Zerolene Motor Oil

Zerolene Motor Oil

Zerolene Motor Oil was made by the Standard Oil Company, similar to Polarine even down to the polar bear on the ads.  The ads below appeared in major newspapers in the early 1900’s and the reason why it was called Zerolene is detailed below. Standard oil also had a sister product name Polarine which you can read about here.

Why was it called Zerolene? Because it flows freely at zero degrees.

Read the following from 1920 Lynden Tribune –

When the thermometer drops below freezing, then comes the real test of automobile oil. If the oil has not been manufactured scientifically, the sluggish action caused by the cold will stall the engine. Not so with Zerolene. Zerolene is prepared to give the best of service under all weather conditions. Zero-lene, as its name implys, flows freely at zero! While some automobile owners fussed with engine trouble during Lynden’s recent cold spell, the men who used Zerolene sped on their way. Zerolene made good during Lynden’s freezing weather!

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For years the Standard Oil Company, through its Board of Lubrication Engineers, has given service in lubrication—on land, on sea and in the air. Thousands of motorists are availing themselves of this service as applied to automobile lubrication. Something more than a good, clean oil is needed for Correct Lubrication. It must be an oil that will meet exactly the lubrication needs of the automobile in which it is used. It is the business of the Standard Oil Company Board of Lubrication Engineers to study the lubrication needs of each make of automobile and to prescribe Correct Lubrication with Zerolene.

Zerolene Collectables

Zerolene is good lubricating oil because the resources, experience and equipment of the Standard Oil Company are combined to make it so. It is correctly refined from selected California crude oil. It keeps its lubricating body at cylinder heat, holds compression, gives perfect protection to the moving parts and deposits least carbon. It is the best motor oil that the Standard Oil Company knows how to make. AND IT FLOWS FREELY AT ZERO. That’s why these progressive Lynden dealers recommend Zerolene.

This ad appeared in the Medford Mail Tribune, 1914 for the Standard Oil Company in Medford California.


Medford mail tribune – 1914

The Maui News, 1914 – 

A Product Of 40 Years’ Experience

For 40 years and over we have been successfully manufacturing lubricating oils for hundreds of different purposes. When the automobile came into use, our experts made a thorough study of its construction and operation and we produced Zerolene, a special oil to meet the exact lubricating requirements of this type of gas engine.


We therefore recommend Zerolene not merely as a good oil, but as actually the best motor oil we can make. It is given satisfactory service to thousands of motorists. It keeps the motor cool by perfect lubrication; cuts down repair costs and lengthens the life of the car. Dealers everywhere. Ask our nearest agency about delivery in bulk. AM. Standard Oil Company (CALIFORNIA) Honolulu

1914 zerolene ad

The San Francisco Call – 1912


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 1914

driver on can

Heres a photo of Zerolene sold at a Standard Oil Station in 1929. You can see the original post here.

zerolene station

(City of Portland Archives)

Heres a Zerolene Baseball Cap – Great gift for vintage motor oil collectors or check out the advertisement turned into a vintage print below –

Vintage Zerolene Motor Oil Print by OldVintagePosters
Find other designs of Art & Posters at

Comments (3)

  1. Danneille Arave

    I have a question for you, we just recently purchased an old home built in the 1910. We have found a couple of used oil cans. We have a zerolene 1 quart can. do you have any idea what this can value is?

    We have being reading up on the company but we have not found any info on the quart size cans – everyone talks about the 1 or 5 gallon cans.

    Any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    – thank you – Danneille

  2. admin (Post author)

    I can’t give you any price estimates as I don’t buy or sell them. If I had one, I’d put it on eBay with an open bid for 7 days. There are pro buyers on there that would bid it up if they wanted it for their collection.

    If you hold out, you might get an estimate from someone who see your question here.

  3. Harold W Kroll

    When was Zerolene discontinued or just renamed to another product?


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