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Canadian Oil Companies Limited
Monthly Feature       March 2001



   The Centennial of the Canadian Oil Industry was commemorated by the Post Office on September 10 , 1958 by the issue of a special 5 cent stamp .
   This stamp (pictured) denotes the development of the industry from the days of the kerosene lamp to the present , with the drop of oil being broken down into gasoline , petrochemicals and other products .
   It also focuses attention on the important role played by Canadians in the development of petroleum . A Nova Scotia geologist , Abraham Gesner , laid the foundation for the new industry when he developed a process for producing kerosene in 1846 and established its use for lighting purposes .
   Another Canadian , James Miller Williams , produced oil from the first commercially successful oil well in North America  at Oil Springs , Ontario , in 1858 and probably as early as 1857 . ( in 1860 Mr. Williams founded the Canadian Oil Company  in Hamilton  Ont . The company continued to operate until his death in 1890 when it was sold to  wind up his estate ).
   So it was  that Canadian enterprise in the refining of petroleum  became the basis for the world-wide petroleum industry .
   The stamp itself was designed by A.L. Pollock , a noted stamp designer , of Toronto, and is coloured green and red . It is just under 1 1/4inches by 1 inch in size. 
   Its issue coincided with the World Power Conference  at Montreal at which Canada was host to some 1700 delegates from 52 countries . The conference was called to consider how the various sources of energy from heat and power could be adapted for the maximum benefit of mankind .
   Canadian Oil has always taken a keen interest in the early development  of the Canadian Oil industry . At  the Oil Centennial Celebrations held at Oil Springs Ont. recently , the company presented the village  with a replica  of a spring pole  drilling rig  , the earliest form of drilling equipment used in the area .
   The company also owns the site where Williams carried on his operations just to the south of Oil Springs . ( Later in 1958 Canadian Oil Companies Ltd. opened the Canadian Oil Museun on the site of Mr. Williams discovery )
   Altogether  25 million of the commemorative stamps were issued by the Post Office and Canadian Oil arranged to have a supply of First Day covers.
   These were a commemorative envelope , bearing a design of an early spring pole drilling rig , and the stamp was canceled with the date September 10 , 1958 , the first day of issue . 
 Coincidently, 1958 marked the 50th Anniversary of Canadian Oil Companies Ltd.
Borrowed from the Canadian Oil News  , Vol. 19 -Number 3 - Autumn 1958


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