Crystal Petroleum Products Corporation  incorporated in Los Angeles on December 5, 1921, and in Las Vegas on  November 17, 1922, with capitalization of $1 million and “the purpose of conducting an oil-refining business, and to manufacture gasoline and petroleum products.”

The company’s secret, patented refining innovation was known as the “Crystal” process, and claimed “a far greater percentage of recovery of all products is made from the crude than by cracking.”

The Oil Trade Journal’s November 1922  issue reported on the new company noting, “New California Refinery to Use Crystal Process” and that it “had broken ground on a 60-acre tract a few miles north of Long Beach, California  where it will erect a refinery.”

In addition to a capital stock offering, the company also issued $100 Participation Operation Certificates which entitled the holder to a discount of 10 percent on all purchases of the company’s products such as its T-N-T brand gasoline.

In 1923, the Oil Trade Journal praised the company. “New Refinery at Long Beach Model of It’s Kind  – Layout of Equipment at Plant of Crystal Petroleum Products Corp. Called Perfect by Engineers,” the publication reported. The engineers were wrong.

Whatever the “Crystal” refining process was, it left no trace in patent records and did not yield the company’s hoped for competitive advantage.

Crystal Petroleum registered a unique trademark for its "Motor Fuel Oil" but few petroliana collectors have ever seen it.

Crystal Petroleum registered a unique trademark for its “Motor Fuel Oil” – but few petroliana collectors have seen it.

The T-N-T brand logo is almost as rare, according to collectors of petroliana, antiques related to gas stations and the oil business.

Crystal Petroleum Products Corporation did not succeed and was both inactive and insolvent prior to February 1928, when California’s Third District Court of  Appeals recorded Crystal Petroleum Products’ $212,000 debt against its $75,000 asset valuation for “manufacturing plant  and other property.”

Obsolete Crystal Petroleum Products Corporation stock certificates and Participation Operation Certificates occasionally appear for sale on Scripophily sites.

Learn more about Los Angeles oil history.


The stories of exploration and production companies joining petroleum booms (and avoiding busts) can be found updated in Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything? The American Oil & Gas Historical Society preserves U.S. petroleum history. Please support this AOGHS.ORG energy education website. For membership information, contact © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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