The Continental Oil Company began as a regional marketer of coal oil, candles, and axle grease in the Rockies in 1875. The first Conoco credit card was used in the mid 1930s. It was known as the “gold card”, and was the special province of Mr. Dan Moran who was president of Conoco at the time. This was a paper card and was given to Mr. Moran’s personal friends and could be used for the purchase of petroleum products.
Coupon books as precursors
Before this time, however, Conoco Marketing had a program of selling coupon books with a value of $10. These coupons could be used for the purchase of petroleum products at Conoco stations. Consistent with this coupon program, Conoco issued a credit courtesy card which entitled the customer to purchase coupon books on credit.
The plastic laminated cards
The first actual active credit card was not used until after World War II. This was a plastic laminated card signed by Mr. Moran. It was good for one year and could be renewed if the activity and credit justified it. In addition to being used at Conoco stations, it was also valid at Pure, Hickok, Tydol, Flying A, and Home service stations.
This card was issued through 1947 with Mr. Moran’s signature. In 1947, Mr. L.F. McCollum became president and his signature was put on the card. This type of laminated card was used until 1957.
The credit check program
Concurrent with the use of the laminated card, in 1953 Conoco started a credit check program.
Under this program, the customer was provided with an 80 column card invoice set which had a 50 column tear off portion which was pre-punched with the customer’s account number. To use this credit check, the customer filled out the invoice himself and presented it to the dealer. This program continued in force through 1959.
First plastic credit card
A major change in Conoco’s credit card activity occurred on November 1, 1957, when the first plastic credit card was introduced. Two different types of retail cards were issued.
One was an expiring dated card (these cards expired on a frequent basis so that the company could keep better control of the credit use of new customers.).
They also issued a so-called “non-expiring letter series” card. Although the card did not have an expiration date, they would cancel a whole series of letters as new ones were issued. The letter series were issued as follows: “A”, “B”, “C”, “D”, “E”, “G”, and “H” issued 10/15/71; “K” issued 6/15/76; “L” issued 8/1/80; and “R” issued 5/21/84.
The Conoco employee card
Since the first all-plastic card was issued in 1957, Conoco has changed the design on the front of the card many times. Also, with the beginning of the “H” series, a special Conoco employee card was added. The back of the credit card has changed more frequently due to changes in the exchange companies with whom they dealt.
Today, there are no exchanges and the credit card is good only at Conoco service stations. The exception to this rule is that the Conoco employee credit card can be accepted at Fast Gas and Jet service stations.
These, however, are Conoco operated and are few in number. There was a time when the Douglas, Mileage, Western, and DS stations had their own credit cards associated with Conoco. They have all now been phased out and are under the Conoco logo. There are also some Conoco Government Credit Cards issued to agencies of the U.S. Government.
A DuPont subsidiary
On September 30, 1981 Conoco became a subsidiary of the DuPont Company and is selling gasoline at retail in 41 states under the Conoco, Kayo, Fast Gas, Fasgas, Econo, and Jet brands.
Don’t forget to make Conoco credits cards a part of your credit card collecting hobby!
Copyright 1987 by Greg Tunks