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Vacuum Oil was founded in 1866, by Matthew Ewing and Hiram Bond Everest, of Rochester, New York.

Lubrication oil was an accidental discovery while attempting to distill kerosene. Hiram Everest noted that the residue from the extraction was suitable as a lubricant.

The product became popular for use in steam engines and the internal combustion engines. Ewing later sold his interest in the company to Everest. Everest carried on the company. Vacuum was acquired by Standard Oil in 1879. It originated the Mobil trademark in 1899 as "Mobilgas" and later "Mobiloil."

Vacuum Oil and Standard Oil of New York (Socony) merged in 1931. After the government gave up attempts to prevent it. The union, as the Socony Vacuum Corporation, made them the company the third largest (at the time) world oil company. Everest was given a salary job as President and remained with the company.

When Standard Oil was broken up in 1911, due to the Sherman Antitrust Act, Vacuum became an independent company again.

In 1955, the company became the Socony Mobil Oil Company. In 1963, it was renamed "Mobilgas" then just as "Mobil."

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