History Of The White And Bagley Oil Co.

John Pizzo
Well, it's the start of a new year and this month I thought I would do a history report on my favorite oil company in the hobby, the White and Bagley Oil Co., or better known as Oilzum. Truly one of the most collected brands of oil. Everybody loves that logo, and more on that later, now for the history.
F.W. White and H.P. Bagley established their small company in 1888 at White and Bagleys Worcester offices, the founders of the company and their small staff handled the basic lubrication problem: to develop a practical motor oil of uniform quality with a long service life and good protective properties.
A series of basic motor oil formulae were developed by White and Bagley during the years when the automobile was changing from a scientific curiosity to a reliable road machine.
At the turn of the century, the proud and affluent owners of New England's first unpredictable horseless carriages began to call on White and Bagley for "gas engine cylinder oil."
As years went by and cars appeared in greater numbers on the unpaved roads, a young, new market for motor oil arose. But there were pitfalls for the motorist: more often than not, the oil bought at blacksmith shops and corner stores was inferior, unbranded, of uncertain quality.
To overcome this, in 1905, White and Bagley created one of the very first brand name motor oils, Oilzum. They carefully produced to a high standard of quality.
Oilzum took the risk and guesswork out of lubrication. The familiar Oilzum kid trademark became a fast friend of the early motorist.
Herbert P. Bagley followed the rise of the automobile with special interest. When racing became a national sport, and a priceless proving ground for new ideas in car design and operation , he decided to develop special racing oils. In 1906 he had his first success.
Race driver Fred Marriott pushed an Oilzum lubricated Stanley Steamer to the unheard of speed of 127 miles an hour at Ormond Beach, Florida, a new world's record. But, Herbert Bagley still had work to do. Bearing failures and engine seizures caused by improper lubrication were still too common in the races of the period. A new kind of oil had to be developed . . . and, it was!
The first order of "Crystal Oilzum" was shipped in 1912. A special racing blend, it gained immediate favor with Barney Oldfield, Jimmy Murphy, Tommy Milton, Eddie Rickenbacker and other great drivers of the time. In the Indianapolis 500 race, Crystal Oilzum has been used in more winning cars than any other oil.
Through the years, friends and customers have often said that they think of "Oilzum" as another name for "quality." White & Bagley is very proud of this high reputation among car owners, fleet operators, engineers, mechanics, and race drivers.
White & Bagley concentrates on lubricants. The products of other companies include gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil, diesel fuel and many other petroleum products in addition to lubricants; but White & Bagley specializes in lubricants only.
This means that time, energy and thought are devoted exclusively to the production of better lubricants. With excellent facilities for research, production and quality control; with an up to the minute plant and laboratory; and, above all, with a staff with many years of experience, White & Bagley is well equipped to produce the best lubricants.
Many dealers have sold Oilzum Motor Oil for forty years or more. This record of loyalty is the result of customer satisfaction, sound company policies, and direct contact between customers and the company.
Oilzum Lubricants were distributed through a system of exclusive dealerships that would include sections of a city, or in the case of smaller communities, the entire town.
White and Bagley claimed that this system allowed them to provide a greater return on promotional advertising for the individual dealer.
This exclusivity may explain why many of the Oilzum advertising pieces were of exceptional high quality and so sought after by collectors today.
White and Bagley was sold in 1987-1988 to Dryden Oil, the manufacturing facility, in Worcester, was promptly demolished.
However, the brand is still alive today. Dennison Lubricants holds the Oilzum name and markets the oil.
Now, a little on the logo. It was adopted in 1905 as the Oilzum kid or bucktooth boy, a cartoon childlike face. This logo was only used for three or four years.
That led to the logo maturing into "Oswald" the chauffeur, not the early race car driver as most people think he is. So there you have it, the history of White & Bagley Oil Company. This is by far my favorite oil company in the hobby.
This information along with a few different pictures can be found at oldgas.com

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