The Introduction and Early Development of Petroleum Pipelines, 1862-1872
THE role of pipelines in the development of the American petroleum industry provides the basis for an illuminating comparison between two instruments of economic development -- private enterprise and public policy. Pipelines, the product of enterprise in oil transportation, became the weapons of enterprise for railroads, oil producers, and oil refiners. Efforts to offset the competitive advantages that they gave their owners made pipelines the subject of public policy proposals stemming from intra-industry conflict. Neither the public nor its elected representatives, state or national, appeared deeply concerned with the nature of pipeline ownership and operation. Even within the industry, proposals for public policy affecting these matters were sporadic and generally ineffective. A tremendous aggregation of pipeline power under unified control resulted. When national political policy threatened this power, virtually the entire petroleum industry raised its voice in protest. An explanation of this apparent paradox lies in the pattern of relationships between enterprise and public policy woven throughout the early development of American petroleum pipelines.
Pipelines were introduced to collect oil and to transport it over