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Standard Oil’s The Lamp Magazine
April 1945

In August of 1942, the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey was undertaking construction of “The Big Inch,” among the largest pipelines for crude that had been built, Standard Oil selected Frederic Taubes to do a series of paintings inspired by the “Big Inch” project and its surroundings. The results were published in The Lamp, Standard Oil’s corporate publication.


The “Big Inch”, along with other accompaying pipelines including “The Little Big Inch,” originated in the rugged terrain of northern Texas. These pipelines, built in cooperation with the United States government, would prove critical to the supply of petroleum needed for the war effort. They carried unrefined oil from Texas all the way to the refineries of the east coast of the United States. Construction was completed in October of 1943.

Caption: “The gray pencil of the welding and dripping molten heat and glare of the electric spark, inspired by Mr. Taubes to paint this picture of a welder at work on the “Big Inch.”


In his essay written for the History News Network, historian Keith Miller wrote:

“The Big Inch and Little Big Inch pipelines, it should be stressed, aided almost beyond estimation the winning of World War Two by the Allies. For one thing, protected as they were from enemy attack, it was possible to circumvent submarine attacks by the Germans, which had wreaked havoc on oil tankers from the Gulf of Mexico by way of the Caribbean to the East Coast.”

Standard Oil Corporation began publishing The Lamp as its cornerstone publication in 1918. It began as a bulletin for Standard Oil of New Jersey employees, but later evolved into a quarterly shareholder magazine, providing news on recent business activities, supplemented by features on various topics. Publication of the The Lamp continued until 1999.
Stringing a Pipeline
In April 1945, Standard Oil Company published Frederic Taubes’ artistic vision of a vast construction project
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