Updated August 2021
Research questions, comments and sharing.
The American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) established this page as a method to help our members share ideas, especially when seeking detailed information about petroleum history, which AOGHS does not have staff or resources to pursue. When contacted about oilfield- related family heirlooms, the society maintains the Oil & Gas Families page to help locate suitable museum collections for preserving these unique histories.
For old petroleum company stock certificates, there’s the popular forum that can be found linked to Is my Oil Oil Stock worth Anything?
Seeking Historical Information
As noted on the Research & Artifacts page, AOGHS maintains this post as one way to help researchers share ideas and oil and gas historical information. Contact the society at email@example.com if you would like your research question added.
Want to help? Use the comment section to answer or make suggestions for these questions. Simply post your answers in the comment section at the end of this post.
Star Oil Company Sign
Looking for information about an old porcelain sign from the Star Oil Company of Chicago. Learn more in Seeking Star Oil Company.
Bowser Gas Pump Research
I have a BOWSER, pump #T25988; cut #103. This is a vintage hand crank unit. I can’t seem to find any info on it! Any help would be appreciated, Thank You. (Post comments below.) — Larry
Originally designed to safely dispense kerosene as well as “burning fluid, and the light combustible products of petroleum,” early S.F. Bowser pumps added a hose attachment for dispensing gasoline directly into automobile fuel tanks by 1905. See First Gas Pump and Service Station for more about these pumps and details about Bowser’s innovations.
Bowser company once proclaimed its “Cut 103” as “the fastest indoor gasoline gallon pump ever made” with an optional “hose and portable muzzle for filling automobiles.” Today there are collectors’ sites like Oldgas.com for those who share an interest in these early technological innovations.
Circa 1900 California Oilfield Photo
My grandfather worked the oilfields in California in the early 1900’s.
He worked quite a bit in Coalinga and also Huntington Beach. He had this in his old pictures. I would like to identify it if possible. The only clue that I see is the word Westlake at the bottom of the picture. What little research I could do led me to believe it might be the Los Angeles area?
I would appreciate any help you can provide. (Post comments below.) — B.
Cities Service Bowling Teams
I was wondering if there are any records or pictures of bowling leagues and teams for Cities Service in the late 1950s and early 1960s in Houston, Texas, or Lafayette, Louisiana. I would appreciate any information. My dad was on the team. (Post comments below.) — Lisa
Oilfield Storage Tanks
My family has a farm in western PA and once had a small oil pump on the land. I’m trying to learn how the oil was transported from the pump. I know a man came in a truck more than once each week to turn on the pump and collect oil, but I don’t know if there was a holding tank, how he filled his truck, etc. (My mother was a child there in the ’40s and simply can’t recall how it all worked.) Can anyone point me at a resource that would explain such things? I’m working on a children’s book and need to get it right. Thank you. — (Post comments below.) Lauren
Author seeking Historical Oil Prices
Can anyone at AOGHS tell me what the ballpark figures are in the amount of petroleum products so far extracted, versus how much oil-gas is left in the world? Also: the price per barrel of oil every decade from the 1920s to the present. And the resulting price per gallon during the decades from 1920 to the present year? I have almost completed my book about an independent oilman — (Post comments below.) John
Painting related to Standard Oil (ESSO)
I am researching an old oil painting on canvas that appears to be a gift to Esso Standard Corp. Subject: Iris flowers. There is some damage due to age but it is quite interesting. The painting appears to be signed in upper right corner: Hirase?
On the back, along each side, is Japanese writing that I think translates to “Congratulations Esso Standard” and “the Tucker Corporation” or “the Naniwa Tanker Corporation.” Date unknown, possibly 1920s.
I am not an expert in art nor Japanese culture, so some of my translation could be incorrect. I was hoping you or your colleagues might shed some light on this painting. — Nancy Please ad comment below.
Early Gasoline Pumps
For the smaller, early stations from around 1930, was the gas stored in a tank in the ground below the dispenser/pump? — Chris Please ad comment below.
Oilfield Jet Engines
I was wondering about a neat aspect of oil and natural gas production; namely, the use of old, retired aircraft jet engines to produce power at remote oil company locations, and to pump gas/liquid over long distances in pipelines. Does anyone happen to recall what year a jet engine was first employed by the industry for this purpose? Nowadays, there is an interesting company called S&S Turbine Services Ltd. (based at Fort St. John, British Columbia) that handles all aspects of maintenance, overhaul and rebuilding for these industrial jets. — Lindsey Please ad comment below.
Natalie O. Warren Propane Tanker Memorabilia
My father spent his working life with Lone Star Gas, he is gone many years now I am getting on. Going through a few of his things. A little book made up that he received when he and my mother attended the commissioning of the Natalie O. Warren Propane Tanker. I am wondering if it is of any value to anyone. Or any museum. — Bill Please ad comment below.
Elephant Advertising of Skelly Oil
My grandfather owned a Skelly service station in Sidney, Iowa in the 1930s and 1940s. I have a photo of him with an elephant in front of the station. I recall reading somewhere that Skelly had this elephant touring from station to station as an advertising stunt. Does anyone have any more history on the live elephant tour for Skelly Oil? I’d love to find out more. — Jeff Please ad comment below.
Tree Stumps Oilfield Architecture
I am a graduate student at the Architectural Association in London working on a project that looks at the potential use of tree stumps as structural foundations. While researching I found the following extract from an article on The Petroleum Industry of the Gulf Coast Salt Dome Area in the early 20th century: “In the dense tangle of the cypress swamp, the crew have to carry their equipment and cut a trail as they go. Often they use a tree stump as solid support on which they set up their instruments.” I have been struggling to find any photos or drawings of how this system would have worked (i.e. how the instruments were supported by the stump) I was wondering if you might know where I could find any more information? — Andrew Please ad comment below.
Texas Road Oil Patch Trip
“Hi, next year we are planning a road trip in the United States that starts in Dallas, Texas, heading to Amarillo and then on to New Mexico and beyond. We will be following the U.S. 287 most of the way to Amarillo and would like to know of any oil fields we could visit or simply photograph on the way. From Amarillo we plan to take the U.S. 87. We realise this is quite a trivial request but you help would be much appreciated.” — Kristin Please ad comment below.
Antique Calculator: The Slide Rule
Here’s a question about those analog calculating devices that became obsolete when electronic pocket calculators arrived in the early 1970s…Learn more in Refinery Supply Company Slide Rule.
The American Oil & Gas Historical Society preserves U.S. petroleum history. Become an AOGHS supporting member and help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. Contact the society at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a research question added. © 2021 Bruce A. Wells.