OIL: Cowden's Refinery

Unlike the older, mightier British and Scandinavian cooperative associations, which own factories, dairies, utilities, ships, banks, U. S. co-ops for a long time limited themselves to the jobs of wholesaling and retailing. Through them consumers took aprons away from shopkeepers, but did not attempt to own and run their own steel mills.

In 1929, a Missouri cooperator named Howard Cowden organized $3,000, an old truck and two rusty oil storage tanks into a consolidated purchasing agent to supply five Missouri co-op stores with petroleum products. True to the U. S. co-op tradition,...

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