Warren, PA: Conewango Refining Co., 1928. 1st edition. 24 leaves of photographs. 24 b/w photographs (7-1/2" x 9-1/2") mounted on linen hinges. 1st image signed "Thomas Studios in right corner. Otherwise, all explanatory text is printed at lower fore-edge in white cursive writing. 4to. Oblong Format. 7-3/4" x 11". Contemporary black cloth post-binder, brass screws at gutter margin, gilt lettering title box on front cover. Minor shelfwear. Photographs clear and bright. A VG+ copy. Item #39363
The Conewango Refinery was famous for its Bright Stock base oils which had undergone solvent refining and dewaxing processes, and then other finishing hot filtration processes so they could be used in lubricant and lubricant additives for machinery and engines. The images show the refinery complex Plant No. 1 on the bluffs by Conewango Creek; Plant No. 2 located in fields set back from the water, the laboratory, their feed tanks, the filter and refrigeration houses for the plants; the Cold Settling Department; the Central Pump House; the construction in progress of the Nichols Herreshoff furnaces serving the filter houses; inside storage tanks for finished oils; the oil railroad tank car loading rack, and more. One photo in particularly great condition is an interior scene of Conewango Oil Refinery workers eating in a luncheon room at the Bright Stock Inn, with a Peterson Metal Barrel Company calendar on the wall dated February, 1928.
Warren, Pennsylvania was at the heart of the major oil strikes in the 1870s, and the rapid growth of oil fields required local refineries to be built. In September 1877 there was a discussion of building a refinery within the city limits, but opposition from the community induced William Doe of Rouseville to build the Conewango Refining Company plant north of town along Conewango Creek, and alongside the D.A.V. & P. Railroad line. They quickly specialized in Bright Stock refining, and expanded over the next 50 years into two plants, maintaining their independence as one of the major small refiners in Pennsylvania.
Myron Thomas was a self-taught chemist and photographer who established his first studios in Pennsylvania, including Mount Carmel, Ashland, and Tamaqua. They were famed for their aerial, commercial, publicity, and even studio photography.