This is an original neon sign for Wolf’s Head Oil, a company largely forgotten today but the high-quality lubrication oil they produced was deemed so good it was used for breaking in the engines on the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress during WWII.
Wolf’s Head Oil originally started out as a small operation in Reno, Pennsylvania in 1879. The company was first called The Empire Oil Works, though this name was later changed to The Empire Oil & Grease Company, and then to Wolf’s Head.
The company founder was A. L. Confer, an ambitious man who had started out as a railroad station agent. He saw the growing popularity of lubricating oil and kerosene and decided to set up his own small oil refining still.
Confer proved to be remarkably adept at the refining process thanks to his attention to detail, as a result he was able to use locally-sourced Pennsylvania oil and create better quality lubricating oils than his competition.
The company grew quickly, and before long they were producing a range of different engine oils for steam engines, motorboats, automobiles, and aircraft, as well as kerosene for use in lamps. Advertising slogans for the company included “Finest of the Fine Since 1879” and “Run With the Wolf.”
In the 1960s the company was bought out by Pennzoil, forty years later Shell Oil acquired Pennzoil-Quaker State and interestingly they then sold the Wolf’s Head brand to the Amalie Oil Company in 2006 and the company is in business as of the current day.
This working neon sign has three colors and it measures in at 36″ x 36″, it’s due to be auctioned by Mecum in late March and you can visit the listing here if you’d like to read more about it or register to bid.
Images courtesy of Mecum
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