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Posted By: ConocoRetiree The Mystery of Conoco and the M&S 70 gas pump - Sun Nov 25 2018 04:32 PM
I am very curious about why Conoco did not use the Martin & Schwartz (“M&S”) model 70 gas pump in their stations. I have lots of evidence and a few theories, so bear with me and I will lay out the facts.

Many sources report that Conoco (along with Sunoco, Mobil and Standard Indiana) purchased the Martin & Schwartz company in 1937. This ownership is reported in the company history book “125 Years of Wayne” (Wayne purchased M&S in 1951), so I don’t doubt this fact. Several other authors have stated that these four oil companies purchased the ownership to provide M&S with a captive market for their gas pumps. But that is not what happened.

In 1937 - when the four companies purchased the company, M&S began producing the M&S 70 gas pump. For the next ten years - until 1946 when the M&S 80 was introduced, Conoco did not use the M&S 70 at all. There is no doubt that all four companies extensively used the M&S 80 once it was introduced in 1946, but my question relates to the decade prior when the M&S 70 was in production.

I have an extensive collection of photos of Conoco gas stations. Of these, 220 photos show gas pumps from this 1937-1945 era. Not a single photo shows the M&S 70. Not one. None. This isn’t a coincidence…something is going on here. Of the 220 photos, roughly 70 show the Tokheim 39 tall, 50 show the Wayne 70, 45 show the Wayne 60 and 20 show the Tokheim 36B. The remainder include a few Gilbarco pumps, Bennett pumps, Bowser pumps and Southwest pumps. But not a single M&S 70. Here are two photos demonstrating a typical Conoco station of that era. The first one is a Dodge City, KS grand opening in 1939 (when Conoco already owned M&S) where they use the Tokheim 36B.

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Attached picture Worthington, MN  (Herman Schackel or Bud Strubus Conoco, with Roland Milbrath  10th & Sixth Ave)  <Tokheim 39 Tall>.jpg
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Not only did Conoco not use the M&S 70 at all, but they actually showed pumps from other manufacturers in their advertising. This is rather surprising - not to show support for a company you own!

Here is a July 1939 Conoco Ad showing a Wayne 60 gas pump and another Conoco ad from the 1945/1946 time frame showing the Tokheim 39 tall gas pump.

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I took a brief scan for gas pumps of the other three owners. Standard of Indiana demonstrates the same behavior as Conoco. I didn’t find any photos of their stations with the M&S 70 (although I only gathered around 30) and I found their advertising to contain competitor products. Here is a 1939 Standard Indiana ad showing the Gilbarco 80 and another ad from 1940 showing the Tokheim 36B.

I found a mixed bag for Mobil. I found some station photos with the M&S 70, but also many others with different gas pumps. I also found several Mobil ads showing the M&S 70, but I also found two showing competitor pumps.

Sunoco demonstrates a consistent and strong pattern of using the M&S 70. The majority of the ~20 gas station photos I found showed the M&S 70, and the Sunoco advertising consistently showed the M&S 70 in their ads.

Attached picture Standard Ad w Gilbarco 80 (1935) from 1939.jpg
Attached picture Standard Newspaper Ad from 1940 w Tokheim 36B #2.jpg
Lastly, the “125 Years of Wayne” book states that William Bateman from Sunoco was put in charge of Martin & Schwartz after the four oil companies purchased the firm in 1937. Well, this clearly explains why Sunoco was such a consistent and dedicated customer of the M&S 70 gas pump!!

But why weren’t Conoco or Standard Indiana or Mobil? I have a handful of theories:

a) Conoco (and the others) were tied to long-term contracts to purchase gas pumps exclusively from the other manufacturers. These contracts were put in place before the purchase of the M&S company.

b) The M&S 70 was a very inferior gas pump and Conoco preferred to use the superior pumps from Wayne and Tokheim.

c) Sunoco owned a huge majority of the company (80%+) and the other three minority owners used their ownership as a financial interest rather than as a strategic supplier. Sunoco owning a huge share of M&S would explain why they installed a company man as CEO of M&S.

d) Martin & Schwartz had production issues such that they could not supply the other three owners - until they ramped up production in 1946 with the very popular M&S 80 model.

e) Conoco management had a feud with William Bateman and refused to buy the M&S 70 pumps for a decade. But this doesn’t explain why Standard Indiana apparently didn’t use the M&S 70 either.

Whew! There are the facts and my theories. Anybody have any thoughts on this mystery?


Posted By: Smoketree Re: The Mystery of Conoco and the M&S 70 gas pump - Thu Nov 29 2018 04:37 AM
I don't know enough about these gas or pump companies to even hazard a guess. However, this was a very interesting read. Thanks for passing your research along.
Posted By: r49th Re: The Mystery of Conoco and the M&S 70 gas pump - Thu Nov 29 2018 03:46 PM
Are these stations actually company (Conoco) owned, or are they individually owned selling the Conoco brand?
Wasn't there some leeway as to the equipment individual owners were allowed to use?
Rod: you have asked a fair question. Here are my inital thoughts:

I certainly don’t know what Conoco’s policy was in the 1930’s. However, when I worked at Conoco our policy was that we wanted a mix of dealer and company-owned stations. We didn’t mind having a majority dealer-owned stations but we wanted a certain number of company-owned stations so that we could know how profitable they were - and thus how profitable the dealers were too. This allowed us to offer the dealer a fair and competitive arrangement, knowing how much profit he could expect. Without owning any of our own stations, we could not manage this aspect properly.

Just for grins, let’s examine the sitatuion assuming 100% dealer owned stations, giving the dealer the flexibility to buy from any pump manufacturer that he chooses. In that situation, why would Conoco buy an ownership in M&S - if Conoco could not dictate that dealers purchase M&S pumps (and thus help Conoco profit from ownership of the pump company)? That would make no sense. Furthermore, what are the odds that not a single dealer would choose the M&S 70 gas pump? Given the hundreds of Conoco branded stations, you might expect some of the dealers to choose the M&S 70 pump. But none apparently did. Again, something doesn’t make sense in this scenario.

In the likely scenario that Conoco owned and operated some - but not all - of its stations, the original question remains. If Conoco owned Martin & Schwartz and owned some (or all) of their own gas stations, why didn’t they use the M&S 70 for an entire decade?

In 1946 when the M&S 80 was introduced Conoco used that new gas pump very extensively. The overwhelming majority of photos of Conoco stations from that era show the M&S 80. This tells me two things: 1) that Conoco could - and did - dictate the purchase of the M&S 80, whether to dealers or to its own operations, and 2) that the ownership of M&S likely drove their preference for that pump.

Sorry for the long post. Your question is a good one, but every possibility with the dealers leads me to a dead end, or back to the original question.

Posted By: JimT Re: The Mystery of Conoco and the M&S 70 gas pump - Fri Nov 30 2018 06:28 PM
Nice to see someone passionate about the hobby. Good thoughts.
MYSTERY SOLVED!! The other day I signed up (for other reasons) for access on a Newspaper website to view old newspaper articles. This afternoon I thought I might solve this mystery by searching for articles on Martin & Schwartz. And I found the answer. Here are the articles that I found:

1) A 1939 article saying Sunoco purchased all the capital stock of M&S
2) A 1944 article stating that M&S is owned by Sunoco and Socony Vacuum (Mobil).
3) A 1947 article stating that M&S is owned by 4 owners - Sunoco, Conoco, Mobil and Standard Indiana.

That explains perfectly what I am seeing. It explains why Conoco and Standard Indiana didn't use the M&S 70 - because they DIDN'T own the company at that time. It also explains why Sunoco and Mobil did use the M&S 70 - they DID own the company. Apparently, Conoco and Standard Indiana came to the party later (between 1944 and 1947), just in time for the new M&S 80 pump....which all four owners used extensively.

The bottom line is that Conoco DID NOT own a share of Martin & Schwartz in 1937, as widely reported (even in the Wayne history book).

It all makes sense now..... smile


Attached picture Sun OIl purchases M&S  Dec 20 1937 (Article Jan 15 1938).jpg
Attached picture M&S owned by Sun & Mobil (Socony Vacuum)  Sep 1944.jpg
Attached picture Article May 1947  4 owners of M&S and buy most pumps.jpg
Posted By: Jack Sim Re: The Mystery of Conoco and the M&S 70 gas pump - Thu Dec 06 2018 11:37 PM
I don't know where to start, should I point out a number of assumptions and mistakes, or try to put this all in perspective.

Let's start here by taking a look at the country at this time. In 1929 this country entered a depression, millions were out of work. Very few owned cars mainly because they couldn't afford to purchase gasoline because they were out of work, also because they needed money they sold the cars they were not using. No cars, not buying gasoline, don't need new pumps, who could afford them. Around 1937 people started going back to work. This country was not at war, Europe was, but our government knew we would soon be at war. Factories started making military trucks, tanks, guns, ammunition, some of this was being stockpiled getting ready for us to go to war, but most of this material was being sent to Great Britain and Russia under the Lend Lease plan.

Now let's take a look at the Martin & Schwartz Pump Company. The company began business in 1922 in Buffalo, New York, (just a comment, why would you start a business in a city that probably received more snow in the winter than any other city in the U.S.). A good way to judge the production of a company is by the Patents they applied for, (another comment, when looking up Patents ignore the date the Patent was issued, the most important piece of information is the date the Patent was applied for, then subtract a year or two for the time of development and you will probably be close to the time the new product was thought of). Patents are also hard to find, sometimes they are in the company name, sometimes in the designer/engineer's, etc., name. I have spent a few hours looking up M&S Patents, but it appears they never applied for any Patents until 1929 and most of these were for the price signs they were selling. I can't find any type of Patents (regular or design) for the M&S 70.

M&S production records. Here we use the Bluebook. In the BB they estimate the life of a gas pump was nine years, this was in 1942. In 1942 the Office of War Information, War Production Board, Office of Petroleum Coordinator For War asked the Gasoline Pump Manufacturers Association to help them create a list of existing pump companies (and as many companies that were out of business). What they were after was the model numbers, years of production and how many pump were made. Not all information was supplied the same way, some companies supplied information on a monthly basis, other on a yearly basis. The reason for all this was the War Department wanted to encourage these old pumps (many of which were sitting out in farmer's fields) be scrapped for the War effort. Some of these statics are important. The War Department estimated that that over 20,000 old (Hand Piston Type pumps) were still in use; over 620,000 clock and visible were still being used; and another 35,000 to 50,000 pumps from the 1930s were still in use and eligible for the scrap pile.
Now using the figures supplied by the M&S company we can determine how many pumps they produced per year starting with 1933.

1933: Model 129-EU, 1012 made; Model 429-EU, 118 made. For a total of only 1130 pumps made.
1934: Model 129-EU, 398 made; Model 429-EU, 335 made. Total, 735 pumps made.
1935: Model 129-EU, 75 made; Model 429-EU, 33 made; Model 65, 303 made. Total 341 pumps.
1936: Model 129-EU, 710 made. Model 429-EU, 31 made; Model 65, 617 made . Total 1358 pumps.
1937: Model 429-EU, 3 made; Model 65, 866 made; Model 70, 3017 made. Total 3886 pumps.
1938. Model 429-EU, 45 made; Model 65, 50 made; Model 70, 5854 made. Total 5959 pumps.

1939 to 1942 M&S only made 70s, a total of 22,508 were made.

Some assumptions and mistakes above. You state that the oil companies mentioned, did not use the 70 over a decade (10 years). Too big an assumption.
1. They didn't purchase M&S until 1937. No new gas pumps were available for purchase during the years 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1945. Since the pumps were not being made during these years, there were none to sell and plus the War Department restricted all sales of gasoline pump to only reconditioned pumps and you had to have a permit to even buy one. A decade becomes five years now.
2. Oil companies did not order pumps this week and have them delivered next week. Orders were planned years in advance, also orders were usually ordered by divisions of the oil company. Since we don't know when in 1937 the purchase of M&S was made, it is difficult to determine when they took control, if it was in the late part of 1937, that knocks another year or more off the decade.
3. At this time steel was very hard to acquire, how early did M&S have to order the steel to have it ready to make all these pumps?
4. You mention the ads do not show the 70s. Just like large gas pump orders ads were prepared months, sometimes a year in advance. To be shown in an ad, the oil company needed to know way in advance when the pumps would arrive, how quick could they be installed, etc.
5. One more thing, oil company ads were used to sell gasoline, not gasoline pumps.
6. As I mentioned above, around 1937 many companies were making war supplies, It would be nice to know if M&S was involved in this and to what extent. Could this have anything to do with the purchase?
7. Also you mentioned the oil companies may have already ordered pumps from other companies and these were to be delivered in 1938 or 1939.
8. One last killer reason they never used the 70. In 1941 Wayne and some other companies were already making the low (50 inch or lower) gas pumps. This was the newest thing to come along since the computer. Cars were now being made lower, Hudson advertised that you had to step down to get in their new 1940 car. Tall pumps were out of style.

When you think about it, it appears the oil companies never got to use the 70s because of the sanctions, the war and the sizes.

The biggest question that should be asked here is "WHY DID THE OIL COMPANIES EVEN BUY THIS SMALL COMPANY?"

Jack Sim
Jack: This newspaper article from the Salisbury Times in August 1939 describes how the move of the factory equipment (from Buffalo to Salisbury) caused a three month break in production. I have only included the first section of the article where they state that they expect to resume production (in three months) at 700 pumps a month. That production rate - when annualized - is fully in line with the numbers you provided above.



Attached picture M&S Relocation  Aug 1939.jpg
You could certainly tell that Sunoco was a big owner in Martin & Schwartz during this time period. Their ads showed the M&S 70. Their brochures showed the M&S 70. Even their matchbook covers showed the M&S 70. And of course many of their stations used the M&S 70. There was no doubt about Sunoco.

Attached picture Sunoco Ad w M&S 70 pump Nov 1941.jpg
Attached picture Sunoco gas pumps over time.jpg
Attached picture Sunoco matchbook w M&S 70 pump.jpg
Attached picture Photo - Sunoco station w M&S 70 #5.jpg
Jack Sim: here is a newspaper article from November 1949 stating that the four then-current owners of M&S each signed a five year sales contract with guaranteed ratable deliveries. This was almost certainly done at the request of Symington, who was negotiating to purchase M&S. That is simply good business, especially when virtually 100% of your sales come from only four customers....where the loss of one single customer would be devastating. These five year sales commitments were undoubtedly also helpful when Symington sold to Wayne two years later, for the same reasons.

So, even after the oil companies were no longer owners of M&S, their loyalty was contractually assured for five years.

When the sales contract expired - based on the photos and articles I can find - it appears that Conoco favored the Tokheim 300 gas pump. That would be in the 1956 time frame and my guess is that the Tokheim 300 was one of the better pumps at that time. Is that a fair assessment? Here are two photos of grand openings from 1956 and 1957. At that time Wayne was making the Wayne 90 and the Wayne 600 (according to your book, version 3) but I don't see as many of those pumps at Conoco stations.



Attached picture Symington buys M&S w 5 year contracts  Nov 1949.jpg
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Attached picture Omaha, NE  (Lee Haver's Conoco Service at 42nd and Nebraska Ave)  Grand Opening in 1957  <Tokheim 300>.jpg
Posted By: DuceCpe Re: The Mystery of Conoco and the M&S 70 gas pump - Fri Dec 14 2018 01:21 AM
Great Information.. I am a Conoco collector so this is interesting to me...
Thanks for sharing..
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