June 12th, 1879 – The Father of Allegany Oil Drills First New York Well

In 1879, Orville P. Taylor set out on a mission to prove that there was oil beneath the surface of Allegany County, New York. Though many doubted his efforts, Taylor found oil in what would go on to be one of the highest-producing sections in New York State.

The Triangle No. 1 was the first oil well to be used in commercial production in New York and it still is producing today. As for Taylor, he went on to earn a prominent place in the oil industry’s history and the nickname of “the Father of Allegany Oil.”

June 13th, 1917 –  The Establishment of Phillips Company

The globally recognized name Phillips Petroleum got its start over a century ago when Lee Eldas (L.E.) and Frank Phillips founded the original Phillips Company. America was just entering into WWI and the price of oil had just climbed to over a dollar per barrel.

This is when Phillips and L.E. decided to combine their individual companies and started operations in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. They began with leases in Kansas and Oklahoma. At the time, their assets totaled 3 million dollars. By 1924, their assets reached over 100 million dollars.

In 1927, the Phillips Petroleum company started selling gas in Kansas. The Wichita service station was the first of 10,000 to open across America.

The company made more significant advancements in petrochemicals as the years passed. Chemists that worked for Phillips were granted thousands of patents. One of the most notable was for a high-density polyethylene, Markex, in 1954.

The first company to buy this new plastic was the Wham-O toy company. Phillips’ aviation fuel also held a critical role in WWII and during this time the Phillips’ 66 gasoline brand became wildly popular across the United States.

In 2002, Conoco and Phillips Petroleum merged. The name of the new company became ConocoPhillips. In 2007, the Phillips Petroleum Company Museum official opened its doors in Bartlesville, paying homage to all of the great accomplishments of the company over the decades.

June 13, 1928 – Hobbs Oilfield Launches New Mexico Petroleum Industry

In late 1927, the Midwest Refining Company found oil in New Mexico for the very first time and uncovered the extremely rich Hobbs Oil Field. Using a cable-tool rig, they began drilling the Midwest State No. 1. The New Mexico Bureau of Mines & Mineral Resources called the well the most important discovery of oil in the history of New Mexico.

The drilling of this well took much longer than expected, due in part  to a disaster at 1,500 feet when a wooden derrick was destroyed by an engine house fire. Despite this, drillers did not give up on their efforts to find oil.

The Hobbs Oilfield and its impressive productivity garnered attention from investors from all over the country. This transformed Hobbs from a quiet community into one of the fastest growing towns in America.

June 14th, 1865 – First Printing Of Oil Region’s Daily Newspaper

The first daily newspaper for the oil region in Pennsylvania hit the press on June 14th, 1865, when Henry and William Bloss created the very first issue. At the time, the paper was a four-page broadsheet called the Titusville Morning Herald and it circulated 300 copies per day in its infancy.

A story in the first issue included a report about John Wilkes Booth, detailing information about the territory that he purchased in 1864. The lead story reported that the Homestead Well which Booth was interested in was destroyed by a fire the day he assassinated President Lincoln. The Titusville Herald is still in publication now, with a total circulation of over 4,000 copies daily.

June 15th, 1954 – First Mobile Rig Sets Sail

In 1954, Mr. Charlie, an offshore drilling platform left the shipyard for the very first time and was put to work by Shell in a new East Bay oilfield near the Mississippi River.

This submersible, movable drilling barge was the first of its kind. It was proposed by Alden LaBorde, a marine superintendent working for Kerr-McGee in the city of Morgan City, Louisiana.

Kerr-McGee was a leader in offshore technology after WWII. While they were responsible for drilling the first well not in sight of land, they didn’t take on LaBorde’s idea. Luckily, Laborde got support from Charles Murphy Jr., a veteran oilman who backed the project and named it after his father, Charles Murphy, Sr.

LaBored would go on to form the Ocean Drilling & Exploration Company, partnering with the J. Ray McDermott Company to construct Mr. Charlie. Upon completion, the barge was 14 feet deep, 85 feet wide and 220 feet long to support the platform. The platform stood 60 over the barge.

As the first, the MODU (Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit) Mr. Charlie launched many new offshore technologies. It was described to be an independent island, close to self-sufficient with a crew of almost 60. Hundreds of oil wells were drilled by Mr. Charlie in the Gulf of Mexico over the next three decades, until it was retired in 1986. Now, Mr. Charlie can be found in Morgan City, Louisiana at the International Petroleum Museum and Exposition.

June 18th, 1889 – Indiana Subsidiary Becomes Standard Oil Company of New Jersey

In 1889, a subsidiary in Indiana was incorporated into Standard Oil Company of New Jersey launching a new era of oil processing in the region. Located close to Chicago, in Whiting, Indiana, Standard Oil of Indiana opened Whiting refinery, which quickly grew into the largest in the country in just five years.

The refinery first produced kerosene for lighting, wax for candles and axle grease used on industrial machinery.  In 1911, after John D. Rockefeller was ordered to break up oil holdings, Standard Oil of Indiana became an independent company. In the 1950s, they started opening Amoco service stations. In 1998, BP and Amoco merged. It was the largest takeover of a U.S. company by a foreign company at the time.

June 18th, 1946  – Creation of the National Petroleum Council

In 1946, President Harry Truman created the National Petroleum Council, a committee was designed to advise Truman specifically about natural gas and oil issues.

Truman was impressed by the contributions made by industry and government cooperation and by the success of WWII’s petroleum program–and wanted to make sure he had an informed governing body on decisions related to the industry.

Today, the Secretary of Energy appoints 200 members to the council. Members of the council are not paid and serve as representatives of the industry, not their companies.

June 6th, 1932 – Gasoline Sales Taxed for the First Time

In 1932, the Revenue Act marked the first time gasoline sales were taxed in the United States. In 1919, Oregon became the first state to tax gasoline at 1 cent per gallon. And while New Mexico, Colorado and other states began taxing gasoline soon after, this was the first time the federal government taxed gas.

At first the tax was just 1 cent per gallon, but by 1993, it had risen to 18.4 cents per gallon of gas. Fortunately for today’s consumers, that tax is still the same today and is one of the few taxes that isn’t indexed to inflation (which has grown nearly 70% since 1993).

These taxes are put to good use in the country, with about 60 percent of federal gas tax used for highway and bridge construction around the country.

June 6th, 1944 – WWII Secret Operation PLUTO Launches

One June 6th, 1995 along 50 miles of French coastline, the D-Day invasion of Normandy Beach began. While the day would go down in infamy for the numerous casualties associate with the battle, D-Day also played host to two secret engineering operations.

In order to supply the beaches, artificial harbors had to be constructed and pipelines were laid over the English Channel. These harbors were codenamed “Mulberrys,” and they were design after similar offshore rigs seen today. Barges with retractable pylons were used to provide platforms and support the causeways.

The mission, known as Operation PLUTO (Pipe Line Under The Ocean) was executed to fuel advancement into Nazi Germany. Pipelines were wound to large floating “conundrums” and would reel off as they were towed.

This was a significant challenge in engineering, according to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower. In terms of difficulty, it was almost as challenging as building the Mulberry Harbors, but it opened up gateways for new advancements in pipeline construction to come.

June 6th, 1967 – Attempted Oil Embargo Falls Short

An oil embargo started just one day after the start of a six-day war in the Middle East, marking one of the first attempted embargos of its kind.

Libya, Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia agreed to stop supplying oil to any country allied with Israel, including West Germany, Great Britain, and the United States. However, this embargo wasn’t successful and was relatively short-lived. It ended just two months later as a result of increased oil production in the U.S. and an overall lack of enforcement.

In 1973, a similar embargo was attempted and unfortunately for all involved, it proved to be far more disruptive than its predecessor.

June 6th, 1976 – Death of  J. Paul Getty

J. Paul Getty, famed oil tycoon, passed away on June 6th, 1976 at his estate near London. He was worth an estimated four billion dollars at the time.

Getty made his first million in the oil industry by 23 years old. This came after he inherited his father’s wealth from Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Oil Company. Getty explained to the New York Times that he started in the industry in 1914. He began buying leases in the“red-beds” area of Oklahoma, in a move that would bring unprecedented new industry to the area.

It was thought to be impossible to find oil in this red dirt area. That misconception allowed Getty and his father to get many leases for a small amount of money. These leases went on to be extremely profitable for both men.

After World War II ended, Getty purchased oil rights in Saudi Arabia, despite being advised not to. This choice made him the wealthiest man in the world. The J. Paul Getty Museum was later established in Los Angeles to celebrate his different milestones in the industry.

Getty left more than $660 million to the museum when he died.

June 9th, 1894 – Oil Industry Launched in Texas

When a  contractor was hired by the city of Corsicana, Texas to drill a water well in 1894, he had no idea what was really hidden beneath the surface. When he stuck oil on 12th Street, this unsuspecting contractor uncovered one of the first significant oil fields in Texas.

Even though the well attracted thousands of people and brought great wealth, the contractor was only paid half of his $1,000 rate. This was because he was hired to drill a water well. The oil well, drilled using cable tools, produced only 2.5 BOPD at 1,035 feet.

While the contractor may not have walked away with a great deal of money, his accidental discover still launched a very profitable oil industry in Texas and marked the first boom for the Lone Star State.

June 11th, 1816 – Gas Lights Up Holliday Street Museum

Rembrandt Peale impressed civic leaders in Baltimore in 1816 when he successfully illuminated a room in the Holliday Street Museum with manufactured gas. This gas was distilled from wood, coal or tar. Peale’s display amazed patrons of the museum by immersing them in ‘gems of light’.

Soon after, Baltimore’s city council approved a plan to light the main streets. To support this, Peal and other investors established the Gas Light Company of Baltimore. One historian proclaimed that it was the leading gas company in the new world.

The museum was the first public building in the United States to utilize gas lighting. In 1855, the Gas Light Company of Baltimore opened a manufacturing plant to refine gas from coal.

June 11th, 1929 – Establishment of the Organization for Independent Producers

The first ever Oil Conservation Conference took place in 1929 in Colorado Springs, Colorado at the Broadmoor Hotel bringing together some of the brightest minds in this industry.

Wirt Franklin represented independent producers at the conference and spent his time disputing the creation of a commission that would allow for an increase of imported foreign oil. He claimed that if the condition became reality, it would lead to destruction for small producers.

Franklin later established an organization in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His goal was to protect the interests of American independent producers. This organization, the Independent Petroleum Association of America still exists. Today, it represents companies that produce 90 percent of domestic oil.

May 29th, 1940 – Nebraska Finally Strikes Oil

After 50 years of unsuccessful efforts, the earliest commercial oil well in Nebraska was completed in 1940. It was located in the southeastern portion of the state, near Falls City.

To really heat up the efforts to get Nebraska on the map, there was a $15,000 dollar bonus on the table for the first well to produce 50 BOPD for two months straight. The prize money went to Bucholz No. 1, a well discovered by Pawnee Royalty Company that was producing around 170 BOPD for 60 days. This well was just 5 miles from a vein of petroleum that geologists first found in 1883 and proved to be a steady source of oil for the region.

Today, most of Nebraska’s oil production in more centralized, with nearly all oil production taking place in the panhandle area of the state.

May 30th, 1911 – The First Ever Indy 500

On May 30th, 1911, 40 cars raced in the first Indianapolis 500, kicking off what would come to be over a century of racing tradition. The winner had an average speed of about 75 MPH.

The winning car,  No. 32 Marmon Wasp, was the only automobile that didn’t have two seats. Many drivers raced with a riding mechanic to pump oil for them, but the driver, Ray Harroun, developed a kerosene carburetor that allowed him to drive solo. He declared that soon, he would have a vehicle that would burn anything the “fuel people” send.

Gasoline powered fewer than 1,000 of all American cars 10 years before the Indy 500. Since gasoline was such a new marvel in the automotive world, this new sport of auto racing really emphasized endurance, as race itself that lasted nearly seven hours.

May 30th, 1987 – Opening of the West Texas Million Barrel Museum Museum

In 1987,  the Million Barrel Museum was established in Monahans, Texas as an homage to the bustling oil industry of the area. The main draw of the museum was an elliptical storage tank constructed in 1928 to store oil from the Permian Basin.

This massive concrete tank measures in at 525 feet by 422 feet. It had the capacity to hold one million oil barrels. While the West Texas region was productive, it lacked oil pipelines and relied on tanks like this for storage while transportation could be arranged.

This tank’s 30 foot walls were sloped at an angle of 45 degrees and coated with concrete, while the roof was created using California Redwood. Despite that, oil continuously leaked from the seams. Shell later abandoned the structure and it became a waterpark in the 1950s. The waterpark later closed when it began leaking once again.

June 1st, 1860 – Printing of The Wonder of the Nineteenth Century

In 1860, Thomas Gale published the earliest book about American petroleum. The 80-page pamphlet was titled The Wonder of the Nineteenth Century in Pennsylvania and Elsewhere. It was published within a year of  Edwin Drake discovering oil in Titusville,  Pennsylvania, and described, in great detail, this new source of fuel for illumination.

In his book Gale declared that the light produced was close to clear and strong daylight. He described it as “bright and still cheap, a light for royalty and civilians alike.”

June 1st, 1940 – “Art in Action” Exhibition

The now infamous Oil Field Girls painting by Jerry Bywaters debuted in 1940. The unveiling took place at San Francisco’s Golden Gate International Exposition in the Fine Arts Palace. This painting featured two young women in a booming oil patch in West Texas and quickly became one of Bywaters’ most popular works.

Nearly 70 artists including the notable Diego Rivera took part in the ‘Art in Action’ exhibition. Next, the ‘Oil Field Girls’ painting was moved to the Dallas Museum of Art before it was added to the collection at University of Texas in the Blanton Museum of Art.

Later that year, Bywater finished a companion piece called Oil Rig Workers (Roughnecks).

June 2nd, 1908 – Discovery Along Goose Creek

In the middle of Galveston Bay, some 21 miles east of Houston, Texas, Goose Creek Production Company successfully completed the first offshore drilling venture near Texas. Two years before this a landowner in the area noticed bubbling in the water where the bay met Goose Creek.

Curious to learn more about the commotion, he lit a match and discovered the bubbles were actually natural gas.

The oil in the marsh was located nearly 2,000 feet below ground. Days after the discovery, the Goose Creek Production Company sold to Texaco. (Known as Texas Company at the time).

During this ground-breaking drilling venture, Howard  Hughes Sr. also tested his dual-cone bit for the first time. The bit would go on to make inaccessible oil reserves accessible; forever changing the landscape of the oil industry.

June 3rd, 1979 – The Campeche Spill

On June 3rd, 1979, the world saw what would be one of the biggest oil spills in history, when the Sedco 135, a semi-submersible rig, suffered a major blowout. The rig was rilling in 150 feet of water, just 50 miles from the Gulf Coast of Mexico.

State-owned Pemex was able to reduce the oil flow to around 20,000 BOPD. However, they couldn’t completely stop the rupture and oil continued to spill. The total reached more than 3 million barrels before it was controlled with relief wells nine months later.

The impact of the spill on the environment was limited when considering its size. This was detailed in a report published by the Coordinated Program of Ecological Studies in the Bay of Campeche. The report states that nature attacked the slicks as they crossed the gulf. Ultraviolet light, microorganisms and hot temperatures all contributed to the process, while category four hurricane Frederic helped to dispersed the oil.

June 4th, 1892 – Fires and Floods

A dam along Oil Creek ruptured following weeks of rain in Pennsylvania leading to one of the most deadly disasters of its kind. The floods killed upwards of 100 people while leveling businesses and homes in Oil City and Titusville. Unfortunately, the disaster only continued when fires emerged.

According to the New York Times, the city faced the most dangerous fire and floods ever recorded. The studio of  John Mather, an oilfield photographer was destroyed along with 16,000 of his negatives. In 1915, Mather died and the Drake Well Memorial Association acquired the remaining negatives. This museum still preserves them today.

June 4th, 1872 – The Invention of Petroleum Jelly

In 1872, new product derived from petroleum was patented by Robert A. Chesebrough  and would go on to be one of the most widely used commercial products of its type. Created from petroleum distillation and designed to work as a lubricant, Chesebrough would go on to name this new product ‘vaseline’.

The young chemist first visited Pennsylvania oil fields in 1865 when he noticed that drilling was confounded by a waxy substance that would clog the wellhead. The rod wax was used as first aid to treat burns, abrasions and other common wounds that crew faced in the field.

Later, Chesebrough went back to New York and started working to purify this wax. He called the wax petroleum jelly. Chesebrough then decided wanted to test the product on himself. To do so, he inflicted minor burns and cuts on his skin and then applied the product to test its healing prowess.

Female customers quickly discovered that mixing Vaseline and lamp black could create mascara. When Miss Mabel Williams started using this concoction as part of her own beauty routine, she quickly developed the idea to start a massive company that would go on to be the beauty enterprise Maybelline.

May 23th, 1937 – Rockefeller Dies After Decades of Contribution to Oil Industry

Oil tycoon and the founder of Standard Oil Company, John D. Rockefeller passed away on May 23rd, 1937.  His demise came four decades following his withdrawal from official duties at Standard Oil.

Rockefeller was born in 1839 on July 8th in Richford, New York. He went on to establish his personal enterprise in 1859, the same date that the first oil well was pioneered in America.

Rockefeller took a bigger position in the industry when he became the sole proprietor of a refinery seven years later. This refinery soon became one of the three largest in the world.  Rockefeller was generous with his money as he became wealthy. In 1912, it was estimated he was worth more than 900 million dollars at the time, the modern-day equivalent of 21 billion dollars.

May 24th, 1902 –  Pioneering Oil In Print With the Oil Investors’ Journal

Oil made its way to the print world when Holland Reavis established the Oil Investors’ Journal. Originally published out of Beaumont, Texas the early articles in this publication concentrated on money-related issues. More specifically, the publication looked into the financial woes facing stakeholders of the flourishing “Lucas Gusher” that was founded just one year earlier at Spindletop.

The Oil Investors’ Journal was subsequently taken over by Patrick Boyle. Boyle formally acted as an oilfield scout for Rockefeller and acted as an editor for the publication, even changing the name of the magazine to the Oil and Gas Journal.

Boyle quickly changed the magazine to weekly publications and extended the scope to include a wider spectrum of oil industry activities, which embraced both surveying and production.

In 1962, as the magazine continued to grow in popularity, Norman Rockwell designed a commercial for the journal, only increasing its widespread notability. The publication is still in publication today, and is distributed by the Tulsa-based PennWell company.

May 24th, 1920  – Oil Makes its L.A. Debut

Standard Oil found success in California when they uncovered Huntington Beach oilfield, marking the first time oil was ever discovered in the Los Angeles area. The beach town quickly saw a huge population boom, as over 3,500 people moved to the city just 30 days after drilling started.

Less than a year later, there were more than 59 active wells in the area, reaching a peak production of over 16,000 barrels each day. The growth of production began to attract attention from the nation and resulted in an industry boom.

According to an account from the State Mining Bureau, public support dwindled for wildcat drilling. And, the promotion of investments enterprises without working capital also worried the public.

The Huntington Beach area generated over 16 million bbls in 1964, as indicated by the Orange County register. However, as oil production grew, the sudden climb in population started pushing wells away from the location as Huntington Beach became more of a residential community.

May 26th, 1891 – Crayola Crayons

We can all thank the oil industry for everyone’s favorite coloring tool, Crayola crayons. C. Harold Smith and Edwin Binney were granted a patent for the crayon in 1891, although at the time, it was known as the “Apparatus for the Manufacture of Carbon Black.”

At the time, the refining procedure utilized oil to create a smooth and shadowy material. This was a superior colorant compared to what was available at the time, and people started taking note.

At this time, the Pennsylvania oil sector was flourishing and Easton-based Binney and Smith Company had an abundance of material to work with. They began experimenting with their new creation and mixing the carbon black with oilfield paraffin to present a dark colored pencil. The product was advertised to the public as having the capacity to “remain on all” which earned it the name “Staonal.”

The name was eventually changed to Crayola, Binney and Smith created its pioneering box of eight colors in 1903. The colors were black, red, blue, orange, brown, yellow, violet, blue, and green. Of course, Crayola crayons are still around today, with some boxes offering well over 100 different color options.

May 26th, 1934 – Electric Diesel Hybrid Sets Train Speed Records

A ‘streamliner’, Burlington Zephyr, pulled into the Century of Progress exhibition in Chicago in 1934, setting an unprecedented train speed record. The electric and diesel train had just made a 13-hour journey from Denver, which was half the time it would take other locomotives at the time.

The Burlington Zephyr ran on one eight-cylinder engine that was diesel fueled. The train traveled over 1,000 miles on this record-shattering trip. The Zephyr only burned $16.72 in fuel, while the same trip for a coal train would’ve cost over $250.

It had only been 60 years since steam trains and the railroad made transportation coast to coast possible and this new development would forever change the accessibility of cross-country trips.

May 27th, 1933 – Unveiling of the Sinclair Dinosaur

Sinclair Oil’s Brontosaurus (currently referred to as Apatosaurus) initially showed up at Chicago’s Century of Progress.  The “Dino” and other ancient dinosaurs proved popular, pulling in swarms of visitors not only at the Chicago event but again at the 1936 Texas Centennial Expo and the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

After a brief hiatus, the restored “Dino” made an appearance for the 1964-65 World’s Fair. Established in 1916, Sinclair Oil is among the most respected names in the American oil industry and their Dino marketing efforts proved to be one of the most popular in the brand’s history.

May 28th, 1923 – Oil Well of the Century Uncovered in Texas

After 646 days of complicated drilling, American oil history was made in Texas in 1923 when the “Oil Well of the Century” was unearthed.

Close to Big Lake, on bone-dry land previously deemed useless, Santa Rita No. 1 produced oil, leading to the discovery of the Permian Basin. This was major news for the industry, as specialists had deemed all of West Texas virtually void of all oil.

After almost two years of drilling at under five feet per day, something unexpected happened. The Santa Rita – named for its nearly impossible production level was discovered and produced oil for nearly 70 years.

Three years after the Texon Oil and Land Company made this discovery, they gave the University of Texas a royalties check worth $4 million, proving just how beneficial this oil field would be for the area.  In 1999, Santa Rita No. 1 was honored as the “Oil Well of the Century” in Texas Monthly.

May 16th, 1934 – Stripper Well Association Established

In 1934, the National Stripper Well Association was established in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The purpose of the organization was to protect and promote the interests of proprietors of small-producing wells. Usually, Stripper Wells generate less than 15 barrels of oil per day. This is the equivalent to less than 90,000 cubic feet of natural gas daily.

In a 2015 statement by Interstate Oil And Gas Compact Commission, it was concluded that 72.2% of functioning U.S. wells were classified as “marginally producing.”

May 16th, 1961 – Gas Museum Begins Operations

In 1961, in southwestern Kansas, the Stevens County Gas & Historical Museum opened its doors for the first time. This area held, and to some degree still holds, a giant natural gas generating terrain. It covered an impressive 8,500 square miles into the panhandles in Oklahoma and Texas.

The museum holds a tiny exhibition hall that offers insights into a major natural gas field in North America and it even has its own gas well. The well was drilled in 1945 and continues to generate oil at the exhibit today.

May 17th, 1882 –  Pennsylvania’s Enigmatic Well Makes Major Waves

In 1882, a small Pennsylvania settlement uncovered oil, and the discovery would have a major impact on the industry. As soon as news of the well’s daily oil generating capacity were revealed, the industry shifted and oil rates plummeted.

The Enigmatic well generated a staggering 1,000 bopd. While knowledge of this development was protected, its reveal had an impact on oil rates. Over 4.5 million oil barrels were marketed daily at Pennsylvania’s three oil exchanges.

Walt Atwood gave details on the impact of the 646 Mystery Well on the Cherry Grove settlement. It made history in 1882. Today, the community still celebrates the Cherry Grove Mystery Well every year, honoring the major impact it had on the small town.

May 17th, 1901  – Establishment of Texas Guffey Petroleum

On May 17th, 1901, J.M. Guffey founded Guffey Petroleum Company, which would eventually go on to be one of the world’s biggest oil companies. Guffey’s intention was to purchase the Lucas Gusher, a well drilled about six months earlier at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont, Texas. Guffey bought nearly half of the oil production, while the rest was owned by the Mellon family from Pittsburgh.

This is when Guffey established the Gulf Refining Company.  The company’s goal was to process and advertise the oil generated by Guffey Petroleum. Andrew Mellon took over the company from Guffey in 1907. He restructured the company upon which it became the Gulf Oil Company that is still globally recognized today.

May 19th, 1885 – Lima Oilfield Discovered in Ohio

Northwestern Ohio had just started to experience flourishing oil generation in 1885 when the Lima Oilfield was discovered. Benjamin Faurot was in the area to initiate operations in the bid to find natural gas when he found Lima.

According to one historian, Faurot found oil when he penetrated into the Trenton Rock Limestone formation at a depth of 1,252 feet.

Just one year later, Lima had become one of the most notable oil producers in the world. The impressive production grabbed the attention of Toledo mayor, Samuel “Golden Rule” Jones, leading him to later establish the Ohio Oil Company.

May 19th, 1942 – Exclusive Rights Offered for Portable Drilling Rig

In 1942, George Failing, a frontrunner in innovative oilfield machinery, was offered exclusive rights for his portable rig drilling machinery; a device that would forever simplify the drilling process.

He designed the back area for a drilling rig that was similar to the ones utilized for drilling low wells and shot-holes. This device was principally suited for drilling rocks, offering an uncomplicated and practicable link between the feeding mechanism and the Kelly rod.

The initial illustrations for the drill were completed in 1933 with the help of H. John Eastman, who had a reputation as the father of directional drilling.

It became clear that Failing’s rig was extremely efficient for the time. The device was able to drill ten slopped, 50-foot holes per day, while conventional steam-powered rotary rigs would take an entire week to complete a similar project.

This new rig had a positive impact for those in developing countries too, as it was also used to drill water wells. After Failing received his exclusive rights in 1942, he continued to bring new improvements and innovations to the drilling industry. The George E. Failing Company continues to construct mobile drilling rigs today.

May 20th, 1930 – New Laws and Regulations Bring Doodlebugger Troubles

On May 20th, 1930, the Society of Economic Geophysicists set up shot in Houston, Texas and quickly introduced new laws and regulations over the oil industry. In no time, this professional agency rapidly evolved into being the authority in the science of oil, eventually growing to encompass nearly 30,000 members in 128 nations.

The society aims to ensure that acceptable and safe geophysics procedures are utilized. Now known as the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, they also look for advancements in resources.

Three acceptable procedures for survey and drilling for oil were enumerated and detailed in one of the organization’s 1936 publications. The procedures encompass seismic, gravity and magnetic techniques.

The report also cautioned upcoming geophysicists about “black magic” or “doodle-bug” procedures that used unverified elements of oil, minerals or geological materialization.

Early Doodlebuggers contended with volatile conditions and a whole lot of uncertainties in the implementation of their operations. In order to honor the work and contributions of these individuals, in 2002, the association erected a sculpture of celebrated Doodlebugger Jay O’ Melia in their headquarters.

May 8th, 1918 –  Fort Worth Panthers Take on the Shreveport Gassers In Record-Setting Game

The oil industry and America’s favorite past time joined forces in the early 1900s with a 96 team baseball league that featured oil towns from around the country. This record-setting game took place between the Fort Worth Panthers and Shreveport Gassers on May 8th, 1918. The game lasted 20 innings before it was finally stated to be a tie.

The game made national news as it occurred at a time when baseball was quickly growing into a favorite American pastime. Other oil towns that competed in the league were the Wichita Falls Spudders, Iola Gasbags, Corsicana Oil Citys, Independence Producers, Tulsa Oilers and the Okmulgee Drillers.

May 8th, 1920 – Burbank Oilfield Opens

In May 1920, the Kay County Gas Company struck oil when looking for gas on a lease in the Ponca City, Oklahoma area. An oilfield was opened after a partner company, Marland Refining Company gained control over the well, Bertha Hickman No. 1.

After the oil boom produced by 1901’s Red Fork Gusher, the area was starting to see a great deal of industry growth. At this time, a new ordinance was put in place that allowed dictated companies only drill with a spacing of 10 acres between them. This was an effort to help with oil conservation in the rapidly growing area. For four years after this discovery, the Burbank Field was producing approximately 21 million barrels per years.

May 9th, 1863 –  Raid Destroys Oil Boom Town

A raid near the Ohio River destroyed thousands of oil barrels and equipment when a Confederate cavalry brigade attacked an oil town in an area that is now West Virginia.

General William “Grumble” Jones led the Confederate cavalry that executed this attack. The focus of this attack was an oilfield named Burning Springs. Jones’ attack on Kanawha River was the very first attack where an oilfield became a target in war. Burning Springs was raided by over 1,000 Confederate troops where an estimated 150,000 oil barrels and countless drilling rigs were destroyed.

Nearly a century before this, 250 acres of this region were acquired by George Washington. The interest was due to the oil seeps naturally contained by the land. This wealth ultimately lead to West Virginia reaching statehood in June of 1863.

May 12th, 2007 – Oil Museums Open to Public

In 2007 during Oklahoma’s centennial celebration of statehood, the Conoco and Phillips Petroleum Museum officially opened its doors.

Today, this museum is an educational resource for those visiting Ponca City. The contents cover both production and exploration history for Conoco. The historical accounts starts at the very beginning with the company serving as a coal, kerosene and grease distributor in Utah and including different mergers and incorporations through the company’s nearly century-long history.

The existing Phillips Petroleum Company Museum, located in Bartlesville, on the other hand, contains exhibits that showcase the creation of groundbreaking plastic products and high-octane gas. This museum also takes visitors through the work of L.E and Frank Phillips and their beginnings in the early 1900s when the brothers began drilling wells around the country.

May 14th, 1953 –  Tourists Love Golden Driller

Mid-Continent Supply Company first debuted the “Golden Driller” at Tulsa Oklahoma’s International Petroleum Exposition on May 14th, 1953. The massive gold statue instantly became a crowd-favorite among visitors.

In 1959, the Golden Driller made another appearance for the petroleum expo, attracting a great deal of attention. As his popularity grew, the company decided to refurbish the beloved figure and donated Golden Driller to the Tulsa County Fairgrounds Trust Authority.

In 1966, the driller entered refurbishment.

By the 1970s, the Golden Driller was completely fully refurbished, with the updated version of the monument standing at 76 feet tall and weighing over 43,500 pounds. According to Tulsa city officials, this attraction is the biggest free standing statue in the world.

May 14th, 2004 – Louisiana Petroleum Museum Opens its Doors

The Louisiana Petroleum Museum Opened its doors on May 14th, 2004 in a location right outside of Shreveport, Louisiana. It was the first museum focused on the gas and oil industry in the state. It was originally named the Caddo-Pine Island Oil and Historical Museum but is now known as The Louisiana State Oil and Gas Museum.

The museum has exhibits that go through many big milestones in Louisiana’s oil and gas industry, including the Caddo Parish discoveries that started in 1905. Exhibits also cover the economic success that followed the petroleum boom in the state.

One of the biggest attractions at the museum is the exhibit on the technology behind Ferry No. 1; a well built in 1911. It was an “offshore” well and it is known as the first in the nation. Oil production still takes place in the area surrounding the museum today.

May 15th, 1911 – Problems Arise for Standard Oil

In May 1911, Chief Justice Edward White was deep in review of over 12,000 pages of court documents when he made the controversial decision to mandate the dissolution of Standard Oil Company in New Jersey.

This ruling was considered historic. It caused Standard Oil to be separated into 34 different companies, ultimately dissolving the company’s massive monopoly on the industry. The official ruling was the upholding of an earlier decision made in Circuit Court. It was decided that the company, owned by John D. Rockefeller, was violating the Sherman Antitrust Act.

At this time, the Standard Oil Company had six months to comply and to break down into subsidiaries. This move, although controversial, was a long time coming for the oil giant. Five years before this ruling, President Roosevelt’s Justice Department had issued 44 different antitrust lawsuits against tobacco, railroad, beef and other trusts in major industries throughout the country.

April 17th, 1919 – The Start of Another Texas  Oil Boom

In 1919, the Waggoner No. 1 Well produced 4,800 oil barrels every day starting another oil drilling boom in the Wichita County, Texas area.

S.L. Fowler’s farm was the location of a well that brought in a large number of organizations along Red River border in Oklahoma. This area was producing oil for about seven years by this time and it included Wichita Falls. Due to the amount of competition, most of the newly formed companies would not find success.

There were a number of wells found in the area later known as Northwest Extension Oilfield. The latest being the Waggoner well. The oilfield was made up of roughly 27 square miles of S. Burk Burnett horse ranch. Both of these oil booms in North Texas inspired 1940’s “Boom Town” starring Clark Gable.

 

 

April 18th, 1939 – Inventors Improve Old Oil Flow Methods

In 1939, a Los Angeles inventor named Ira McCullough patented a mechanical firing system and a multi-bullet shot perforator that would ultimately improve oil flow methods. The point of the invention was to perforate casing after its installation inside a well and when elements had been shot into the casing, through the formation.

Firing on multiple levels into the borehole enhanced oil flow. The device also included disconnectable means for safety. When charges entered then were lowered to the borehole it rendered the percussion inoperative. This served as a safety measure to protect against inadvertent operation.

Henry Mohaupt also made his own advancements over a decade later, creating an explosive that was hollowed out to perforate wells in 1951. He took advantage of anti-tank technology used in World War II to bring this innovation to life.

 

 

April 19th, 1892 – First Gas-Powered Automobile Takes It’s First Ride

On April 19th, 1892, Frank and Charles Duryea test drove an automobile powered by gasoline that they invented in their workshop in Springfield, MA. This is now credited as the very first automobile made for regular sale in America. The Duryea Motor Wagon Company ended up producing 13 of these cars and shortly after, manufacturers followed suit.

The Duryea brothers made their first automobile sale in 1896. It was named the Duryea Motor Wagon. However, initial usage of the vehicle didn’t go as smoothly as planned. According to one report, a motorist driving the Duryea Motor Wagon hit a cyclist and completed the first recorded traffic accident involving an automobile in America.

In 1900, eight years after the original invention, the automobile appeared at the first auto show in America, which was held in Madison Square Garden. Out of 4,200 of the models sold in the U.S. around 1,000 adopted this gas-powered model introduced by the Duryea brothers.

 

 

April 20th, 1875 – New Innovations Make Well Pumping Becomes More Efficient

Levi Streeter and Albert Nickerson from Venango County patented an improvement for well pumping in April 1875 that would go on to vastly improve efficiency in the oil industry. At the time, a single engine powered by steam to pump multiple wells, while the technology created by Streeter and Nickerson utilized a method of walking beams that were linked and balanced.

According to the patent, while one walking beam would lift from one well, a third well would also lift. Wells two and four would perform the opposite task at this time.

This system was the predecessor to the popular rod-line pulley and rope technology that was used throughout the 20th century.

 

 

April 20th, 1892 – Oil Boom Hits Los Angeles

In 1892 mining partners Charles A. Canfield and Edward L. Doheny made a discovery that would catapult the California oil industry when they discovered a massive oilfield in Los Angeles near the present-day Dodger Stadium. After drilling tar seeps in-between Colton Avenue and Beverly Boulevard–right in the middle of the city, the two found a Well that would go on to produce up to 45 barrels per day.

Over the next two years, more than 80 more wells were discovered under Los Angeles, bringing about a major oil boom in the city. By 1987, that number grew to over 500.

This Los Angeles field found itself producing an estimated 750 thousand barrels in 1895. This was above half of the roughly 1 million oil barrels that came out of California, which by 1925 was producing half of the world’s oil supply.

 

 

April 20th, 2010 – BP Well Accident Makes History

On April 20th, 2010, at around 10 PM an explosion took place on the Deepwater Horizon, near the Gulf of Mexico’s Macondo Prospect, in a tragedy that would lead to one of the biggest and most controversial oil explosions in modern history.

The rig was about 50 miles from the coast of Louisiana finishing a well when the explosion happened. This occurred just a few months after the rig had set a new record for drilling the deepest well in existence, going more than 4,130 feet below water at a vertical depth of 35,050 feet. Eleven of 126 total crew members on board were tragically killed and others 17 were injured. This semi-submersible vessel sank after being destroyed by fires and the explosion.

A large oil spill followed after the BP well was completely destroyed by the fire. It was amazingly capped in July of the same year. The Coast Guard, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (Regulation and Enforcement) and others investigated the issue eventually producing an official  accident report on the event in 2011.

 

 

April 22nd, 1920 – New Industry Appears in Arkansas

On April 22nd 1920, southern Arkansas became the official site of the first completed natural well. This gas well was located 2.5 miles away from El Dorado and produced as much as 60 million cubic feet of gas each day.

It was drilled to about 2,250 feet and brought the promise of oil in Nacatoch Sands. A different nearby well was not producing any commercial amount of oil just days before this.

The well was eventually named the Busey-Armstrong No. 1 and it responsible for kickstarting the Arkansas oil industry. The first commercial oil wells were established the following year and by 1922, the high-producing Smackover oilfield was discovered.

 

 

April 22nd, 1926 – Statue Rises in Skedee, Oklahoma

On April 22nd, 1926, a statue celebrating the friendship of Osage Indian Chief Bacon Rind and Colonel E.E. Walters was erected in the town of Skedee, Oklahoma.

Starting in 1912, Chief Bacon Rind and Colonel Elmer Ellsworth Walters used sales from mineral leases to raise millions of dollars for the area.

Notable men like William Skelly, E.W. Marland and like Frank Phillips bid in front of crowds of people in these auctions which took place in Pawhuska, under a large elm tree on the property of a building known as Tribal Council House.

April 10th, 1866 – The Densmores Usher in Change

James and Amos Densmore, inventors from Meadville, Pennsylvania were approved for a patent on their petroleum transporting system that lead to the Pennsylvania oil boom a year earlier.

The Densmore Brothers and America’s First Successful Railway Oil Tank Car, 1865

 

The cars shown in the patent had a simple yet reliable design for attaching two reinforced containers together on a standard railroad car. Despite the fact that the oil-tank cars were an improvement, they were quickly replaced the more practical designs used today.

The first tank car. Replica of a Densmore-type tank car.

 

Amos Densmore left the oil transportation business but had a new big idea in 1975. He had come up with a different way to arrange a typewriters’ keys. He did this so that letters that were often used would no longer collide. This arrangement, known as the “Q-W-E-R-T-Y” arrangement was a significant improvement. Desmore founded the Densmore Typewriter Co. following his success in the oil industry.

 

 

April 13th, 1974 – Bertha Rogers No. 1 Sets a Record

Bertha Rogers No. 1 set a record for well depth in 1974. After a total of 504 days and seven million dollars were put into the well, it ended at 31,441 feet because of liquid sulfur. This well was in the center of the Anadarko Basin in Oklahoma. The Bertha Rogers No. 1 held the record for deepest well in America for 30 years, before being overtaken in 2004.

Lone Star Producing Company and GHK Company owned by Robert Hefner III thought that natural gas reserves would be found in the depths of the basin. It extended all the way from the Texas Panhandle to West-Central Oklahoma. The attempt to reach the reserves began in 1967, two years later, they discovered the reserve at 24,473 feet.

Despite the natural gas discovery, a historian named Robert Dorman noted that gas sales could not make up for the high cost of drilling to this depth. This was because of price control by the government. It would cost over $6 million for the drilling, while the cost for a traditional well was a fraction of that.

In November 1972, drilling began on The Bertha Rogers No. 1. On average, progress of 60 feet was made each day. The temperature and bottom hole pressure had climbed to 475 degrees and close two 25,000 pounds per square inch respectively. Bottom hole cuttings took about eight hours to meet the surface, a staggering six miles above.

Bertha Rogers was finished as a gas discovery at 13,000 feet, despite the fact that there was no gas at its deepest point. The casing required (just over 1 million pounds) was the heaviest to be handled by any rig at the time. Work done on Bertha Rogers Well was credited with leading the way for technologies for deeper drilling and the gas plays in the 1990s.

Bertha Rogers Crude Oil Lucite Paperweight. The natural gas well drilled almost six miles deep in the Anadarko Basin of Oklahoma.

 

 

April 14th, 1865 – President Lincoln’s Assasination Has Ties to Oil Industry

John Wilkes Booth assassinated the President Abraham Lincoln on April 14th, 1865–and this infamous day actually had ties to the oil and gas industry. He did this after being unable to make a fortune in the oilfields of Pennsylvania. Booth and few of his friends had formed the Dramatic Oil Company after Booth abandoned a career in acting for an attempt to take advantage of an oil boom in Venango County.

Booth made several trips to Franklin, Pennsylvania in January 1864 when he decided to lease a farm on the Allegheny River. The Dramatic Oil Company did see oil production in their well, around 25 barrels per day, but Booth wanted to increase production. He decided to shoot the well in an attempt to accomplish this. He left the oil region in July 1864 once the well was destroyed. Months later he would go on to complete one of the most tragic assassinations in history.

John Wilkes Booth’s fantasy of Pennsylvania oil wealth abruptly ended in July 1864.

 

 

April 15th, 1897 – Oklahoma Emerges as Leader in Oil Production

On April 15th, 1897, dozens of people gathered around a well, Nellie Johnstone No. 1 near the Indian territory of Bartlesville in an area that would later become the state of Oklahoma.

A “go devil” was dropped into the well bore by one of George Keeler’s stepdaughters and was set off a placed nitroglycerin canister. That produced a gusher that jump-started the oil industry in Oklahoma. This event also lead to another big discovery in the Bartlesville-Dewey Field. It was Nellie Johnstone No.1. When Oklahoma reached statehood in 1907, it subsequently became the world leader in oil production.

Drilling started in the area started and Bartlesville would soon become incorporated with a population of 200 people that same month. Four months after that, the Nellie Johnstone No.1 Well showed signs that it would produce oil when drilling reached 1,320 feet. This well was named for the daughter of partner William Johnstone.

The Bartlesville area saw a lot of growth through the decade after the discovery. The population climbed to more than 4,000 people. The annual oil production for Oklahoma peaked at over 43 million barrels. Now, an education center and an 84 foot replica wooden derrick stand to keep the story alive. The land for this area was donated by the namesake of the well, Nellie Johnstone Cannon. It is known as Discovery 1 Park.

 

 

April 16th, 1855 – Rock Oil Shines With Yale Professor’s Discovery

A chemistry professor from Yale University, named Benjamin Silliman Jr., broke new ground with his discovery of “rock oil.” This substances could be turned into an illuminating oil once distilled. His report had a great impact, so great it convinced investors from New Haven, Connecticut to fund drilling efforts lead by Edwin Drake in northwestern Pennsylvania.

According to Silliman’s report, companies would be able to use the raw material, rock oil, and through a simple and inexpensive process, turn it into something much more valuable.

Now it was known that kerosene could be distilled from both oil and coal. This conclusion lead to the first commercial oil discovery in the United States. This took place in Titusville, four years after the report was published.

 

 

April 16th, 1920 – Arkansas Enters the Petroleum Industry

The very first oil well in the state of Arkansas was completed by Col. Samuel S. Hunter on April 16th, 1920. Hunter worked for a company in Shreveport, Louisiana known as the Hunter Oil Company. This well, Hunter No. 1 was drilled to just over 2,000 feet. It was later called the Lester-Hamilton No. 1 after its lease owners.

This well only produced a small amount of oil for Ouachita County but it lead to a bigger well discovery in the same area. The S.T. Busey well began to gush oil in January 1921. These wells launched oil production and the petroleum industry for the state of Arkansas.

The Standard Oil Company of Louisiana later purchased Col. Hunter’s original lease for more than $2.2 million. This lease included 20,000 acres and the non-commercial discovery well.

December 20, 1913 – Cosden Opens New Refinery In Tulsa

The Cosden Building, now known as the Mid-Continent Building, was Tulsa, Oklahoma’s first skyscraper. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Oklahoma’s Prince of Petroleum, Joshua Cosden Sr, opened a brand-new refinery in Tulsa, OK in 1913. The massive building, which was the city’s first skyscraper, could produce up to 30,000 barrels a day. It was one of the largest refineries every opened in the United States, and is still in operation today.

Cosden would use the success of his two refineries to incorporate Cosden and Company, which would go on to organize the Cosden Pipeline Company and the Cosden Oil and Gas Company. His business ventures were successful enough to earn him a fortune of over $50 million, which he would go on to spend lavishly.

In the 1920s, he lost all of his money and his companies were bought by the Mid-Continent Petroleum Company. Undaunted, Cosden relocated to Texas and made a second fortune drilling wells. Unfortunately for Cosden, it seemed as though history would repeat itself as this second fortune was wiped out in the Great Depression.

December 20, 1951 –  Minor Oil Deposits In Washington

Flaming Geyser Park, located south of Seattle, Washington, is named for a flame that was fueled by a pocket of natural gas 1,000 ft below the surface. When the exploratory well first hit the pocket, it sent a geyser of flame 25 ft in the air. The gas has since been exhausted and the flame no longer burns.

On December 20th, 1951, the Hawksworth Gas and Oil Development Company found a minor deposit of petroleum and natural gas in Washington State. The Tom Hawksworth State No. 4 Well would produce only 35 barrels a day and was abandoned as not having commercial potential. This would only mark a future of letdowns for the state of Washington and the many companies looking to find their fortune in the area.

Well No. 4 would be reopened by the Sunshine Mining Company 16 years later. The company deepened it, but production did not improve and it was shut in once more.

The only commercial well in Washington was located only a few hundred yards away from the Tom Hawksworth No. 4 Well. That well was also completed by the Sunshine Mining Company, in 1959. However, it too would close only two years later.

Several hundred wells were drilled around the state and exploration efforts continued well into the 21st century. However, no other significant deposits have been found and it’s unlikely that there is much petroleum located in the state.

December 21, 1842 –  Birth Of an Oil Town “Aero View” Artist

Thaddeus Fowler would produce hundreds of panoramic views of different cities, from New Jersey to Texas. Though he worked all over the country, he is best known for producing views of oil towns in Pennsylvania.

On December 21, 1842, Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler was born and would eventually go on to be one of the most notable oil town artists in the country. Generally credited as T.M. Fowler, in the art world, this artist and cartographer is well known for producing birds’ eye view maps of cities across the country. He was one of the more prolific of the artist to produce these views, which were popular toward the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century.

Though he would produce renderings of many cities, including Trenton, New Jersey; Sisterville, West Virginia; and Wichita Falls, Texas; he was best known for producing views of oil boom towns in Pennsylvania. For a small fee, the artist would include inset views of homes and businesses.

December 22, 1875 – Pennsylvania Ave. Paved With Natural Asphalt

Trinidadian bitumen, or natural asphalt, is sourced from Pitch Lake. It was a source of asphalt, used for paving in England and North America. Today, it is a tourist attraction.

In 1875, Pennsylvania Avenue, the main street through Washington D.C., was paved with asphalt. It was one of the first and one of the biggest projects of its type. The project marked a major milestone in the development of the nation’s capital and it came just four years after the city attempted to pave the main throughway with wooden blocks–a feat that would prove to be problematic.

President Ulysses S Grant made the decision to have the street paved with bitumen, naturally sourced asphalt. The project took two years to fully complete and covered over 50,000 acres in asphalt.

The bitumen paving lasted about a decade. In 1907, the avenue is repaved again with higher quality asphalt distilled from petroleum sourced from within the U.S.. In the 21st century, over 2.5 million miles of roads are now paved in this way.

December 22, 1903 – Baker Tools Founder Patents First Cable Tool Bit

R.C. Baker stands with a stack of casing shoes of his own design.

In 1903, the owner of Coalinga Oil Company, Reuben Carlton Baker, invented and patented a new type of cable-tool drill that would change the drilling industry forever.

The bit addressed a problem Baker faced while drilling in Coalinga County, California. The great deal of hard rock in the area made fitting casing downhole difficult and the drill-bit Baker developed allowed the drilling of a hole larger than the casing.

Baker became an active member of the Coalinga community, helping to found a bank, power company and a few other oil companies. Baker also went on to create the Baker Tool Company to manufacture and sell many improvements he had made for drilling equipment.

Without much formal education (never having progressed past third grade), Baker built a successful business and patented a number of inventions. The Baker Tool Company still exists today and since 1987 has been operating under the name Baker Hughes International.

December 22, 1975 – President Ford Creates Strategic Reserve

Seen here is President Gerald Ford signing the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which established the first strategic petroleum reserve.

On December 22nd, 1975, President Ford signed the Energy Policy and Conservation Act into law; a law that still has a major impact on our country and the oil and gas industry today. As part of that law, a reserve of petroleum was put aside to help prevent oil and gas crises like that which arose after OPEC placed an embargo on oil exports to the United States.

Today, there are almost 700 million barrels of petroleum set aside, the largest stockpile of oil owned by a government in the world. It is stored along the Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana.

The act, which created the reserve, also set fuel economy standards for automobiles and gave the Department of Energy authority to set standards on appliances and consumer goods for energy conservation.

November 28, 1892 — First Oilfield West Of Mississippi is Discovered

The original Norman No. 1 well was abandoned after it stopped producing, but a replica was built on its site in the 1960s to mark the site.

Until 1892, no oil was ever discovered west of the Mississippi River. However, on November 28th of this year, the Normon No. 1 Well started sprouting oil in eastern Kansas. It was the first well to tap the huge Mid-Continent oil province, and ultimately lead to the big oil rush in the West.

The well was less than 1000 ft deep, but produced a gushing flow of petroleum. At the time, a sample of the oil was sent to Pennsylvania, one of the country’s major oil producing regions of the time. The sample established the potential of oil discoveries in the western US, and encouraged further exploration in the western portion of the country.

The Mid-Continent region would eventually contain hundreds of oilfields, though most of the easily obtainable oil would be extracted fairly quickly. There are still fields that are producing oil today, but enhanced recovery techniques are needed to get oil out of these areas.

November 28, 1895 — Chicago Hosts First Automobile Race

For a brief time in the late 1800s, the Duryea brothers would be the biggest producers of gas powered automobiles, building 13 by hand in 1896.

In 1895, America saw its first ever automobile race when Herman H. Kohlstaat, who owned the Chicago Herald-Tribune, organized the very first event of its kind. It was quite different than the gas-powered races we are used to today. The race covered 54 miles, running from Chicago to Evanston, Illinois, and back. The race took place during a freezing snowstorm and several of the drivers didn’t finish due to the cold.

The winner, J. Frank Duryea, completed the race in 10 ½ hours, averaging just over 5 miles an hour. His prize money for finishing the event was $2,000. The race would draw attention to the ‘horseless carriage’ and spearheaded America’s love affair with cars.

December 1, 1865 — Shakespeare In Pithole, Pennsylvania

The site of the Murphy Theatre is marked by this placard. Today, there is little trace of the building in the ghost town.

Pithole, Pennsylvania, a small town fueled by a big oil boom reached its peak when it hosted a star-filed Shakespeare production. The production, which featured Eloise Bridges, one of the most famous actresses of the time playing Lady Macbeth, took place at the local Murphy Theater. The event proved just how popular these oil boom towns could be. Pithole, which started with a population of just 2,000 grew to a population of over 20,000 in just one year, and began hosting big events such as this.

Murphy’s Theatre, where Eloise Bridges played the famous Shakespearean role, was the largest building in the town. It could seat over 1,000 people and was three stories high, embodying the sudden wealth and intemperance of the oil boom. Bridges would sell out the theatre every night, seven days a week, for the length of the show’s run.

Shortly afterward, the nearby oilfield was played out. The oil boom was followed quickly by a bust and by the next year the town’s population would be back down to 2,000 people. Businesses relocated or closed, and a series of fires began to take a toll on the empty town. It was eventually abandoned entirely, becoming a ghost town covered by grass and trees.

December 1, 1901 — Creation of the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company

Henry Foster’s La Quinta Mansion now serves as an administration building for Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

In 1896, Kansas banker, Henry Foster applied for an oil lease on the Osage Indian Reservation. At the time, the area was in the Indian Territory, though it would later become Osage County, Oklahoma. This lead to the formation of the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company (ITIO) an organization dedicated to exploiting the oil fields in the area.

Henry Foster passes away before the lease could be granted, so his brother Edwin would sign the lease instead. Initially, the lease was divided between Osage Oil Company and Phoenix Oil Company. The Osage Indians received a royalty of 10% on the petroleum produced.

However, the first drillings were not very successful, so the two companies ultimately joined forces, and was purchased by Theodore Barnsdall. Under new leadership, ITIO drilled over 350 new, producing wells. The company would be sold once more to the Empire Distributing Gas Company for approx. $40 million, making it one of the biggest and most profitable drilling companies of its time.

December 1, 1913 – Pittsburgh Gets the First Dedicated Filling Station in America

In addition to gas, the first filling station offered free air and water.

The first purpose-built gas filling station opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1913, paving the way for hundreds of thousands of gas stations to eventually open up across the country. Located at the corner of St Clair Street. and Baum Boulevard, the station featured a marquee with electric lights, engine service and tire installation. The filling station was built and operated by Gulf Refining Company, a petroleum company that was based in southern states, but had refineries in Pennsylvania.

On opening day, the station charged $0.27 per gallon. It sold only 30 gallons on its first day, though by that weekend it was selling over 300 gallons per day. Before filling stations became common, those with cars typically got their gas and general stores or hardware stores.

In addition to building the first service station, Gulf Oil was the first company to offer road maps to customers. These early maps showed the locations of the Gulf Oil filling stations and were drawn by ad man W.B. Adkins, who came up with the idea. Eventually, Gulf would hire professional map maker l Rand McNally to produce their road maps.

December 1, 1960 – Lucille Ball Stars in Oil Musical

Lucille Ball performed some songs from the musical on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Beloved TV icon, Lucielle Ball took the leading role in the musical Wildcat, a show about a down-on-her-luck female oil prospector. The play opened on Broadway on December 1, 1960 and marked the first, and last, time that the I Love Lucy star would appear on Broadway. Though Ball was popular, the show did not do well and was panned by critics. Lucille Ball was ill through much of the show’s run and the production ultimately closed when the actress collapsed on stage in May of 1961.

December 2, 1970 – Creation of the Environmental Protection Agency

William Ruckelshaus served as the EPA’s first administrator.

On December 2nd, 1970, President Nixon officially launched the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in an effort to provide a single agency responsible for research, setting standards, and regulation enforcement. While, at the time, some thought the environmental protection movement was a passing fad, the EPA has remained an active agency ever since .

Along with the launch of the EPA, the government also created the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with the goal of exploring, developing, and preserving marine resources in the US.

December 4, 1928 – Reflection Seismology Used to Locate Oil Field

Reflection seismology is similar to radar or sonar systems, bouncing a signal off denser material to produce a ‘map’ of the local geology.

In 1928, the introduction of a new technology would make drilling for oil less of a gamble, completely changing the oil industry forever. Reflection seismology uses controlled explosions to send sound waves into the ground which pass through less dense soil and bounce off denser rock. The patterns of these waves provide valuable clues on where oil may or may not be located.

Amerada Petroleum was the first company to use the method successfully while scouting locations for drilling in Oklahoma. The technology was originally developed to locate artillery emplacements during World War I.

December 4, 1928 – Oil Discovered In Oklahoma City

A working oil rig is located right in front of the Oklahoma State Capitol.

The Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company completes the Oklahoma City No. 1 well, located just south of the city limits.

While the state of Oklahoma had already been known for its oil production for decades, it wasn’t until 1928 that drillers found oil in the state’s capital city. The Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company completed the Oklahoma City No. 1 Well, located just south of the city limits, on December 4th.

The well produced over 100,000 barrels in its first month of operation, encouraging others to drill wells in the area, up north and right up to the capitol building. In fact, there is a working oil rig still located directly in front of Oklahoma’s State Capital.

Within a few years, over 800 wells producing oil were drilled and further discoveries occur in 1930, prompting more oil development. However, the explosion of oil production ultimately prompted the city to prevent companies from drilling in the northern part of the city to help protect some of the capital’s urban areas.

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