since 1961 when many oil companies still used trade names for their fuels instead of generic terms like "regular", "premium" or "unleaded".

Sinclair is recognized by the Terror-Free Oil Initiative as one of the few filling stations that does not buy oil from terrorism-sponsoring states such as those in the Middle East.[8]

References to Sinclair in popular culture

  • In the animatronic Dinosaurs TV series, the last name of main character Earl and his family is Sinclair, after the oil company. A number of other characters on the show also had names that were petroleum-related references, such as Earl's boss "B.P. Richfield".
  • In the 2006 movie Cars, Sinclair and Sunoco were parodied: the main sponsorship for the winning car was from a company called "Dinoco", using a similar logo to Sinclair's brontosaurus and name to that of Sunoco. Dinoco was earlier the name of the gas station in Toy Story, another Pixar production.
  • In the computer game Interstate '76, one of the fictitious gas station chains was named "Sincere" and featured an armadillo on his logo instead of the dinosaur.
  • Metal drummer Joey Jordison of Slipknot worked for Sinclair.
  • In the 1994 movie Forrest Gump, a Sinclair gas station can be seen in the background as Mrs. Gump is walking with a young Forrest Gump, who subsequently gets his foot stuck in a drainage grate.

See also


  1. ^ [1]Retrieved October 19, 2007.
  2. ^ Wyoming Secretary of State, Corporations Division. Search keyword = Sinclair. 2nd page. CID 198000134254. Retrieved January 12, 2007.
  3. ^ [2]Retrieved October 19, 2007.
  4. ^ [3]Retrieved October 19, 2007.
  5. ^ [4]Retrieved October 19, 2007.
  6. ^ [5]Retrieved October 19, 2007.
  7. ^ [6] Retrieved March 29, 2007.
  8. ^ [7] Retrieved March 29, 2007.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sinclair_Oil". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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