January 21, 1865 - Civil War Veteran tests an Oil Well “Torpedo”
Civil War veteran Col. Edward A. L. Roberts (1829-1881) conducts his first experiment to increase oil production by using an explosive charge deep in the well.
Roberts twice detonates eight pounds of black powder 465 feet deep in the bore of the Ladies Well on Watson’s Flats south of Titusville, Pennsylvania.
The “shooting” of the well increases daily production from a few barrels to more than 40 barrels. In 1866, the Titusville Morning Herald will report:
Our attention has been called to a series of experiments that have been made in the wells of various localities by Col. Roberts, with his newly patented torpedo.
The results have in many cases been astonishing. The torpedo, which is an iron case, containing an amount of powder varying from 15 pounds to 20 pounds, is lowered into the well, down to the spot, as near as can be ascertained, where it is necessary to explode it. It is then exploded by means of a cap on the torpedo, connected with the top of the shell by a wire. Read the rest of this entry »