Chemical and Petroleum Industries at Newtown Creek: History and Technology

Peter Spellane

Springer International Publishing AG
15 September 2022

Chemical and Petroleum Industries at Newtown Creek: History and Technology

Peter Spellane

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This book constructs a history of Newtown Creek’s industrial expansion during the period that began in the 1840s and continued through the early years of the 20th century. In that period, the production of reagent chemicals and refined materials near the center of modern-day New York City grew steadily, as practitioners, alert to European advances in chemical science, developed and applied increasingly sophisticated technologies. Innovations in methods of production, ready access to domestic and international markets, and sustained growth in volumes of production at Newtown Creek in the late 19th century had profound consequences for the practice of industrial chemistry in the United States and for the economic vitality of the City of New York. Industrial practice progressed from the recovery of animal tissues to the refining of crude petroleum and the production of high-purity copper and other metals from mineral ores. With attention to each company’s technical expertise and principal products, this book examines the interdependence of the chemicals- and materials-producing industries that thrived along Newtown Creek’s shores. The author recounts Newtown Creek’s industrial history alongside the stories of well-known New Yorkers - Peter Cooper, Charles Pratt, John D. and William Rockefeller - and other less celebrated or less notorious characters.

This book provides a valuable account of New York’s history in the manufacture of reagent chemicals and refined fuels and metals and will appeal to researchers, scholars and historians interested in the early years of industrial chemistry.

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