Petroleum industry infrastructure: Moving from a 42-gallon oil barrel to kerosene-fueled rockets.
Pipelines replaced the teamsters who moved the first wooden oil barrels to kerosene refineries decades before the internal combustion engine. Modern uses of petroleum in transportation include high-octane airplane fuels, service station gas pumps, liquefied natural gas tanks, and pipelines are just a small sample petroleum’s role in daily life since America’s first oil well in August 1859.
Petroleum industry infrastructure (vital for making petroleum products) evolved from the 19th century standard 42-gallon oil barrel, wooden oil tanks, iron pipelines, autos and diesel-electric trains, to modern jet aircraft and kerosene-fueled rockets.
Oil and Natural Gas Transportation Articles
Adding Wings to the Iron Horse
Powered by an eight-cylinder Winton 201A diesel engine, the revolutionary “streamliner” traveled the 1,015 miles from Denver to Chicago in just over 13 hours — a passenger train record.
America exports Oil
America on the Move
An exhibit about the history of Route 66 — commissioned in 1926 and fully paved by the late 1930s — is part of the Transportation Hall at the National Museum of American History.
Cantankerous Combustion – 1st U.S. Auto Show
Automobiles powered by internal combustion engines at the 1900 National Automobile Show were primitive. The most popular models proved to be electric, steam, and gasoline…in that order.
Densmore Oil Tank Cars
Dome Gas Station at Takoma Park
Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
Field studies continue to examine the effects of the Exxon supertanker’s disastrous grounding on Bligh Reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989. Photo courtesy Erik Hill, Anchorage Daily News.
First Car, First Road Trip
First Gas Pump and Service Station
Gas pumps with dials were followed by calibrated glass cylinders. Meter pumps using a small glass dome with a turbine inside replaced the measuring cylinder as pumps continued to evolve. Illustration courtesy Popular Science, September 1955.
Flight of the Woolaroc
History of the 42-Gallon Oil Barrel
Horace Horton’s Spheres
Hortonspheres, the trademarked name of giant containers for storing and transporting liquified natural gas (LNG), were invented by a bridge building company.
Houston Ship Channel of 1914
Iowa 80 Trucking Museum
Remarkable Nellie Bly’s Oil Drum
Recognizing the potential of an efficient metal barrel design, Nellie Bly acquired the 1905 patent rights from its inventor, Henry Wehrhahn, who worked at her Iron Clad Manufacturing Company.
Trans-Alaska Pipeline History
Also read about a popular 19th century petroleum product — a lamp fuel — that made the 1969 moon landing possible in Kerosene Rocket Fuel.
The American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) preserves U.S. petroleum history. Join today as an annual AOGHS supporting member. Help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact email@example.com. Copyright © 2023 Bruce A. Wells. All rights reserved.