The Ohio Oil Company (Ohio Oil) was founded in 1887 when several northern Ohio oil production firms joined together to market their crude oil, satisfied to sell their products as crude oil and leave the refining and marketing to others.
In June of 1924, Ohio Oil first ventured into marketing with the purchase of Lincoln Oil Refining Company (Lincoln Oil) of Robinson, Illinois. Lincoln Oil operated a refinery and 17 retail gasoline stations in the Robinson-Terre Haute area. By 1930 Ohio Oil had expanded the Linco brand throughout most of the current Marathon territory, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Kentucky.
In 1930 Ohio Oil purchased Transcontinental Oil (Transcontinental), a refiner/marketer that had marketed gasoline under the trademark, Marathon, the Pheidippides (Greek Runner) trademark and the “Best In the Long Run” slogan since 1920. Transcontinental sold gasoline under the Marathon name across the Midwest and South, from North Carolina to New Mexico.
The Marathon brand proved so popular that by World War II the name had replaced Linco at stations in the original five-state territory. During the War, the widespread Marathon territory couldn’t be properly supplied and marketing operations outside the Great Lakes-area were sold. Concentrating their marketing in the 1950s within a smaller territory allowed Marathon to expand within the territory.
In August of 1962 on the company’s 75th anniversary, Ohio Oil changed its corporate name to Marathon Oil Company. The familiar Marathon symbol featuring the Greek runner Pheidippides was retired to be replaced with a new, more progressive corporate logo, the bright red “M” within an irregular hexagon. All Marathon stations still show the bright red “M” at all of its stations.
Currently, Marathon Branded locations are operated by independent entrepreneurs, proudly “Fueling the American Spirit”.
Updated: Thursday, February 10 2011