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Tank Wagons and Trucks
Tank Wagons
Storage Stations
Wagon Builders, Tank Fitters
Early Conveyances
Early Tank Trucks
Tank Trucks, 1921-1941
Manufacturer's Advertising
Tank Makers and Fitters
Tank Truck Town
World War II

Early Conveyances

Before and during the reign of tank wagons, refined products were also hauled short distances by other means, especially in Europe. Hidy and Hidy (1955) portray a number of photographs with captions as do other references showing these methods of delivery to retailers or to actual consumers. A practical conveyance during the winter in Denmark was the horse-drawn tank sleigh. Sleighs with improved tanks were used in the U.S. when conditions required it (White, 1962). Denmark had a kerosene bottling plant in the early 1900’s and used wagons laden with cases of bottles of kerosene. One photograph in Hidy and Hidy (1955) taken in Holland shows cases of "motor spirit" in a two wheel delivery cart pulled by a team of dogs. A sign on that cart indicates that the products were refined and marketed by the American Petroleum Co., an affiliate of Standard. American had a retail subsidiary in Holland called the "automatt" a name usually painted on their vehicles. In England final street corner or door-to-door sales were often made by a peddler whose pushcart bore a barrel of kerosene. Kerosene peddlers in Romania, both men and women, carried refined product in two cans hanging from a flexible rod which was borne and balanced on their shoulders.

The traditional oil barrel hadn’t entirely disappeared in the marketing sphere in spite of tank wagons and other bulk carriers. Some areas were so remote and difficult that drums and barrels were able to survive better than tanks and packages. The empty containers would be retrieved on the next visit and, after repairs, would be used again. For that reason some stations maintained barreling facilities.

This 1912 Hatfield delivery truck was probably built in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, where Hatfield Motor Vehicle Company had established a truck plant in 1911 (Hatfield moved to Elmira, N.Y., 1913 and shut down in 1914). The truck has a three-cylinder air-cooled engine, friction transmission and a double chain drive. The tires are solid rubber. If this truck was actually owned by a predecessor of Quaker State Oil & Refining Co., it would have been Phinny Brothers Company which sold a motor oil brand called Quaker State in 1913 (and probably earlier) and nationally advertised the brand in 1915. Quaker State Oil & Refining Corp. was not formed until 1931. This truck was prettied up and brought out for some of the Quaker State’s Annual Stockholders’ Meetings through the years which was the case when this photograph was taken in Oil City, Pennsylvania.

© 2004, Samuel T. Pees
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