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Navigation aidFINA

Purfina, Socal Fina

Brief History

Fina was established in 1920 as the Compagnie Financière Belge des Pétroles, a name which within a couple of years had become shortened to Petrofina. Initially starting with oil production in the Balkans and Chechnya, it soon added marketing assets in Belgium and Northern France. A joint marketing venture with the American Pure Oil only lasted until 1923 but the name (Purfina) stuck until the late 1950s in much of Europe. Before the war it expanded into the Netherlands (in another partnership, this time with Sinclair) and much of SE Europe. In 1939 it added Cities Service's British and French operations Citex.
After the war, Petrofina expanded into North America and made strategic acquisitions in Italy and Africa. The Fina brand name was first used in Britain and Canada in the mid 50s and by the end of the decade its petrols were also on sale in Germany, Norway, Sweden and Cyprus.

Never a major retailer in any country (it ranked fourth in even its home market of Belgium) Fina expanded in the 1960s, before retrenching in the 1980s. Canadian operations were the first to go to the newly formed Petro-Canada, and the Greek and Swiss networks were sold to BP. The Swedish and Cypriot chains went to local interests and in 1997 Norwegian outlets were swapped for a number of Dutch Shell sites. Finally in 1998, Fina succumbed to a merger proposal (in reality a takeover) by the French company TOTAL, to form TotalFina and within a few years the name had disappeared, except in Southern USA where it was licensed to a third party (Alon) until 2012.

Fina Touring Service logo

Fina Touring Service logo

There are additional pages for Fina maps from Belgium and Britain, so this page will focus on those from other countries.

Top of Page Maps: Purfina

ca1958 Purfina map of Germany

ca1959 Purfina map of Southern Germany

These two Purfina maps of Germany probably date from 1958 and 1959, with the later one covering just the Southern half of the country. Both were prepared for Purfina by Hans König of Frankfurt and, as they are printed on one side of the paper only, at the relatively small scales of 1:1.5mn and 1:1 million respectively. Each carries a double advertising panel describing how Purfina operates internationally, but only the earlier one refers to it being based in Brussels. The later map's advert for Purfina's Motortonic oil introduces its new 10W-30 multigrade.

Top of PageMaps: Fina

1963 Fina map of Belgium

Fina started developing a consistent corporate image around 1960. The map of Belgium (left) from around 1963 does not quite conform to the norm, but 1964 Italian map fully does so. It was by Agostini and located Fina's Touring Service stations; Fina had entered Italy by buying the independent distributors Permolio and ABC. In 1964 Fina introduced its Bonnes Vacances summer promotions featuring inflatable toys such as penguins, li-los and beach balls and its touring service emulated those of Shell and BP by producing packs that included maps to this uniform style.

1964 Fina map of Italy
1962 Fina German map 8 1964 Fina map of Munich

Maps, with cartography by H. König and marking Fina service stations, were produced for nine West German cities (later reduced to five plus the Ruhrgebiet). There were 8 sectional maps of West Germany at 1:500,000, one of neighbouring Austria where there were no Fina service stations, a touring book of Germany and a phrasebook with six major European languages.

1961 Fina Touring booklet of German scenic trips

In 1961 Fina published a 36 page booklet of scenic tours that included 6 double pages of maps almost completely covering West Germany (above right). Each map spread marked between four and six tours: there were 28 described in all.

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1961 Fina map of France Nord
1961 Fina map of France Nord

Reflecting its long history, Fina's French subsidiary produced a number of non-standard maps. In the early 1960s it used Michelin's Grandes Routes. (sections 998 & 999) to cover France in two sections at 1:1,000,000. By 1970 it had a single sheet map of France supported by 12 regional Cartes Touristiques covering not quite all of the country, prepared by RECTA-Foldex. All 3 maps locate Fina stations, the newer two giving addresses as well as numbered blobs on the map.

1970 Fina map of France
1970 Fina map of France

1972 Fina map of France Nord
1972 Fina map of France Nord (no. 6)

ca1971 Fina Sectional Map 1 of Britain

Fina published fewer maps after the early 1970s oil crisis, and those that were sold no longer conformed to a pan-European design. The sectional map of Britain dates from around 1971, and was the last series that Fina sold there, although there were occasionally single sheet maps or atlases sold, as shown on the Fina maps from Britain page.
The map of Germany dates from immediately after unification, and is primarily a locator for Fina stations (the reverse gives all addresses). But inside it was actually a usable map by König at 1:1,000,000.

1991 Fina map of Germany

Top of Page Maps: Socal Fina, Socal Purfina

1958 Socal Purfina map of Switzerland

From late 1952, Fina marketed in Switzerland in a joint venture with the Société Alsacienne de Petrole (SocAl, not to be confused with Standard Oil of California, known as SOCal) and used the Socal Purfina name until 1960. This 1958 map from Kümmerley & Frey is to a scale of 1:600,000 and is printed on one side of the paper only. The front cover is plain, but the rear shows a car flying as a result of using Socal Purfina SUPER with "indice d'octane élevé" (elevated octane rating).

Socal Fina logos

The logo on the left was used until around 1970, when it was replaced by the one of the right, giving greater prominence to the Fina shield.

From 1960 until the mid 1970s, the simpler Socal Fina name was used. Its maps followed the style of other European Fina maps from at least 1964-72 and although still drawn by Kümmerley & Frey were to the larger scale of 1:500,000 with towns with Fina stations marked by a shield or cross for Touring stations. After a few years under the Fina name, the chain was sold to BP in 1983.
The 1972 Socal Fina map of Switzerland is shown left

1972 Socal Fina map of Switzerland

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Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 1999-2012

All original copyrights in logos and map extracts and images are acknowledged and images are included on this site for identification purposes only.