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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Small Oil: 1939

Small Oil: 1939

        UPDATE: Click here for an alternate view.

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?

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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