"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN
Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.
POTATO OIL. It was announced in 2004 that a new means of on-site fuel generation using recovered potato waste solids for potato processing facilities had been discovered. The breakthrough could help companies achieve energy savings while at the same time operate in a more environmentally friendly manner. Waste solids could be blended with coal to achieve a feedstock. (1) This would not have been news for residents of Dubuque in 1876.
In October 1876 the Dubuque Herald announced that a potato oil manufacturing company was coming to the city. The "non-explosive oil" would be used in lamps and would be cheaper than kerosene. (2)
The first barrel of potato oil from the Potato Oil Manufacturing Company was shipped out of Dubuque in December 1876 to the A. C. Tide Company of Elkport. (3)
In January 1877 following several reported accidents with the fuel in the community, Alderman Quigley was appointed to investigate its flammable and potential explosive nature. He was to report to the city council. (4) On January 26th a lamp using potato oil exploded in a local restaurant causing slight damage. (5) Further investigation of the lamp involved revealed that it did not have a tube along the burner to allow the explosive gas to escape. "Tube escape lamps" were recommended for those using potato oil. (6) On January 30, 1877 the local potato oil company ran a notice in the Dubuque Herald reminding people of this caution. (7)
By May 1877 the use of potato oil was becoming more accepted. The Dubuque Herald announced that insurance agents would allow the use of the product without cancelling insurance policies. (8)
1. "New Fuel Efficiency Concept for Potato Processors," Food Production Daily.com, May 12, 2004. Online: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Processing/New-fuel-efficiency-concept-for-potato-processors?utm_source=copyright&utm_medium=OnSite&utm_campaign=copyright
2. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, October 10, 1876, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18761010&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
3. "Caught on the Fly, Dubuque Herald, December 6, 1876, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18761206&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
4. "Potato Oil," Dubuque Herald, January 19, 1877, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18770119&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
5. "Lamp Explosion," Dubuque Herald, January 27, 1877, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18770127&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
6. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, January 28, 1877, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18770128&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
7. "Notice to Public," Dubuque Herald, January 30, 1877, p. 1. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18770130&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
8. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, May 29, 1877, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18770529&printsec=frontpage&hl=en