Small Financial Archive of the American-Owned Peruvian Petroleum & Refinery Company, 1868-1878

Small Financial Archive of the American-Owned Peruvian Petroleum & Refinery Company, 1868-1878

Collection of 21 manuscript financial documents from one of the first American companies dedicated to extracting and selling oil outside the United States. Known variously as the Peruvian Refinery Company, Peruvian Refining Company, Peruvian Petroleum Company and Peruvian Petroleum and Refinery Company, the company was founded by James Bishop -- a New York merchant who owned clipper ships and specialized in importing India rubber -- and George H. Bissell, an entrepreneur who co-founded the first petroleum company in the United States (the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company) and is often called the "father of the American oil industry." The first oil well in South America was drilled in Peru in 1863; a year later, Bishop and Bissell leased 4,500,000 acres of land near Zorritos and Tumbes, on the country's northern coast. Within a few years they had drilled several productive wells--including one that produced about 300 barrels a day in 1868. A history of the petroleum industry written in 1873 reported that "the company refine their own oil, and find a ready market for this product on the Pacific Coast [of South America], Australia, and New Zealand." Significant shipments were also made to England. The documents in this archive include records of company's expenditures, as well as cost and profit projects. Expenditures recorded include salaries (with many individuals named), duties, travel and freight expenses, and the costs of a range of supplies, including machinery, fire brick, paint, nails, lumber, tin, solder, coil wire, copper, and liquid ammonia. One statement from 1868 records the transfer of shares in the company to various individuals, and another from 1870 lists monies credited to James Bishop's company by the Peruvian Refinery Co. for freight services -- in one case noting an invoice not yet paid "as there is a deduction to make for cargo overboard." An undated sheet gives estimates of the expenses and profit from "4 months working of refinery." They expected to produce 102,000 gallons of oil at 60 cents/gallon, less expenses for fuel, commissions, shipping, and labor, resulting in a profit of $20,000 for the four-month period. Another statement from 1878 gives an estimate of the costs associated with producing, shipping, and selling "5000 cases of oil." The sum of the itemized monthly costs is $2,868, and the anticipated profit is $17,683. In all, and interesting gathering of documents showing the cost of running a large-scale petroleum operation in South America in the early years of the business.

Item #21378

Price: $400.00