Historical Markers
Oil Well Supply Company Historical Marker
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Oil Well Supply Company

Lake Erie Region


Marker Location:
East Front Street (US 62) & East First Street, Oil City

Dedication Date:
October 10, 1997

Behind the Marker

John Eaton came to the oil region in the early 1860s and, in 1867, he started the Eaton, Cole and Burnham Company that sold equipment and supplies to speculators. By 1877 the company included outlets in the oil region and in Pittsburgh and Bradford. It then became the Oil Well Supply Company.

Eaton filled the demand for machinery, supplies, and maintenance, which emerged from an industry whose growth is, in part, reflected by the number of persons employed. Before 1860 the U.S. census did not include an employment category for petroleum. In 1870 census takers added two categories entirely composed of those working in petroleum. Nationally, 1,747 persons were engaged as oil refinery operatives and 3,803 as oil well operators and laborers. Of these, 459 and 3,567 respectively were located in Pennsylvania. Eaton's success with the Oil Well Supply Company stemmed, in large measure, from such remarkable industry growth.

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