Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : Union Tank Car Co.
Union Tank Car Co.

Union Tank Car Co.

Founded in 1866 by one of Standard Oil Co.'s early competitors, J. J. Vandergrift, the Star Tank Line shipped oil from the fields of Pennsylvania to Chicago. The company was purchased by Standard Oil in 1873 and its headquarters moved to Ohio. Five years later, its name was changed to Union Tank Car Co. As part of John D. Rockefeller's innovative scheme to avoid state antitrust measures, Union Tank Car was incorporated in New Jersey in 1891 as a subsidiary of the newly incorporated Standard Oil Trust. By 1904, Union Tank Car owned a fleet of 10,000 cars, far more than any other private car operator. It shipped products solely for its parent company until 1911, when the Standard Oil Trust was dissolved by the federal government. During the 1920s, when its fleet consisted of about 30,000 cars, the company changed its name to UTCC and its headquarters were moved to Chicago. In 1931, it began shipping chemicals and producing tank cars. Over the next several decades, UTCC acquired other companies and became one of the world's largest tank carrier companies. By the early 1960s, when the company moved into the new Union Tank Car Building in Chicago's Loop, annual sales exceeded $100 million. A decade later, UTCC and its newly created holding company, Trans Union Corp., employed about 1,500 people in the Chicago area. Trans Union Corp. and its subsidiaries (UTCC included) were purchased by the Chicago-based Marmon Group investment company in 1981. See also Marmon Group Inc.