Thanks to James Young, Bathgate has a good claim to be known as the home of the oil industry.
It was here, in 1850, that James Young set up the world’s first commercial oil refinery to process the oil-rich coal from nearby Torbanehill. The Bathgate plant was set up when a search for other oil-bearing sites discovered ‘Torbanite’. Young’s patent gave him a virtual monopoly of the oil industry, even collecting two cents on every gallon of paraffin produced by over 20 American firms. After 1864, when Young’s main patent expired, a Scottish oil-boom began.