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Small Oil: 1939

Small Oil: 1939

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August 1939. "Independent refinery. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma." Medium format negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Double Eagle Refinery

John J had good instincts to hit the city directory, but Vonderbees has what I consider the better guess. “The 12-acre Double Eagle Refinery Co.,” which actually refined used motor oil, is a candidate. “From 1929 until the early 1980s, the Double Eagle Refinery facility re-refined used motor oils through a process of acidulation and filtration. This process generated about 80,000 gallons of oily sludge per month.”

Read all about this lovely place:

Possible Company Name

The 1939 Oklahoma City Directory lists two possible independent oil refiners.

The first is Sonneborn Brothers. This was a company large enough to have headquarters in NYC and fight Texas all the way to the US Supreme Court over a tax matter. They seem too large for this shoestring operation.

The second is the Gold Band Refining Company. Their entry in the city directory lists William E Rees (Pres) and Edgar J Rees (Sec-Treas). They were located a5 1900 E Reno Ave.

Crude Oil

Today's refineries are highly engineered marvels, but this one gives a whole new meaning to the term "crude" oil. Rube Goldberg would be proud!


No doubt a future EPA Superfund site!

Technology unbridled

Patch and go!
Not an uncommon form of 'engineering as needed' for the time, but this might be the best version I've seen.
I had an account here but what happened to it I do not know, so I've been lurking for quite a while; great work by everyone involved.


Quick, how many safety violations can you find in 30 seconds?

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