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    Description

    Spidletop

    Frank J. Trost Gelatin Silver Photograph of Spindletop Oilfield. Measuring 30" x 9.5" (sight), this wonderfully detailed image shows onlookers, on horseback or in horse-drawn carriages, gathered to witness a large fire at the Spindletop Oilfield near the city of Beaumont, Texas, circa early 1900s. The horizon is dominated from left to right by oil derricks with smaller buildings scattered in the middle ground; the sky is obscured by thick, black smoke. The photographer's signature, which is not a negative as the white ink can be seen clearly on top of the paper, is found at the lower edge near center right of the image. The photograph is silvering around the edges and damage to the glass plate is evident in an arc at the lower right corner.

    The discovery of oil at Spindletop Hill in 1901 was a boon for Texas and ushered in a new era for industry, especially transportation. Billions of dollars in investment money funneled in as developers looked for oil across the state, creating surges in population and wealth in previously small towns such as Beaumont, whose population swelled from 8,000 to 60,000 in one year and who, during the height of the boom, served as the headquarters for nearly 500 different companies. The worldwide popularity of the Spindletop find was due in part to a photograph of the largest gusher of its kind captured by Missouri native, Frank Trost.

    Francis John "Frank" Trost (1868-1944) arrived in Port Arthur, Texas in 1895 and opened a photography studio, Trost Studios, shortly thereafter. His famous photograph of the Lucas gusher was seen in newspapers the world over and was so popular he was forced to make 250 printings a day, which still could not meet the demand. While the Lucas gusher image is by far the most widely recognized, it was not his only. Trost would continue to photograph at Spindletop for many years producing countless images of the structures, workmen, and, in this case, disasters at the field.

    Matted and framed to an overall size of 37.5" x 17.5".


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    Auction Dates
    March, 2013
    1st-2nd Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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