vintage mural ads & other signage by Frank H. Jump & friends
© Frank H. Jump
Posted in: Flatbush, Valvoline.
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The Valvoline OIl Company has an interesting local history. Dr. John Ellis, a Michigan physician, developed a continuous oil refining process in 1866. He established the Continuous Oil Refining Company in Binghampton that year to manufacture lubricating oils using his patent. These oils were superior to the animal and vegetable oils that were being used as lubricants for steam cylinders at the time.
The Binghampton plant was moved to Brooklyn in 1869. A fire destroyed this plant in 1876. Ellis purchased land in Shadyside, NJ in 1881, where a new plant was built. The site was directly opposite Grant’s Tomb in New York City and had a storage tank terminal and pier for loading ships. About 100 men were employed by 1889.
By 1906 the company was known as the Valvoline Oil Company. The firm eventually became a branch of the Standard Oil Company. A huge fire in 1907, which began in the cellar underneath the engine room, caused a loss of $150,000. No loss of life occurred since the fire started at the beginning of the night shift when few workers were present. Enormous crowds of sightseers rushed to the scene, some coming from miles away by motor cars. Small boats drew up along the waterfront and the burning oil and wax gave the onlookers a spectacular display.
In the early 1900s silent movies were made in the Shadyside-Edgewater-Ft. Lee area. The Palisades provided a natural background for the cliff-hanging scenes. In 1909 legendary director D. W. Griffith filmed “The Renunciation”, a comedic western starring Mary Pickford, in the wilds of Shadyside. Another movie filmed there, “By Man’s Law” (1913) dealt with the impact of industry on society. An oil tycoon corners the market, then cuts jobs and causes much suffering. A young girl who lost her job almost falls into the hands of white slavers. The movie has industrial scenes shot at either the Valvoline Oil Co. or the nearby Barrett Manufacturing Co.
Chemical fumes and horrendous odors from the Shadyside industries wafted over to Manhattan regularly. Patients in St. Luke’s Hospital were sickened and the wealthy residents of Riverside Drive took legal action. The Shadyside chemical and refining industry eventually disappeared, replaced by high-rise condos and office buildings. Now the area is called the Gold Coast.
More information and photos are at my website: http://colorantshistory.org/ShadysideChemInd.html
I have this same sign and near perfect quailty..
I also have one in good shape. are they worth money?
Email Mr. Jump at frankjump [at] fadingad [dot] com
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