Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,398 pages of information and 233,518 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Oakbank Oil Co

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1880. From ‘The Engineer’ of 2nd January
Electric Locomotive No. 2. Built by the Baldwin Locomotive Co.

Oakbank Oil Company of Glasgow and of Winchburgh.

19th cent: Winchburgh had a thriving oil shale mining industry[1].

c.1863 Professor Sir James Simpson and his partners at the Oakbank Oil Works obtained stills and other equipment from the Kinning Park Foundry of James Bennie and Co[2]

c.1868 Mr. Fraser, of Glasgow, and William Kennedy (1837-1899) purchased the Oakbank Oil Works, near Calder.

George Thomas Beilby and William Young increased the yield of oil, ammonia, and other useful materials from the shale by retorting and fractional distillation improvements. Their Young and Beilby patent retort was patented in 1882.

1886 The company was registered 7 January, to take over the properties of a company of the same name. [3]

1903 The Oakbank Oil Company opened a new crude oil works at Niddry Castle to process shales mined beneath Hopetoun Estate. These works were amongst the earliest to employ electrically-powered machinery; electricity was also used to power the narrow-gauge railway hauling shale from the mines to the works. Electric Locoomotives No. 1 and No. 2 were imported from North America to work the railway.[4]

1919 Incorporated in the new company Scottish Oils, formed to acquire the shale oil companies[5]

1959 Crude Oil Works at Niddry Castle closed together with the railway.[6]

Note:. No. 2 Locomotive has been preserved and can be seen at the Almond Valley Heritage Centre, Livingstone, Scotland.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Wikipedia: Winchburgh
  2. The Engineer 1866/08/17
  3. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  4. Almond Valley Heritage Centre, Livingstone, Scotland.
  5. The Times Sep 13, 1919
  6. Almond Valley Heritage Centre, Livingstone, Scotland.