Midwest Oil Company - Distributors of Ace High, Avio, and Wil-Flo Motor Oils
The Midwest Oil Company, the distributors of Ace High Gasoline, Ace High Motor Oil, Wil-Flo Motor Oil, Avio Gasoline, Avio Motor Oil, was established in the bustling heart of Minneapolis in 1919, and carved a unique path in the American petroleum industry's history. With a blend of innovation, leadership, and strategic partnerships, Midwest Oil not only transformed the fuel and oil landscape in the northwest but also marked its presence globally.
The story of Midwest Oil Company begins with Edgar Dyar, an Iowa native who moved to Minneapolis in 1901 and founded the Western Oil Company, which subsequently merged with the Minneapolis based Climax Refining Company. In 1919, he organized the Midwest Oil Company and became its president, laying the foundation for a business that would serve citizens of the upper Midwest and beyond for over 50 years.
Expansion and Operations
Midwest Oil rapidly became a major marketer and petroleum distribution force in the upper Midwest and by 1927 was supplying over 2,000 dealers with gasoline and oil. As the roar of the Model T's engine became the soundtrack of the American streets post-World War I, Midwest Oil was there, ensuring every rev and every journey was powered by the finest lubricants and fuels the industry had to offer.
The company's product line was extensive, featuring Ace High Gasoline, Ace High Motor Oil, Wil-Flo Motor Oil, Avio Gasoline, Avio Motor Oil, and a range of Ace lubricating oils and greases.
Infrastructure and Growth
By the early 1930s, Midwest Oil's facilities in Minneapolis were a testament to its growth. The company boasted a two-story office building, storage tanks with a capacity of a staggering one million gallons, an oil testing laboratory, warehouse, pump house, and extensive shipping yard facilities. By 1937, its reach had expanded considerably, including sales in several states and countries like Australia and New Zealand.
Innovations and Market Leadership
Midwest Oil was not just a distributor but an innovator. Products like Wil-Flo motor oil, designed for the cold northwest winters, and the unique Ace Insecticide, a mosquito repellent applied with a spray gun, set the company apart.
Its Ace-High products in motor oils, gasoline, and super E.P. gear lubricants garnered a strong reputation among car owners and commercial haulers. The company led fuel oil sales in Minneapolis for many years, a testament to its market dominance.
Leadership and Legacy
Frank Schiefelbein, who joined Midwest Oil in 1924 as a bookkeeper, rose through the ranks to become its president in 1952 and later its board chairman. Known as "Mr. Oil" in the upper Midwest, his leadership was pivotal.
Under his tenure, the company expanded its distribution network, including products from the Pennsylvania Rubber Company, including tires and batteries, and later was appointed the distributing agency for Tide Water Associated Oil Company for Tydol Flying A Gasoline and Veedol motor oil in Minnesota, Western Wisconsin, Northern Iowa, and the Dakotas. In 1977, Midwest Oil Company, then a symbol of an independent and locally-owned enterprise in the petroleum industry, was acquired by Koch Refining Co. of Wichita, Kansas.