locked Whale Oil and Southern Railway shipment information in the Fairfax Harrison period


George Eichelberger
 

Presidents' Files Box 403 contains files that discuss shipments, and revenues, for every category of freight the Southern carried in the early 1920s. Manufactured items, from the North to the South, agriculture products and raw materials South to North and imports and exports, mostly through the ports of Norfolk and Charleston. (The archives contain extensive material (and photos) of the coal pier at Charleston that certainly warrant a TIES article..anyone interested in helping?)

The attached is somewhat unusual......
There are several documents describing shipments from the S/S "Pythia" from Norfolk to Procter & Gamble at Ivorydale (Cincinnati), Ohio. The 6-12-1923 memo describes a shipment of 137 (box?) cars carrying 7,642,100 lbs. of whale oil in three trains.

Ike

The SRHA Archives Presidents' Files Finding Aids include about 70 spreadsheets that cover virtually every SR Executive Dept. box and 17,000! files that date from the formation of SRS to the N&W merger. When we can organize archives work sessions again, reviewing and updating the finding aids is a long-term project. (In addition to SRHA and TVRM volunteers, we could hire local university students if funding could be found.)
 


 

I would assume box cars as well, unless in its oil form maybe a tank? I looked for a ship named Pythia, none from that era, however there was a shipping company out of Glasgow Scotland that had ships used to process whale oil. It didn’t give much information on how the oil was processed or transported on the ship. If it had been hydrogenated it would be in a white solid substance. Perfect for a box car.

I am wondering if there are any publicity photos from this? 


Todd Pearson 


John Stewart
 

Hi Ike

Whale oil

Margerine and brake fluid

Who knew?

John Stewart
Birmingham, AL


C J Wyatt
 

A ship named Pythia is in this list:

Donaldson Line (theshipslist.com)

It was sold to Norway in 1911 and converted to a whale factory ship.

Jack Wyatt






On Sunday, December 6, 2020, 11:10:18 PM EST, Thunder via groups.io <t_pearson1212@...> wrote:


I would assume box cars as well, unless in its oil form maybe a tank? I looked for a ship named Pythia, none from that era, however there was a shipping company out of Glasgow Scotland that had ships used to process whale oil. It didn’t give much information on how the oil was processed or transported on the ship. If it had been hydrogenated it would be in a white solid substance. Perfect for a box car.

I am wondering if there are any publicity photos from this? 


Todd Pearson 


C J Wyatt
 

Almost certainly tank cars.  General American Tank Car Journeys published by General American Tank Car Corporation in 1931 has a whole page (P. 99) devoted to 'whale oil'. From that page: "whole ship loads of whale oil are transferred by tank cars to inland soap manufacturers."

Jack Wyatt

On Sunday, December 6, 2020, 11:10:18 PM EST, Thunder via groups.io <t_pearson1212@...> wrote:


I would assume box cars as well, unless in its oil form maybe a tank? I looked for a ship named Pythia, none from that era, however there was a shipping company out of Glasgow Scotland that had ships used to process whale oil. It didn’t give much information on how the oil was processed or transported on the ship. If it had been hydrogenated it would be in a white solid substance. Perfect for a box car.

I am wondering if there are any publicity photos from this? 


Todd Pearson 


 

Thanks Jack! I have added that page to my list now. Google needs a librarian, when I tried SS even S/S Pythia all I got was the info I put up. 

That and how whale oil is bad .

Todd Pearson 


On Dec 7, 2020, at 1:23 AM, C J Wyatt <cjwyatt@...> wrote:


Almost certainly tank cars.  General American Tank Car Journeys published by General American Tank Car Corporation in 1931 has a whole page (P. 99) devoted to 'whale oil'. From that page: "whole ship loads of whale oil are transferred by tank cars to inland soap manufacturers."

Jack Wyatt

On Sunday, December 6, 2020, 11:10:18 PM EST, Thunder via groups.io <t_pearson1212@...> wrote:


I would assume box cars as well, unless in its oil form maybe a tank? I looked for a ship named Pythia, none from that era, however there was a shipping company out of Glasgow Scotland that had ships used to process whale oil. It didn’t give much information on how the oil was processed or transported on the ship. If it had been hydrogenated it would be in a white solid substance. Perfect for a box car.

I am wondering if there are any publicity photos from this? 


Todd Pearson 


 

Ike,

Fascinating stuff. I did find several versions of the SS Pythia and whale oil shipping on this list, including an SS Pythia that supposedly ran from 1915 to 1928 under the A/S Dominion Whaling Ltd, Sandefjord. In service as cargo ship.... Link is here, although this looks like someone's personally built timeline that would need more verification. https://www.preceden.com/timelines/235552-the-whale-oil-factory-ships

Now this IS a verified source. The only buyer of consequence in the U.S. of whale oil from Norway was P&G in 1934 according to a Norwegian letter to the U.S. Secretary of State from that year. Interesting. https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1934v02/d553

You can find papers and links about P&G's use of whale oil in the hydrogenation of whale oils (and other types of oils) for products including margarine and cosmetics (Both of which P&G made and still makes). I've seen an unverified source on whale oil being a minor ingredient (less than half of one percent) in the original Ivory Soap (one of P&G's flagship brands). A P&G expert I am not though. So, that bears some more proper research if anything is to be done with the information.

But, one thing is clear, P&G brought in thousands of shipments of whale oil to the U.S., including to its Ivorydale/Cincinnati plant from Port Ivory on Staten Island. The Port Ivory plant was owned by P&G. You can find references to the trade in an ICC petition P&G filed against the B&O in 1926 about the whale oil shipment rates based on the shipment of 160 whale oil cars. Link here: https://books.google.com/books?id=zZbHY9_LWKkC&pg=PA177&lpg=PA177&dq=%22port+ivory%22+Procter+and+gamble+%22whale+oil%22&source=bl&ots=SJofjsn7ft&sig=ACfU3U0RN8gyIquFiBYLZ30oe3xCmOh4BA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjWmpjc9bztAhVFWqwKHfaHAxMQ6AEwD3oECBEQAg#v=onepage&q=%22port%20ivory%22%20Procter%20and%20gamble%20%22whale%20oil%22&f=false

If the Southern was involved in shipping whale oil too...I wonder what the routing was. Interesting. The SRHA archives deliver a fine mystery here that can be solved. I'll keep looking into this one a bit.

-Chris Mayhew
SRHA member
Cincinnati, Ohio


George Eichelberger
 

Chris:

Remember, prior to WWII the Southern was basically an East-West railroad (note the 1921 v 1931 traffic map). A Southern route from Norfolk to Ivorydale (Cincy), OH would have been the most direct route. There are one or two more memos in the SRHA Presidents' files describing whale oil shipments from the S/S Pythia to P&G.

Ike