« Back to Latest Posts

Whatever Happened to Signal Oil?

July 27, 2014

Signal Oil, sponsor of the CBS radio show, The Whistler

Signal Gasoline Company was founded in 1922 by Samuel B. Mosher, a farmer. What started as just a gasoline business quickly evolved to include products like grease and oil in 1928. These changes caused “Signal Gasoline Company” to become “Signal Gas and Oil”. In 1931 Signal and Standard Oil began a partnership. That same year Signal had it's first foray into sponsoring radio programs after becoming the sponsor of a show called Carefree Carnival. This program featured Western music and skits and broadcasted out of San Francisco. In 1947 the company changed again, Standard Oil took over control of marketing and Signal worked on drilling and production.

Eleven years later Signal became the sponsor of CBS' The Whistler. However, because Signal gasoline was only sold in seven Western states CBS affiliate stations out West were the only ones to broadcast the show when it aired on May 16, 1942. After the trademark whistling in the intro The Whistler began with the familiar, “That Whistle is your signal for the Signal Oil program, The Whistler.” Signal Oil was the sponsor for all 692 episodes until the show ended September 22, 1955.

After The Whistler ended in 1955 what happened to Signal Oil? Research points in two directions. Some articles mention Signal becoming part of a large Iranian petroleum holding company. Other sources report Signal merging with the Allied Corporation into the aerospace industry. Read on for more.

Iranian Oil Participants Ltd.

One year before the last episode political changes in the Middle East led to the creation of a holding company called the IOP (Iranian Oil Participants Ltd.). The IOP was made up of 16 oil companies in all with the largest piece coming from British Petroleum. Smaller companies like Gulf, Royal Dutch Shell and Signal were also included. In 1979 political turmoil in Iran caused the IOP holding company to fall apart.

Allied-Signal and Honeywell

Signal merged with the Garrett Corporation in 1964. The Garrett Corporation had a history in the aerospace industry being a manufacturer of parts for the B-25, B-29 bomber and the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. After the merger the new company was called “The Signal Companies.” In 1985 the company became “Allied-Signal” until the hypen was removed in eight years later to become “AlliedSignal”. Honeywell was purchased in 1999 and AlliedSignal made a move to take Honeywell since it was the more recognizable name.

Read more stories about sponsors from the Golden Age of Radio: Roma Wines and Petri Wines.

Read similar stories: , , , ,