November 8, 1880 – Edwin Laurentine Drake Dies

A monument located in Titusville, Pennsylvania was constructed 1901 to honor Edwin Drake.

Edwin Drake drilled just three wells in his life, but he is widely considered to be the father of the US oil industry-as he was the first American to successfully drill an oil well. Located in Titusville, Pennsylvania, it first produced oil in 1859, and started the U.S. petroleum industry. Twenty years after his ground-breaking discovery, Drake passed away in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

While the oil industry would bring wealth to many people, Drake invested poorly and his money was soon lost in speculation. He also never patented his innovative idea behind how to drill for oil.

Ill and living in poverty, Drake would be voted a pension for his support to recognize his achievements. Decades after his death, his contributions would finally be fully recognized. Henry Rogers, an executive with Standard Oil, would have his body re-interred in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

Once he was returned to the town where his historic well was drilled, a monument was built in Drake’s honor. The monument includes a bronze statue called ‘The Drifter.’

November 10, 1854 – George Bissell Buys Land For First Commercial Oil Well

The Drake well after striking oil.

In 1854, George Bissell bought 100 acres containing oil seeps from the Brewer, Watson & Company lumber company. He believed that when oil was refined it could be made into kerosene as a fuel for lamps.

Following up on his suspicions, he asked Professor Benjamin Sillman Jr. to investigate. After Sillman confirmed that kerosene could be used as a fuel, Bissell hired Edwin Drake to drill on the sight of the oil seeps. Drake would go on to drill the first commercial oil well in the United States.

November 10, 1914 – Woodrow Wilson Opens Houston Ship Channel

The Houston Ship Channel provides a deep water path to one of the busiest seaports in the US.

The discovery of oil, along with increased agriculture, lead to increased ship traffic into the Port of Houston and a number of issues for those trying to access the port. This is when the historic Houston Ship Channel came to life.

Dredged out of the Buffalo Bayou, it provided a wider, deeper path into the port. The swampy and overgrown area is dredged to a depth of 25 feet.

What was perhaps most unique about the opening of this channel is that President Woodrow Wilson opened it remotely from the White House, saluting and pressing an ivory button that was wired to a cannon in Houston.

November 11, 1884 – Six Gas Companies Combine to Form ConEd in New York

A painting of New York in 1873. Competing gas companies would often sabotage each other.

In 1884, six major companies that were servicing the gas lights in New York City came together to form the Consolidated Gas Company; which would go on to become Consolidated Edison. This was an unprecedented move as gas companies used sabotage one another in this highly competitive industry, which was often plagued with brawls over the placement and repair of gas lines.

The first of these companies, New York Gas Light Company, was created in 1823 by a charter from the state legislature. The company’s focus was a street lights, rather than home lights, and they worked to replace the whale oil fueled lamps that has been in use since the mid 1700’s.

Five other companies were eventually dedicated to serving New York City before the merger in 1884, often in heavy competition. Workers would regularly tear up city streets to lay new lines or repair existing ones, in the process taking the time to pull out the lines of rival companies.

November 12, 1899 – Mary Alford and Her Nitro Factory Becomes Famous

Byron Alford was an entrepreneur who counted oil, lumber, and explosives among his business ventures. When he died in 1898, his wife took over.

In 1888, when successful businessman and serial investor, Byron Alford was looking to expand his growing business empire, he decided to purchase an explosives factory.

However, when he died just one year later, his wife, Mary Alford, took over the management of the factory. She had studied the business while her husband was alive and was able to run it successfully, becoming the only woman in the world at that time to own a nitroglycerin factory. She was even profiled in a New York newspaper in an article for her work with the massive factory.

Nitroglycerin, among other things, was used to increase the flow of oil in an early form of fracking. ‘Torpedoes’ full of nitro were lowered into the well and exploded, forcing open the rock so more oil come reach the well bottom.

November 12, 1916 – The Establishment of the New Forest Oil Company

Forest Oil’s logo shows a keystone in a yellow dog lamp, and was established at the company’s founding in 1916.

When Forest Oil first opened its doors in November of 1916, the company’s innovative approach to enhancing the recovery of oil would quickly prove to be a groundbreaking move for the industry. The approach was rather simple, as it pumped water into a formation to push the oil toward the well.

This technique, called water-flooding, would quickly become common practice around the oil industry. Increasingly effective water-flooding techniques have extended the lives of some wells by many years.

Forest Oil still exists today, though it has merged with several other oil companies over the years. Its headquarters can now be found in Colorado.

November 12, 1999 – American Chemical Society Names Discovery of Plastics a Landmark in the History of Chemistry

The ACS published this commemorative booklet to mark the occasion.

The development of high-density polypropylene would forever change the way we manufacture goods in our world today. The widely used plastic was such an innovation that in 1999 the American Chemical Society named its discovery a National Historical Chemical Landmark.

The designation was bestowed at the Bartlesville, Oklahoma facility of the Phillips Petroleum Company were the discovery was made.

Robert Banks and J. Paul Hogan are credited with the discovery, which involved finding a new process for creating solid polymers from hydrocarbons. Using their process, the two were able to produce crystalline polypropylene and polyethylene.

These two substances have been modified and refined to make most of the plastics that are widely used in our world today.. While the substances were initially used by toy companies, they can now be seen everywhere, from your bathroom to the factory floor.

November 13, 1925 – Spindletop Booms Again

The Spindletop No. 1 gusher, which was originally drilled in 1901 and set the Texas Oil Boom in motion.

Texas saw its second big oil boom in 1925 when the Yount-Lee Oil Company began operations at The McFadden No. 2 Well. This massive well would go on to produce thousands of barrels of oil a day. The McFadden No. 2 was drilled somewhat south of the original Spindletop well, though it draws from the same formation.

The Yount-Lee Company was founded by Miles Yount, Thomas Peter Lee, and a number of other partners. Yount believed that the Spindletop Field, which had seen falling production after the initial boom, still had a bunch of oil in it.

His predictions proved to be right on that date in 1925, some 24 years after the Spindletop No.1 first produced oil. The McFadden No. 2 went down to 2,500 ft and its discovery fueled a second major oil boom in Texas.

October 26, 1970 – Joe Roughneck Statue Dedicated in Texas

The ‘Joe Roughneck’ statue was dedicated by Texas Governor Preston Smith in 1970. It is at a rest stop off Highway 64 and marks the site of a time capsule to be opened in 2056.

In the 1950s and 60s, no one in the state of Texas could go about town without seeing the cartoon image of Joe Roughneck. This recognizable character started as part of an advertising campaign for the Lone Star Steel Company, but soon he was adopted by the entire oil industry.

In October of 1970, Joe got the credit he deserved for his work in bringing awareness to this industry, when a Joe Roughneck statue was dedicated on the anniversary of the discovery of a giant natural gas field near Boonsville, Texas.

The field was discovered 20 years previously by the Lone Star Gas Company at its Vaught No. 1 well. Over those two decades, between discovery and dedicated of the statue, the natural gas field would produce 2.5 billion cubic feet of output. By 2001, over 3 trillion cubic feet had been produced by more than 3,000 wells.

Not only does a Joe Roughneck bust mark three other oilfield monuments, not including the one in Boonesville, he’s also an award himself. Since 1955, the Chief Roughneck Award is given by the Independent Petroleum Association of America to a petroleum executive to honor their achievements and character.

The bust used for this coveted award was sculpted another native Texan, artist Torg Thompson, whose work is still on display today everytime one of these awards is handed out.

October 27, 1763 – William Maclure is Born

This map says it is, ‘designed to illustrate the Geological Memoir of Wm. Maclure, Esqr.’ It is a detailed geological map put together by William Maclure.

Though William Maclure was born in Scotland, he created some of the earliest geological maps of the United States and what would become Canada and Mexico, were actually created by a man born in Scotland. Starting in 1809, WIlliam Maclure began crafting these geological maps after coming to the US in 1797 and exploring the eastern part of the country.

His first map was the result of his journey in 1808 from Maine to Georgia and was first published in the Transaction of the American Philosophical Society.

He correctly identified the Appalachian Mountains as the oldest rock in the region, as well as outlining six different regions of distinct geology. His studies and maps led to a certain amount of fame in scientific circles and when the American Geological Society was fo

rmed by Benjamin Sillman in 1819, Maclure became its first president.

Thanks to his work and his role as president of the AGS, many geologists consider him the “Father of American Geology.”

October 27, 1938 – DuPont’s Synthetic Yarn is Dubbed ‘Nylon’

Dr. Wallace Hume Carothers, who lead the team that developed Nylon and other synthetic fibers and materials.

Nylon may seem like a very common fiber used in clothes and accessories today, but when it was first derived in 1935, it was anything short of miraculous. A Dupont team lead by Dr. Wallace Hume Carothers used different compounds derived from petroleum to develop this synthetic yarn that would soon be dubbed “Nylon.” However, Carothers himself, always called it Nylon-6, due to the its molecular structure, which included 6 carbon atoms.

Nylon has become recognized as the first truly commercially successful synthetic polymer. It has since been used in a number of applications, including consumer goods like stockings, tents, safety equipment, and more. It has also found use in the medical and even aerospace fields, proving just how revolutionary this petroleum-based fiber really was.

October 27, 1923 – Lion Oil Refinery Is Founded

In 1923, Lion Oil would begin to operate a refinery in El Dorado, Arkansas.

October 27th, 1923 marked the birth of the soon-to-be-famous Lion Oil Refinery company.

Thomas Harry Barton reorganized the El Dorado Natural Gas Company into the Lion Oil Refinery Company after Barton acquired a massive refinery the year before. The company would grow and begin processing thousands of barrels a day and a few years later would purchase a number of oil wells to operate them directly–aiding in the rapid growth of the industry at this time.

Lion Oil would later by bought and merge with Monsanto, retiring the well known leaping lion logo. However, Lion Oil is still around today, and the name is still used to market a range of petroleum products.

October 28, 1926 – Oil Discovered On Failing West Texas Ranch

The Yates Oilfield in West Texas is one of many that draws from the Permian Basin

In 1926, Ira Yates was struggling to pay for his ranch, located in West Texas just north of the Chihuahua Desert. The lack of water and predation made it a difficult business. To pay his taxes and the mortgage, he convinced the San Angelo based Transcontinental Oil Company to drill a wildcat well on his property.

While it seemed like a risk at the time, the wildcat drillers used a standard cable-tool rig and struck into the rich Permian Basin formation.

The Ira Yates 1-A Well produced nearly 500 barrels a day. Soon after, four more wells were drilled for another 12,000 barrels a day, making it one of the largest collections of wells of its time. As the wells were far from a pipeline, their production was sent to a storage tank.

As for Ira Yates, he eventually received a check for $18 million as his portion of the major oil strike, proving that the risk he took on his ranch really paid off.

October 17, 1890 – Unocal Is Founded

When oil drillers Wallace Hardison and Lyman Stewart, founded The Union Oil Company of California in 1890, they had no idea it would go on to be a leading force in the oil industry for over 100 years.

Soon after establishing their company in Santa Paula, CA, the two drillers were joined by local politician, Thomas Bard. Shortly after that, in 1901, the company moved to Los Angeles.

The original headquarters remained a field office for many years and has since been named a historical landmark. Today, the original Unocal office, is the location of the California Oil Museum. Unocal remained a giant  in oil exploration and exploitation until 2005, when it merged with Chevron.

October 17, 1917 – “Roaring Ranger” Oil Discovery

The Roaring Ranger well gushes near Ranger, Texas.

Beginning in 1904, companies from all over the US made their way down to Eastland County, Texas in hopes of striking oil. However, it took nearly 13 years of exploration for one of these companies to eventually hit it big.

The year 1917 marked the first big oil discovery in Eastland County and it opened up the floodgates for the big Texas oil rush. The gushing J.H. McCleskey No. 1 well would lead to a boom in the area that would later be said to fuel the Allied victory in WWI.

William Knox Gordon’s wildcat drilling, which lead to this discovery, was financed by the Texas and Pacific Coal Company and his success would lead to production of over 1500 barrels a day of high-quality oil. Within two years, the Texas and Pacific Coil Company’s stock would jump over forty times its initial value, going from $30 to over $1200 a share.

The well quickly earned the nickname of the ‘Roaring Ranger,” for its location near Ranger, Texas, would go on to lead to a number of high production wells in the area. As roughneck drillers and the businesses that followed them flocked to the area, the area saw a tremendous economic boom.

It also saw a population boom, with Ranger’s population tripling in size. The influx of men and money would lead to a whole range of other success stories. Most notably, Conrad Hilton quickly came to the area to buy a bank. When the deal did not work out, Hilton would instead buy a motel in Cisco, Texas—starting the now infamous worldwide chain of Hilton Hotels.

October 17, 1973 – The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries Decides An Oil Embargo

In retaliation for supporting Israel in the ‘Yom Kippur War,’ the Organization of Arab Oil Exporting Countries passed measures preventing the US and several other industrial nations from purchasing their oil.

That organization included most Arab OPEC countries, as well as Syria and Egypt—and they were following a policy they called ‘oil diplomacy.’

Most nations had been used to decades of inexpensive gasoline and the embargo lead to severe economic declines, including a startling drop in the New York Stock Exchange of nearly $100 billion.

At that time, the low level of reserves in the United States required that a substantial amount of oil be imported to meet demand. By 2005, the amount of oil imported into the United States reached an all-time high.

It wasn’t until recently that the United States was able to harness the power of new technologies to become the world’s largest producer of oil.

October 18, 2008 – Derrick dedicated in Discovery 1 Park

The replica derrick that is found on Discovery 1 Park, on the site of the first oil well in Oklahoma.

Nellie Johnstone No. 1 was Oklahoma’s first commercial oil well, and an important figurehead in the state’s rich oil history.

In 2008, the town erected a replica of that historic well at Discovery Park One, in honor of all that oil production had brought to the area. The celebration was capped by the well gushing, though this time it was pumping water rather than oil.

Today, visitors to the park can see re-enactors of the roughneck drill workers operating the replica.

October 20, 1949 –  An Unusual Find: A Natural Gas Well In New England

There are a few natural gas wells in Maryland, but so far no one has found oil there.

Much to the surprise of all involved, in 1949 wildcat well drilled in Garrett County, Maryland started producing close to 500 Mcf of natural gas a day.

Located in the westernmost country in Maryland, this marvel of gas production influenced others to come to Maryland and neighboring Pennsylvania to look for oil themselves.

Twenty nine wells are drilled within Mountain Lake Park, Maryland, and 20 of these still produce some gas, though the high density drilling depletes the field quickly. Natural gas is still produced in a few wells in New England, though no oil has been discovered yet.

October 21, 1921 – New Mexico Gets Its First Natural Gas Well

In 1921 natural gas was discovered near Aztec, New Mexico. Natural gas would be found elsewhere in southeastern New Mexico soon after.

On this date in 1921, the State No. 1 Well in Aztec, New Mexico made its official debut, ushering in a new era of natural gas production in the area. Leading to the founding of the San Juan Basin, production in this area continued to be a source for oil and natural gas well into the 21st century.

State No. 1 had a daily production of nearly 10 million cubic feet, and needless to say, drillers were not prepared for an output of this size. A makeshift wellhead of a tree trunk, pipe, and valve had to be used until a proper wellhead that could handle the production was shipped from Colorado.

Within three months, a pipeline was bringing natural gas to Aztec and sold to the town and its inhabitants–much to their delight! With the state’s only natural gas service, supplying a gas heater cost only $2 and families could supply their gas stoves for just $2.25 a month.

October 23, 1908 – Salt Creek Oilfields Become Center of Activity

The first of the Salt Creek Oil Field wells, Big Dutch drilled through about 1000 ft of shale and produced over 500 barrels of oil a day.

One of the first big oil strikes in Wyoming, which lead to the state’s first boom, was actually financed by a company based in the Netherlands called Petroleum Maatschappij Creek. Their first well, Big Dutch No. 1, was located about 40 miles from Caspar, Wyoming.

It was well-known that there was oil hiding deep below the surface in the area for almost 30 years. However, it had not been tapped until 1906 when Dr. Porro, an Italian Geologist, suggested it might be a good area to drill.

There was a fair amount of foreign investment in the area, as an English owned corporation called the Oil Wells Drilling Syndicate had already drilled a well that produced 600 barrels a day into the Salt Creek formation.

This is where the Dutch company came in. Since first setting up Big Dutch No. 1, thousands more wells have been drilled into the oilfield, some as shallow as a few dozen feet. This oil field has also been the subject of several different practices to increase production, including water flooding and CO2 injection; all designed to get even more out of this sprawling oil field.

October 23, 1948 – The First Smart Pig Is Used For Pipeline Inspection

A ‘Smart Pig’,’ shown here, is a robot used to inspect pipelines.

The Smart Pig made her debut in 1948 and completely changed the way we handle pipeline inspections. There were safety concerns involved with how to properly inspect the inside of welds in smaller pipelines.

This is where the Smart Pig cam in. This x-ray device runs through the pipeline and actually used various forms of radiation to find flaws in welds.

Four years before this, Cormack Boucher had patented a machine which could be used with larger pipelines, but it was too large to use on some of the smaller pipelines that were common around the country.

Northern Natural Gas Company was able to use this smaller machine to inspect the interior of a 20-inch pipe. The smart pig travels nearly 2000 feet into the pipeline to x-ray each weld.

October 23, 1970 – Land Speed Record Powered By Natural Gas

While natural gas now powers over 100,000 different types of vehicles, it was an unusual fuel in 1970. The Blue Flame used it to power to a record that stood until 1997.

While gasoline is currently the standard for cars, when you’re trying to set a land speed record, you need a more efficient fuel. And in 1970, when the owners of the experimental Blue Flame needed some record-setting fuel power, they looked outside the box.

Using a combination of liquefied natural gas, and hydrogen peroxide, the rocket car would go on to set a speed record that would stand for 27 years.

As an added bonus, natural gas and hydrogen peroxide burn very clean, making Blue Flame the greenest record breaking car in the 20th century.

The Blue Flame was 38 ft long and weighed almost 5,000 lbs, but the rocket motor that was developed for it could produce over 20,000 pounds of thrust, equivalent to 58,000 horsepower. The development of the car was sponsored by the American Gas Association and Institute of Gas Technology, and three Wisconsin men with the need for speed; Dick Keller, Ray Dausman, and Pete Farnsworth.

The three men had previously worked on another record setting project, the X-1 dragster, and were looking to up the ante and break records when they began the ambitious design concept for the Blue Flame.

October 13, 1917 – Founding of the USOGA

The modern USOGA works on behalf of the oil and gas industry, particularly in states along the Gulf of Mexico.

The US Oil and Gas Association (USOGA) isn’t just a big force in the oil and gas industry today—it is one that has been governing this sector for over 100 years. While it operates under this name today, when the USOGA was first founded in 1917 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, it was known as the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association.

The organization was created just six months after the United States’ entered into World War I, with the intention of providing fuel and other petroleum products to the US military. Its founders included Frank Phillips, Bill Skelly, and E.W. Marland, all of whom were independent producers at the time.

Two years later, the organization created a new division known as the Oklahoma Oil & Gas Association. Today the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association is the oldest energy trade organization in the United States.

Today, the USOGA has shifted their focus from providing fuel to the US military to advocating on behalf of the petroleum industry.

October 13, 1954 – The First Oil Well In Arizona Is Completed

Apache County, Arizona produces all of the state’s oil.

Shell Oil finished the first oil well in Arizona in the 1950s, making it the 30th state to produce oil. The well, East Boundary Butte No. 2, was drilled just within Arizona’s northern border inside a Navajo County Indian Reservation in Apache County.

While this well initially only produced small amounts from Paradox Basin—it would eventually become more productive.

However, the real reason the establishment of this oil well was such a big deal, it because it had been a long time coming. While oil was reported in Arizona as early as the late 1890’s, attempts to drill wells proved unsuccessful for nearly 50 years.

The first attempts were made in 1903 by Joseph Heslet from Pennsylvania. He was never fully successful, even though his final attempt to drill a well in 1916 did produce small traces of oil.

The only wells that have yielded production in the state have all been located in Apache county. Close to 90 percent of the holes drilled in Arizona have been dry, and the state produces only small amount from less than 30 wells.

October 14, 1929 – Discovery of Oil In Van, Texas Leads to Boom

The Van Area Oil & Historical Museum is located in a building originally built as a warehouse for Cook Camp.

On October 14th, 1929, the Pure Oil Company discovered oil in Van, Texas, a small community outside of Dallas. The discovery would ultimately lead to the infamous Texas oil boom that lasted well into the 1930s.

Tapping into the Woodbine formation, the Jarman No. 1 well was followed by three more wells, which led to the establishment of Cook Camp—the first camp of its type designed to help the influx of workers who came to the area specifically to work in the mines.

By 1930, the wells would be producing tens of thousands of barrels per day. Two pipelines were built to bring oil from the wells to refineries. One pipeline lead to the Beaumont, Texas refinery, while the second pipeline, operated by Humble Oil joined the Standard Oil Pipeline that went to a refinery at Baton Rouge.

This was the first field in the Mid-Continent to be owned by two separate companies, but managed as a single unit to maximize production. Known today as unitization, this joint effort has become a common practice in many oil fields.

One of the buildings constructed for the camp, a sheet metal warehouse, is still in use today as the official home of the Van Area Oil and Historical Museum.

Van, Texas still hosts an annual festival to celebrate the discovery and boom that followed.

October 15, 1997 – A New Land Speed Record is Set Using Kerosene

The Thrust SSC was the first land vehicle to break the sound barrier.

On this date, in 1997, kerosene was harnessed to power the fastest car in the world and to set a new land-speed record. The car, Thrust SSC (Supersonic car), used a kerosene and naptha fuel to propel it across the Black Rock Desert track in Nevada.

The fuel is called JP-4 and was first used as a jet propellant in 1951.

The record setting speed was 764.035 mph—making it the first land vehicle to break the sound barrier. The impressive time trial was even recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.

October 16, 1865 – Construction of the First Pipeline

Pipelines took jobs from teamsters, so they were buried so they couldn’t be sabotaged.

Pipelines have revolutionized the way we transport oil today and the first of these lines made its debut on October 16th, 1865. The first pipeline only ran about five miles across Venango County, Pennsylvania, from the Fraser well to the Miller Farm Oil Creek Railroad Station.

The line was only two inches in diameter and made out of iron pipe. The pipeline was made using welded joints of pipe 15 ft long and was powered with 10 horsepower steam pumps.

This small but efficient pipeline could transport 80 barrels of oil in an hour—a job that previously took 300 men about 10 hours to accomplish.

This marker in Venango, Pennsylvania is at the site of the first pipeline.

However, not everyone saw this improved efficiency as a good thing.

Another pipeline, from Pithole Creek to another well seven miles way, faced serious opposition and was sabotaged by teamsters worrying about their jobs. Armed guards would eventually have to proOctober 16, 1931 – Natural Gas Pipeline Recordtect the pipeline to prevent oil workers from damaging it.

The modern pipeline follows a similar route to the one construction in 1931.

The first long-distance pipeline made its debut on October 16th, 1931. It connected the fields in the Texas panhandle to the city of Chicago. This was the first long distance pipeline, measuring in at over 980 miles and crossing three different states.

At the time, the project, cost over $75 million to complete, making it one of the most expensive feats of its time. This state-of-the-art project was made possible thanks to technology developed by A.O. Smith Corporation.

While the pipeline was crafted out of thin-walled pipe, it still used over 200,000 tons of steel.

October 3, 1930 – Giant Oilfield discovered on Daisy Bradford’s Farm

The East Texas oilfield remains one of the largest in the continental United States. It was first tapped by Columbus Joiner in 1930 at the Daisy Bradford #3 Well.

On October 3rd, 1930, a crowd of more than 4,000 spectators gathered at Daisy Bradford’s farm, around Well No.3, waiting with bated breath to see what was lying beneath its surface.

The potential Texas oil mine represented the chance of a new beginning following the Great Depression. And when a nitroglycerin charge was set off, oil erupted and the landowners, stockholders, creditors and leaseholders in attendance saw just how much promise it held.

The event was spearheaded by a man named Columbus ‘Dad’ Joiner.

After several failed attempts to find oil in the area, Joiner successfully opened the first well in the East Texas Oilfield. Though many suspected that oil was to be found in the area near Kilgore, Texas where Bradford’s farm was located, few could have guessed just how large this oilfield would be.

Geologists would later determine that Joiner’s well tapped into the Woodbine formation, a field of oil that stretched north from Kilgore and across more than 140,000 acres. Even at the time, the crowd had little idea of how big this discovery was as this formation is still producing today and has yielded over 5 billion barrels of oil.

This discovery on October 3rd also spearhead the creation of one of the biggest pipelines constructed at the time. Known as “The Big Inch” this 1,400 mile pipeline was built to transport the formation’s production to refineries in Philadelphia.

October 3, 1980 – Opening of East Texas Oil Museum

The East Texas Oil Museum was founded in 1980 to commemorate the men and women who labored to tap and exploit the oilfield.

With funding provided by the Hunt Oil Company, the East Texas Oil Museum opened its doors on October 3rd, 1980—50 years to the day after Joiner tapped into the Woodbine formation. The museum is located on the campus of Kilgore College, not far from the No. 3 Well. Inside its doors, the museum details the history of the area and tells the stories of the many people who have worked the oilfields there.

While there is a great deal to see at the museum, major highlights include authentic recreations of the oil-boom towns that quickly populated the area at the time. Visitors can even take an elevator ride down a simulated trip deep underground to explore what life was like working 3,800 feet below ground.

October 5, 1915 – Geology Becomes An Important Part of the Oil & Gas Industry

Above is the Stapleton No. 1 Well. To its left is a marker which describes the discovery in October 1915 of the El Dorado Oilfield in Kansas. At the time the oilfield was one of the largest in the world.

October 5th, 1915 was one of the most notable moments of the early days of the Kansas Oil Boom, thanks to the discovery of the El Dorado Oilfield. Located just outside of Wichita, this was part of a series of similar discoveries that led to the identification of the Mid-Continent Oilfield.

This sprawling area was one of the largest known oil reserves until oil was discovered in the Middle East.

The Stapleton No. 1 well that was opened on October 5th is notable in that it was one of the first times a geologist was consulted before drilling. The Kansas geologist was retained by prominent citizens of El Dorado to study the area after oil and gas were discovered in nearby communities.

At the time, the field of geology was just developing methods for this type of study. By using these tactical approaches, the state geologist was able to identify an anticline in the area. Known as the El Dorado Anticline, the discovery encouraged other well-known oil businessmen, such as John Vickers and William Skelly, to open their own wells in the area—forever shaping the Mid-Continent industry.

Historic drilling equipment can be found at the Kansas Oil Museum, where details of the modern petroleum industry and demonstrations can also be found.

The Stapleton No. 1 well went down over 2,000 feet and produced over 100 barrels a day. Using the science of geology to identify areas likely to produce large amounts of petroleum would become standard practice in the oil and gas industry.

October 5, 1958 – Water Park opens for a Day in Former Oil Tank

Originally built to store oil from the west Texas Permian Basin.

On October 5th, 1958, Melody Park opened in a huge concrete tank, originally built to hold oil, for its first and only day of operation. Filled with water, the tank was used for swimming, angling, and more until leaks forced it to closed.

The tank was originally built by Shell Oil to hold oil coming from the Permian Basin reservoir, as there was no pipeline to transport it to refineries. It had been built thirty years before Melody park opened, in 1928, but was quickly taken out of use as the weight of the oil it held cracked the concrete allowing oil to seep into the ground.

Located in The Monahans, Texas, it is now the location of the Million Barrel Museum.

October 7, 1859 – The First Oil Well Is Set On Fire

The site of the first oil well built for commercial purposes in the U.S. was also the site of what could have been the first oil well fire. The well was located in the area of Titusville, Pennsylvania and had been drilled in August of 1858 by Edwin Drake. It was only about 70 ft deep and had been drilled using the technology of the time: steam powered cable-tools.

Drake’s driller, William Smith was inspecting the collection vat that night. His experience was in drilling wells for salt water brine and may not have been familiar with the behavior of oil, as he used an open lamp to make his inspection. The flame lit the gases coming off the oil. The fire burned the oil and the wooden derrick, as well as Smith’s home.

October 7, 1929 – Secretary Albert Fall Is Convicted of Accepting Bribes in the Teapot Dome Scandal

Several thousand acres near the Teapot Dome in Wyoming were set aside in the early 1900’s to provide the Navy’s ships with oil for fuel. Up until 1921, those reserves were controlled directly by the Navy. However, President Warren G Harding transferred control of the reserves to the Department of the Interior.

In return for a $385,000 bribe, disguised as a loan, Interior Secretary Albert Fall was persuaded to lease the oil fields to two men, Harry Sinclair and Edward Doheny. Soon after, a complaint from rival oil field operators led to a Senate investigation. Secretary Fall was convicted of taking bribes and served one year in jail. Strangely, both Sinclair and Doheny were acquitted of bribery charges.

October 8, 1923 – The International Petroleum Exposition and Congress is Held in Tulsa, OK

While the Golden Driller remains popular destination for tourists, it did not arrive until after the first International Petroleum Exposition.

Despite inclement weather looming in the background, on October 8, 1923, thousands of people attended the first day of the International Petroleum Exposition in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The success of the inaugural event spearheaded the Exposition to return regularly for the next 56 years.

At the height of its popularity, over 100,000 visitors attended the event. One of the Exposition’s chief attractions, the Golden Driller, was introduced in 1953 by the Mid-Continent Supply Company of Fort Worth. However, the oil embargo of the 70s led to problems across the industry. As a result, the Exposition was held for the last time in 1979.

October 9, 1999 – Offshore Oil Platform Put To New Use: Launching Rockets

On October 9th, 1999, offshore oil platforms reached new heights when the Ocean Odyssey was used to launch a Russian rocket for the first time. The platform, which was once used solely for oil drilling, was repurposed as an offshore rocket launchpad by Sea Launch. The consortium was led by Boeing, but included other companies from the U.S. as well as Russia, Norway, and the Ukraine.

The October 9th launch put a satellite for DirecTV in to orbit and was the first of 36 similar launches. Unfortunately, the consortium was brought to an end by the outbreak of a civil war in Ukraine. Its last launch was in May of 2014.

July 25th, 1543 – Oil Discovery

Oil was first discovered in the New World was made by Spanish explorers, hundreds of years before the oil well was struck in the United States. This unexpected discovery happened when a storm forced the explorers to land at a location near a river.

Don Luis de Moscoso guided the journey after he succeeded Hernando de Soto. Soto died from a fever two years earlier after he crossed the river in Mississippi. Until 1903, oil seeps continued in the region.

July 27th, 1918 – First Tanker Launched in Flushing Bay, New York

America’s first solid vessel built to transport natural gas launched in 1918 at Flushing Bay in New York. The freight ship was almost 100 feet long and had a beam that was over 30 feet in size. It was built for Standard Oil Company and could hold nearly 400 tons of cargo.

Cement and Engineering News detailed that bulk oil was put in the wings and center. Each compartment has eight iron pipes that lead to them, and the pumps were located on a room near the back of the tanker.

Zachary Liollio explains that enthusiasm for building solid tankers had gone down by 1930. That was when inventive electric welding innovations helped develop an oil items tanker. These innovations started with Texaco.

July 28th, 1924 – National Oil Scouts Association Forms in Texas

The National Oil Scouts Association established its place in Texas. By 1940, their charter had many landmen causing the organization to change their name to the National Oil Scouts and Landman’s Association. Later, in 1955, landmen created an association of their own.

Scouts worked to gather insight on drilling activities dating back to when U.S. oil manufacturing first began in the late 1800s. They kept track of insights about the area, rent and well depth. They also kept logs, details on formations and extra information that could be useful later on in the growth and development of this industry.

Author James Tennent claimed that  the lookouts “spared the general exchange millions by keeping market controllers under tight restraints.”

July 29th, 1918 – The World’s Wonder Oilfield Found in Texas

A well struck oil on Fowler’s ranch close to a little North Texas town in July of 1918. By the summer of 1919, there were more than 850 wells producing oil here.  This area would later be labeled as a “wonder oil field.”

The Texas oil boom put Burkburnett Field in the spotlight 20 years before “Boom Town,” the movie that would tell the story about this event.

The well was finished on the edge of Burkburnett. Established in 1907, the town was named after President Theodore Roosevelt after the president hunting on the nearby river with farmer Samuel Burk Burnett.

The well itself, nicknamed Fowler’s Folly, brought a natural gas craze to Wichita in 1918. A line of derricks welcomed tourists visiting Burkburnett. When combined with earlier revelations in Electra and Ranger, oil from Northern Texas helped stop oil shortages. This allowed allies to ride a wave of oil to victory in World War I.

Around the time of the natural gas craze of 1918, Clark Gable worked in oilfields in Oklahoma. He would later star in the “Boom Town” film in 1940.

July 29th, 1957 – Eisenhower Restricts Imports to Lessen Dependence on Foreign Oil

As America’s dependence on foreign oil increased, President Eisenhower established his own natural gas company. There were quotas for each region. He needed to ensure that residential oil supplies were accessible in case of a national crisis.

After two years, Eisenhower ended up replacing this voluntary program with a required one which continued until 1973 when it was canceled by President Nixon. This was when U.S. oil production began to climb and the Arabic natural gas embargo started.

July 30th, 1942 – WWII Submarine Accident Garners Attention From Oil Company

On July 30th, 1942, the U-Boat 166 became the only submarine to sink during WWII. Though it was charged by a Navy escort, the submarine was thought to have gotten away.

It wasn’t until an oil company was conducting surveys in the area, when they discovered the submarine actually hadn’t.

In 1986, a survey of Gulf’s Mississippi Canyon Zone had observed two wrecks. The Robert E. Lee was recognized, but the U-Boat 166 wasn’t identified. That was until enhanced surveying technology became available in 2001. The discovery came about because of a survey before a petroleum gas pipeline was developed by BP.

An autonomous underwater vehicle uncovered the U-Boat 166 when it separated the submarine from the Robert E Lee. BP later needed to adjust their pipeline to save the site.

Several other vessels from WII  have been found through these natural gas surveys. The industry stays on the cutting-edge of seafloor mapping an underwater technology.


July 19th, 1957 – Alaskan Oil Industry Hits Major Milestone

While oil production was already happening in the area when the first commercial oilfield in Alaska was discovered in July of 1957. This occurred two years before the territory officially became a state.

This discovery well was called Swanson River Unit No. 1 and was completed by Richfield Oil. The well, which was located near the Cook Inlet Basin produced 900 BOPD at just over 11,200 feet. The company had leased over 70,000 acres on the Kenai National Moose Range in an area that is no part of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Additional discoveries followed the founding of Swanson River Unit No 1, and by 1962, over 50 wells were producing upwards of 20,000 BOPD.

July 20th, 1920 – Permian Basin Potential Realized for the First Time

While the Permian Basin would go down in history as one of the biggest oil fields in history, its full potential wasn’t realized until 1920. In July of this year, oil was found at about 2,800 feet in a West Texas Well named The W.H. Abrams No. The well was named for William Abrams who owned the land and leased rights to Texaco, then known as the Texas Company.

The well was “shot” with nitroglycerin and drillers not only found oil but the actual Permian Basin, which ended up being 300 miles long and 250 miles wide. Production depth ranged from a couple hundred feet up to 5 miles.

According to historians, a crowd close to 2,000 watched the eruption. Smoke, water, gas and oil shot from the well and close to the end of the derrick.

In 1840, two decades before the discovery, this land sold for 10 cents per acre. In 1888, it was five dollars an acre. In 1940, it would bring in close to $100,000 an acre. This influx of money not only marked the beginning of an oil rush in the area, but created better social conditions in the surrounding communities.

In 1923, another discovery took place in West Texas close to Big Lake. The result was an even bigger oil boom that funded the establishment of the University of Texas.

According to information from Energy Information Administration, in Fall 2016, the oil produced from five 5 Permian Basin counties averaged 882,000 BOPD. This accounted for upwards of 40% of basin oil production averaging around 2.1 million BOPD.

July 21st, 1935 –  “King of the Wildcatters” Finds Oil

In 1935, Glenn H. McCarthy found oil 50 miles from Houston in a discovery that officially extended the successful Anahuac Field. But it didn’t stop there for this independent producer. Ten years later, McCarthy built Houston’s famous Shamrock Hotel, with its famous Emerald Room, which would host celebrities such as Frank Sinatra and Dorthoy Lamour.

McCarthy went on to discover 11 oilfields in Texas by 1945. He was nicknamed “Diamond Glenn” and “King of the Wildcatters.” By 1950, it was estimated that he was worth $200 million dollars.

McCarthy would become involved in many other ventures beyond the McCarthy Oil and Gas Company; he went on to own newspapers, two banks, a radio station, a chemical company and the Shell Building.

He invested over $20 million dollars when building the Shamrock Hotel alone. The 1949 opening day event, cost $1 million dollars, in what the media later named as the biggest party in Houston.

July 22nd, 1933 – Phillips Sponsors First Global Solo Flight

An achievement by Oklahoma’s Wiley Post made aviation history in 1933 when the pilot landed a Lockheed Vega named “Winnie May” in front of an audience of 50,000 people in New York City. He was the first man to complete a flight around the world alone.

Post first worked in the Walters, Oklahoma oilfields. In 1919, he took his first plane ride and by the 1920s, he took a break from the oil industry to be a parachute jumper in “Burrell Tibbs Flying Circus.” Later, a circus pilot gave Post flying lessons.

He returned to the oilfields in 1926. On his first day back he was working on a site close to Seminole and suffered an injury, losing sight in his left eye. Using the compensation he received for the damage to his eye, he bought an airplane, launching his career in aviation.

Post formed a friendship with Frank Phillips of Phillips Petroleum Company. Phillips acted as a sponsor for Post’s experimental flights. The company actually produced aviation fuel prior to producing gas.

July 23rd, 1951 – The Association of Desk and Derrick Clubs Formed

In 1951, The Association of Desk and Derrick Clubs of North America (ADDC) was formed. The purpose was to promote oil industry education throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The presidents of four chapters founded prior to this signed articles of association for this new club. These presidents represented the Jackson, Houston, New Orleans and Los Angeles clubs. There were close to 800 women in these clubs combined, most working as secretaries for natural gas companies. The association promoted two missions: to support professional development for people involved in the petroleum industry and to educate the public.

In 1952, the ADDC published their first newsletter, The Oil and Gas Journal. In 1987, the name was changed to The Desk and Derrick Journal. Today, there are 51 clubs and upwards of 2,500 total members in the ADDC.

July 11th, 2008 – Oil Prices Reach a Historic High

Oil prices reached a high in July 2008 when they skyrocketed to $147.27 per barrel. New York Mercantile Exchange prices also peaked at $145.29 per barrel about a week earlier.

The prices quickly fell again when supply fears faded away. In January 2009, prices dropped to less than $37 per barrel. According to a 2016 study, price fluctuations were a result of changes in crude oil demands. These fluctuations date back to 1973.

The EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) has projected that U.S. production of oil and other fuels will continue to rise.

July 11th, 2013 – Physicists Complete Historic Pitch Drop Experiment

On July 11th, 2013, physicists completed one of the longest laboratory investigations in history at Trinity College when they photographed one of science’s most anticipated drips.

This experiment was set up 69 years earlier in 1944 and it demonstrated that a hydrocarbon (asphalt) flows slowly while at room temperature, even though it seems to be solid.

According to an article in Nature, the team at Trinity College estimated the pitch’s viscosity after monitoring the one drip. It was measured to be significantly more viscous than water; 20 billion times more to be exact.

July 12th, 1934 – Launching of Clark Oil and Refining Corporation

Emory Clark started what would be the Clark Oil and Refining Corporation in 1934. This was only a couple of years after he purchased a small, closed gas station in Milwaukee for $14.

Clark originally wanted to establish a chain of filling stations that sold premium gasoline. He named the product “Super 100 Premium Gasoline.”He didn’t offer other services commonly seen at filling stations like tire changing and maintenance. In 1949, sales reached over 21 million dollars.

The company was operating over 150 stations by 1953. Their brand name was “Clark Super 100.” Clark bought a refinery in Wood River, Illinois in 1967. He was able to sell gas from more than 1,500 stations three years later. The Clarks’ chose to sell off their holdings for $483 million to Apex Oil in 1981.

July 14th, 1863 – Rodolphe Leschot Give Patent for Boring Rock Tool

When Rodolphe Leschot was granted a patent for his “Tool for Boring Rock” in 1863, it would go on to forever revolutionize the oil drilling industry. The tool invented by this tunnel engineer was made of industrial-grade diamonds. It was attached to the tip of a drill rod and made to cut a tubular core. Water cooled the bit and washed cuttings away by pumping through the rod.

This system was successfully used to drill blast holes used for tunneling at Mount Cenis, an area located on the border of Italy and France. The use of diamonds for drilling oil wells was first seen in Pennsylvania in 1965.

According to historian Samuel Pees, it isn’t known if there was a connection between Leschot’s system and diamond core drilling in the U.S.

July 14th, 1891 – Rockefeller’s Empire Takes Shape

In 1891, John D. Rockefeller established Union Tank Line Company. He had thousands of tank cars transferred to Standard Oil Trust. Rockefeller obtained control of 3,000 oil tank cars in the United States. The fleet grew to 10,000 by 1904.

Until 1911, the Union Tank Line Company only shipped products by Standard Oil. Then, the Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of Rockefeller’s trust. Once becoming independent, the new name of the company was Union Tank Car Company. Still, the stock reporting mark kept the name UTLX.

The biggest tank car involved with rail service was introduced in 1963. The car had a maximum capacity of 50,000 gallons, which was entirely unprecedented for the time.

July 16th, 1926 – Seminole County Boom Comes to Oklahoma

A gusher erupted close to Seminole County, Oklahoma, 36 months after a successful well was discovered in nearby Bowlegs. Both of these events revealed potential for the industry in Seminole County, ultimately bringing about the Seminole book of the area. The Fixico No. 1 Well was just over 4,000 feet deep and located on the Wilcox Sands formation.

Independent Oil Company and R.F. Garland drilled the well. It became one of over 50 reservoirs discovered in the area. Six of these produced upwards of one million oil barrels each.

By 1935, Oklahoma became the world’s largest oil supplier.

July 16th, 1969 – Petroleum Products Make Moon Landings a Reality

The moon landing in 1969 was made possible by a petroleum product invented in the 19th century. Kerosene powered the engines of Saturn V on July 16th when the Apollo 11 was launched.  A few days later, Neil Armstrong declared, “The Eagle has landed.”

Approximately 2,230 gallons of “Rocket Grade Kerosene Propellant” were burned each second in the first stage of the launch. This generated millions of pounds of thrust.

This rocket fuel was highly-refined kerosene, Rocket Propellant-1. Roots can be traced back to coal oil used for lamps in the 1840s. In 1846, Abraham Gesner, a Canadian geologist started refining this fuel, he was also responsible for coining the word “kerosene.” The term comes from keros, a Greek word meaning wax. Today, RP-1 fuels boosters for SpaceX and Atlas rockets.

June 28th, 1967 – Smithsonian Museum and The Hall of Petroleum

In 1967, a new attraction opened at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of History and Technology. The Hall of Petroleum originally included pumping units, rotary and cable tool rigs, and other industry technology. These exhibits are no longer on display today.

Instead of the original exhibits, the new addition greeted visitors with a massive mural that was 13 by 56 feet in size. It was painted by an artist from Tulsa named Delbert Jackson.

It took two years for Jackson to finish the mural, which includes scenes of oil exploration, transportation and production. The project, titled “Panorama of Petroleum” was a map of the hall’s exhibits, eventually the museum would be renamed the National Museum of American History.

According to museum curator, Philip W. Bishop, the main exhibits showcased the best technical advice and gave the public information about the process of locating oil and producing it.

Bishop added that the goal was to increase knowledge on the technical skills required of those in the oil and gas industry. When the hall closed, the painting was placed in storage. It stayed there until it went on display three decades later in Tulsa International Airport.

June 29th, 1956 – National Interstate and Defense Highways Act


In 1956, the Federal-Aid Highway Act was passed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower who spent a great deal of time pushing for the act to be a success. The act provided 90 percent of funding for defense and interstate highways.

The act was stated, in part, to help develop roads and highways that provided the potential need to escape cities during nuclear attacks. This act authorized a budget of $25 billion to be spent on these interstate systems.

Historians would go on to state that this was Eisenhower’s favorite domestic program from his presidency.

June 30th, 1864 – Oil Taxes Provide Funding for Civil War

In 1864, for the first time in history, America’s federal government began taxing oil at a rate of one dollar per barrel on oil produced in Pennsylvania oilfields.

A couple of years before this, Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase pushed for taxes on oil raising prices to $10.50 a barrel for refined oil products and $6.30 per barrel for crude oil. This revenue was needed to provide financial support for the Civil War.

Oil producers protested this tax so much that they sent representatives to Washington and ultimately negotiated the tax to be only one dollar per barrel.

July 1st, 1919 – Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association Opens Kansas-Oklahoma Division

The Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association founded their Kansas-Oklahoma Division in 1919. It’s now known as the U.S. Oil and Gas Association and some of the most successful independent producers in the country are currently members.

Early members included E.W. Maryland of Conoco, Frank Phillips, founder of Phillips Petroleum and Alf Landon. Landon later became governor in Kansas and a presidential candidate.

The co-founder of Kerr-McGee Oil Company, Robert S. Kerr was another notable member. He served as president of this division between 1935 and 1941. He would become Oklahoma’s governor and later, a senator.

July 1st, 1922 – Massive Wildcat Well Brings More Oil to Arkansas

In 1844, fur trappers from France established the small town of Smackover, Arkansas. By 1922, the population was only 90 people until one wildcat well in the community started producing oil.

This well was discovered by sawmill owner Sidney Umsted who drilled down nearly 2,000 feet before hitting oil. The well ultimately unveiled a 25,000-acre oil field. In the next six months, over 1,000 thousand wells would be drilled in the area.

However, what was most impressive is that these wells had an unprecedented 92% success rate. The town gained national attention and the population flourished to reach over 25,000 residents.

The first well to produce commercial amounts of oil in Arkansas was found 18 months before this wildcat well. Busey-Armstrong No. 1 lead to the discovery of El Dorado oilfield, ultimately launching H.L. Hunt’s career.

Today, a full overview of the state’s detailed oil history is on display at the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources.

July 1st, 1938 – Commercial Amounts of Oil Discovered in Marion County, Illinois

Texaco, then known as The Texas Company located commercial amounts of oil close to Salem, Illinois within Marion County, in an area that was originally suspected to be dry. By 1939, this field ranked 7th in the United States for daily oil production.

In just 12 months, this field produced over 20 million barrels of oil and eventually leading to the production of natural gas in the state in 1953. “Drift gas” or marsh was eventually found in water wells close to Champagne, Illinois.

July 2nd, 1910 – President Taft Establishes Naval Petroleum Reserves

In 1910, President William Howard Taft set up Naval Petroleum Reserves to help meet the growing oil demands from the Navy.

In a note to Congress, Taft addressed his action. The government was concerned of raising oil needs and was interested in promoting logical development and ensuring the longest life for oil supplies.

In 1912, the last American battleship with coal-fired boilers was launched and named U.S.S. Texas. In 1926, the ship went under a major renovation to include oil-fired boilers.

July 2nd, 1913 – G.E. Innovations Mark the Last Ride For Steam Trains

In 1913, General Electric had a breakthrough when they created the first commercial internal combustion gasoline engine train in America. The major innovation would ultimately bring about the end of steam-powered locomotives.

Two G.E. 175-horsepower gas engines drove two current generators with 600 volts. Combined, this sent the massive fifty-seven-ton train to a maximum speed of more than 50 MPH. The locomotive was purchased for almost $35,000 by The Electric Line of Minnesota Company.

The hybrid would be named Dan Patch to honor the “World’s Champion Harness Horse.” In 1918, the gas-electric system was taken out, and the train became a streetcar. In 1930, the 600 horsepower engines combined with generators from G.E. launched modern travel with the introduction of “streamliners.”

June 20th, 1977 –  Trans-Alaska Pipeline is Finally Complete

Following three years of construction, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline started carrying oil on June 20th, 1977. The pipeline serviced nearly 800 miles between Port of Valdez at Prince William Sound and Prudhoe Bay. It took 38 days for oil to move through the pipeline. This successful project was the largest construction effort to be privately funded.

The pipeline cost $8 billion and had a diameter of 48 inches. It included both pump and terminal stations. The annual oil flow made up almost 20 percent of America’s oil production, allowing Alaska’s tax revenues to rise to $50 billion by 2002.

The above-ground components of this pipeline were constructed in a unique zigzag configuration. This allowed for contraction or expansion due to weather changes. In permafrost areas, support included two-inch thick heat pipes.

June 21st, 1893 –  Oil Pump Inventor, Armais Arutunoff is Born

Armais Arutunoff was known for his contributions to the oil and drilling industry thanks to his invention of an electric submersible pump. Arutunoff was born in Russia although his parents were of Armenian descent.  In 1916, he created the first electric centrifugal submersible pump. After he emigrated to the United States in 1923, he was unable to secure finances for his technology.

In 1928, Artuffoff relocated and started a manufacturing company while in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. This was thanks to his friend and President of Phillips Petroleum, Frank Phillips. REDA Pump Company produced motor and pump devices and employed hundreds of people throughout the Great Depression.

In 1936, an article in Tulsa World covered the new technology. It described the invention as an electric motor with “slim proportions,” which included a post-like structure stood close to the bottom of wells and pushed oil towards the surface.

REDA (short for Russian Electrical Dynamo of Arutunoff) was the company’s telegraphic address. Arutunoff first established it in Germany. Now, REDA submersible pumping systems are part of Schlumberger.

June 23rd, 1921 – California’s Oil Boom Gets Off to a Big Start

A well-known oil discovery at Signal Hill started a Southern California boom that would forever change the state’s future in the oil and gas industry.

The Alamitos No. 1 Well first produced oil in June 1921 and ultimately uncovered one of the most productive oil fields in California. The pressure caused a gusher to rise more than 100 feet in the air, which was unlike anything the state had seen at the time. This well produced close to 600 BOPD and was finished a couple of days later.

The field uncovered by this well, named “Porcupine Hill,” was located just 20 miles from Los Angeles. It produced 260,000 BOPD by 1923. At this time, 25% of the oil in the world was produced in Southern California. This oil field and a discovery in Huntington Beach were major sites of production.

Now, Signal Hill’s Discovery Well Park has a community center featuring photographs and information and a landmark that pays tribute to oil pioneers.

June 23rd, 1947 – A New California Shelf Ruling Instated

In 1947, the Supreme Court decided that California couldn’t claim rights beyond three miles of the continental shelf.

At the time, California and many other seaside states became involved in legal cases, due in great part to the 1945 Continental Shelf Proclamation enacted by Harry Truman. It allowed control by the country’s federal government.

This Supreme Court ruling supported federal jurisdiction and covered natural resources of the subsoil and seabed of the continental shelf. In 1950, similar rulings impacting Texas and Louisiana were made.

June 24th, 1937 – First Signs of Oil Discovered in Minnesota

Oil was first found in Western Minnesota near Traverse County in the year 1937. The well delivered three BOPD at a depth of 864 feet. The discovery lead to more leases but no commercial amounts of oil were ever discovered in the area. This confirmed that the sate did not have conditions for productive oil deposits.

According to the book Minnesota’s Geology, there wasn’t much gas or oil in the Precambrian rocks. According to one geologist, oil and gas forms from animal and plant decay but animals and plants were close to nonexistent in the Precambrian time. Today, Minnesota ranks fourth in ethanol production capacity, yet its oil production never peaked past this initial discovery in 1937.

June 25th, 1889 – Oil Tanker Catches Fire in Ventura, California

An oil tanker caught fire on June 25th, 1889 at a Ventura, California wharf, marking one of the biggest accidents of its kind.

The W.L Hardison, a unique steam schooner created by the Hardison and Stewart Oil Company was the victim of the fire. The vessel served as an alternative to purchasing railroad tank cars, charging one dollar per barrel to reach San Francisco.

The W.L. Hardison was able to ship nearly 7,000 barrels of oil underneath its decks in steel tanks, remarkably these steel tanks were recovered following the fire and put to use at the organization’s refinery in Santa Paula.

June 25th, 1901 – Another Tulsa Discovery Reveals Early Promise for Oklahoma Region

In 1901, the future territory of Oklahoma was the site of yet another oil discovery, proving this region would someday be one of the highest-producing in the nation. The Nellie Johnstone No, 1 Well was located close to Bartlesville and was the primary well on the surrounding Indian Territory.

Six years before Oklahoma became a state, two drillers from Pennsylvania uncovered more oil near the Creek Indian Nation.

Jesse Heydrick and John Wick drilled the Sue A. Insipid No. 1 Well close to Tulsa, in  Red Fork, located just over the Arkansas River. The name Sue Bland was inspired by the spouse of the area’s homestead owner. The well ended up producing 10 BOPD from 550 feet and kickstarted Tulsa’s path to being named the Oil Capital of the World.

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