About Schaeffer Oil

 Tom Herrmann, John Shield, Jay Shields pictured with Nicholas Schaeffer portrait

Portrait of Nicholas Schaeffer with Tom Herrmann, CEO, John Shields, Chairman of the Board and Jay Shields, President. 


Schaeffer Manufacturing Company has been family owned and operated since its start in 1839. Schaeffer is rooted in the tradition of excellent service, and leads the industry into the future with advanced concepts in lubrication, performance additives, friction modifiers, and synthetics. Tradition combined with new technology provides our customers with enhanced performance, fuel economy and extended lubricant life.

Our strong foundation is complemented by more than 500 local Schaeffer sales representatives -- quality people that deliver strong performance to you. With over 175 years of inventive technologies along with the most highly trained staff in the industry, you'll be partnering with the best. Our sales team works with you, solving problems, providing solutions, and helping you to increase profits. They're on your team, not on your payroll.

Take a tour with John Schaeffer Shields.

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 Expanded History

Schaeffer Mfg. Co., America's oldest lubricant manufacturer, was founded in St. Louis by Nicholas Schaeffer in 1839. Originally known for its soap and candle making, by the mid-1800s Schaeffer products became popular for their usefulness outside of the home. Many wagon trains were making their way across the country, and the drivers found Schaeffer's products to be the perfect grease for their wagon wheels on these long journeys.

St. Louis was founded just 75 years earlier, and quickly became an industrial port of manufacturing goods. As food processing, brewing and distilling, and the soap and candle making industries boomed in the port city, the demand on industrial lubricant rose rapidly. By the 1860s, Schaeffer produced more than $1 million in annual sales.

In 1879, Jacob Schaeffer filled Nicholas' chair and became president of the company. The company name was changed to Schaeffer Brothers and Powell Manufacturing Company, and soon became the largest soap and candle-maker west of the Mississippi, supplying noteworthy customers such as Proctor and Gamble, as well as a gentleman by the name of Peet of Colgate, Palmolive, Peet fame. During this time the company became a full-fledged lubricant manufacturer and marketer.

Bertrand Blk & Wht

Schaeffer's original line of lubricants was a by-product of animal fats, sold under the trade name Red Engine Oil. Steamboats that plied the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio rivers used this line of lubricants. Schaeffer also made grease, called Black Beauty, which lubricated the wheels of buggies and wagon trains rolling west. As the company grew, it adopted the name Boss for its laundry bar soaps and Star for its candles.

William Shields succeeded his father as president of the company in 1917, and he remained in this role until his oldest son, Tom Shields assumed presidency in 1946. Shortly thereafter, the company name was changed to Schaeffer Mfg. Co. The company initiated a number of new products and aggressively remodeled their business structure into a direct selling format. In 1950, Schaeffer Mfg. Co. closed its soap and candle making operation to fully focus on its lubricant manufacturing.

Tom Shields led the company until his death in 1982. At that time, John Schaeffer Shields was named chairman of the board, and he continues to oversee the company's leadership today. In 1986, Tom Herrmann, the son of Jackie (Shields) Herrmann, became president and implemented an aggressive growth strategy, expanding from the agriculture and mining markets to include steel manufacturing, food processing, and industrial customers. Jay Schaeffer Shields became the president of the company in 2004.

As a family-owned and operated business since 1839, Schaeffer is among the oldest manufacturing companies west of the Mississippi, and is the oldest lubricant manufacturer in the United States. Today, Schaeffer offers specialized lubrication solutions to a wide breath of industries, including construction and mining, agriculture, over-the-road trucking, marine, as well as automotive and high performance racing, providing products and additives that reduce fuel consumption, improve mileage and horsepower, reduce emissions, and extend efficiency and performance.