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November 18, 2020  –  Oil & Gas History News, Vol. 1, No. 11


Oil & Gas History News


Our November newsletter features more petroleum history milestones, including when America first exported oil (and kerosene), some oil seeps at a Pennsylvania creek, a gasoline-powered Locomobile, and the advertising history of Joe Roughneck. This month’s featured image is related to the world’s first offshore well drilled out of sight of land. Thanks again for subscribing — and please share these articles exploring the evolution of the energy industry.


This Week in Petroleum History Monthly Update


Links to summaries from four weeks of U.S. oil and natural gas history, including new technologies, oilfield discoveries, petroleum products, and pioneers. 


November 19, 1861 – American exports Oil for First Time


America exported petroleum during the Civil War when the merchant brig Elizabeth Watts departed Philadelphia for London. No ship had ever crossed the Atlantic bearing such cargo. Forty-five days later, the Union vessel arrived at Victoria Dock carrying 901 barrels of Pennsylvania oil and 428 barrels of kerosene…MORE 


November 10, 1854 – Oil Seeps inspire First American Oil Well


The U.S. petroleum industry began when a lumber company sold 105 acres along a Pennsylvania creek known for having oil seeps. The buyer, George Bissell of New Hampshire, was interested in drilling for what was then known as “rock oil.” He had learned from a Yale professor that oil could be refined into the popular lamp fuel kerosene…MORE 


November 2, 1902 – First Gas-Powered Locomobile delivered


Previously known for building expensive, steam-powered automobiles, the Locomobile Company of America delivered its first gasoline-powered Locomobile to a customer in New York City. The company had hired Andrew Riker, a self-taught engineer and racecar driver, to create the four-cylinder, 12-horsepower vehicle, which sold for $4,000…MORE 


October 26, 1970 – Joe Roughneck Statue dedicated in Texas


Governor Preston Smith dedicated a Joe Roughneck statue in Boonsville, Texas, to mark the 20th anniversary of a giant natural gas field discovery. Lone Star Gas Company’s Vaught No. 1 well had revealed the field. Joe Roughneck first appeared as the advertising face of tubular goods manufacturer Lone Star Steel before becoming an industry award in 1955…MORE 


Featured Image

Offshore Bell Helicopter 1954 AOGHS

The first use of helicopters for offshore platforms was at the request of Kerr-McGee and Humble Oil. Bell Helicopters soon formed Petroleum Bell Helicopters Company, which advertised in U.S. News and World Report with this image in 1954.


The modern offshore industry began on November 14, 1947, in the Gulf of Mexico with the first oil well completed out of sight of land. Brown & Root Company built the freestanding platform 10 miles offshore for Kerr-McGee and partners Phillips Petroleum and Stanolind. The Kermac No. 16 could withstand winds as high as 125 miles per hour at a time when no equipment specifically designed for offshore drilling yet existed. See Offshore Petroleum History.


Energy Education Articles


Updated editorial content on the American Oil & Gas Historical Society website includes these articles:


In 1905, two years before Oklahoma statehood, the Glenn Pool (or Glenpool) oilfield was discovered in the Creek Indian Reservation south of Tulsa. The Ida Glenn No. 1 well, drilled 1,500 feet deep, led to more prolific wells in the 12-square-mile Glenn Pool. By the time of statehood, the oilfield would be helping make Tulsa the the “Oil Capital of the World.” 


An 1899 article in the New York World profiled Mrs. Byron Alford – the “Only Woman in the World who Owns and Operates a Dynamite Factory.” Drillers used the explosives for “shooting” wells to boost oil production. Mrs. Alford’s Nitro Factory operated on five acres outside of Bradford, Pennsylvania, with daily production of 3,000 pounds of nitroglycerin and 6,000 pounds of dynamite. 

Samuel “Golden Rule” Jones in 1894 patented a sucker rod design for Acme Sucker Rod Company, which he had founded in 1892 in Toledo, Ohio. With his “Coupling for Pipes or Rods,” Jones solved the frequent and time-consuming problem of broken sucker rods. The future four-time Toledo mayor became known as “Golden Rule” Jones of Ohio by creating a better workplace for employees at his factory.



Petroleum history provides an important context for understanding how the nation will meet its future energy needs. AOGHS provides a communication network for museums, researchers, teachers and students. Subscribers like you — and donations — help make this possible, so continue to visit and support the website.


— Bruce Wells


“Any survey of the natural resources used as sources of energy must include a discussion about the importance of oil, the lifeblood of all industrialized nations.” — Daniel Yergin, bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize




The American Oil & Gas Historical Society preserves U.S. petroleum history. Become an AOGHS supporting member and help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact Copyright © 2020 Bruce A. Wells. All rights reserved.

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