Vacuum Motor Car Oils

This enamel sign – not in the best of conditions, is one of the artefacts we have in store at Market Lavington Museum. In times past, the right hand edge has been bent backwards around a right angle, presumably to make it fit better on the wall. Or perhaps it was arranged to stand out at right angles from a wall.

Vacuum Motor Car Oils - an enamel sign at Market Lavington Museum

It is thought that this sign once adorned ‘The Cycle Store’ where John Hampton Meritt Junior ran not only the cycle shop, but also facilities for motorists. Indeed, he set up the first petrol pumps in the village. Sadly we have found no photographic evidence to confirm this.

The Vacuum Oil Company was, originally an American concern. It was founded as long ago as 1866 but the sign is obviously more recent since 1866 was before the invention of the motor car. In 1931 the Vacuum company, already a part of the Standard OilCompany of New York, merged with Mobil Oil so our sign will date from about 1931. The company had an interesting early history, with law suits for trying to destroy rival companies. It survived and grew to have sales operations right round the world.

Maybe older residents – 80 plus year olds – will remember the sign. If so, do let us know so we can confirm just where it was placed.

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