AOGHS logo Newsletter

September 16, 2020  –  Oil & Gas History News, Vol. 1, No. 9


Oil & Gas History News


This month’s newsletter during an unprecedented back-to-school year offers the latest “This Week In petroleum History” summaries and links to in-depth articles about the people, events, and technologies that have shaped the modern energy industry. AOGHS website visitors (new and returning) are sharing our petroleum research with educators, who benefit from having a historical context in their energy curricula.


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. 

September 14, 1871 – President Grant visits Pennsylvania Region

President Ulysses S. Grant visited Titusville, Petroleum Center, and Oil City, Pennsylvania, to learn more about the nation’s growing petroleum industry. The 18th president would improve Washington City’s streets, directing in 1876 that Pennsylvania Avenue be paved with Trinidad asphalt…MORE

September 7, 1917 – Oilfield Legacy of Texas Governor Hogg

In 1917, the Tyndall-Wyoming Oil Company’s No. 1 Hogg well discovered oil 50 miles south of Houston, ending a streak of dry holes dating back to 1901, when former Texas Governor James “Big Jim” Hogg first thought he saw signs of oil. The Hogg family would appreciate a clause in his will requiring them to keep the lease…MORE

August 31, 1850 – San Francisco Utility manufactures Gas from CoalThe San Francisco Gas Company incorporated to produce and distribute manufactured gas from a coal “gasification” plant. Renamed the Pacific Gas & Electric, by 1915 the company operated about 8,500 gas street lamps — each hand lit and shut off every day. The first U.S. manufactured gas street lamps illuminated Baltimore, Maryland, in 1817…MORE

August 24, 1892 – Future “Prophet of Spindletop” founds Oil Company

Patillo Higgins, who would become known as the “Prophet of Spindletop,” founded the Gladys City Oil, Gas & Manufacturing Company. He and several partners leased 2,700 acres four miles south of Beaumont, Texas. A self-taught geologist, Higgins believed oil-bearing sands could be found near a big hill there…MORE


Featured Image


The U.S. petroleum industry was born on August 27, 1859, in Titusville, Pennsylvania, when former railroad conductor Edwin L. Drake drilled the first American oil well 69.5 feet deep. Seneca Oil Company of New Haven, Connecticut, had hired Drake to find oil for refining into a popular new lamp fuel: kerosene. When fire destroyed his derrick and engine house, Drake rebuilt on the original site, and in this 1861 photo he stands at right with his friend Peter Wilson of Titusville. Oilfield photographer John A. Mather’s iconic (and often misidentified) image is part the extensive collection of glass negatives preserved at the Drake Well Museum and Park.


Energy Education Articles


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

After decades of failed attempts by major oil companies, J. L. “Mike” Dougan of Salt Lake City discovered Utah’s first significant oilfield on September 18, 1948. He had searched in state for more than 25 years before finding the Uinta Basin field about 10 miles southeast of Vernal. See First Utah Oil Wells.

The Texas petroleum industry began on September 12,1866, when Lyne Taliaferro Barret and his Melrose Petroleum Oil Company completed the state’s first well drilled for oil. Because the Confederate Army veteran’s Nacogdoches County discovery did not produce commercial quantities, it would be decades before others returned. See First Lone Star Discovery.

Gasoline pumps began with a small device for dispensing kerosene. On September 5, 1885, S.F. (Sylvanus Freelove) Bowser sold his newly invented kerosene pump to the owner of a grocery store in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Less than two decades later, the first purposely built drive-in gasoline service station opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. See First Gas Pump and Service Station.


In addition to hundreds of articles and images, the American Oil & Gas Historical Society’s website offers energy education resources, including student chapters of leading earth sciences organizations. There also are links to petroleum museums and exhibits.

The East Texas Oil Museum at Kilgore College this month celebrates its opening 40 years ago in the heart of the 140,000-acre oilfield, discovered during the Great Depression. A two-year renovation of the Boomtown Theater is complete, according to Olivia Moore, museum manager, and a newly digitized version of the 16 mm film “The Great East Texas Oil Boom” is the main attraction. 

Thank you again for subscribing. Your comments and suggestions are always welcomed. Even a small financial contribution helps us add articles, respond to research requests, and continue preserving petroleum history.

— 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 © 2020 Bruce A. Wells. All rights reserved.


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This