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History of Esso in the UK

esso logo

Esso began life as the Anglo American Oil Company in 1888. It was the first foreign affiliate of John D Rockefeller's US company the Standard Oil Trust. It had a head office at Bishopsgate, London, and a depot at Purfleet in Essex.  The depot stored paraffin being shipped from New York for use in lamps throughout England.

In 1911, the US Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of the Standard Oil Trust, resulting in the spin-off of 33 companies, one of which - Standard Oil (New Jersey) - acquired Anglo-American.

The British affiliate remained with the New Jersey company and, in 1934, took a phonetic version of the initials of Standard Oil (SO = Esso) for some of its brand names.

In 1951, Esso was adopted as the company name.

Because use of the Esso trademark in the US was restricted, Standard Oil (New Jersey) chose Exxon as its name in 1972.