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This Week Feb. 27 to March 4
Posted By bruceW On February 27, 2012 @ 4:37 pm In This Week | 1 Comment
February 28, 1935 – Nylon is World’s First Synthetic Fiber
The world’s first synthetic fiber – nylon – is discovered by a former Harvard professor working at a DuPont Corporation research laboratory. Later called Nylon 6 by scientists, the revolutionary product comes from chemicals found in petroleum.
Wallace Carothers had experimented with artificial materials for more than six years. He previously discovered neoprene rubber (commonly used in wetsuits) and made major contributions to understanding polymers – molecules composed in long chains.
Just 32-years-old, Carothers creates fibers when he combines the chemicals amine, hexamethylene diamine, and adipic acid. He forms a polymer chain using a process in which individual molecules join together with water as a byproduct. But the fibers are weak, explains a PBS series, A Science Odyssey: People and Discoveries .
“Carothers’ breakthrough came when he realized the water produced by the reaction was dropping back into the mixture and getting in the way of more polymers forming,” notes the PBS website. “He adjusted his equipment so that the water was distilled and removed from the system. It worked!”
DuPont  will name the petroleum product nylon – although chemists call it Nylon 6 because the adipic acid and hexamethylene diamine each contain six carbon atoms per molecule. Each molecule consists of 100 or more repeating units of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms, strung in a chain. A single filament of nylon may have a million or more molecules, each taking some of the strain when the filament is stretched.
Although DuPont patents nylon in 1935, it is not officially announced to the public until October 27, 1938, when a DuPont vice president unveils the world’s first synthetic fiber – not to a scientific society – but to 3,000 Women’s Club members gathered at the site of the upcoming 1939 New York World’s Fair.
“He spoke in a session entitled ‘We Enter the World of Tomorrow,’ which was keyed to the theme of the forthcoming fair, the World of Tomorrow,” explain David A. Hounshell and John Kenly Smith Jr., in The Nylon Drama .
The petroleum product was an instant hit, especially as a replacement for silk in hosiery. DuPont did not register “nylon” as a trademark, choosing to allow the word to enter the American vocabulary as a synonym for “stockings.”
Carothers did not live to see the widespread application of his work — in consumer goods such as toothbrushes, fishing lines, and lingerie, or in special uses such as surgical thread, parachutes, or pipes — nor the powerful effect it had in launching a whole era of synthetics, concludes the PBS story.
“Early in 1937 his favorite sister died suddenly. He never recovered from the loss…and in April of that year he committed suicide. DuPont later named its research station after him.”
March 1, 1921 – Halliburton Patents Cementing
Erle P. Halliburton patents a remarkable “Method and Means for Cementing Oil Wells.”
After working in Burkburnett, Texas, Halliburton had moved to the Healdton oilfield near Ardmore, Oklahoma, where he established the New Method Oil Well Cementing Company in 1919. He later reorganized into the Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Company with headquarters in Duncan.
“It is well known to those skilled in the art of oil well drilling that one of the greatest obstacles to successful development of oil bearing sands has been the encountering of liquid mud water and the like during and after the process of drilling the wells,” Halliburton notes in his patent application.
His well cementing process isolates the various down-hole zones, guards against collapse of the casing and permits control of the well throughout its producing life.
This revolutionary oilfield technology helps protect the environment – and launches a company that today operates in 70 countries.Halliburton’s patent (No. 1,369,891) explains that oil well production, hampered by water intrusion that requires time and expense for pumping out, “has caused the abandonment of many wells which would have developed a profitable output.”
March 2, 1922 – Osage Indian Leases top $1 Million
Under the shade of the “Million Dollar Elm” in front of the Osage Council House in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, Skelly Oil and Phillips Petroleum Company jointly bid more than one-million dollars for a 160-acre tract of land. It is Oklahoma’s first million dollar oil lease.
Frank Phillips, Harry Sinclair, Bill Skelly, Jean Paul Getty and E.W. Marland are frequent bidders to lease this promising territory on the Osage Indian Reservation. Learn more about the major discoveries of northeastern Oklahoma at museums in Ponca City, including the Marland Estate  and the Conoco Museum .
Also visit and the Phillips Petroleum Company Museum  in Bartlesville.
March 2, 1944 – WWII Pipeline delivers Gasoline to East Coast
The first gasoline transported by the Little Big Inch pipeline arrives at Linden Station, New Jersey, from refineries near Houston and Beaumont, culminating the “War Emergency Pipelines” project carry both oil and refined petroleum products from the Gulf Coast region to East Coast refining and distribution centers.
German submarine attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic Coast have made the unprecedented pipeline project essential. See “Petroleum Survey finds U-166.” 
The Big Inch line carries crude oil in a 24-inch-diameter pipe, while the Little Big Inch line can carry four products: gasoline, heating oil, diesel oil, and kerosene – each separated by solid rubber balls that are slightly smaller than the inside diameter of the 20-inch pipe. In its first year of operation, the Little Big Inch products pipeline pumps a daily average of 199,085 barrels.
After the War, both Inch Lines are converted to carry natural gas and in 1957 the Little Big Inch Line is converted back to a common-carrier products pipeline.
March 3, 1886 – Kansas Town promotes Natural Gas
Paola becomes the first town in Kansas to use natural gas commercially. To promote the new resource and attract businesses from nearby Kansas City, four natural gas arches are erected in the town square. Pipes are laid for other illuminated displays.
“Paola was lighted with Gas,” explains the Miami County Historical Museum . “The pipeline was completed from the Westfall farm to the square and a grand illumination was held.”
By the end of 1887, Paola flour mills are fueled by natural gas and a glass manufacturing factory is constructed.
“Paola has the cheapest fuel in Kansas,” the town promoted itself at the time. “Natural gas is superior to anything for convenience and cheapness, and we have it in immense volume, sufficient to supply all the manufactories that can crowd into the county. We earnestly invite inspection and comparison.”
However, with little understanding of conservation and natural gas production techniques, the town wells are exhausted. Visions of an 1890s Paola manufacturing boom fade away.
March 3, 1879 – United States Geological Survey established
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is established when President Rutherford B. Hayes signs legislation that includes a brief section creating a new agency in the Department of the Interior.
The legislation results from a report from the National Academy of Sciences, which had been asked by Congress to provide a plan for surveying the territories of the United States that would secure “the best possible results at the least possible cost.”
The new agency’s mission includes “classification of the public lands, and examination of the geological structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain,” according to a USGS history  by Mary C. Rabbitt. At the time, the federal government owns more than 1.2 billion acres of land; only 200 million acres have been surveyed.
Although Clarence King is the first Geological Survey director, the second, John Wesley Powell, serving from 1881 to 1894, is the most famous, says Rabbitt. Powell, who lost an arm in the Civil War, leads several mapping expeditions to the southwestern United States. He will proclaim that “a government cannot do any scientific work of more value to the people at large than by causing the construction of proper topographic maps of the county.”
The USGS headquarters  in Reston, Virginia, is named after Powell, Rabbitt notes. “Modern-day understanding of the formation and location of energy and mineral resource deposits is rooted in fundamental scientific breakthroughs by USGS scientists…the astronauts who landed on the moon in 1969 were trained in geology by the USGS.”
March 4, 1918 – West Virginia Well sets World Depth Record
On the Martha Goff farm in Harrison County, West Virginia, the Hope Natural Gas Company drills to 7,386 feet and brings the world’s deepest well record to America. Until then, the deepest well had been drilled to 7,345 feet near Czuehon, Germany.
A March 1974 well set a world record while drilling in Oklahoma’s Anadarko Basin, about 12 miles west of Cordell. The Bertha Rogers No. 1 drilled almost six miles into Oklahoma’s Anadarko Basin before the drill bit stuck. Although a remarkable “fishing” solved the problem, the historic well had to be abandoned – after striking molten sulfur at 31,441 feet.
Today, rotary rigs in the Gulf of Mexico have reached up to 35,000 feet deep. A 1970s experimental well on Russia’s Kola Peninsula during the Soviet era exceeded 40,000 feet – after ten years of drilling. Visit the Oil and Gas Museum  in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
March 4, 1933 – Oklahoma City Oilfield under Martial Law
Oklahoma Governor William H. “Alfalfa Bill” Murray declares martial law to enforce his proration regulations limiting production in the Oklahoma City oilfield, discovered on December 4, 1928  - and one of the largest producing fields in the state.
Two years earlier, Murray called a meeting of fellow governors from Texas, Kansas and New Mexico to create an Oil States Advisory Committee, “to study the present distressed condition of the petroleum industry and to make recommendations for uniform legislation looking to the relief of said industry and the conservation of oil and gas.”
Elected in 1930, he is called “Alfalfa Bill” because of speeches urging farmers to plant alfalfa to restore nitrogen to the soil. The controversial politician is also known as the “Sage of Tishomingo.” By the end of his administration in 1935, Murray will have called out the National Guard 47 times and declared martial law more than 30 times.
The Interstate Oil and Gas Conservation Commission  is established in 1935.
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URL to article: http://aoghs.org/this-week-in-petroleum-history/oil-history-february-4/
URLs in this post:
 A Science Odyssey: People and Discoveries: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/dt35ny.html
 DuPont: http://www2.dupont.com/Heritage/en_US/1935_dupont/1935_nylon.html/1935_nylon_indepth.html
 The Nylon Drama: http://invention.smithsonian.org/centerpieces/whole_cloth/u7sf/u7materials/nylondrama.html
 Image: http://www.google.com/patents?id=LJBRAAAAEBAJ&pg=PA1&dq=patent:1369891&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=2#v=onepage&q=patent%3A1369891&f=false
 Marland Estate: http://www.marlandmansion.com/
 Conoco Museum: http://www.conocomuseum.com/EN/Pages/index.aspx
 Petroleum Company Museum: http://www.phillips66museum.com/EN/Pages/index.aspx
 Image: http://aoghs.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Inch-Lines-Pop-History-Book-AOGHS.jpg
 “Petroleum Survey finds U-166.”: http://aoghs.org/offshore/petroleum-survey-finds-u-166/
 Image: http://thinkmiamicountyhistory.com/Gas-Oil-Exploration.html
 Image: http://nationalmap.gov/ustopo/history.html
 USGS history: http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/c1050/index.htm
 USGS headquarters: http://www.usgs.gov/
 Oil and Gas Museum: http://oilandgasmuseum.com/Pages/oilandgashome.html
 December 4, 1928: http://aoghs.org/this-week-in-petroleum-history/this-week-nov-28-to-dec-4/
 Interstate Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: http://www.iogcc.state.ok.us/
 donation: http://aoghs.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/AOGHS-Donation-Form-2011-2012.pdf
 Image: http://www.facebook.com/AmericanOilandGasHistoricalSociety
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