- Peter Kalm of Sweden published map showing oil springs of Oil Creek,
1767 - Sir William Johnson
of New York recorded Native American practice of skimming oil
1778 - Moravian missionaries
reported "oil wells, with the products of which the Seneca
Indians carry on trade with Niagara" in Western New York
1785 - General William Irvine
reported "Oil Creek, PA, has taken its name from an oil or
bituminous matter floating on its surface"
1790 - Nathaniel Carey skimmed
oil from springs near Titusville, PA, and delivered it to customers
1791 - Pennsylvania map showed
stream named "OYL CREEK"
1795 - Joseph Scott, first
U. S. gazetteer, reported about Oil Creek and Seneca Oil
1795-1800 - Crude oil quoted
at $16.00 per gallon
1806 - David & Joseph
Ruffner drilled first salt well using spring pole, drive pipe, casing
& tubing near Kanawha River in western Virginia, well produced
oil instead of salt water
1807 - Mr. F. Cuming described
collecting oil by blanket dipping in "Sketches of a Tour of
the Western Country"
Oil from spring in Oil Creek on the Hamilton McClintock farm sold
for $1 - 2/gallon
1833 - Prof. Benjamin Silliman
Sr. experimentally distilled crude petroleum
1840 - First recorded use
of natural gas for manufacturing, used in brine evaporation at Centerville,
1846 - Abraham Gesner produced
illuminating oil from Nova Scotia coal, distilling a product he
Nitroglycerine, invented by Italian chemist Ascanio Sobrero, used
by Swedish engineer Alfred Nobel
1849 - Samuel Kier marketed rock oil from his father's salt
well as medicine
1850 - Samuel Kier devised
a process to distill crude oil, producing "carbon oil"
1851 - Samuel Kier marketed
carbon oil for use in lamps
Dr. Francis Brewer purchased first oil lease on land owned by J.O.
Angier, Titusville, PA
1854 - George Bissell &
Jonathan Eveleth paid $5000 for 105 acres of land (Hibbard Farm)
in Venango County, PA, owned by Brewer, Watson & Co. to collect
Bissell & Eveleth organized Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company incorporated
in NY - first U. S. oil company - and leased Hibbard Farm
1855 - Yale chemist Benjamin
Silliman, Jr., filed favorable report on petroleum sample from Hibbard
Bissell & Eveleth reorganized PA Rock Oil Co. as a corporation
1856 - Abraham Gesner's North
American Kerosene Gas Light Co. sold kerosene in New York lamp oil
1857 - Samuel Downer &
Joshua Merrill mastered multiple distillations, chemical treatments,
and cracking of crude coal oil (applied to crude oil 3 years later)
Pennsylvania Rock Oil Co. of CT leased the Hibbard Farm to Edwin
Bowditch & Edwin Drake of New Haven
1858 - Seneca Oil Company
of New Haven Connecticut formed, purchased Bowditch & Drake
lease, and sent Edwin Drake to drill
1859 - August 27 -Edwin L.
Drake's well, drilled 69 ½ feet, struck oil near Titusville
PA (first well deliberately drilled for oil) and launched the modern
August 30 - John Grandin & H. H. Dennis drilled in Tionesta,PA
- first dry hole
October 7 - Drake's well ignited by gas and destroyed - first oil
well fire on record,
well house rebuilt and oil equipment replaced
1860 - April - Steamboat
"Venango" carried first load of petroleum to Pittsburgh
1861 - May - A. B. Funk's
"Fountain Well" reached 460 feet & flowed 300 barrels
per day Annual U. S. crude oil production increased from .5 million
barrels in 1860 to 2.1 million barrels in 1861
October - Phillips Well #2 on Tarr Farm came in at 4000 barrels
November - First shipload of petroleum to cross the Atlantic shipped
from Philadelphia to London
1862 - Humboldt Refinery
established near Plumer, by John Burns & the Ludovici brothers.
Jacob Vandergrift and Daniel Bushnell shipped crude from Oil City
to Pittsburgh by bulk barge tows, more than 20 Allegheny River shipping
companies in Oil City.
Oil Creek Railroad reached Titusville from Corry, first railroad
into PA Oil Region.
1863 - Pennsylvania legislature
passed first anti-pollution bill preventing running of tar and distillery
refuse into certain creeks
1864 - "Coal Oil Johnny"
Steele began spending spree
1865 - Pithole Creek oil
Col. E.A.L. Roberts used explosives to increase "Ladies Well"
flow near Titusville, PA
April 9 - Surrender at Appomattox Courthouse ended the Civil War.
April 14 - President Abraham Lincoln assassinated by John Wilkes
Booth. Six weeks later, well on Pithole Creek, in which Booth had
a share, struck oil.
Van Syckle oil pipeline connected Miller Farm on the Oil Creek Railroad
to the U. S. Well, a distance of approximately 6 miles.
1866 - Patent for exploding
torpedoes in wells granted to E.A.L. Roberts - 2000 lawsuits filed
involving patent, but it was said Roberts never lost a suit
Roberts exploded a torpedo in "dry hole" establishing
oil flow in a non-producing well
Alfred Nobel invented dynamite.
1867 - E.A.L. Roberts licensed
by Alfred Nobel to use dynamite in shooting wells.
1867 - Nikolaus Otto invented
early internal combustion engine
1868 - John Benninghoff robbery
near Petroleum Centre netted robbers half million dollars
1869 - Rockefeller, Andrews,
and Flagler firm operated in Oil City, Cleveland, and New York
Oil exploration moved south to Armstrong, Clarion, and Butler Counties,
1870 - Crawford Well in Emlenton,
PA produced 35 barrels of oil per day
Standard Oil Company organized as corporation in OH
1871 - Titusville Oil Exchange
1872 - Newton Gas Well, Titusville,
produced gas for 250 customers.
1873 - Edwin L. Drake granted
a $1500 annual pension by Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
1874 - Bradford oil field
1877 - Pithole Borough Charter
1878 - Standard Oil controlled 90% of nation's refining capacity
1879 - Thomas Alva Edison
invented incandescent lamp
Tidewater Pipeline completed from Bradford to Williamsport - 100
1880 - November 8 - Edwin
Drake died in Bethlehem, PA, at age 61
1881 - Standard Oil organized
the National Transit Company
1882 - Standard Oil Trust
1885 - German engineer Karl
Benz built first internal combustion engine vehicle
1890 - Congress passed the
Sherman Antitrust Act
1892 - First American car
built by Duryea brothers
First steel derrick, 72 feet in height, constructed and made available
Standard Oil Trust passed formal resolution to dissolve
1893 - Thomas Edison introduced
1895 - First U. S. automobile
road race won by Duryea "motor wagon"
California produced 1.2 million barrels of crude oil
1896 - First reported U.
S. automobile accident occurred in New York City - Henry Wells collided
with bicycle rider Evylyn Thomas, breaking her leg. Wells went to
1899 - Standard Oil reorganized
as holding company in NJ
1900 - 8000 automobiles owned
in the United States, half sold this year
1901 - 14,800 automobiles
registered in the U.S.
Spindletop well struck oil in TX
1902 - Ida Tarbell began
publishing Standard Oil series in McClure's Magazine.
1903 - May 23-August 1 -
First transcontinental automobile trip, San Francisco to New York
December 17 - Kittyhawk, North Carolina, Wright Brothers made their
first heavier than air powered flight - flight lasted 59 seconds
1904 - First plant for extracting
natural gasoline (Casinghead gasoline) from natural gas by the compression
method built by Andrew Fasenmeyer near Drake Well at Titusville,
1908 - October 1 - First
Model T Ford built
First commercial natural gasoline plant built at Sistersville, W.VA.
1909 - Standard Oil of NJ
found guilty of Sherman Act violations, company dissolved into 37
independent organizations in 1911
1911 - 667,000 automobiles
registered in the United States
1919 - Gasoline replaced
kerosene as product leader of the American petroleum industry
1920 - 8,500,000 automobiles
& trucks registered in the U.S.
1927 - Charles A. Lindberg
made first successful trans-Atlantic flight
Compiled for Drake Well Museum with research by Neil McElwee, Susan
Beates, and David Weber.