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Carlinville Public Library

Site of Standard Oil Company Store

Site of Standard Oil Company Store: (233 Rice Street)

The Standard Oil Company Store was a retail store selling a limited range of food, clothing, daily necessities, and equipment to miners working in their mines.  Employee-only company store accepted scrip or non-cash vouchers issued by Standard Oil. There was no uniform design, but each coin generally identified the location of the coal company town and predominately featured the words “non-transferrable” to communicate to recipients it could not be transferred for U.S. currency.


Various forms of coal scrip


Company stores were monopolistic institutions, funneling workers’ incomes back to the owners of the company.  This is because company stores often faced little or no competition for workers’ earnings on account of their geographical remoteness, the inability and/or unwillingness of other nearby merchants (if any existed) to accept company scrip, or both.  Prices, therefore, were typically high.  Allowing purchases on credit enforced a kind of debt slavery, obligating employees to remain with the company until the debt was cleared.

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