09.11.

1881: The First Man to Drill for Oil

1881: The First Man to Drill for Oil
Photo Credit To http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/96/Drake_Well,_June_2012.jpg

Story Highlights

  • historical event: In Titusville in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, Edwin Drake succeeded in drilling for the first operative source of oil. The small town soon grew from 250 to 10,000 inhabitants, and also gained 50 hotels.

American Edwin Drake, apparently the first man to drill in search for oil, died on this day. Drake is known in the U.S. for constructing the oil well called “Drake Well”. This is the first deliberately drilled well in the U.S. (previous oil discoveries were accidental and occurred while drilling in search for water or other resources.).

The Drake oil well (“Drake Well”) is located in Titusville in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The city people nearby were aware of the natural sources of oil long before the first drill. In the mid-19th century, oil was used mainly for medicinal purposes. However, just before Drake’s venture, a method of refining crude oil into a form usable in oil lamps was developed – the resulting product was called kerosene.

Namely, oil lamps in America were previously fuelled almost exclusively by whale oil. The possibility of replacing that with kerosene sounded economically interesting. Otherwise, the very word “petroleum” indicated a sort of “rock oil”.

In order to obtain larger quantities of oil, Edwin Drake began drilling in the above-mentioned Titusville. After much trouble, he managed to drill an efficient oil well in 1859. This caused a real revolution. The small town of Titusville soon grew from 250 to 10,000 inhabitants, and also gained 50 hotels. Titusville thus became the center of the first American “oil boom”.

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