The amazing journey to synthetic lubricants is told here at energyfactor.exxonmobil.com.
After World War II, the United States was poised for an economic boom so large that some feared the country would not have enough oil products to keep factories and machines running.
This spurred American oil companies to seek ways to produce lubricants from natural gas and other non-crude resources. The goal was to find a synthetic lubricant that acted just like conventional lubricants produced from crude.
Two Socony Vacuum Oil researchers made a breakthrough on the journey to synthetic lubricants, almost by accident.
One of the scientists noted his findings in his lab book, dated May 18, 1949. That day, the first synthetic poly-alphaolefin (PAO) was invented.
There were many possible practical applications for this technology — from performance-boosting motor oils for cars and trucks, to industrial applications for longer-lasting gearboxes, and even military-grade grease for submarines and rocket-guidance systems.
Europe was chosen as the stage for a full-scale introduction of this all-synthetic car engine oil that would improve the reliability of small cars being driven at high speeds on European highways.
Rolled out in 1973, Mobil™ was an instant hit among mechanics and owners of high-performance cars.