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Sinclair

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Sinclair
Fueling Station Chain

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Official Site: SinclairOil.com
Wikipedia: Sinclair Oil Corporation

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History
Multimedia
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History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Sinclair Oil Corporation page on 21 November 2016, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Sinclair Oil Corporation is an American petroleum corporation, founded by Harry F. Sinclair on May 1, 1916, as the Sinclair Oil and Refining Corporation by combining the assets of 11 small petroleum companies. Originally a New York corporation, Sinclair Oil reincorporated in Wyoming in 1976. The corporation's logo features the silhouette of a large green dinosaur. It is ranked on the list of US largest privately owned corporations. It owns and operates refineries, gas stations, hotels, a ski resort and a cattle ranch.

Sinclair has long been a fixture on American roads with its dinosaur logo and mascot, a Brontosaurus.

1916–1969

During September 1919, Harry F. Sinclair restructured Sinclair Oil and Refining Corporation, Sinclair Gulf Corporation, and 26 other related entities into Sinclair Consolidated Oil Corporation. In 1932, this new entity was renamed Consolidated Oil Corporation. In 1943, it was renamed Sinclair Oil Corporation.

Near the beginning of the Great Depression, Sinclair sold the remaining interest in its 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). With these funds, including an additional US$33.5 million from an additional common stock issue, Sinclair retired a number of promissory 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 Oil and Gas'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 and 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 reorganized, resulting in the creation of the Richfield Oil Corporation. Sinclair was instrumental in transferring capital and managerial assets into Richfield. Thirty years later, Richfield merged with Atlantic Refining, located on the East Coast, forming Atlantic Richfield.

At the Chicago World's Fair of 1933–1934, Sinclair sponsored a dinosaur exhibit meant to point out the putative correlation between the formation of petroleum deposits and the time of dinosaurs, now a largely discredited misconception. The exhibit included a two-ton animated model of a brontosaurus. 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 service-station attendant in advertisements. Some locations have a life-size model of the mascot straddling the building's entrance.

At the New York World's Fair of 1964–1965, 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 traveling exhibit.

Two of the replicas (Tyrannosaurus and Brontosaurus) are still on display at Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose, Texas. Another, a model of a Trachodon, has been displayed at Brookfield Zoo outside Chicago, Illinois. A replica of a Triceratops is either owned by the Kentucky Science Center and was being stored outdoors at an industrial park in South Louisville, Kentucky in 2016 or was donated by Sinclair to the Smithsonian Institution and is on display as "Uncle Beazley" in the National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C.

In 1955, Sinclair ranked 21st on the Fortune 500; by 1969, it had fallen to 58th.


Multimedia

1963
Sinclair Driveway Selling and Appearance
This film is available courtesy of the Prelinger Archives (public domain).
Download Sinclair Driveway Selling and Appearance from The Internet Archive - 34.3MB - 1:30
1965
Sinclair at the World's Fair
Great color; comprehensive footage of 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.
Produced by The Jam Handy Organization for Sinclair Refining Company
This film is available courtesy of the Prelinger Archives (public domain).
Download Sinclair at the World's Fair from The Internet Archive - 319MB - 14:00


Photographs

Sinclair Dino Gas Pump Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
for $2,250 at the Mecum 2012 Fall Premier Auction
View photo of Sinclair Dino Gas Pump - 1.6MB
Bennett Sinclair Gas Pump Bennett Gas Pump
for $3,200
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of Bennett Sinclair Gas Pump - 3.6MB
Sinclair Dinosaur No auction information - Mecum Auctions
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of Sinclair Dinosaur - 3.7MB


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