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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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DUBUQUE LINSEED OIL COMPANY. Dubuque Linseed Oil Company was established on August 17, 1880 and incorporated the same year. The board of directors included Jacob Rich, John Vincent RIDER, Jeffrey M. GRIFFITH, William Boyd ALLISON, G. M. Staples, William L. BRADLEY, Sr., J. H. Lull, and George L. Torbert. Officers were J. V. Rider, president; George L. Torbert, vice-president; and Jacob Rich, secretary/treasurer. (1)

The company's main building was a three-story structure with a frontage of 90 feet on Ninth Street. Within the building was all the machinery for grinding of the seed and its conversion into oil. Daily an estimated 650 bushels of flax seed or nearly 200,000 bushels annually were consumed. The oil was either barreled or stowed away into large tanks of 200,000 gallons capacity. There was a constant workforce of fifteen men. (2)

The products manufactured by the Dubuque Linseed Oil were genuine linseed oil and oil cake. The former was used largely in painting and in a limited extent in medicine and the arts. Oil cake was ground into meal and sold to stock growers for fattening purposes. One pound of of linseed oil cake was equal to three of corn, nine of wheat bran, or ten of hay. By chemical analysis its protein factors were found to be nearly the same as is found in peas or beans, and richer in oil than any species of grain cultivated. (3)

The reaction of farmers along the ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD was quickly and generally positive. The failure of the wheat crop in northern Iowa had convinced many that they needed to rely on a variety of crops. (4)

The 1884-1885 through 1890-91 Dubuque City Directory gave the corner of 9th and Jackson as the address.



1. "Dubuque Linseed Oil Company," Dubuque Herald, August 18, 1880, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18800818&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. The Industries of Dubuque: Her Relations as a Trade Center, Dubuque: J. M. Elster and Company, Publishers, 1887, p. 96

3. "The Linseed Oil Factory," Dubuque Herald, August 22, 1880, p. 4