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Reid Historical Marker

An event happened on October 10, 1997, in Oil City which has significance concerning the history of oilfield engines. A historical marker was dedicated that afternoon to the Joseph Reid Gas Engine Company. The plant was located on Main Street, on the outskirts of town next to the tracks and the Allegheny River. It commenced operations in 1894 and closed in 1939.

Margaret Reid of Oil City spoke at this occasion, recounting her memories of the plant where she worked in the summers. Her father was John Reid who was very active in this family-owned business. Joseph Reid, the inventor and founder, was her great-uncle. Other Reid descendants, many dignitaries, engine restorers and operators, students in petroleum operations at Oil City Vo-Tech school, and a good cross section of the public turned out for this event. Oil Well Supply Co., another Oil City manufacturing plant, was honored in a ceremony later that day.

Oilfield workers who owned and restored Reid engines brought their engines to the ceremony. All had barkers. You should have heard the commotion when these ancient engines started up. Heads turned and traffic paused on Route 8 while the drivers got an earful and a glimpse of three big Reids.

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This is a Reid engine (no paint job) which was fired up at the dedication ceremony in Oil City honoring the Joseph Reid Gas Engine Company, Dec. 10, 1997.
Oil City VoTech students can elect to study petroleum technology as used in the stripper fields. The school has a producing oilfield to use as a model. Students have restored a Reid engine in past courses. In this Oil City photograph, a group of them are looking at another freshly restored Reid hauled to this spot for the dedication of the historical marker to the Joseph Reid Gas Engine Co.

© 2004, Samuel T. Pees
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