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Title - Sinclair History
The historic pentagon-shaped Chicago outlet at Ashland and Lawrence AvenuesSuccess Story

Country Boy Philosophy Spreads Sale of Products
The historic Buffalo, New York outlet at Fillmore and Peterson. Gasoline price 23¢, and no taxesExpansion of Sinclair's wholesale and retail outlets was largely what the salesmen, themselves Midwesterners, called a "country boy operation." The bankers, less romantic, described it as shoestring financing. The company spent its own money for service stations only where "prestige" was important. Most of the pumps which gurgled Sinclair gasoline were operated by their owners who, like Mr. Sinclair himself, cherished their independence and individualism. There was no uniformity of station design or operation, no homogeneity of procedures. The attendants Sinclair absorbed company credited with Detroit's earliest station, located at Fort and First Streets. It sold gasoline, oil and No. 3 cup grease in cans. By end of 1916, Sinclair served 19 outlets in downtown DetroitSelf-employed commission agents built wholesale distributorships on shoestringpossessed the enthusiasm of men anxious to identify with the new auto supply industry which might make their fortunes.

No advertising was necessary. Until after World War I, gasoline demand outstripped supply, rising 38 percent between 1917 and 1919 to ten million gallons of gasoline a day.

Car owners greased, changed tires and Thousands of independent dealers sold Sinclair products, served from nearest bulk plant. Sinclair salesmen's Ford runabouts were called "White Angels"tinkered their hobby vehicles as a fetish; no station offered such services. One grade of gasoline, one kind of crankcase oil and one- to two-In Cleveland, company division office occupied upper floors of first stationpound cans of grease were the service station's entire inventory.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]Sinclair was first big company to offer marina facilities to water craft. Here, three floating stations push up Erie Canal for duty in Chicago and Detroit, 1917

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