Old Oil Stocks – in progress “I”
Chances are people seeking financial information here will not find lost riches (Not a Millionaire from Old Oil Stock). The American Oil & Gas Historical Society, a small non-profit program that depends on donations, simply does not have resources to provide free research of corporate histories.
However, AOGHS continues to look into forum queries as part of its energy education mission. Some investigations have revealed little-known stories like Buffalo Bill’s Shoshone Oil Company; many others have found questionable dealings during booms and epidemics of “black gold” fever like Arctic Explorer turns Oil Promoter.
Visit the Stock Certificate Q & A Forum and view company updates regularly added to the A-to-Z listing at Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything? AOGHS will continue to look into forum queries, including these “in progress.”
Imperial Drilling Company
More than 70 years ago a query about Imperial Drilling Company stock resulted in the Robert D. Fisher Manual of Valuable and Worthless Securities noting that the Texas secretary of state and the county clerk in Cisco, Texas, “informed us: ‘Unable to give you any information regarding above company, but don’t think it is active, as I have not heard of it.’ (October 10, 1939).”
Imperial Drilling Company was likely one of many ventures born of the “Roaring Ranger” a 1917 oilfield discovery well near Cisco that launched drilling booms at many Eastland County towns. A host of such companies and stock speculations had brief lifespans and left behind now obsolete stock certificates. Cisco was a tough town, its citizens hung Santa Clause…twice. See Oil Boom Brings First Hilton Hotel.
Indian Oil & Gas Company
Indian Oil and Gas Company was incorporated on January 29, 1913, by J.D. Boxley, H.E. Brinson, and O.D. Smith. The Tradesman, a contemporary periodical also reported J.J. Jackson to have been an incorporator.
With only 400 shares of common stock were issued, this under-capitalized venture ($10,000) would have been known as a “poor boy” operation, likely using cable-tool equipment that limited drilling depths. Read more in “Making Hole” – Drilling Technology.
Within two months of incorporating, Indian Oil & Gas acquired an 80 acre lease in Hughes County and 40 acres in Creek County, Oklahoma. The Hughes County lease was about 12 miles southwest of Holdenville; the Creek County site about 60 miles away, near Bristow. Because these drilling sites were far from proven territory and producing wells, it would have been a very speculative gamble – wildcat drilling.
Oklahoma records do not show that Indian Oil & Gas Company was ever able to spud (begin drilling) any wells, likely because of an inability to secure sufficient backing to acquire equipment and rig workers. The company’s timing was terrible.
The Greater Seminole oil boom’s Holdenville oilfield was discovered just three years later (1916) and since yielded more than 200 million barrels of oil. When Indian Oil & Gas remained inactive, regulators suspended over-the-counter trading of company stock in 1919. The Grace M. Pickens Library in Holdenville may be able to assist with further research.
Industrial Oil & Refining Company
Industrial Oil and Refining Company incorporated on September 13, 1916, ostensibly “to produce and sell crude oil, petroleum and products thereof” with capitalization of $5 million (par value of $1). Two years later in June, expansive advertisements appeared in the Pittsburgh Gazette-Times and Pittsburgh Press. The ads declared the company had 22 producing wells and “large acreage in the famous Glenn Pool near Tulsa, Okla., and other valuable acreage in Kansas and Wyoming.”
Although state well records did not support the claims, Industrial Oil & Refining further declared, “Our Production of Oil Increased over 500% in 1917” and closed with, “That is why we now offer 100,000+ shares of Treasury stock, par value $1 per share, at the unusually attractive price of 80-cents per share.”
Industrial Oil & Refining was one of many stock promotions named in October 1919 congressional “Blue Sky” hearings held because of a post-war “deluge of mushroom, get-rich-quick corporations organized all over the country for the purposes principally of selling stock.”
Industrial Oil & Refining Company may have made its promoters some money, but common stock shareholders were left with worthless paper when the company folded.
Intercontinent Petroleum first incorporated as Mexican-Panuco Oil Company in 1916, but changed its name to Intercontinent Petroleum in January 1927.
Incorporated in Delaware, the company operated from New York City as the Great Depression loomed. It issued stock at a nominal par value of $5 – increasing from an initial five million to eight million.
The company owned Turkish American Oil Company and all the stock of English Oil Company (a Mexico corporation) as well as 80 percent of Chachavi Company and leases in Columbia, Mexico, and Turkey. Despite these assets, it appears the Great Depression and lack of investment capital led to the demise of Intercontinent Petroleum. The authoritative Robert D. Fisher Manual of Valuable and Worthless Securities declared the stock to be worthless as of 1933.
Interstate Oil Company
Henry Hoffman was president of the Interstate Oil Company, which was sold to the Turnbow Oil Corporation for $450,000. In 1922 the Schenectady Gazette had warning for New York investors.
“Henry H. Hoffman is said to have made years ago a substantial amount of money in a Texas oil venture, and ever since then has been trading on his good fortune inducing innocent people to believe that they would make all kinds of money by following him into new ventures which he has flung to the public and none of which has made good from an investor’s standpoint,” the newspaper reported.
Hoffman’s initial success had been in 1915, when he reportedly completed a well producing 2,000 barrels of oil a day in the Humble oilfield, one of the early salt dome fields along the Texas Gulf Coast. Headline-making 1901 discoveries there included the “Lucas Gusher” at Spindletop and Sour Lake, which launched Texaco.
Iowa and California Oil & Gas Company
Despite its Arizona incorporation, Iowa and California Oil & Gas Company’s first drilling venture apparently was planned for the northern part of the Christian County oil field in Kentucky. A weekly publication, the Kentucky New Era, reported the newly formed company planned to drill two wells, but more research is need to see if this transpired.
The company offered 500,000 shares of stock that at one time traded for about 10 cents a share but had been removed from the market by 1902. In January 1903 United States Investor reported the Iowa and California Oil & Gas Company had leased over 100 acres in Kansas and claimed to have brought in a well yielding six million cubic feet of natural gas. Company President Dr. Edward G. Snodgrass, a prominent Keokuk, Iowa, dentist, reportedly planned to drill another well.
Investor’s assessment concluded, “In some quarters it is thought that the parties who are managing the company have had little or no experience in the oil and gas business, and that their management may not be successful. This, however, remains to be determined.”
The stories of other exploration attempts to join petroleum exploration booms (and avoid busts) can be found in an updated series of research at Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything?
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