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Logos and Illustrations


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I 've made a small start on my quest to accumulate a record of oil field engine and equipment trademarks, logos and other advertising illustrations. I have found this to be an interesting and educational endeavor. Many times the object presented in a trademark seems, at first consideration, to have nothing in common with the product represented. It is, I would think, a tactic used by advertisers since man first started advertising his wares for sale. It has much to do with the power of an image: As the old saying goes, "a picture can speak a thousand words." But sometimes it is name association.

One example would be the Bess-emer Gas Engine Co., which was named after the renowned steel making process in-vented by Sir Henry Bessemer. During the time of the Crimean War, Bessemer invented a new type of cannon shell. The generals reported the cast iron cannons of the time were not strong enough for the forces exerted by the powerful shell. So Bessemer then developed an iron smelting process that produced large quantities of ingots of superior quality. Using the new Bessemer steel resulted in a stronger cannon of superior quality.

Today, modern steel is made using technology based on Bessemer's process, and his name has gone into history as being synonymous with quality and strength. Thus, the Bess-emer company founders wanted to imply the same quality and strength was present in their products.

Bessemer used several different trademarks that including script lettering as seen on the older serial tags, and a round logo that can sometimes be found painted on the low side of the bedplate that had the initial letters of the company (B.G.E.Co.) grouped in an artistic design. Later, after the merger of Bessemer and Cooper industries, a winged flywheel with horse heads was used, which had a sort of Roman or Greek motif.

Titusville Iron Works, builders of twin- and single-cylinder steam engines, and the "TICO" line of 2- and 4-cycle gas engines and other oil field equipment, used a rather unusual logo that featured a representation of three pyramids, much like the great ancient pyramids of Giza, Egypt. Maybe the intent was to imply Titusville engines held the same longevity as those ancient tombs of the Pharaohs. Some of us might have restored engines that we could have sworn were 12,000 years old had we not known better.

The Moon Mfg. Co. built gas engine-driven light plants that were marketed for the oil industry. A company slogan stated that "Moon" had become synonymous with "Oil Country Lighting," and their logo included a picture of that luminary of nature that lights the night skies. I'm not sure if it was simply the name of the company founder, or if it was intended to imply the reliability with which their generators would illuminate the night.

Spang, Chalfant & Co. was one of America's oldest companies, founded in 1828. They were a leading producer of steel pipe, as well as builders of 2- and 4-cycle gas engines for the oil field industry. I located one of their pipe advertisements, which includes a novel picture of the world rotating on its axis, supported by Spang pipe with oil flowing out of it swirling around the world. It also features the word "Spang" artistically interposed with pipe going through the letters.

If you have any information in regard to unique oil field trademarks or logos (only those which have fallen out of usage), I would be interested in adding them to my collection so we might share them with people who might have a particular interest in a company, or for the purpose of decorating equipment with a particular trademark that might have otherwise been forgotten to history.

Contact the Oil Field Engine Society at: 1231 Banta's Creek Road, Eaton, OH 45320-9701; oilengine@voyager.net www.oilfieldengine.com