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  COTM - May, 2006 - " KEYSTONE " (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   COTM - May, 2006 - " KEYSTONE "
tokheim
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Posts: 798
From: NW PA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 05-01-2006 06:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tokheim   Click Here to Email tokheim     Edit/Delete Message

Welcome to the May installment of…< Company of the Month > !!!

Instead of a focus on one particular company, this month we will take a look at the “KEYSTONE” gasoline brand, the companies that marketed it and it’s sister lubricant brands.
(Our Keystone should not be confused with the Keystone Lubricating Company, from Philadelphia, PA that has the blue cans w/ the red/white Keystone logo.)

Disclaimer = When I volunteered to be a guest host for a COTM it did not really matter to me what “company” I covered since I’m not an informed expert or a dedicated collector of any of them. I own 16 Keystone items: 1 sign, 1 license plate, and 14 identical drinking glasses. So I guess that’s really 3 items. Some of the information I’ve obtained does not quite jive, but here it goes from the beginning….well we will skip the first few million years while oil is formed …. You can sleep through the history lesson if you want.

1859 ~ the Drake Oil Well was drilled. Ahhh Pennsylvania crude, rich in paraffin and waxes, low in sulfer and nitrogen. Named Pennsylvania crude because that’s where it was first extracted, but found and drilled throughout the Appalachia basin in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
“Pennsylvania was responsible for 1/2 of the WORLD'S production of oil until the East Texas oil boom of 1901”

At the start of the 20th century America was well into the machine age, and industry was booming across the United States. The operation of Industrial machines was dependent on quality lubricants, and they were sometimes hard to come by.

1902 ~ The UNITED REFINING COMPAY was formed in Warren, PA by a group of local businessmen. They decided that the best way to insure an uninterrupted supply for their factories would be to produce their own lubricants, so with 20 employees they became one of nine refineries in the Warren area.

This was their office in 1902

1903 ~ The first world series was played. A couple brothers named Wright made their first successful flight…….And the first Warren County PA driver’s license was issued.

1905 ~ Einstein proposes his “Theory of Relativity” & Oil is discovered in Warren along the Allegheny River. A boom ensued….for two months. The shallow wells were quickly sucked dry. If United was to grow it would have to expand it’s lubricant refining capabilities, along with solving transportation, supply and marketing issues.

1908 ~ Henry Ford introduces the Model T.

1911 ~ Standard Oil is broken up.

1912 ~ United Refining participates in the construction of a pipeline connecting Warren with the crude producing areas of West Virginia to ensure an adequate supply, this group becomes the West Virginia Pipeline Company.

1913 ~ Henry Ford creates the assembly line, and we are headed towards “a motor car for the great multitude”

1915 ~ Electricity now lights the streets and homes of Warren, PA

MORE TO COME SOON, THIS HAS TO LAST A MONTH YOU KNOW!!

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tokheim
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Posts: 798
From: NW PA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 05-01-2006 05:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tokheim   Click Here to Email tokheim     Edit/Delete Message
In the early teens, “ELK REFINING COMPANY” was founded in Falling Rock/Charleston WV, 350 miles south-southwest of Warren (on today’s roads). Elk seems to have been formed as an affiliate company of United. The only name I can find in common between the two is Harry Allison Logan. He was part of the group of men who founded United Refining and also one of the founders of Elk Refining. He was president of Elk in 1951, while at the same time holding the position of Vice President, Treasurer, General Manager and Director of United. We will soon see that Elk is a part of our Keystone story.

Here is a 30’s?? pic of Elk Refining Co.

1923 ~ The Pennsylvania Grade Crude Association is formed…..its purpose is to market and promote the state’s crude and refined oils. In this year United sells its interest in the West Virginia Pipeline Company and purchases two lines running from Warren to Bradford, where secondary recovery methods are greatly increasing the supply of crude. This is a huge boost in economical crude supply and United begins to supply finished lubricants to the European market which turns into a HUGE business...for now.

WHEN DO WE GET TO KEYSTONE YOU ASK?? WHAT ABOUT GASOLINE!! Stand by…

1925-1929 ~ Extensive expansions to the United and Elk refineries allow for the production of gasoline and fuel oil, adding this to their ever growing lubricants business.

1929 ~ The stock market crashes, the car radio is invented, and United refining is getting ready to enter the retail gasoline and automotive lubricant business through branding and distribution. In preparation they form the “EMBLEM OIL COMPANY”, and begin packaging their own lubricants under the Emblem name.

Around this time, in WV, Elk Refining Company is doing the same thing, except they are packaging their automotive lubricants as “Elk” and begin marketing Elk Gasoline.

Note the nearly identical look of the Elk and Emblem cans:

1932 ~ While Scientists are splitting the atom, United Refining is building the first, or one of the first reformer units in the country designed to increase the octane rating of straight run gasoline. Now they have something to brag about, maybe even someday a slogan like, maybe….. MORE POWER TO YOU!!

“KEYSTONE” is deemed the brand name of United’s retail gasoline. I found a single reference in United’s corporate history saying that in 1932 “Keystone Gasoline [was] acquired from A.D. Miller and Sons, of Pittsburgh”. I cannot find any information on this company.

1934 ~ Here we have Emblem Oil’s exhibit at the Erie Auto Show with a display I think most of us would like to have a piece or two out of !!

This picture above, much of this information and a number of the pictures to follow are the result of a visit to the Warren County Historical Society, with special thanks to a super woman by the name of Michelle! (Like she’s going to read this.)

[This message has been edited by tokheim (edited 05-01-2006).]

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tokheim
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Posts: 798
From: NW PA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 05-01-2006 06:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tokheim   Click Here to Email tokheim     Edit/Delete Message
1934 ~ August 27th we get a view of the Parade during the “Diamond Jubilee Celebration” in Titusville, PA. What were they celebrating? The 75th anniversary of the drilling of Drakes Well.
“Honey, where is my hat!”

Guess which float came in first place??

That’s right folks, the KEYSTONE float….you just can’t buy that kind of publicity!

By the end of the 30’s the Elk refining stations are selling Keystone branded fuel as well.

1940 ~ United Refining has increased its throughput capacity to 4500 barrels of crude per day.

1941 ~ The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, starting WW II.

During the war, as I imagine was typical of refineries across the United States, most of the lubricant products from United and Elk Refineries were controlled, used, and purchased by the military in order to aid the war effort. The US capacity for industry became one of our greatest weapons and most everything with moving parts needed lubricating oils, and that was still the core business of our two refineries.

When the war was over, the Marshal Plan was put into effect, and the US assisted Europe in rebuilding its economy… including its refineries. No longer a customer, Europe became self sufficient for their lubricant needs, and the military consumption was gone.

What followed were difficult times for our two refineries. The time had come to concentrate on the production of gasoline and fuel oil instead of trying to compete nationally, let alone internationally with the established big name lube producers.

1952 ~ United Refining is modernizing and expanding their facility towards the focus of gasoline instead of lubricants. At the same time, a controlling interest of Elk Refining Company was sold to South Penn Oil Co, adding Keystone stations to South Penn’s lineup as they were expanding their lube market and concentrating on their successful Pennzoil lubricant line. This marks the beginning of the end for Keystone Gasoline as far as the Elk Refining Co. goes.

1954 ~ United completes on site “the world’s first distillate desulfurization or unifining plant”. This must be worth noting, as it was the world’s first one after all.

1959 ~ United’s crude oil refining capacity is up to 13,000 barrels a day.

[This message has been edited by tokheim (edited 05-01-2006).]

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tokheim
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Posts: 798
From: NW PA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 05-01-2006 06:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tokheim   Click Here to Email tokheim     Edit/Delete Message
OK, ENOUGH OF THE HISTORY LESSON… for now anyway…LET’S SEE SOME STUFF!

So in case I lost you, or you skipped down to here, fitting in this month’s category:
*Pictures or information pertaining to Keystone Gasoline, including any items of interest from Elk Refining Company, Falling Rock/Charleston WV or United Refining Company, Warren PA.

We will differentiate between the two of them as we go.

Post what pictures you have anytime, or if you need help, send them to me or your favorite picture poster!

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powerlube
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Posts: 905
From: Parker, CO
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 05-01-2006 09:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for powerlube   Click Here to Email powerlube     Edit/Delete Message
Looks great so far! Neat pumps and globes!

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tokheim
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Posts: 798
From: NW PA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 05-02-2006 06:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tokheim   Click Here to Email tokheim     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks Scott...I found a pair of size 22 shoes on my porch, I assume they are yours? (Big shoes to fill this month, get it? Great job!)

_________________________________________

I would like to know what Keystone signs and globes you guys are aware of out there? In my sign book they are listed under Pennzoil in a sub-category of Elk Refining:

Identification Signs:
# 1) Keystone Die Cut 42"x84" 1946-1965 "Yellow/blue outlined red die cut porcelain keystone shaped sign with yellow band across center and extending to either side. Blue "Keystone" on yellow band."

# 2) Vitalized Keystone Gasoline 36"x60" 1930-1946 "Yellow porcelain sign with blue band and red line across center over keystone. Yellow "Vitalized" across top, "GASOLINE" across bottom"

Pump Signs:
# 3) Keystone Powerfuel More Power For You 12x14 1946-1965 This sign is the one I own, although not super common, not super rare either. You probably have seen this one before, and maybe you have it. It's blue with the Keystone logo like my banner (thanks Doc) in the upper left, with yellow Powerfuel arched with "speed lines" across the center, with "more power to you" in the lower right.

#4) Keystone Powerfuel Ethyl 12x14 1946-1955 A similar design of sign as above except it's yellow outlined red porcelain with the same Keystone logo upper left, yellow "powerfuel" with speed lines across the center with the Ethyl logo in the lower right corner.

Anybody have this Ethyl one? I'd never seen one until I was researching for this feature, and got lucky.

Here is a picture of sign #1

I do not seem to have a picture of sign #2 but have others not in this book.

Here is different identification sign. This picture is from Bob Cheslock, who is allowing me to use images from his fathers Keystone station in Star City, West Virginia, taken in 1966.

[This message has been edited by tokheim (edited 05-02-2006).]

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wfort39663
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Posts: 704
From: Carthage. MO
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 05-02-2006 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wfort39663   Click Here to Email wfort39663     Edit/Delete Message
Here are the two Keystone pump signs as described above.

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tokheim
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Posts: 798
From: NW PA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 05-03-2006 05:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tokheim   Click Here to Email tokheim     Edit/Delete Message
THANKS for posting WFORT… That is a GREAT PAIR!!

Here is the Ethyl version displayed on a tall Tokheim 39.
The owner, a guy up in years who had tons of stories was good for a chuckle a minute. He said, Hey I don’t do them to museum quality, they had their work clothes on in their day anyway…I just make them presentable.

Although it’s been said many times, it’s your pump, do what you want with it… what I’ve read states that the Keystone Premium / Ethyl scheme should be yellow top and doors, with blue sides, not red as shown here…there is also mention of a round Keystone Ethyl decal. Has anyone seen one??

The Regular blue keystone pump sign would be found on a solid yellow pump with a blue base.
The sign I have, I took off of a solid yellow tall Tokheim 39.

Please feel free to add information or clarify/correct something I've posted.

Check out the 5 gallon Emblem Oil can on the floor on the left.

Here is a closer look at the Ethyl ad glass.

I should own the regular version ad glass, but for some reason I passed up a nos one my "picker" had years back for 5$, he sold it to a guy who dropped it in the parking lot outside. Coulda/woulda/shoulda

[This message has been edited by tokheim (edited 05-03-2006).]

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tokheim
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Posts: 798
From: NW PA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 05-04-2006 06:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tokheim   Click Here to Email tokheim     Edit/Delete Message
Here is another look at the oval identification signs.
This one is the Elk/WV design used until the mid 60’s.

This one is the United/Emblem/PA design used until the late 40’s?, not listed in my sign book.

Again, if anyone has seen or has a picture of the identification sign # 2 listed few posts up, saying Vitalized on top, Gasoline on the bottom, let me know.

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tokheim
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Posts: 798
From: NW PA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 05-05-2006 06:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tokheim   Click Here to Email tokheim     Edit/Delete Message
Here is another Keystone sign...do not be distracted by the other items in the picture, especially the ? Erie 762 ? Fleetwing pump that has nothing to do with this feature! You are to be looking at the Keystone items only, for instance the large Keystone Gasoline/ Emblem Oil Co. porcelain sign on the wall.

If the pump police were cracking down, this collection might get raided. As stated before, I'd say the Keystone regular blue pump sign should be on a yellow pump with a blue base, not a red pump. Plus that More Power to YOU sign was not used till like 1946 and it's on a 30's Erie clockface there, right? Seems that sign would be more appropriate on a computer pump, but hey, I was happy to have this gentleman's stuff to photograph. I do not have any original pictures showing the pump plates on a station pump in use.

The farm pump looks good, with what seems like an original Keystone decal. What's with that secondary meter on the discharge??


[This message has been edited by tokheim (edited 05-05-2006).]

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tokheim
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From: NW PA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 05-08-2006 05:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tokheim   Click Here to Email tokheim     Edit/Delete Message
Lets look at some Emblem Oil product signs and cans. They would be sold at the United Refining Keystone stations.

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tokheim
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From: NW PA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 05-09-2006 05:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tokheim   Click Here to Email tokheim     Edit/Delete Message
Notice that the Emblem quart pictured in color is different than the ones in these old rack pictures.

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tokheim
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From: NW PA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 05-09-2006 05:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tokheim   Click Here to Email tokheim     Edit/Delete Message

Also note the two different Red Top gallon versions above, the one sort of upper/middle with the "100% Pure Pennsylvania" says Emblem Oil Co, the others say United Refining Company.

(The United globe is from the United Oil Marketing of Erie, PA, not United Refining.)

GOT ANY RED-TOP OR EMBLEM CANS?

[This message has been edited by tokheim (edited 05-09-2006).]

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tokheim
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From: NW PA
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posted 05-10-2006 05:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tokheim   Click Here to Email tokheim     Edit/Delete Message
Here are a couple more lube related pictures...


If you find this one full, a very sturdy display shelf will be in order.

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wfort39663
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Posts: 704
From: Carthage. MO
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 05-10-2006 02:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wfort39663   Click Here to Email wfort39663     Edit/Delete Message
A mini oil can bank from the United Refining Company of Warren, PA. On the side of the can it says "For unsurpassed performance use Keystone Powerfuel or Powerflight Gasoline and Powerlube Motor Oil".

A closeup of the side showing the Keystone logo.



[This message has been edited by wfort39663 (edited 05-10-2006).]

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