Making a Two-Wick Camphene Lamp


Prior to the Civil War, the most popular lamp fuel in the country was a “burning fluid” called camphene, a volatile combination of turpentine and alcohol with camphor oil added for aroma. Until replaced by the far safer lamp fuel kerosene, two-wicked camphene lamps provided light for much of America.

Camphene’s explosive mixture required a double burner, according to Ron Miller, a self-taught tinsmith and “hands-on historian.” He became fascinated by the designs of these early illuminating lamps.

Reproduction camphene, kerosene, and whale oil lamps.

Jim Miller’s 19th century lamp tin recreations, left to right: a whale oil burner; an 1842 patented lard oil burner; a “Betty Lamp” fueled by fat; and a typical camphene two-wicked lamp.

“This adventure has deepened my appreciation for past craftsmanship and the intelligence of common place things in early America,” explained Miller in his 2012 For the love of History blog. “Besides, now I have all this cool stuff to play (teach) with.”

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The key to learning about early to mid-19th century oil lamps was to study their burners, Miller noted (see Camphene to Kerosene Lamps), adding, “each type of fuel needed a specific style of burner to give the best light.”

Although most of the fuels have become obsolete, Miller “wanted to faithfully replicate the burners, in order to understand how they evolved,” he said, adding, “For the time being, substitute fuels would have to do.”

Miller fashioned tin into period lamp designs, including one fueled by fat — a “Betty Lamp” that “has an ancestry extending clear back to the Romans but had been improved on over time.” He also recreated a whale oil lamp, circa 1850, and a patented lard oil burner of 1842 (the lard needed to be warmed, to improve its fluidity).

A lard oil lamp based upon a burner patent from 1842.

Miller also created a lard oil lamp using a burner patent from 1842.

“These tubes never extend down past the mounting plate and never have slots for wick adjustment. Apparently, any heat added to the fuel caused an accumulation of gases and the possibility of an explosion,” he noted. Most surviving original burners have little covers to snuff out the flame and keep the fuel from evaporating.

“The style of lamp I chose to replicate is sometimes called a petticoat lamp by collectors for the flared shape of the base. Camphene lamps are often mislabeled as Whale Oil lamps but the difference is obvious once you know your burners,” Miller concluded about his replica.

“In case you wondered, my lamp burns modern lamp oil as I don’t need to kill myself in the pursuit of history,” the tinsmith added.


Recommended Reading:  Oil Lamps The Kerosene Era In North America (1978). Your Amazon purchase benefits the American Oil & Gas Historical Society. As an Amazon Associate, AOGHS earns a commission from qualifying purchases.


The American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) preserves U.S. petroleum history. Become an AOGHS annual supporting member and help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact Copyright © 2023 Bruce A. Wells. All rights reserved.

Citation Information – Article Title: “Making a Two-Wick Camphene Lamp.” Authors: B.A. Wells and K.L. Wells. Website Name: American Oil & Gas Historical Society. URL: Last Updated: May 1, 2023. Original Published Date: March 11, 2018.


Standard Oil Whiting Refinery

Standard Oil scientists patented a process they called “thermal cracking.”


Beginning in the 1890s, the Whiting refinery of Standard Oil Company of Indiana first produced kerosene for lamps and later gasoline for autos to meet growing consumer demand.

Seventeen miles east of Chicago, Standard Oil Company of New Jersey began construction on a massive refinery complex in early May 1889.

BP whiting refinery near Chicago at sunset in 2013.

BP completed a multi-year, multi-billion dollar modernization project at the Whiting refinery in 2013. Photo courtesy Hydrocarbon Processing magazine.

Using advanced refining processes introduced by John D. Rockefeller, it would become the largest in the United States. The 1,400-acre complex, once operated by Amoco, was acquired by the British Petroleum Company in 1998. 

After acquiring Amoco and the refinery, British Petroleum became BP Amoco. That name was shorted to BP in 2001 after mergers with ARCO and Castrol. In 2021, the company brand changed to BP in lower-case type, often with the tagline “Beyond Petroleum,” and a stylized yellow and green sun.

The Whiting plant refined 152,000 barrels of oil per day in 2021.

Refining “Sour Crude”

About one month after construction of the then 235-acre refinery began, Rockefeller established a locally based subsidiary by incorporating Standard Oil Company of Indiana on June 18, 1889. The new company began processing oil at its Whiting refinery within a year.

In its early years, the Indiana refinery processed a sulfurous “sour crude” from the Lima, Ohio, oilfields — transported on Rockefeller controlled railroads. Most Americans, already putting out their tallow candles to buy lamps fueled with whale oil, lard, or the less costly but volatile camphene, embraced a new fuel — “rock oil” soon brought skyrocketing public demand.

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Rockefeller had purchased considerable amounts of production from the Lima oilfield at bargain prices. Most experts in the new petroleum industry believed the thick oil virtually worthless. It could not be refined for a profit. The Whiting refinery, using a newly patented method, efficiently processed Ohio sour oil into high-quality kerosene.

Although gasoline was a minor by-product, two brothers in Massachusetts were building a gasoline-powered horseless carriage at about the time the refinery produced its first 125 railroad tank cars filled with kerosene. The gas-powered automobile helped relaunch the petroleum industry — see Cantankerous Combustion – 1st U.S. Auto Show.

“By the mid-1890s, the Whiting plant had become the largest refinery in the United States, handling 36,000 barrels of oil per day and accounting for nearly 20 percent of the total U.S. refining capacity” noted historian Mark R. Wilson in the Encyclopedia of ChicagoInitially it consisted of just a single facility, adds a company history on the Amoco website.

whiting refinery Standard Oil of Indiana logo

The Standard Oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana, became the company’s most productive. Owned by BP since 1998, it has remained the largest U.S. refinery. Whiting has been home to the Northwest Indiana Oilmen since 2012.

Crude oil was processed into products that people and business needed: axle grease for industrial machinery, paraffin wax for candles, kerosene for home lighting.

“The company grew. By the early 1900s it was the leading provider of kerosene and gasoline in the Midwest” noted Wilson on the website. “Kerosene sales would eventually falter. But with car ownership booming across the United States, demand for gasoline would only go up and up.”

More Midwest Refineries

By 1910, the refinery is connected by pipeline to oilfields in Kansas and Oklahoma, as well as Ohio and Indiana. The Whiting facility employs 2,400 workers. In 1911, when Rockefeller was forced to break up his oil holdings, Standard of Indiana, with its main offices in downtown Chicago, emerged as an independent company.

Rockefeller’s Whiting scientists had patented a process they invented called thermal cracking, notes the Amoco website. It doubled the amount of gasoline that could be made from a barrel of oil and also boosted the gasoline’s octane rating.

Standard Oil’s process, which became standard practice in the refining industry, helped avert a gasoline shortage during World War I. To find its own oil supplies, Standard Oil of Indiana began its own exploration and production business, Stanolind.

In 1922, Standard Oil absorbed the American Oil Company, founded in Baltimore in 1910, and began branding products as Amoco, which later would become its company name. By 1952, Amoco was ranked as the largest domestic oil company.

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During the second half of the twentieth century, the U.S. refining industry became more concentrated in Texas, Louisiana, and California.

“The Chicago region became somewhat less important as an oil-processing center than it had been during the previous 60 years,” historian Mark Wilson concluded. “Still, the area remained home to some large refineries. The largest of these plants was the one at Whiting – the same facility that had brought refining to Chicago in 1890.” 

Across the border from Indiana, three major Illinois refineries also process oil in the Chicago area.  At the end of 2021, the Citgo refinery in Lemont processed 177,000 barrels of oil a day; the Joliet refinery owned by ExxonMobil processed 248,000 barrels of oil a day; and the Robinson refinery of Marathon Petroleum Company processed 192,000 barrels of oil a day (with a reported capacity for 253,000 barrels).

Refining Museum

A fourth refinery located in southern Illinois — and is almost as historic as Rockefeller’s Whiting plant — was constructed in 1918 by Shell. The giant  Wood River Refinery has operated north of St. Louis along the Mississippi River. 

The refinery, owned since 2013 by ConocoPhillips, has continued to be company’s largest —  processing 380,000 barrels of oil daily into millions of gallons of gasoline/fuel and thousands of barrels of asphalt. The Whiting refinery also has its own museum.

“The Wood River Refinery History Museum is located in front of the Conoco-Phillips Refinery on Highway 111 in Wood River, Illinois,” the museum notes on its website. “There are four buildings in our complex, so to see most of our collection, plan on spending some time.”

Whiting fielded a baseball team in 2012. The Northwest Indiana Oilmen is one of eight teams in the Midwest Collegiate League, a pre-minor league. To learn more about other petroleum history related baseball teams, see Oilfields of Dreams.

By 1982, Standard of Indiana refineries produce 1.2 million barrels of gasoline daily and serve 18,000 domestic gasoline retail outlets. Standard’s two largest refineries are located in Whiting and Texas City, Texas. Standard Oil of Indiana became Amoco Corporation in 1985 and three years later merged with British Petroleum (BP), the world’s largest industrial merger at the time.


Recommended Reading:  Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (2004); Whiting and Robertsdale – Images of America (2013). Your Amazon purchase benefits the American Oil & Gas Historical Society. As an Amazon Associate, AOGHS earns a commission from qualifying purchases.


The American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) preserves U.S. petroleum history. Become an AOGHS annual supporting member and help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact © 2023 Bruce A. Wells. All rights reserved.

Citation Information – Article Title: “Standard Oil Whiting Refinery.” Authors: B.A. Wells and K.L. Wells. Website Name: American Oil & Gas Historical Society. URL: Last Updated: April 27, 2023. Original Published Date: June 15, 2013.


The Crude History of Mabel’s Eyelashes

How oilfield paraffin created Vaseline — and Maybelline.


Few associate 1860s oil wells with women’s eyes, but they are fashionably related. From paraffin to Vaseline, this is the story of how the goop that accumulated around the sucker rods of America’s earliest oil wells made its way to the eyelashes of women.

In 1865, a 22-year-old Robert Chesebrough left the prolific oilfields of Pithole and Titusville, Pennsylvania, to return to his Brooklyn, New York, laboratory. He carried samples of a waxy substance that clogged wellheads. He already had dabbled in the “coal oil” business with experiments on refinery processes.

Chesebrough’s laboratory expertise included distilling cannel coal into kerosene (coal oil), a lamp fuel in high demand among consumers. He also knew of the process for refining crude oil into a kerosene.

So, when Edwin L. Drake completed the first U.S. oil well in August 1859, Chesebrough was among those who rushed to Pennsylvania oilfields to make his fortune. 

Robert Chesebrough and horse-drawn wagons selling Vaseline in New York City, circa 1900.

Robert Chesebrough will find a way to purify the waxy paraffin-like substance that clogged oil wells in early Pennsylvania petroleum fields. Photo courtesy Unilever Corp.

“Now commenced a scene of excitement beyond description,” reported Scientific American. “The Drake well was immediately thronged with visitors arriving from the surrounding country, and within two or three weeks thousands began to pour in from the neighboring States.”

Chesebrough was convinced he too could get rich from the “black gold” of Pennsylvania’s oilfields.

Oilfield Sucker Rod Wax

In the midst of the Venango County exploration and production chaos, the young chemist noted a waxy buildup often confounded drilling.  This paraffin-like substance clogged the wellhead and drew curses from riggers who had to stop drilling to scrape it away.

Detail of circa 1900 Vaseline bottle from Drake Well Museum.

Robert Chesebrough consumed a spoonful of Vaseline each day and lived to be 96. This early bottle from the collection of the Drake Well Museum in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

The only virtue of this goopy oilfield “sucker rod wax” was as an immediately available first aid for the abrasions, burns, and other wounds routinely afflicting the crews.

Paraffin to Vaseline

Chesebrough abandoned his notion of drilling a gusher and returned to New York, where he worked in his laboratory to purify the troublesome sucker-rod wax, which he dubbed “petroleum jelly,” one of America’s earliest petroleum products

By August 1865, Chesebrough had filed the first of several patents “for purifying petroleum or coal oils by filtration.”

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The chemist experimented with the analgesic effects of his extract by inflicting minor cuts and burns on himself, then applying the purified petroleum jelly. He also gave it to Brooklyn construction workers to treat their minor scratches and abrasions.

Old Vaseline ad for New Idea Woman's Magazine, circa 1900.

After refining oilfield wax, Chesebrough experimented by inflicting minor cuts and burns on himself, then applying his petroleum balm.

On June 4, 1872, Chesebrough patented a new product that would endure to this day – “Vaseline.” His paraffin to Vaseline patent extolled new balm’s virtues as a leather treatment, lubricator, pomade, and balm for chapped hands. Chesebrough soon had a dozen wagons distributing the product around New York. 

Circa 1930 Maybelline mascara case with mirror with brush.

Customers at first used toothpicks to mix Vaseline with lamp black. By 1917, Tom Williams was selling premixed “Lash-Brow-Ine” by mail-order. Photo courtesy Sharrie Williams.

Customers used the “wonder jelly” creatively: treating cuts and bruises, removing stains from furniture, polishing wood surfaces, restoring leather, and preventing rust. Within 10 years, Americans were buying it at the rate of a jar a minute

An 1886 issue of Manufacture and Builder even reported, “French bakers are making large use of vaseline in cake and other pastry. Its advantage over lard or butter lies in the fact that, however stale the pastry may be, it will not become rancid.”

Flavor notwithstanding, Chesebrough himself consumed a spoonful of Vaseline each day. He lived to be 96 years old. It was not long before thrifty young ladies found another use for Vaseline.

Mabel’s Eyelashes

As early as 1834, the popular book Toilette of Health, Beauty, and Fashion had suggested alternatives to the practice of darkening eyelashes with elderberry juice or a mixture of frankincense, resin, and mastic.

“By holding a saucer over the flame of a lamp or candle, enough ‘lamp black’ can be collected for applying to the lashes with a camel-hair brush,” the book advised.

Chesebrough’s female customers found that mixing lamp black with Vaseline using a toothpick made an impromptu mascara. Some sources claim that Miss Mabel Williams in 1913 employed just such a concoction preparing for a date. Williams was dating Chet Hewes.

“What a Difference Maybelline Does Make” magazine ad from 1937.

Women were using Vaseline to make mascara by 1915. Cosmetic industry giant Maybelline traces its roots to the petroleum product. “What a Difference Maybelline Does Make” magazine ad from 1937.

Perhaps using coal dust or some other readily available darkening agent, she applied the mixture to her eyelashes for a date. Her brother, Thomas Lyle Williams, was intrigued by her method and decided to add Vaseline in the mixture, noted a Maybelline company historian.

A more reliable version of the story — told by Williams’ grandniece Sharrie Williams — has Mabel demonstrating “a secret of the harem” for her brother.

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“In 1915, when a kitchen stove fire singed his sister Mabel’s lashes and brows, Tom Lyle Williams watched in fascination as she performed what she called ‘a secret of the harem’ mixing petroleum jelly with coal dust and ash from a burnt cork and applying it to her lashes and brows,” Sharrie Williams explained in her 2007 book, The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It.

“Mabel’s simple beauty trick ignited Tom’s imagination and he started what would become a billion-dollar business,” concluded Williams. Inspired by his sister’s example, he began selling the mixture by mail-order catalog, calling it “Lash-Brow-Ine” (an apparent concession to the mascara’s Vaseline content). Women loved it.

Three magazine ads for Vaseline used for mascara of silent screen star Theda Bara

Silent screen stars like Theda Bara, right, helped glamorize Maybelline mascara. By the 1930s, the paraffin to Vaseline to mascara concoction was available at five-and-dime stores for 10 cents a cake.

When it became clear that Lash-Brow-Ine had potential, Williams, doing business in Chicago as Maybell Laboratories, on April 24, 1917, trademarked the name as a “preparation for stimulating the growth of eyebrows and eyelashes.”

In honor of his sister Mabel (she married Chet Hewes in 1926), Williams renamed his mascara “Maybelline.”

Vintage mascara brush and case.

An unlikely petroleum product for women’s eyes.

Whatever its petroleum product beginnings, Hollywood helped expand the Williams family cosmetics empire. The 1920s silent screen had brought new definitions to glamour. Theda Bara – an anagram for “Arab Death” – and Pola Negri, each with daring eye makeup, smoldered in packed theaters across the country.

Maybelline trumpeted its mail-order mascara in movie and confession magazines as well as Sunday newspaper supplements. Sales continued to climb. By the 1930s, Maybelline mascara was available at the local five-and-dime store for 10 cents a cake.

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Both Vaseline, now part of Unilever, and Maybelline, a subsidiary of L’Oréal, continue with highly successful products, distantly removed from northwestern Pennsylvania’s antique derricks and oil wells.

Unilever’s Park Avenue public relations agency, M Booth & Associates of New York, has proclaimed: “From Vaseline Petroleum Jelly – the ‘Wonder Jelly’ introduced in 1870, to Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion…Vaseline products have helped deliver healthy, moisturized skin for 135 years.”

Special thanks to Linda Hughes, granddaughter of Mabel and Chet Hewes, who reviewed the American Oil & Gas Historical Society’s paraffin to Vaseline to Mascara article. She asked AOGHS add that Mabel was dedicated to her brothers work –- and helped run the Maybelline company in Chicago.

Crayola Crayons

Paraffin from early U.S. oilfields also proved key the phenomenal success of business partners Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith, who in 1891 patented an “Apparatus for the Manufacture of Carbon Black.”

Binney and Smith mixed carbon black with oilfield paraffin and other waxes to introduce a paper-wrapped black crayon marker for crates and barrels.

By 1903, the Binney & Smith Company of Easton, Pennsylvania, was adding colors for a new product, “Crayola” crayons. Learn more about their petroleum products in Carbon Black & Oilfield Crayons.

Oilfield paraffin also soon found its way into novelty candies like “wax lips.”


Recommended Reading:  The Maybelline Story: And the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It (2010). Your Amazon purchase benefits the American Oil & Gas Historical Society. As an Amazon Associate, AOGHS earns a commission from qualifying purchases.


The American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) preserves U.S. petroleum history. Become an AOGHS annual supporting member and help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact Copyright © 2023 Bruce A. Wells. All rights reserved.

Citation Information – Article Title: “The Crude History of Mabel’s Eyelashes.” Authors: B.A. Wells and K.L. Wells. Website Name: American Oil & Gas Historical Society. URL: Last Updated: April 21, 2023. Original Published Date: March 1, 2005.


Seeking Star Oil Company

Researching a Chicago oil products company sign.


A Chicago college student contacted the American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) seeking oil history research suggestions about a porcelain sign from the Star Oil Company. “I’ve tried to do some research on it but I haven’t even found a place to start,” the student noted. (more…)

Camphene to Kerosene Lamps


In the early 19th century, lamp designs burned many different fuels, including rapeseed oil, lard, and whale oil rendered from whale blubber (and the more expensive spermaceti from the head of sperm whales), but most Americans could only afford light emitted by animal-fat, tallow candles.

By 1850, the U.S. Patent Office recorded almost 250 different patents for all manner of lamps, wicks, burners, and fuels to meet growing consumer demand for illumination. At the time, most Americans still lived in almost complete darkness when the sun went down. (more…)

Standard Oil and the Kerosene Stove

“New Perfection” stoves competed with iron stoves in early 20th century rural kitchens.


In the early 1900s, a foundry in Cleveland, Ohio, began manufacturing and selling an alternative to coal or wood-burning cast iron stoves. Thanks to a marketing partnership with Standard Oil Company, millions of rural kitchens would cook with kerosene-burning stoves.

America’s energy future changed after 1859 when a new “coal oil” (kerosene) was refined from petroleum purposefully extracted from wells drilled near Oil Creek, Pennsylvania.

The improved and inexpensive lamp fuel would soon replace dangerous burning fluids, including volatile camphene. The new “Oil Region” of northwestern Pennsylvania became overrun with drilling as “black gold” oilfield discoveries marked the birth of a chaotic exploration and production industry.

After decades of fierce competition, John D. Rockefeller emerged and brought stability to petroleum markets — often at the expense of independent producers. By the turn of the 20th century, Rockefeller’s Standard Oil empire controlled more than 90 percent of all the petroleum produced, refined and sold in the United States.

Kerosene, a future rocket fuel, quickly become the nation’s preferred illuminant and Standard Oil’s principal product. Rockefeller’s business practices made enemies but reduced the cost of kerosene for millions of consumers.

America’s first automobile show in November 1900 barely hinted that demand for “gasolene” might someday exceed that of kerosene. Gasoline at that time was just a low-value by-product of kerosene refining.

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Major U.S. refineries produced more gasoline than kerosene for the first time in 1917, after auto registrations reached almost 5 million with another 400,000 commercial, agricultural and military vehicles.

Standard Oil’s kerosene sales also eroded because of Thomas Edison’s incandescent bulbs with George Westinghouse’s alternating current illuminating more homes.

For electric companies, economies of scale were to be found in metropolitan markets where kerosene was already being challenged by manufactured gas — “Town Gas.”

No business case could be made for profitably delivering electricity to rural America. Farmers continued to rely on kerosene along with other Standard Oil petroleum products.  An Ohio entrepreneur then came up with an innovative alternative to cast iron stoves.

New Perfection Stoves

In 1901, Francis E. Drury, owner of the Cleveland Foundry Company, approached John D. Rockefeller with a partnership proposal. Drury’s plan would get Standard Oil into the business of selling his company’s alternative to the wood or coal-burning cast iron stove — a kitchen stove fueled with kerosene.

A "Perfection" stove that burned kerosene, circa 1920.

Thanks to early marketing help from 300 Standard Oil salesmen, a foundry in Cleveland, Ohio, manufactured millions of “Perfection” stoves that burned kerosene.

A few years earlier, Drury and partner Henry Parsons Crowell had explored the idea of a “lamp stove,” according to History of the Perfection Stove Company. “The two men discussed the practicability of such an item. A patent was applied for; the Cleveland Foundry Company began building and then selling the stove. The ‘Perfection Stove Company’ was born.”

Drury wanted to change old ways in the kitchen and the burdensome chores. He looked for “anything which will save the carrying up of coal, the carrying down of ashes, the noise and dust and dirt and odor and heat and hard labor and time consumed in attending to fires.” 

Drury believed that in unelectrified rural America, kerosene stoves would find many receptive customers, adding company’s invention would “do nothing short of revolutionizing the domestic life of the day.”

Since Standard Oil already served remote users with established kerosene-wagon delivery routes, every stop offered a potential point of sale for the new stove.

With this far-reaching distribution system, 300 company salesmen pitched the new “Perfection” branded stoves. They urged replacing old iron stoves with the kerosene stove’s amazing advantages, including hours of labor savings and “emancipation from overheated kitchen drudgery in hot weather.”

Standard Oil promoted using its Pearl Oil kerosene “for the best results” in the Perfection stove.

“Pearl Oil, the Standard Oil Company’s kerosene,” noted one advertisement, “a most convenient and economical fuel — without the dust and dirt of coal or wood.”

The Cleveland Metal Products Company manufactured its New Perfection Oil Cook Stoves as the ideal replacement for coal-burning stoves. The appliance used circular burners with easily maintain special wicks (see a sample users manual).

“A Family Delight,” noted an advertisement that also encouraged readers, “Ask your dealer to demonstrate this high searing flame.”

Cleveland Metal Products Company 
New Perfection Oil Cook Stoves

Cleveland Metal Products Company, which evolved from Drury’s earlier foundry,  manufactured and sold the New Perfection Oil Cook Stove. By 1922, more than 3 million Perfection kitchen stoves were used in U.S. homes.

The Drury-Rockefeller partnership sold 10 million kerosene-burning stoves by 1915. Five years later, there were nine-million gasoline-hungry vehicles on America’s mostly unpaved roadways.

Standard Oil’s response to ever-increasing demand for gasoline prompted an amicable dissolution of the partnership.

Although Rockefeller’s business dealings brought controversy, the oil tycoon’s Standard Oil, “gave us time to build up a salesman organization,” Drury noted.

“Through all our experiences with the Standard Oil Company acting as our distributors, our relations have been most cordial and profitable,” he added in his autobiography.

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The Cleveland Foundry, which also made kerosene-fueled heaters, in 1917 merged with Cleveland Metal Products Company and used that name before becoming Perfection Stove Company a few years later. By 1922, Drury’s company reached cumulative sales of more than 8 million kerosene-burning stoves, heaters, and ranges.

Thanks to the Standard Oil kerosene network and the innovative stove, Drury became a very wealthy Ohio businessman. He built a mansion on Cleveland’s fashionable Euclid Avenue, down the street from Rockefeller. The kerosene stove entrepreneur died in 1932, three years before President Roosevelt’s New Deal established the Rural Electrification Administration, which would electrify half of America by 1940.

Lehman’s of Kidron, Ohio, in 2023 offered its Amish-made Perfection Kerosene Cookstove With Oven, “designed to handle daily cooking for large Amish families.” Priced at about $3,000, the stove included solid brass burners with seamless ceramic chimneys, thick porcelain coatings, and a steel, one-gallon tank for the kerosene.


Recommended Reading:  Oil Lamps The Kerosene Era In North America (1978); Myth, Legend, Reality: Edwin Laurentine Drake and the Early Oil Industry (2009). Your Amazon purchase benefits the American Oil & Gas Historical Society. As an Amazon Associate, AOGHS earns a commission from qualifying purchases.


The American Oil & Gas Historical Society preserves U.S. petroleum history. Become an AOGHS annual supporting member and help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact Copyright © 2023 Bruce A. Wells. All rights reserved.

Citation Information – Article Title: “Standard Oil and Kerosene Stoves.” Authors: B.A. Wells and K.L. Wells. Website Name: American Oil & Gas Historical Society. URL: Last Updated: January 25, 2023. Original Published Date: January 23, 2023.


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