The history of Mobil Oil encompasses brands as well known as Exxon, Standard, and Socony and as obscure as Vacuum Oil, which was founded in 1866. Vacuum’s first big product was Gargoyle 600-W Steam Cylinder Oil, an engine lubricant patented in 1869 and still in use today.

In the 20th century, Mobil’s evolution paralleled its most famous brand, the Flying Red Horse or Pegasus, as it’s also known. Curiously, the Flying Red Horse was introduced as a white-winged steed in 1911, the year an antitrust lawsuit divided Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey into 33 smaller companies, including Standard Oil of New York, or Socony. The Mobil brand was used in Socony products, as well as Socony-Vacuum products after the merger of those two companies in 1931. By 1966, the company was finally known as Mobil, and “Peggy’s” flight path had switched from ascending to the left to rising to the right.

Since Mobil products and those of its forebears were sold internationally, petroliana collectors around the world look for oil bottles, cans, signs, gas globes, gas pumps, calendars, and even matchbooks with Mobiloil, Mobilgas, Mobilubricant, Mobilfuel, Mobilgrease, and other brands on them. Mobil objects bearing Pegasus are obviously popular, but so are those marked with a red gargoyle, harkening back to the company’s Vacuum Oil roots.

Vintage Mobil signs range from square flanges and shield-shaped pump plates to horse-shaped “cookie cutters” and round “lollipops,” which were attached to the tops of bulk-oil dispensers. Sometimes signs offer clues to their origins, such as a Gargoyle/Mobiloil sign from the 1930s with the words “Rochester U.S.A.” on it—the prominence of the name of the upstate New York city suggests the sign was produced by a non-U.S. manufacturer of Gargoyle products, for whom the “U.S.A.” designation was probably a selling point.

Like the signs, some of the earliest Mobiloil cans also share branding with Gargoyle. The labels on these one-quart cylindrical and square cans are generally made of paper, which means finding one in pristine condition is next to impossible. Some of the most interesting Gargoyle/Mobiloil cans are the cone-shaped containers produced in Germany before World War II. Other Gargoyle/Mobiloil cans of note include the rectangular half gallons and square gallon varieties, which are filled with everything from “Arctic” oil (designed to work well in cold climates) to type “E” (a blend that was “Especially Recommended for Ford Cars”).

Oil bottles and spouts, along with the racks that displayed them, are also collectible. Look for “Filpruf,” diamond-shaped bottles with embossed gargoyles on their sides. The metal spouts of these bottles were said to be Filpruf because they could only be filled with Mobiloil, which assured the customer that he or she was not being sold an inferior brand.

Other Mobil memorabilia of interest to petroliana collectors includes glassware given away or sold at gas stations. Tumblers bearing the logos of NFL teams are common, while tall frosted glasses made during the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair are less so. The shape and graphics of Mobil 1 oil cans were repurposed from everything from transistor radios to banks, while Pegasus appeared on advertising thermometers, playing cards, folding knives, and cigarette lighters...

Naturally, toy trucks are popular with Mobil collectors, especially among those who also collect tinplate, friction toys produced in postwar Japan. In the United States, Smith-Miller built top-of-the-line Mobil trucks with retractable hoses, while Tootsie Toys made more affordable two-piece vehicles. Other makers of Mobil toy trucks include Dinky Toy of England.

Finally, there’s a good deal of paper for Mobil ephemera collectors. These pieces range from road maps to ink blotters to Flying Red Horse Almanacs. While most of these items are branded with the words Mobil or Socony, but other names to look for include Magnolia, General, and Gilmore, which were acquired by Socony Mobil in 1959.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Primarily Petroliana

Primarily Petroliana

Jim Potts’ site for petroliana collectors, featuring image galleries and community features such as a discussion … [read review or visit site]

Petroliana.co.uk

Petroliana.co.uk

Alan Chandler’s impressive collection of early British and European petroliana, including galleries with beautifu… [read review or visit site]

Petromobilia Switzerland

Petromobilia Switzerland

Alex Wyler’s site is mostly in German, but the collection and images speak for themselves. You’ll find old gas … [read review or visit site]

Falvo Collectables Gallery

Falvo Collectables Gallery

Ralph and Carol Falvo's excellent collection of automobiles, petroliana, jukeboxes, soda, and general store items. … [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Mobil 30 A Tin Top Oil Bottle Pourer Australian Winged Horse LogoVintage 1970's Mobil Gas Station Oil 24" Metal Thermometer Sign~worksVintage Mobil "metro" 11 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign! Pump Plate! No Reserve!!Antique 1940 Mobil Mobiloil 11 3/4" Porcelain Pegasus Sign! Gas & Oil Pump PlateOld Mobiloil Gargoyle Porcelain Sign 20" Heavy Convex Gasoline Oil Lubester Gas Nice 1950s Vintage Mobil Regular Old Gas Pump Porcelain Sign Pegasus LogoAntique 1954 Mobil Mobilfuel Diesel 11 3/4" Porcelain Pegasus Gas & Oil Sign Nr!Vintage Mobil Mobiloil Gargoyle 5" Tag Topper Oil Sign. Gas & Oil Pump Plate.Vintage Mobil Mobilgas 11 3/4" Porcelain Pegasus Sign Gas & Oil Pump Plate! Nr!Rare Mobilgas 34" Advertising Sign Mobiloil Mobil Pegasus Gas Oil Non PorcelainMobilgas Road Map Display Sign W/ 57 Maps Gulf Amoco Standard Sinclair ShellAntique 1947 Mobil Mobilgas Restroom Pledge 7.75" X 7" Porcelain Gas & Oil SignAntique Mobil Mobilgas Restroom Pledge 7.75" X 7" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign! Nr!Vintage Mobil Mobilgas Special 12" Porcelain Pegasus Sign Gas & Oil! Pump Plate!Mobilgas Special Sign Enamel Porcelain Mobil Pegasus Vintage Gas & Oil Brand1933 Texaco The Texas Co Gasoline Motor Oil Sign Porcelain Enamel Gas Pump MobilVintage Nos Socony Standard Oil Co. Of New York 11 1/4" Porcelain Mobil Gas SignDanbury Mint Mobiloil Service Station With Clock Excellent Cond. Mobil Shut The Gate Porcelain Metal Sign Oil Gas Station Lube Farm Tractor TruckRare Mobil Oil SignMobil Mobilfuel Diesel Porcelain Sign Pegasus Metal Red Horse Chevy Garage FordMobilgas Sign Enamel Porcelain Mobil Pegasus Vintage Gasolime Motor Oil DieselPorcelain Mobilgas Special Pegasus Sign Gas Station Pump Plate Flying Horse1940's Vintage Porcelain 2 Sided Mobiloil Vacuum Oil Company Enamel SignVintage Original Mobil Pegasus License Plate TopperMobil Fuel Diesel Porcelain Metal Sign Oil Gas Station Lube Farm Tractor TruckMobil No Smoking Mobilgas Sign Enamel Porcelain Pegasus Vintage Motor Oil DieselVintage Mobil Mobilgas Pegasus Gasoline Lubester Porcelain Sign Vintage Mobil Mobiloil Gargoyle 9" Porcelain Oil Sign. Gas & Oil Pump Plate.Vintage Mobil Mobilgas 12" Porcelain Pegasus Gas & Oil Pump Plate Sign PeggyVintage 1950's Keep Floors Clean Gas Station Texaco Mobil ? Porcelain Metal SignVintage Old Collectible Mobil Oil Gas Flying Horse Porcelain Enamel Sign BoardMobil Mobiloil Porcelain Sign "i.r.40" Garage Station Socony - Vacuum Pegasus Mobil Mobilfuel Porcelain Sign "i.r.54" Garage Station Socony - Vacuum Pegasus Old Mobilgas . Porcelain Sign 16" Heavy Convex Gasoline Oil Lubester Gas PegasusOld Mobil Upperlube Tin Oil Can Bank Pegasus Socony Pegasus Rare 1941 Vintage Mobil Lubrite Motor Oil Old Pat. Pending 1 Qt. Oil CanMobil Oil Porcelain Sign Metal Pegasus Pump Red Horse GarageVintage Mobilgas Special Shield Gasoline Lubester Porcelain Sign Porcelain Mobil Oil D Enamel Sign Size 13 X 13 InchesMobil Gas Station HatVintage Mobil Mobilgas Regular 12" X 14" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign Pump Plate Nr!Vintage 1930s Mobiloil Gargoyle Mobil Motor Oil 2 Sided 24" Porcelain Metal SignVintage Mobil Mobiloil "ask For Gargoyle" 12" X 9 3/4" Porcelain Gas & Oil Sign!Mobiloil Arctic 1939 Sign Enamel Porcelain Mobil Pegasus Vintage Oil MobilgasVintage Mobiloil Pegasus Oil Can FullVintage Original Mobil Gargoyle Mobiloil Artic Quart Can No Reserve!! Old Gargoyle Mobiloil Gas Pump Badge Sign Porcelain14” Single Side Mobil Pegasus Mobilgas Porcelain Sign Motor Oil Gas Station PumpVintage Mobil Lube Red Pegasus Mobil Marine Outboard 1 Quart Oil Can -boat Oil-Mobil Oil Gargoyle Sign Patch Cloth +1930s Gargoyle Mobil Oil Metal Sign Gas Lube Grease Car Truck Tractor Farm Barn Lot Of 7 1 Quart Motor Oil Cans Gulf Texaco Mobil Havoline Marathon Metal OldVintage Porcelain Sign - Mobilgas Special- Die Cut Petroleum Pump PlateMobil Pegasus Diecut Porcelain Metal Sign - Gas - Oil - Mobil Trademark - HorseVintage 1950's Fire Extinguisher Gas Station Mobil Texaco ? 21" Metal Sign~niceVintage Mobil Grease Can / Tin No. 4 ? One Pound Size Vintage 1940's Mobil Freezone 25c Anti-freeze Gas Oil 26" Sign~niceNo Smoking Porcelain Enamel Socony-vacuum Oil Co Gas Pump Red Pegasus Mobil SignCrown Premiums Mobilgas 1950s Gas Pump Red Coin Bank # 450gbp W/ Box Kb 60f