Oil & Gas History News, February 2021

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February 17, 2021  –  Oil & Gas History News, Vol. 2, No. 2

 

Oil & Gas History News

 

This month’s history articles include interesting and sometimes overlooked milestones, few more so than William F. Cody’s unlucky adventures drilling for oil near the town named after him. There’s also a 1931 third discovery well that revealed the true size of the East Texas oilfield that deserves remembering. Thank you for joining the American Oil & Gas Historical Society’s growing community of oil patch historians.

 

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. 

 

February 15, 1982 – Deadly Atlantic Storm sinks Drilling Platform

 

With rogue waves reaching as high as 65 feet during an Atlantic cyclone, offshore drilling platform Ocean Ranger sank on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, Canada, killing all 84 on board. About 65 miles east, a Soviet container ship was struck by the same weather system and sank the loss of 32 crew members…MORE

 

February 9, 2013 – Making Hole on the Red Planet

 

Images transmitted from NASA’s robotic rover Curiosity confirm it drilled a well on the Martian surface, accomplishing “history’s first ever drilling and sampling into a pristine alien rock on the surface of another planet in our solar system”…MORE

 

February 1, 1868 – Oil Quality weighed for Pricing

 

For the first time, crude oil price quotations began to be based on specific gravity — the heaviness of a substance compared to that of water. In the new oil regions of Pennsylvania, independent producers met to sell shares of stock, argue prices, and enter into refining contracts that depended on the oil’s quality…MORE


January 26, 1931 – Third Well reveals East Texas Giant

 

As East Texas farmers struggled to survive the Great Depression, an oil discovery in Gregg County confirmed the existence of a truly massive oilfield. Fort Worth wildcatter W.A. “Monty” Moncrief completed the Lathrop No. 1 well, which produced 7,680 barrels of oil a day…MORE

 

Featured Image

Bufallo-Bill-Shashone-Oil-AOGHS

W.F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody (4th from right) and investors examine petroleum samples at an oilfield on the Shoshone Anticline near Cody, Wyoming. Photo courtesy the American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

 

Wild West Showman explored for Oil

 

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s legacy extends beyond his world-famous Wild West Show — straight into the Wyoming oil patch. Cody, who in 1896 founded the town that bears his name, organized an exploration company in 1902. The former Army scout and buffalo hunter drilled a dry hole two miles south of Cody. Money ran out when a second well failed to find oil, but he tried again after starting another venture, the Shoshone Oil Company

 

Energy Education Articles

 

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

 

Alabama’s first oilfield was discovered on February 17, 1944, in Choctaw County when independent producer H.L. Hunt of Dallas, Texas, drilled the No. 1 Jackson well. Hunt’s wildcat well revealed the Gilbertown oilfield. Prior to this discovery, 350 dry holes had been drilled in the state. Learn more in First Alabama Oil Well.


“El Lobo Solo” Texas Ranger Manuel T. Gonzaullas died February 13, 1977, at age 85 in Dallas. When oil boom town Kilgore became “the most lawless town in Texas” during the early 1930s, Gonzaullas rode in and tamed it. “Crime may expect no quarter in Kilgore,” he declared. Learn more in Manuel “Lone Wolf” Gonzaullas, Texas Ranger.

 

On February 10, 1917, about 90 geologists gathered at Henry Kendall College (now Tulsa University) and organized what became today’s American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG). New mechanized technologies of World War I added desperation to finding and producing vast supplies of oil. Learn more in AAPG – Geology Pros since 1917.

 

 

Comments and suggestions are always welcomed. If you would like to see more articles like these, become a supporting member. If everyone who visits our website helps fund it, we can further expand and improve our coverage. Thank you again for your interest in energy history — and please link your blog, Facebook page, or website to ours!

 

— Bruce Wells

 
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“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

 

© 2021 American Oil & Gas Historical Society, 3204 18th Street NW, No. 3, Washington, District of Columbia 20010, United States

Oil & Gas History News, January 2021

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January 20, 2021  –  Oil & Gas History News, Vol. 2, No. 1

 

Oil & Gas History News

 

Welcome to our first newsletter of 2021 — and thank you for being a part of our growing community of oil patch historians, energy professionals, educators, and students. This month features many milestones, but few more important than the 100th anniversary of a gusher three miles south of Beaumont, Texas. The discovery at Spindletop Hill increased U.S. oil production just as gasoline demand began for automobiles.

 

This Week in Petroleum History Monthly Update

 

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

 

January 18, 1919 – Congregation rejects drilling in Cemetery

 

Although World War I was over, oil production continued to soar in North Texas. Reporting on “Roaring Ranger” oilfields, the New York Times noted that speculators offered $1 million for rights to drill in the Merriman Baptist Church cemetery, but the congregation could not be persuaded to disturb the interred…MORE

 

January 11, 1926 – “Ace” Borger discovers Oil in North Texas

 

Thousands rushed to the Texas Panhandle seeking “black gold” after the Dixon Creek Oil and Refining Company completed its Smith No. 1 well, which flowed at 10,000 barrels a day in southern Hutchinson County. “Ace” Borger of Tulsa, Oklahoma, had leased a 240-acre tract and by September his Borger oilfield had more than 800 producing wells…MORE

 

January 4, 1948 – Benedum Field discovery Deep in Permian Basin

 

After years of frustration, exploration of the Permian Basin suddenly intensified again when a wildcat well found oil and natural gas in a deep geologic formation. The Slick-Urschel Oil Company drilled the well in partnership with geologist and independent producer Michael Late Benedum, who had discovered oilfields in Pennsylvania and West Virginia since the 1890s…MORE


December 28, 1898 – Mary Alford inherits Pennsylvania Nitro Factory

 

Byron S. Alford died, leaving his nitroglycerin factory to his wife Mary, who would make the business thrive, becoming “the only known woman to own a dynamite and nitroglycerin factory,” explained a 2017 Smithsonian article that credited an American Oil & Gas Historical Society story…MORE

 

December 21, 1842 – Birth of an Oil Town “Bird’s-Eye View” Artist

 

Panoramic map artist Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1842. Following the fortunes of America’s early petroleum industry, he would produce hundreds of unique maps of the earliest oilfield towns of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas…MORE

 

Featured Image

Spindletop gusher 1901 AOGHS

Captain Anthony F. Lucas stands beside his well (at right) after it struck oil at a depth of 1,139 feet and began flowing at an astounding 100,000 barrels per day. This iconic image at Spindletop was taken the afternoon of the discovery by photographer Francis (Frank) J. Trost (1868-1944).


On January 10, 1901, the “Lucas Gusher” at Spindletop Hill in southeastern Texas revealed an oilfield that would produce more oil in one day than the rest of the world’s oilfields combined. It was the most significant oil discovery from a salt dome structure along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Although the great Galveston hurricane of 1899 (still the deadliest in U.S. history) had brought much misery, this oil discovery launched the modern oil and gas industry as the 20th century dawned.

 

Energy Education Articles

 

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

 

Seeking to end dangerous and wasteful oil gushers, on January 12, 1926, James Abercrombie and Harry Cameron patented the hydraulic ram-type blowout preventer. Their concept used hydrostatic pistons to close on the drill stem and form a seal against the well pressure. Abercrombie had taken his idea to Cameron’s machine shop in Humble, Texas, where the two men sketched out details on the sawdust floor. Learn more in Ending Oil Gushers – BOP.


In early January 1957, an exploratory well drilled on and off for almost two years revealed a giant oilfield in southern Michigan. The discovery at “Rattlesnake Gulch” on Ferne Houseknecht’s dairy farm discovered a prolific petroleum basin that extended 29 miles. Learn more in Michigan’s Golden Gulch of Oil.

 

 

Please share this newsletter’s articles — and consider adding a link from your website to ours. It makes a real difference promoting AOGHS articles. Your supporting membership also helps expand the society’s energy education outreach. Even the smallest donation can keep our unique oil history website up and running in 2021.

 

— Bruce Wells

 
 
 
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“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

© American Oil & Gas Historical Society, 3204 18th Street NW, No. 3, Washington, District of Columbia 20010, United States, (202) 387-6996

Oil & Gas History News, December 2020

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December 16, 2020  –  Oil & Gas History News, Vol. 1, No. 12

 

Oil & Gas History News

 

Our last newsletter for 2020 offers more educational events in U.S. petroleum history. One standout is the 1967 detonation of a nuclear device in a New Mexico well to stimulate natural gas production. Another is the use of Civil War cannons to put out oil tank fires. Perhaps on the outer limit of energy education, we also include an amazingly deep fictional well featured in “Superman and the Mole Men” from 1951.

 

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. 

 

December 17, 1884 –  Fighting Oilfield Fires with Cannons 

 

“Oil Fires, like battles, are fought by artillery,” proclaimed a student newspaper article at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The firsthand account, “A Thunder-Storm in the Oil Country,” described the problem of oilfield lightning strikes. The MIT article not only reported the fiery destruction, but also the practice of using solid shot from cannons to extinguish burning oil tanks…MORE

 

December 7, 1905 – Helium discovered in Natural Gas

 

The importance of natural gas for producing helium was revealed when University of Kansas professors discovered helium in a gas well east of Wichita. The Gas, Oil and Developing Company had drilled the well that produced a non-flammable “howling gasser” from a depth of 560 feet. Helium was considered a national strategic resource at the time…MORE

 

December 1, 1865 – Lady Macbeth arrives at Famous Oil Boom Town

 

Shakespearean tragedienne Miss Eloise Bridges appeared as Lady Macbeth at the Murphy Theater in Pithole, Pennsylvania, America’s first famously notorious oil boom town. A January 1865 oil discovery had launched the drilling frenzy that created Pithole, which within a year had 57 hotels, a daily newspaper, and the third busiest post office in Pennsylvania…MORE

 

November 23, 1951 – Superman and the World’s Deepest Oil Well

 

Public fear of the risk of drilling too deep highlighted the theatrical release of Superman’s first movie, “Superman and the Mole Men.” The sci-fi plot unfolded in the fictional town of Silsby, “Home of the World’s Deepest Oil Well,” when the experimental well drilled “into clear air” at a depth of 32,742 feet. Townspeople feared an invasion when mole men emerged from the well…MORE

 

Featured Image

Gasbuggy-Nuclear-Device-AOGHS

Project Gasbuggy experiments began in 1967 when government scientists lowered a 13-foot by 18-inches nuclear device into a well about 60 miles east of Farmington, New Mexico. They wanted to test the feasibility of using nuclear explosions to stimulate release of natural gas trapped in shale deposits. Photo courtesy Los Alamos Lab.

 

Project Gasbuggy included experts from the Atomic Energy Commission, the Bureau of Mines, and El Paso Natural Gas Company. The team drilled a well 4,240 feet deep near three low-production natural gas wells and lowered a 29-kiloton nuclear device into the borehole. The experimental explosion was part a series of federal projects known as “Plowshare,” created in the late 1950s to explore possible peaceful uses of nuclear devices. Learn more in Project Gasbuggy tests Nuclear “Fracking.”

 

Energy Education Articles

 

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

 

Two General Motors scientists discovered the antiknock properties of tetraethyl lead on December 9, 1921. When they added it to gasoline, out-of-sequence detonations in an engine cylinder disappeared. But as concerns about health dangers grew, the phase-out of leaded gas in cars began in 1976 (it is still used in aviation fuel). See Ethyl Anti-Knock Gas.

 

Seismic technologies evolved during World War I from efforts to locate enemy artillery. The new way of finding petroleum reserves came from several competing post-war inventors, but experiments in 1921 by an Oklahoma physicist stood out. See Exploring Seismic Waves.


While drilling for natural gas, William Mills found small amounts of oil at Neodesha in eastern Kansas on November 28, 1892. He took a sample from his Norman No. 1 well and visited experienced oil drillers in Pennsylvania. They convinced him to “shoot” the well with nitroglycerin. See First Kansas Oil Well.

 

 

Thank you again for subscribing. The growing number of supporting members helps the American Oil & Gas Historical Society expand its energy education network. Your donations make this possible. Please continue to share our newsletter and help maintain and expand the AOGHS website.

 

— Bruce Wells

 
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“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

© American Oil & Gas Historical Society, 3204 18th Street NW, No. 3, Washington, District of Columbia 20010, United States, (202) 387-6996

Oil & Gas History News, November 2020

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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

 
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“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 bawells@aoghs.org. Copyright © 2020 Bruce A. Wells. All rights reserved.

Oil & Gas History News, October 2020

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October 21, 2020  –  Oil & Gas History News, Vol. 1, No. 10

 

Oil & Gas History News

 

Welcome to our latest spotlight on U.S. petroleum history. October’s newsletter illuminates important petroleum milestones, including the 50th anniversary of a sleek, natural gas powered rocket car setting the world land speed record; the 90th anniversary of the discovery of the 140,000 acre East Texas oilfield; and the 103rd anniversary of the “Roaring Ranger” oilfield discovery, which allowed the Allies to “float to victory on a wave of oil” in World War I.

 

This Week in Petroleum History Monthly Update

 

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

 

October 19, 1990 – First Emergency Use of Strategic Petroleum Reserve

 

As world oil prices spiked after the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi troops, the first presidentially mandated emergency use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was authorized by President George H. W. Bush, who ordered the sale of five million barrels of SPR oil as a test…MORE 

 

October 13, 1954 – First Arizona Oil Well

 

Arizona became the 30th petroleum producing state when Shell Oil Company completed its East Boundary Butte No. 2 well one mile south of the Utah border on Apache County’s Navajo Indian Reservation. The well indicated natural gas production of 3,150 thousand cubic feet per day…MORE 

October 5, 1915 – Science of Petroleum Geology reveals Oilfield

 

Using a careful study of geology for finding oil led to the discovery of a major Mid-Continent field. Drilled by Wichita Natural Gas Company, a subsidiary of Cities Service Company, the well revealed the 34-square-mile El Dorado oilfield in central Kansas…MORE 

 

September 28, 1945 – Truman claims America’s Outer Continental Shelf

 

President Harry Truman extended U.S. jurisdiction over the natural resources of the outer continental shelf, placing them under the control of the Secretary of the Interior. In August 1953, Truman’s edict would become the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act…MORE 

 

September 21, 1901 – First Louisiana Oil Well

 

Just nine months after the January 1901 “Lucas Gusher” at Spindletop, Texas, another historic oilfield was revealed 90 miles east in Louisiana. W. Scott Heywood – already successful thanks to wells drilled on Spindletop Hill – completed a well that produced 7,000 barrels of oil a day…MORE 

 

Featured Image

Daisy Bradford Well 1930 AOGHS

In East Texas, with a crowd of more than 4,000 landowners, leaseholders and others watching, the Daisy Bradford No. 3 well was “shot” with nitroglycerin near Kilgore, Texas, on October 3, 1930. Geologists later would be stunned when it became apparent the well on the widow Bradford’s farm – along with two other wells far to the north – proved to be part of the same oil-producing formation (the Woodbine) encompassing more than 140,000 acres. See East Texas Oilfield Discovery.

 

Energy Education Articles

 

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

 

Powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and hydrogen peroxide 50 years ago on October 23, 1970, the Blue Flame set a new world land speed record of 630.388 miles per hour. Sponsored by the American Gas Association, the 38-foot-long, 4,950-pound rocket car set the record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, as the industry proclaimed natural gas “the fuel of the future.” The Blue Flame land speed record would remain unbroken more than a decade. See Blue Flame Natural Gas Rocket Car.

 

On October 17, 1917, “Roaring Ranger,” a wildcat well between Abilene and Dallas, launched a Texas drilling boom that helped fuel the Allied victory of World War I. The J. H. McCleskey No. 1 well erupted oil about two miles south of the small town of Ranger, which had been founded in the 1870s near a Texas Ranger camp in Eastland County. See Roaring Ranger wins WWI.

 

Thanks to a growing number of subscribers, the American Oil & Gas Historical Society continues to expand its public outreach during these difficult times. The AOGHS website is building a network linking energy educators, researchers, community museums, historians, news media, and especially students. You can help by forwarding this newsletter to your friends. And if you have a company website, please consider adding a link to the AOGHS home page. Thank you again for subscribing.

— Bruce Wells

 
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“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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2020 Bruce A. Wells. All rights reserved.

Oil & Gas History News, September 2020

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

drake-oil-well-AOGHS

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.

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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 bawells@aoghs.org. © 2020 Bruce A. Wells. All rights reserved.

 

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