Your source for energy education. Petroleum history offers a context

for teaching the modern business of meeting America's energy needs.

Oil and Natural Gas History, Education Resources, Museum News, Exhibits and Events


For more than 100 years, nitroglycerin detonations increased a well’s production from petroleum bearing formations. Modern hydraulic fracturing technology can trace its roots to April 25, 1865, when Civil War veteran Col. Edward A. L. Roberts received the first of his many patents for an “exploding torpedo.”

More effective — and far safer — than nitroglycerin, hydraulic fracturing has been used since 1949. Today, about 30 percent of U.S. oil and natural gas reserves are accessible through “fracking.”

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A marker on Route 22 at Murrysville, Pennsylvania, commemorates the Haymaker brother’s historic natural gas well of 1878.

In 1878, two brothers will discover a massive natural gas field, help bring a new energy resource to Pittsburgh – and lay the foundation for several modern petroleum companies.

Like many young men of their time, Michael Haymaker and his younger brother Obediah left their Westmoreland County farm to seek their fortunes in Pennsylvania’s booming petroleum industry.

The Haymaker brothers first found work as drillers for oilman Israel Painter, who had brought in wells a few miles north of Oil City in Venango County – not far from Edwin L. Drake’s famous 1859 discovery less than 20 years earlier. Read the rest of this entry »


This section of the society’s energy education contacts begins with petroleum-related programs of the U.S. government, including a list of federal resources for teachers, students and industry researchers. Please support AOGHS outreach, including this website, by making a donation today. Also see our list of State Energy Education Contacts.

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