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A petroleum stock certificate’s vignette often is an important part of its value for scripophily – the buying and selling of certificates as collectibles after they have no redeemable value as a security.

A petroleum stock certificate’s vignette often is an important part of its value for scripophily – the buying and selling of certificates as collectibles after they have no redeemable value as a security.

An updated collection of brief articles about obscure oil and natural gas company histories. Please support this free research with a tax-deductible donation.

Note to visitors: The American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) website: This society is a small – with just one employee – nonprofit program that depends on your financial support.

AOGHS serves as a resource for petroleum history for researchers, teachers, students, historians and the public.

U.S. exploration and production industry’s heritage of social, economic and technological achievements provide a context for teaching the modern energy business.

AOGHS survives on donations. Your contribution helps the society promote community oil and natural gas museums – and national energy education.

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oil and gas company

In the rush to print stock certificates during drilling booms, some new companies simply used a common vignette of derricks. See Centralized Oil & Gas Company, Double Standard Oil & Gas Company, Evangeline Oil Company, Texas Production Company, and Tulsa Producing and Refining Company.


Can you tell me anything about this old petroleum company (for free)? I found its stock certificate in an attic. Am I rich? Probably not. As shown in the companies below, since the 1850s the U.S. petroleum industry’s boom and bust cycles have left many casualties.  For an example of one that actually made it to courts, see Not a Millionaire from Old Oil Stock.

oil and gas company

America’s first oil company – the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company of New York – organized it 1855.

Unfortunately, this small historical society cannot grant requests for free research regarding individual company histories and the potential value of stock certificates.

As you may have discovered, financial research is difficult and time consuming. If you are fortunate, a visitor to this website or a society volunteer may have posted helpful information.

If it is not here, and to share further research experiences, you are invited to submit your query in the current Stock Certificate Q&A Forum.


Below is research submitted by a leading volunteer of the American Oil & Gas Historical Society. The company histories presented often tell fascinating stories – and are exclusive of the Stock Certificate Q&A forum posts also on this website. Check back here for more of these rare histories.

Read the rest of this entry »


Community museums educate visitors about early petroleum technologies, including oilfield cannons used for firefighting after lightning strikes at storage tanks. Oil patch artillery exhibits often can be found at oil and gas museums in the Great Plains.

oilfield cannons

A cloud of black smoke marks the site of an early oil tank fire being fought with oilfield artillery as spectators look on. This rare photo is from the collection of the Butler County History Center & Kansas Oil Museum in El Dorado.

“Oil Fires, like battles, are fought by artillery” was the catchy phrase in an 1880s magazine article from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

“Lightning had struck the derrick, followed pipe connections into a nearby tank and ignited natural gas, which rises from freshly produced oil. Immediately following this blinding flash, the black smoke began to roll out.”

“A Thunder Storm in the Oil Country,” a December 17, 1884, first-person account in MIT’s The Tech magazine, described what happened next: “The storm having done its mischief had passed over, and the heavy billows of black smoke rolled up into the clear sky in an almost vertical column.

“Without stopping to watch the burning tank-house and derrick, we followed the oil to see where it would go. By some mischance the mouth of the ravine had been blocked up and the stream turned abruptly and spread out over the alluvial plain.

“Here, on a large smooth farm, were six iron storage tanks, about 80 feet in diameter and 25 feet high, each holding 30,000 barrels of oil. The burning oil spread with fearful rapidity over the level surface, and finally touched the sides of the nearest tank. Read the rest of this entry »