Oil Field Engine News

By Staff
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A photo in Oil Region Reminiscences, published in 1907, depicting the pipeline and oil wars of Pennsylvania in the 1900s.
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“The line was laid along the bed of a stream, crossing the railroad and was torn up by the railroad employees.”

In the early days of the oil industry, all oil was transported by Teamsters, who hauled the oil barrels out of the wilderness to the refineries, one wagonload at a time. When the idea of transporting oil by pipeline was first realized in 1865, the result was a bloody war between the pipeline men and Teamsters, and the railroads who saw their occupation threatened by the iron pipe flowing with oil.

The following story is from Oil Region Remini-scences, published in 1907 by the Oilmen’s Assn. of Butler County, Pa. It records the hostile environment and one very unusual resolution to a stubborn hardheaded problem.

“The first pipe line in 1865, from Pithole (City) to the Oil Creek Railroad, a distance of four miles, was guarded by armed sentinels along its entire length, to prevent its destruction by teamsters who saw their occupation gone.

“The line of the Columbia Conduit Co., from Millerstown to Pittsburg, was opposed for the same reason, by the West Penn Railroad Co. (Whose road it was obliged to cross.) The line was laid along the bed of a stream, crossing the railroad and was torn up by the railroad employees. It was re-laid by a large force of men; and again destroyed by the railroad company. To overcome the difficulty the oil was transferred across the track in tank wagons of 25-barrel capacity, which transferred 8,000 barrels per day. It took only two minutes to fill the tank from a pipe 6 inches in diameter, leading from a storage tank, and was emptied in the same manner, through a rubber hose underneath into a trough leading to another tank, from which it was pumped.”

I would have never believed it had I not seen the photo.

Contact the Oil Field Engine Society at: 1231 Banta’s Creek Road, Eaton, OH 45320-9701; oilengine@voyager.net www.oilfieldengine.com­

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