Edwin Drake launched the modern petroleum industry with the drilling of the first successful oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania in1859. The abundant availability of petroleum allowed oil refiners to produce large quantities of illuminating oil which became widely known as kerosene. Convenient access to kerosene spawned new markets for both oil burning lamps and containers to safely store and dispense the oil. Increasing demand brought about design innovations of both products from the late 19th through the early 20th centuries when the electric light bulb replaced the use of kerosene for illumination.
Yellow Garage dealer Jeff Britton Antiques is featuring a late 19th century kerosene container made by GEM Manufacturing Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The glass container has a screw on pouring lid and fits into a tin surround with a bail handle and wooden grip. The tin surround is embossed with the GEM name centered in a very nicely embossed decoration on both sides. There are windows cut into one side of the tin sleeve to see how much oil is left in the glass container. The glass has many imperfections and air bubbles which indicates its age and that it was made to be functional not decorative. This kerosene container measures 17” to the top of the handle and it has a 6 1\2” diameter base. It is in excellent original condition. A GEM Manufacturing kerosene container of this size and condition would make a valuable addition to any petroleum vessel collection.