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Essays

  • Nitroglycerine Saved Many Wells

    Apr 18, 2007 | Posted in Essays, Technology

    Less than a year after the first oil well was drilled in northwestern Pennsylvania, well owners had trouble. Paraffin was the culprit. Petroleum in this region is rich in the waxy substance and it was clogging the underground flow of oil. The producers were an ingenious lot and they quickly set out to find a solution.

  • Franklin Heavy Crude

    Apr 18, 2007 | Posted in Essays, Technology

    The oil business was still in its infancy when producers started to notice a difference in the petroleum they were pumping. In Franklin where traces of that “nasty Seneca oil” had crept into water wells along French Creek, the success of Colonel Edwin L. Drake’s well was quick to spawn interest.

  • Eclipse Refinery

    Apr 18, 2007 | Posted in Essays, Places

    The Eclipse Refinery, located near Franklin, was reported at one time to be the “largest refinery in the world.” While this claim is frequently contested it is known that the refinery turned out every petroleum product known at the time and that it was an important part of the Venango County economy for 65 years.

  • Samuel Kier - Medicine Man & Refiner

    Feb 23, 2007 | Posted in Essays, People

    Have you ever tasted crude oil? Probably not! In fact, most people would react to the question with disgust. If you have ever been near an oil well, pipeline, tanker, or refinery, you are undoubtedly familiar with the sight and odor of this liquid hydrocarbon. Pennsylvania’s crude oil called Penn Grade crude, often looks and smells pretty bad.

  • Samuel Justus (1836 - 1920)

    Feb 23, 2007 | Posted in Essays, People

    Because Samuel Justus was such a private man, no known photographs exist and not much is written about him. The little information we do know indicates that he was born in January, 1836, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Justus moved to Oil City, served for nine months as an Union soldier during the Civil War and after the war, managed an iron furnace and a grocery.

  • Patrick Boyle (1846-1920)

    Feb 23, 2007 | Posted in Essays, People

    Boyle, known both as P.C. and Pat, was 39 years old when he purchased the Derrick Newspaper in 1885, making it the "organ of oil." He was referred to the world over as "The Derrick," which was regarded as an essential publication wherever oil was produced and refined.

  • Oil's Invisible Stepsister: The Natural Gas Industry

    Feb 23, 2007 | Posted in Essays, Progress

    Natural gas, born and bred in the same Appalachian region as oil, was the energy industry’s oft-ignored and underutilized stepchild. The production and use of natural gas in the nineteenth century was centered in the Appalachian oil region, which enjoyed the exclusive utilization of the clean-burning, cost-efficient fuel for nearly a century before the highly populated East Coast cities of Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. In fact, by 1906, Pennsylvania’s natural gas was valued more than its petroleum.

  • Kerosense - Gasoline

    Feb 23, 2007 | Posted in Technology

    For fifty-five years, 1859 – 1914, kerosene in terms of volume manufactured as well as total value was the leading refined product of the American petroleum industry. Throughout the last four decades of the nineteenth century, kerosene was used by both the American consumer and those in Europe as an illuminant in lamps. American refiners actually exported more of their kerosene to Europe than what was consumed at home. In this country, kerosene competed with manufactured gas and, where available, natural gas as a source of light in nineteenth century homes.

  • J. T. Jones - Early Oil Region Producer

    Feb 23, 2007 | Posted in Essays, People

    Overlooking the harbor at Gulfport, Mississippi, a bronze statue of a stocky elderly man dressed in a business suit stands on a broad, sculpted stone pedestal. On the front side of the pedestal facing the sea, the inscription reads. “Captain Joseph T. Jones – Founder of the Port of Gulfport”. The backside of the pedestal informs the passing public this pioneering oil producer from Pennsylvania and West Virginia built the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad and the city and harbor of Gulfport.

  • Joseph Sibley (1850 - 1926)

    Feb 23, 2007 | Posted in Essays, People

    Joseph Sible/s life was very busy. His father's death, while Joseph was a young man, prevented him from going to college, but he educated himself by reading.Later, in 1871 while working for Galena Oil Works, Sibley almost died in the Great Chicago Fire. Eventually, he became president of his own oil company, the Signal Oil Works.

80 articles total