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Canadian Petroleum Heritage
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The Early Petroleum Industry of Petrolia, Ontario Illustrated on Postcards

Jeff A. Spencer – 675 Piney Creek Rd. Bellville, TX 77418

In the early twentieth century, picture postcards were both a means of communication and a popular collectible. The North American petroleum industry was represented with postcard views of wooden oil derricks, oil gushers, oil fires, and refineries.  Although Petrolia’s earliest oil boom was years before the Golden Age of postcard collecting (1907-1915), many earlier Petrolia oilfield images were used on this period’s postcards.

Petrolia oilfield postcard scenes include spring-pole drilling operations, three-pole ash derricks, the torpedoing of wells, the moving of wooden derricks using horse teams and rolling logs, and early horse-drawn oil tankers.   The dangers of oil field-related work are depicted in 1907 scenes of a nitroglycerin plant explosion.   Early postcard views include Petrolia’s Canadian Oil Refinery and nearby Sarnia’s Imperial Oil Refinery.


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