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House Flags of U.S. Shipping Companies: ExxonMobil

ExxonMobil Corporation

Last modified: 2003-03-01 by rob raeside
Keywords: united states shipping lines | exxon |
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ExxonMobil Corporation (and its corporate predecessors)

Throughout its history, this company has owned one of the largest tanker fleets in the world. It was founded in 1882 as the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, which was later the most important of the components into which John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust was broken in 1911. The name Exxon was adopted in 1972.

Standard Oil Co.

[Standard Oil Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Standard Oil Co.  The earliest flag I have found for this company was simply white with a blue "S."
Source: Wedge (1926)

Standard Shipping Co.

[Standard Shipping Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Standard Shipping Co.
The Standard Shipping Company was created as a separate subsidiary in 1927 but reabsorbed into the parent company in 1934 as the Marine Department of Standard Oil of NJ. The flag shown in [gsh34] is white with a red design of a circle and stripes in red with the name "Standard" superimposed.
National Geographic (1934); Talbot-Booth (1937) attributes this flag to Standard Vacuum Transportation Co., a joint venture of Standard of New Jersey and Socony-Vacuum.

Esso Standard Oil Co.(?)

[Esso Standard Oil Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Esso Standard Oil Co., New York
"Esso" came to be used as a trade name based on the phonetic spelling of the initials of the company, "S.O." Talbot-Booth says the flag was changed to this pattern, divided diagonally red and blue with a white S on the center, in 1938, but also states incorrectly that Standard Oil Co. of NJ was controlled by Standard Oil Company of California . This may therefore properly be a flag of SoCal. As of 1949, Esso had 61 tankers under U.S. flag for a total of 607,000 grt, plus foreign flag holdings.
Source: Talbot-Booth (1937)

Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso)

[Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso)]  by Joe McMillan

The Esso Shipping Company constituted as separate entity in 1950; reabsorbed by the parent company in 1958. Esso changed its name to Exxon Corporation in 1972; the shipping arm was designated Exxon Shipping in the late 1970s. As far as I can determine, all of the tankers in the Exxon fleet (as opposed to those still under the Mobil flag) are under flags of convenience.
Sources: Stewart (1953), US Navy's 1961 H.O.

Joe McMillan, 9 October 2001

ExxonMobil Corporation (and its corporate predecessors)

The other half of the ExxonMobil combine, the former Mobil Corporation and its predecessors, plus an earlier joint venture between Standard of NJ and Standard of NY, foreshadowed Exxon by about half a century or so.

Standard Oil Company of New York

[Standard Oil Company of New York]  by Joe McMillan

Standard Oil Company of New York
The Standard Oil Company of New York was a unit of the Standard Oil Trust and one of the major components into which the Trust was broken in 1911. The first house flag was plain blue with a white "S" (Lloyds 1912 shows the "S" with serifs, later sources without; Talbot-Booth 1937 labels this flag "Standard Shipping Co."
Sources: Lloyd's 1912, Talbot-Booth (1937),

Socony-Vacuum Oil Co.

[Socony-Vacuum Oil Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Socony-Vacuum Oil Co, New York (Sources: [wed51][ste53])
According to this white swallowtail with blue edges and a red Pegasus was used from the 1930s to 1966 (but see below). The Pegasus trademark came to the company from Vacuum Oil, which merged with Socony in 1931. In 1949, when this flag was in use, Socony-Vacuum had 20 tankers in service under the US flag for a total of 198,000 gross tons, plus another ten ships and 61,000 gross tons under the UK flag.

Socony Mobil Oil Co.

[Socony Mobil Oil Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Socony Mobil Oil Co, New York
At some point in the 1950s, Socony-Vacuum Oil Co. dropped the name "Vacuum" (but kept the Pegasus) and added "Mobil," which had originated as a trade name for lubricating oils. It also added a stylized wing-like device under the Pegasus in the flag.
Source: US Navy's 1961 H.O.

Mobil Shipping and Transportation Co.

[Mobil Shipping and Transportation Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Mobil Shipping and Transportation Co.
The name was eventually changed to Mobil Corporation. According to Lloyd's Maritime Directory for 2001, Mobil Shipping & Transportation seems to have retained its separate identity within ExxonMobil, so this flag may still be in use.

Standard-Vacuum Oil Co.

[Standard-Vacuum Oil Co.]     [Standard-Vacuum Oil Co.] by Joe McMillan

Standard-Vacuum Oil Co.
Standard-Vacuum (STANVAC) was a joint venture of Standard of New Jersey and Socony-Vacuum in the Far East, pairing Socony's marketing network in China with Standard of New Jersey's production capabilities in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). It was established in 1931 and somehow seems to have survived World War II. The flag followed the basic pattern of Standard of New Jersey flags of the time, the name flanked by bars above and below, all superimposed on a circle. However, the STANVAC flag had the colors reversed (red letters with blue design) and added a "V" for "Vacuum" to the circle.
Source: Wedge (1951)
Stewart (1953) shows a slightly different design, with the word "STANVAC" replacing "STANDARD" and the "V" omitted.

Joe McMillan, 11 October 2001