Re: Interesting facts about naphtha #galicia


Celia Male <celiamale@...>
 

Robin Meisner is researching the production and uses of Naphta as
her great grandparents' family in Rzeszow and Nowy Sacz, Galicia,
were Naphtha dealers and distillers.

I very recently [21 Jan 2007] wrote a piece for this SIG entitled:
"The Galician Oil Industry and the Kaiser's 1880 visit" which
should be relevant. I have just checked and it is already in the
archives and can be easily retrieved.

Many people do not realise that naphta/naphtha was already known
and traded in the 10th century in Baku [Azerbajian]; wells were dug
to get the Naft (or naphta, or crude petroleum) as described by
geographer Masudi in the 10th century and by Marco Polo in the 13th
century, who described the output of those wells as hundreds of
shiploads. Here are two references to this very early usage:

http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/199505/land.of.the.naphtha.fountain.htm
http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/Information_ss/Oil_consumption_504.html

This is hardly the stuff for the Galicia-SIG, but it is a matter of
considerable historic interest as the Rothschild Petroleum Company
[based in Vienna and Paris] first established itself in Baku, until
it was eventually taken over by Shell.

Undoubtedly, many Jews were involved in the trade throughout the
Habsburg Empire, which was a leading force in the development of the
modern petroleum industry - see for example the names of other
Galician napht{h}a distillers here:
http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/Zmigrod/zmigroddukla.htm

If you enter naphtha and naphta into the Jewishgen homepage
site-search field link, you get 15 hits in various shtetl links and
directories.

Distilling in many forms has always been a profession in which Jews
excelled!

Celia Male [U.K.]

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