Leonardo J.R. - Historical Stock Certificate Signed
R.J. Leonardo, President of Main Oil Company of California. Main Oil Company of California was a subsidiary of Standard Oil, SoCal. Capital Stock of the Main Oil Co. signed on 22ns day of January AD 1926. Stock Certificate Signed, 01/22/1926 - 10 1/2 x 8 signed in blk ink with a two-fold verical crease. Some minor wear and tear around edging overall, fine condition.
Main Oil Company of California - 1926
The "Oil Queen of California"; peak years During the early development of the field, no single firm had a dominant share. Drillers started their own companies, flooding the local stock exchange with shares of start-up oil firms. There were so many of these that the Los Angeles Stock Exchange had to open a separate facility just to deal with oil stocks.
By far the most successful entrepreneur on the field, however, was a piano teacher from Kentucky named Emma Summers, soon nicknamed the "Oil Queen of California." She purchased a half-interest in an oil well for $700 in the area of the present-day Civic Center, using the proceeds from her piano lessons, and then purchased some others on credit. As her wells became successful, she shrewdly acquired others, forcing other operators out of business, and selling her oil to various local power companies, hotels, and utilities, all while doing her own accounting and continuing to give piano lessons at night. When the price of oil peaked around $1.80 a barrel, she controlled about half of the wells on the central portion of the field.
In 1903 the boom briefly turned to bust as the price of oil dropped to only fifteen cents a barrel, due to abundant oil flooding the market from the Los Angeles field and others just opening up both in the Los Angeles basin and in the San Joaquin Valley.
The peak year for the field was 1901, during which 1,150 active wells pumped over 1.8 million barrels (290,000 m3). Over 200 separate companies were in operation on the field at this time. Of these, the largest were Union Consolidated Crude Oil Company, L.A. Terminal & Transport, and Westlake Oil Company.
Edward A. Clampitt, an eastern businessman who had come to Los Angeles to make a fortune in the oil industry, was also one of the principal operators in the first decade of the 20th century. Production declined quickly after the peak; there were simply too many wells draining a reservoir of limited capacity and pressure, and less and less oil was able to be profitably extracted. After 1915 only two new wells were drilled on the field.
The early years on the field were not without mishap. In 1907, one of the gigantic redwood oil tanks near Echo Lake ruptured, and crude oil flooded downhill into the lake, catching fire and burning on the water for three days. The lake is now part of Echo Park, within the neighborhood of the same name. Lawlessness was a problem during the boom period as well, with oil thieves draining tanks overnight, stealing tools, and sabotaging wells of competitors.
As the boom years of the field occurred before the formation of regulatory agencies in California, record keeping was sometimes sparse, not only for oil production but for the very existence and location of the wells. R.E. Crowder, writing in 1961, counted 142 wells which likely existed, but could not be located; some may have been dry holes. A more recent survey suggested that up to 300 wells may have been drilled within the vicinity of the oil field but abandoned without a trace.