Vacuum Motor Oils

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Vacuum Motor Oil Company

The Vacuum Oil Company was the first oil company established in Australia. Prior to this other brands of oil based products were marketed by overseas companies through their Australian agents.

The company set up their Queen Street, Melbourne, branch in February 1895, less than 30 years after Vacuum first started operations in the US. Vacuum Oil's first salesman in Australia, Mr David Clarke, sold the company's first barrel of lubricating oil to a gold mining operation at Eaglehawk, near Bendigo, on his first day in the job.

In March 1904, Vacuum Oil was officially incorporated under Victorian Law as a proprietary company, and in 1906 the company issued Australia's first ever chart of "Recommendations to Motorists" covering about 200 makes of car.

By 1908, Vacuum was growing rapidly and merged with the Colonial Oil Co, a company marketing kerosene and motor spirit, adding to Vacuum's specialty lubricant products. In 1916, Vacuum introduced its "Plume" and "Laurel" brands to the Australian market and a year later brought its first 100 gallon, horse drawn tank wagon into service.

As motor vehicles became more popular in Australia, Vacuum expanded its operations. In 1924 Vacuum opened its first bulk petroleum products terminal at Pulpit Point in Sydney and took delivery of its first imported bulk oil products cargo, a 1.5 million gallon shipment carried from the United States by the tanker "HT Harper".

A decade later, Vacuum introduced "Ethyl", Australia's first Super grade motor spirit. Around the same time in the US, Vacuum's parent company, Vacuum Oil Inc, merged with the Standard Oil Company of New York to become Socony Vacuum, then Socony Mobil that ultimately became Mobil Corporation. Vacuum replaced the famous Plume brand name with Mobilgas in 1954.

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