So, Who was the first in Synthetics?

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Oct 26, 2003
I thought I read Mobil created syns. for the Air Force in the 40's? Could be wrong. Can't imagine Amway--oops Amsoil created syns
From Ed Newman

It is believed that the first synthesized hydrocarbons were created by Friedel & Crafts in 1877 using Aluminum TriChrloride as the catalyst. Yet it wasn't until 1929 that the commercial development of synthesized hydrocarbons was undertaken by Standard Oil of Indiana. Not surprisingly there was a lack of demand for the new product and this first marketplace introduction of synthetic lubricants was commercially unsuccessful. (There is probably no relationship between this event and collapse of stock market later that year.)

Eight years later the first PAO, a synthetic product using olefin polymerization, was manufactured. 1937 was also year that the Zurich Aviation Congress became interested in ester based lubricant technology. From 1938 to 1944 thousands of esters were evaluated in Germany with excellent results. In our own country ester basestocks were also being developed by the United States Naval Research Laboratory and introduced into military aviation applications during the 1940's.

During this period scientists were well funded, and the new processes of synthetic creation had some great success. But as is so often the case, the existence of a "better mousetrap" does not always result in its commercial survival.

It was the space age that helped create a greater appreciation for the benefits of synthetic lubricants. Jet engines raised the bar on what was required of a lubricant. The high speed, high heat and cold temperature performance requirements of modern jets created a demand for a new kind of lubricant.

Just after the war we saw the first use of diesters by the British in turboprop engines for high temperature performance. And from the late forties to the early seventies various synthetic fluids were developed to meet the demands of new and more efficient high performance engines and machines.
I think that if you look into it, you will find that Amsoil was created by an Air Force pilot who wanted synthetic fluids after seeing the benefits of synthetic fluids on jet aircraft and started marketing to his friends and fellow officers.

BTW, even though you made a ha, ha, about the name, Amway did market a synthetic motor oil back in the 80's. I don't know who produced it for them.

Cheers, Doug
Actually, German Lubricant and Chemist companies were in cahoots with American Lubes
and Chemist companies before World War II.
There is a book 'The Crimes and Punishment of
I.G. Farben', that details how the German companies had dealings with American and other companies of other countries from before World War I, and how the American companies got a slap on the hand for such dealings.
German and American companies shared information detrimental to the American War effort, it is a interesting read if you come across the book, I do not remember the author's name.

Amsoil introduced the first synthetic engine oil to pass the API "SE/CC" specifications - this was in 1972. Mobil 1 was introduced the following year in Europe and went into national distribution in the US in 1975.

Castrol and Motul also introduced synthetic lubes in Europe in the early to mid 1970's.

There were synthetic "arctic" oils produced for the military from Companies like Conoco and Mobil in the 1960's, but these did not pass standardized engine sequence tests.


[ February 15, 2004, 08:19 AM: Message edited by: rugerman1 ]
You do have to give lots of credit to Amsoil for paving PAO's the way in the U.S. But Mobil was on the same path for marketing and Amsoil really didn't have a lot to do with the development and marketing of their product. Actually they (Mobil) probably should have thanked Amsoil a whole lot for paving the way in the U.S.

I think that both companies probably benefitted from each other (synergism ??)
I remember reading this story, I do not think he recommended 100,000 mile oil changes, he told of how he was able to run a 100,000 oil change with a Lincoln (or some large Ford with a huge engine), he worked for an engineering department for the Ford Motor Company.
The 100,000 mile oil change interval was done with 1 quart of oil added every 5,000 miles to top up (oil burn off), also, I believe he replaced the oil filter every so often.
If my memory serves me the oil's condition was monitored during the 100,000 mile interval.
This gentleman also mentioned his department received some (synthetic) oil from a lube manufacturer free, and this synthetic ran more then three cycles and maintained its lubricity while most petroleum lubes would turn to goo or molasses during the second cycle.
This article showed burn off percentages and many other comparisons for many of the oils synthetic & petroleum sold during the seventies.


What was the author's conclusion (do you have the next page)? What did they think of these oils back in '76?
Yes the Germans were first to synthesize some lubes. But...not any good motor oils.

Ted speaks true. Despite the silly wisecrack (Amsoil has ZERO to do with Amway), Al Amatuzio has been thanked strongly (and officially) by many in the lubricant industry, for having the testones to keep pushing synthetic oils, early and hard. Yes Amsoil had the first road worth formulations, sorry CosmicFlash....then right away Mobil (a great company, btw) had the smarts to see the light....only later (1990's for most!) did a bunch of wannabe's come on the market.
Maybe I am crazy but I used mobil 1 synthetic in my MGA. The MGA was sold in 1971 replaced with a full race MG Midget. How did I use Mobil 1 in the late 69-71 time period? I remember the usage well as it cleaned out all the gunk from the quaker state. When I pulled the dip stick and saw gunk on the end I flushed the oil quickly. I know the 1975 introduction date is wrong. I had to drive from Elizabeth City to Rocky Mount NC to find a mobil station that sold it. I would guess 1969-1970 for mobil 1 introduction. This would mean it was before Amsoil if your 72 date is correct Tooslick.

[ December 31, 2003, 12:50 PM: Message edited by: TR3-2001SE ]
Mike, thanks. I'd like to see the entire article myself.

When/why did Amsoil drop the Z in AMZOIL?


[ January 01, 2004, 10:08 AM: Message edited by: bulabula ]
I give AJ from Amsoil a lot of credit. Promoting extended drains through the use of synthetics is a good thing. For one, it's better for the environment. I'm sure Amsoil through it's marketing methods have helped synthetics become much more popular then they would have been.
I don't recall the complete story but it involved a law suit brought by the oil company with a Z in their name.

As I heard it; Amsoil when it first came out was called Ammo oil (for ammunition) by the owner's air forces buddies and that name stuck. When it came time to start marketing it they came up with the name AMZOIL as a takeoff on Amatuzio and ammoil, the founders last name. Then along come big yellow and starts legal action over the use of the Z. In a business decision to avoid potential name recognition problems and costly repackaging if they lost the suit, they revamped the name with a S in place of the Z and moved on. The suit dragged on for a long time and Amsoil finally won it but the company name was to well know to change it back. One rumor I was told by D. Lingwall was that company that brought suit had tried to buy Amsoil out and they would not sell. And the lawsuit followed soon after. Mind you this is hearsay as I have never heard any official talk on this from Amsoil.

I only have one copy of this article and its a reprint from Amsoil in the 1976. I wish I had more, all I can tell anyone interested is to try to find the magazine as the info is copywrited.

fyi - The story is some 10 pages with charts and photos

here is the last 2 columms

[ January 01, 2004, 11:56 AM: Message edited by: Mike ]
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