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Early Oil Pipelines, USA
Oil Pipeline Idea
Shippen's Promotion
An Oil Pipeline Proposal
Wood and Metal Pipes
The Need for Pipelines
An Oil Pipeline Scheme
Pipelines, Failure and Success
1865, The Van Syckel Pipeline
1865, The Big Year
Gathering Lines
The Pipeline War
The Teamsters, A Good Word
A Flurry of Pipelines
First Great Pipeline Company

The Need for Pipelines

It seems odd that operators, especially the principal companies, did not put long distance oil pipelines into successful use before 1865 although plans and proposals were formulated and pipelines (they failed) were attempted beginning 1860.  Something had to be done about the faulty means of transporting oil in barrels on flatboats and wagons to distant refiners and markets.  Railroad depots and canal ports were frequent destinations, but the cartage charge was already high before the barrels were delivered to the carrier responsible for the next leg of their journey.  A great need for an efficient way of transporting oil came into being when fields were discovered at places in the wilderness which were distant from viable water courses for flat boats or lacked roads or had difficult terrain not amenable for wagon transport.  Pithole was one of these.

Map of portion of Venango County, NW Pennsylvania, drawn to show drainage, places, refineries and wells specifically mentioned in the text.

© 2004, Samuel T. Pees
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