Refrigerator magnet pictures a 1944 advertisement for Autocar trucks, featuring an illustration of a red Petrol Oil Corporation truck making a delivery. Founded in 1897 as the Pittsburgh Motor vehicle Company, Autocar left cars behind in 1911 and concentrated on heavy duty trucks. It had built the first motorized trucks sold in America in 1899.
The company founder, Louis Semple Clarke (1867-1957) was an engineer who made his mark on automotive history by patenting the process to insulate spark plugs with porcelain (the patent eventually sold to Champion), as well as important improvements to drive shafts and oil circulation systems.
Autocar suffered during the Depression but rose to the challenge during World War II. In 1944 when this advertisement appeared, the company was in the midst of building 50,000 trucks for the US military.
In 1953, Autocar was acquired by the White Motor Company, that in 1980 was acquired by Volvo, that in 2001 was acquired by GVW Group.
Today's Autocar is based in Hagerstown, Indiana, where 300 workers produce Class 8 severe duty trucks.
Petrol Corporation, an independent petroleum producer, was founded in 1928 by an Indianapolis native, Edwin W. Pauley (1903 - 1981). Petrol was one of several oil companies with which Pauley was involved. He was a notable figure during World War II. Appointed by president Roosevelt, he managed petroleum supplies in the lend-lease program with Britain and Russia. Soon after the war, Pauley sold Petrol to Standard Oil, with which he had a decade-long relationahip. Had he agreed to sell his numerous oil interests, Paul would have joined Truman's cabinet; his decline did not lessen his value to the governement, however, and he went on to serve as an advisor to presidents Kennedy and Johnson.