Dino, Oil and High Test! Who is Sinclair?

Posted by on September 5, 2008

With over 2,000 stations and established in 20+ states, Sinclair Oil is a major part of the American economy today.  Established in the early part of the century, this company rode the wave of American companies capitalizing on the birth of the “Petroleum Age”. Led by Harry F. Sinclair, the company was formed from a host of smaller concerns and grew rapidly from there.


Life wasn’t easy in these years.  The technology was base and the fantastic rush to grab the riches from the earth made for interesting stories. In his book, Half a Century with Sinclair, W.L. Connelly tells us this:

“…All along the lines of this development were boom towns
galore. There was frantic movement of oil field equipment
over roads that had seen no paving. Much of the equipment
was moved by teams rather than by power-driven trucks. Oil
was money, and the scramble for it was earnest and relentless.
Men learned to snatch sleep where they could get it. Meals
were taken at boarding houses, at cheap restaurants, in a sack
from a grocery store, in fact, wherever it could be got, and the
cost was almost never small….” (pg. 30)

While being successful, the company has not avoided controversy either, the most memorable event being involved in the Teapot Dome Scandal.  One of the major, major issues of the Harding administration, the aftermath engulfed both the company and its founder, Harry Sinclair, who ended up being charged by the court with contempt for failure to comply.  Much money was lost because of this decision, not to mention the labor and costs associated with building the pipelines and infrastructure needed.


Known best perhaps by the use of the dinosaur logo in advertising, the origins of which can be traced back to the financing of the Howe Dinosaur quarry.  Brought to the public light in the Thirties, this is a virtual treasure trove of bones, archaeology and information.


Well, that’s our introduction to Sinclair Oil.  An important part of our past, make sure you check the links below for more details and information on this classic American company.  Seeing their dino on the pump at Columbus COSI, I never dreamed of the extensive history behind the brand name.


As a side note, and due to prior commitments, family requirements as well as a host of other issues, the podcast for this blog is switching to a weekly format.  Each podcast will contain information on the week’s posts as well as book reviews, and anything else I can find about history that might be neat and fun!

Thanks for stopping by today and have a great weekend!


The Oil Business As I Saw It: Half a Century with Sinclair

Starring T. Rex! (Google Book search)

Wyoming. Federal Writer’s Project (Google Book search)

Dinosaur Exhibit (1934 World’s Fair)

Sinclair Oil home page

Sinclair Advertising (Dino)

Origins of the Dino


(1) LOC

(2) Me. Columbus COSI.

(3) American Memory Project

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