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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Pipeline workers, about 1900

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Pipeline workers, about 1900
NMAH, Archives Center, API Collection


This object appears in the following sections:

Americans Adopt the Auto:
Americans Adopt the Auto — “Fill 'er Up!”

Gasoline, Words by J. Will Callahan, Music By Paul Pratt

Mobile Gasoline Tank and Pump

Pipeline workers
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
This photograph, from the early 1900s, shows how much work went into laying the pipes and creating the infrastructure that got petroleum from the oil fields, to the refineries, and to the consumers.
Physical Description
photograph. Back of the photograph has the following statement typed onto it: “Members of the ‘tong gang’ were hard-working, hard-living aristocrats among the early piepliners. Threaded pipe has since been replaced by the welded vairety, which is less subject to leaks.”
Date Made:
about 1900

Although the US did export oil and refined products, the bulk of the oil tapped and refined in the US stayed in the US, and shipping that petroleum and its products around the country created a challenge for oil companies. Some oil was shipped in tank cars by rail. As roads improved, trucks were also put into service. Companies also used pipelines: there were 90,000 miles of pipeline by 1930.

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