Indiana natural gas discoveries of the late 1880s revealed the Trenton Field, which extended across the state into Ohio and soon attracted new Midwestern industries.

Indiana natural gas

Midwestern communities took pride in what they thought to be an unlimited supply of natural gas. Indiana lawmakers banned “flambeaux” lights in 1891 – becoming one of the earliest states to legislate conservation. Photo of Findlay, Ohio, during its 1888 Gas Jubilee courtesy Hancock Historical Museum.

Discoveries of natural gas in Eaton and Portland quicky ignited Indiana’s historic gas boom. New exploration and production will dramatically change the state’s economy.

The “Trenton Field” as it would become known, spread over 17 Indiana counties and 5,120 square miles. It was the largest natural gas field known in the world. Within three years, more than 200 companies were drilling, distributing, and selling natural gas.

Replacing Coal Gas

In 1859, the same year that “Colonel” Edwin L. Drake drilled the country’s first commercial oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania, there were already 297 “manufactured gas” (known as coal gas) companies in the 33 United States. Read the rest of this entry »