At age 39, became youngest President of Standard Oil (New Jersey)
Expanded research and development of petroleum-based products including gasoline, lubricating oils and synthetic rubber
Walter Teagle had oil his blood, but he learned the petroleum business from the ground up. When Teagle was born, oil was used primarily for lighting lamps and greasing wheels. Teagle was the son of one of oil baron John D. Rockefeller’s fiercest competitors, and grandson of one of Rockefeller’s former partners in Standard Oil. After graduating from Cornell University, Teagle went to work at his father’s Cleveland refinery, firing and cleaning the old-style crude stills. Later, Teagle took to the road in a horse-drawn wagon selling kerosene and axle grease. A quick and ready learner, Teagle developed the skills needed for dealing effectively with people that would carry him to the top of Standard Oil’s United States operations before his 40th birthday. While the auto industry grew, Teagle continually watched for opportunities to improve both the quality and quantity of his product. His efforts led to world-wide growth for Standard Oil, and fuel refinements that made cars operate more efficiently and last longer. Teagle also pioneered the development of petrochemicals for use in products as diverse as cosmetics and food preservatives.