" Once in awhile, in our Sohioan book,
I see a picture, and on second look.
Danged if it ain't some feller I knew.
But that kind of picture is gettin' too few.
Fer it seems the ol' timers is slippin' away,
Sorto goin' home to rest at the end o' the day.
An' as I set here facin' Life's western sun,
I whisper, soft-like God bless 'em, each one.
Us ol' fellers sometimes jes' gits that-a-way,
Our minds wander back to some distant day.
An' we think of things in the misty past.
Half-remembered things that couldn't last.
We wonder 'bout fellers we used to know,
What are they doin'? Where did they go?
An' so time slips away from year to year.
Till we hear the call then disappear."
- Ralph A. Tingle
(From The Sohioan 1938)
"We cannot adequately observe our Company's 80th anniversary without paying tribute to the men and women who have worked for it. The history of our 80 years of corporate existence is the history of four generations of Standard Oil men and women.W. T. HOLLIDAY- 1950
I have been associated with the last two generations, but it was also my privilege to know a few of the men of the first generation, and quite a number of the second. They have all been alike in their mutual loyalty to each other, and to their Company, and in their feeling of pride in their organization. The fraternal spirit of our institution, inaugurated by the first generation, has been handed down undiminished from one generation to another.
One of the men of the second generation once said to me, with the deepest earnestness: "When a man goes to work for The Standard Oil Company he has a rebirth. He gets a new father and mother, and new brothers and sisters."
One reason, I believe, for the preservation for 80 years of this feeling of security and mutual loyalty and trust is that our Board of Directors, since the beginning, has always been a working Board. Its members all rose from the ranks and have devoted their lives to working and living with this organization of people. A noted columnist once wrote that the thing he liked about our Company was that when a president retires we hire a new office boy."
This page is dedicated to the memory of those who worked in an age in which loyalty, quality and compassion were vital components of a successful business. Mike Pappas once told me that after years of thought, he realized that his responsibility was to manage the best he could to maintain jobs for his employees. Although I disagreed with a few other opinions Mike held , I never forgot this one. If you remember Mike, Bob Hoffman and other great, people-oriented managers Sohio once employed and what a family Sohio was, please join the celebration!
I'm not certain what made this company special but I suspect it started at the top. Quotes like that shown above from Mr. Holliday suggest he had more than the bottom line in mind when he made important decisions about the firm's operations. I'm sorry I never met the man but I intend to do more research about him when time permits.
Changes started when Charles Spahr became President. Within a few years after assuming the position, he hired 'Efficiency' experts to hack away at personnel, cutting at least 1/3rd of the people in nearly every department. Shortly after the first purge, he had them make another pass, further devastating the workforce. Long-time employees never forgave Mr. Spahr for orchestrating these actions, especially for his tolerance of the incompetence shown by the 'experts' who seemed to know little or nothing about the business.
Many employees were also disappointed to read the details of Sohio's "acquisition of BP's North American assets", which was actually the sale of Sohio to BP once Alaskan crude production reached profitable levels. Part of the transaction apparently included installing Alton Whitehouse, a lead attorney in negotiating the 'merger', as President of Sohio. Mr. Spahr became CEO. These changes in upper management were followed by the the firm's demise in less than 20 years. Both gentlemen retired wealthy.
But this site is devoted to the "little guys"- many of whom spent their entire working lives with Sohio. Many had followed their fathers into the company and were followed by their sons. In researching this aspect of Sohio, I discovered a nice collection of information about the Baer family on a genealogy site HERE. Within the document are references to 3 generations of Baer family who worked for Sohio. An article that appeared in the December, 1930 Sohioan about them is presented HERE. More recent information, which I extracted from the Pletsch genealogy, is HERE.
I plan to add more information of this type as time passes and always welcome suggestions regarding site content.
Dan's Sohio Timeline.
Who am I? Dan Dotson, a former Sohioan. Chemist (Lima Refinery, 1968-70), Q.C. Supt. (Toledo Refinery, 1970-79) and Mgr. Refinery Product Quality (Cleveland Home Office, 1979-85). My Contact Information is HERE (I use this graphical form in an attempt to minimize SPAM- please forgive the minor inconvenience.)
Service Pin Awards- More than 30,000 awards are presently in a searchable database but we do not currently have it online
Sohio Publications Employee periodicals, product advertising and more!!
Articles and books about Standard Oil
Sohio's Quarter Century Club An exclusive group of employees with at least 25 years' service
The following links point to pictures and messages visitors have sent me.
I will add more if anyone has some to contribute (see my Contact Data above).
If you have a chance, visit D'Antiques , an enterprise of Dan Dotson and his lovely wife, Marilyn. We occasionally have Sohio memorabilia for sale and are always looking for more.