The American Petroleum Industry: The Age of Illumination, 1859-1899

By Harold F. Williamson; Arnold R. Daum | Go to book overview

Chapter 16
Pipelines, railroads, and refineries

By the opening of the 1870's, it appeared that the major technical bottlenecks in petroleum transportation had been broken. A 2,000-mile web of gathering lines enabled any producer to run his crude from wells to railhead and river banks at one-tenth the rates formerly charged by teamster. For longer hauls the three oil-carrying railroad trunk lines had more or less adequately linked the fields and refining points, while a general adoption of the cylinder-type metal tank car increased savings in the transit of crude to refineries. While these advances had led to sharp reductions over the preceding decade, transportation costs at the beginning of 1874 were still among the industry's largest expense items. Time had not erased the rate differentials among various refining centers, nor brought an end to personal discrimination.

It was from attempts to overcome these differentials that the founda-

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