Oil & Gas History News, March 2020

March 18, 2020  –  Oil & Gas History News, Vol. 1, No. 3 

Welcome to our monthly look at some important U.S. petroleum history milestones – and perhaps a brief respite from the sad health news, cancellations, market declines, etc. With many community museums now temporarily closed, educators and students are turning to online historical content, including the American Oil & Gas Historical Society website and its updated This Week in Petroleum History

Monthly Highlights from This Week in Petroleum History

 Links to articles from four weeks of U.S. oil and natural gas history, including oilfield discoveries, new technologies, petroleum products, and more. Each week included:

March 17, 1949 – First Commercial Application of Hydraulic Fracturing A team from Halliburton and Stanolind companies converged on an oil well about 12 miles east of Duncan, Oklahoma, and performed the first commercial application of hydraulic fracturing. A 1947 experiment had fractured a natural gas well in Hugoton, Kansas, and proven the possibility of increased productivity…MORE 

March 11, 1829 – Kentucky’s Great American Oil Well Boring for brine with a simple spring-pole device on a farm near Burkesville, Kentucky, Martin Beatty found oil at 171 feet deep. Disappointed, he searched for salt deposits elsewhere. Because oil from his well would later be bottled and sold, some historians consider Beatty’s discovery the earliest commercial oil well in North America…MORE 

March 7, 1902 – Oil discovered at Sour Lake, Texas The Sour Lake oilfield was revealed 20 miles northwest of Beaumont, Texas, where the world-famous Spindletop field had been discovered one year earlier. The spa town of Sour Lake, known for its “sulphureus spring water,” would become a boom town where many petroleum companies, including Texaco, got their start…MORE 

February 28, 1935 – DuPont Chemist Wallace Carothers invents Nylon A former Harvard professor working in a DuPont laboratory discovered the world’s first synthetic fiber – nylon – a petroleum product. After experimenting with artificial materials for more than six years, Wallace Carothers created a long molecule chain, a stretching plastic. Just 32 years old, Carothers produced the fibers when he formed a polymer chain using a process to join individual molecules…MORE 


Recent Article Updates 


Updated editorial content at the American Oil & Gas Historical Society website includes these popular articles: As the United Kingdom fought for its survival during World War II, a team of American oil drillers, derrickhands, roustabouts, and motormen secretly boarded the converted troopship HMS Queen Elizabeth in March 1943. Once their story was revealed years later, they would become known as the Roughnecks of Sherwood Forest

Offshore petroleum platforms act as artificial reefs, creating ideal marine habitats. Beginning with an Exxon experimental subsea structure in 1979, the National Artificial Reef Plan, was launched in 1985 in the Gulf of Mexico and updated in 2007. This industry-government Rigs to Reefs partnership has established the largest artificial reef habitat in the world. 

When the USS Texas was commissioned in 1914, it became the last American battleship built with coal-fired boilers. The “Mighty T” converted to fuel oil in 1925, after the Navy recognized oil produced far more energy per pound than coal and simplified resupply logistics. Petroleum and Sea Power

Featured Photo
derricks crowded together at Sour Lake Texas
“A forest of oil well derricks at Sour Lake, Texas,” is from the W.D. Hornaday Collection, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin. Oil discoveries at the resort town northwest of the world-famous Spindletop gusher of 1901 would transform the Texas Company.

This circa 1905 photograph, “A forest of oil well derricks at Sour Lake, Texas,” is from the W.D. Hornaday Collection, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin. Oil discoveries at the resort town northwest of the world-famous Spindletop gusher of 1901 would transform the Texas Company; learn more in Sour Lake produces Texaco

Thank you again for your interest in energy history. Please share article links and tell others about our website. The future of the energy industry and energy education relies on the context of American petroleum heritage. AOGHS works to preserve this context for current and future generations, but we need help from patrons like you to keep the historical society operating. Any contribution is greatly appreciated. 

— Bruce Wells, Executive Director, American Oil & Gas Historical Society

Support AOGHS Today!

“Any survey of the natural resources used as sources of energy must include a discussion about the importance of oil, the lifeblood of all industrialized nations.” — Daniel Yergin, bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize

American Oil & Gas Historical Society, 3204 18th Street NW, No. 3, Washington, District of Columbia 20010, United States, (202) 387-6996. Copyright 2020 Bruce A. Wells. All Rights Reserved.

Oil & Gas History News, February 2020

Monthly email newsletter of American Oil & Gas Historical Society.

American Oil & Gas Historical Society logo with historic photo of derricks.
Oil & Gas History News, February 20, 2020,  Vol. 1, No. 2

As always, thank you for signing up to receive our updates. Your interest in the American Oil & Gas Historical Society is especially appreciated now as AOGHS expands its online effort documenting U.S. petroleum history – a history that began along a Pennsylvania creek on August 27, 1859. You can find our articles at AOGHS.org, including our regularly updated series This Week in Petroleum History

Highlights from This Week in Petroleum History

February 17, 1902 – Lufkin Industries founded in East Texas 

The Lufkin Foundry and Machine Company was founded in Lufkin, Texas, as a repair shop for railroad and sawmill machinery. When the pine region’s timber supplies began to dwindle, the company discovered new opportunities in the burgeoning oilfields following the 1901 discovery at Spindletop Hill….MORE February 12, 1954 – First Nevada Oil Well After hundreds of dry holes (the first drilled near Reno in 1907), Nevada became a petroleum-producing state. Shell Oil Company’s second test of its Eagle Springs No. 1 well in Nye County produced commercial amounts of oil…MORE 

February 7, 1817 – First Street lighted by Manufactured Gas 

America’s first public street lamp fueled by manufactured gas illuminated Baltimore, Maryland. The city’s Gas Light Company became the first U.S. commercial gas lighting company by distilling tar and wood to make its illuminating gas…MORE 

January 28, 1969 – Oil Spill at Santa Barbara, California 

After drilling 3,500 feet below the Pacific Ocean floor, a Union Oil Company drilling platform six miles off Santa Barbara, California, suffered a blowout. The accident spilled up to 100,000 barrels of oil that reached many of the same beaches where U.S. offshore history began in 1896 with wells drilled from piers…MORE 

January 20, 1886 – “Great Karg Well” erupts Natural Gas in Ohio 

A spectacular natural gas well – the “Great Karg Well” of Findlay, Ohio – erupted with an initial flow of 12 million cubic feet a day. The well’s gas pressure was so great that it could not be controlled by technology of the day. The gas ignited into a towering flame that became a popular Ohio tourist attraction…MORE

Featured Article & Museum News 

Recent editorial additions to the AOGHS website include the Secret Offshore History of Drill Ship Glomar Explorer. There also are upcoming gatherings of energy educators and historians that can be found in the oil museum news update on our Events page.

Thank you again for your interest in U.S. petroleum history and taking the time to read with us. Please tell others about our now mobile-friendly AOGHS site, which better helps visitors find the content they are looking for. More historical topics such as oil and gas stock certificates, oilfield artifacts, preserving family histories, and more have been added to and discussed on our site. — Bruce Wells, Executive Director, American Oil & Gas Historical Society 

Please consider becoming a supporting member of AOGHS if you aren’t already. Your contribution helps keep the society operating so we can preserve American petroleum heritage for future generations.

Support AOGHS 

“Any survey of the natural resources used as sources of energy must include a discussion about the importance of oil, the lifeblood of all industrialized nations.” — Daniel Yergin, bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize

American Oil & Gas Historical Society, 3204 18th Street NW, No. 3, Washington, District of Columbia 20010, United States, (202) 387-6996. Copyright 2020 Bruce A. Wells.

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Oil & Gas History News, January 2020

  December 21, 2019 Vol. 1, No. 1 American Oil & Gas Historical Society

Oil & Gas History News

“Any survey of the natural resources used as sources of energy must include a discussion about the importance of oil, the lifeblood of all industrialized nations.”– Daniel Yergin, bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Thank you for your interest in the American Oil & Gas Historical Society, especially as AOGHS expands its online presence documenting U.S. petroleum history. You are on the membership list for receiving petroleum history updates, including summaries featured in This Week in Petroleum History posted on the AOGHS website every Monday. 

December 2019 – This Week in Petroleum History 

December 16 to December 22 – Fighting Oilfield Fires with Cannons looks at an 1884 Massachusetts Institute of Technology magazine article. The MIT reporter offers a firsthand account of lightning strikes and the practice of using Civil War cannons to shoot at burning tanks. Also featured: California Oil Boom in Venice (1929); Hunt Oil Company founded in Texas (1934); “Prince of Petroleum” opens Tulsa Refinery (1913)… 

December 9 to December 15 – Project Gasbuggy tests Nuclear Fracturing reviews experiments testing the feasibility of using nuclear explosions to stimulate production from shale. Government scientists in 1967 detonated a 29-kiloton device in a New Mexico natural gas well. Other headlines: GM Scientists discover Anti-Knock Properties of Leaded Gas (1921); Apollo 17 Geologist becomes First Scientist on Moon (1972)… 

December 2 to December 8 – Enron Corporation files for Bankruptcy notes the 2011 collapse of what was once the world’s largest energy-trading company. Also this week: President Nixon creates EPA (1970); First Oil Discovery using Reflection Seismography (1928); Giant Oklahoma City Oilfield discovered (1928); Helium discovered in Natural Gas (1905)…  

November 25 to December 1 – First U.S. Drive-In Service Station opens in Pittsburgh tells how Gulf Refining Company sold “Good Gulf Gasoline” at a pagoda-style brick facility offering free air, water, crankcase service, and tire and tube installation. And of note: Art Museum features Painting of Mobilgas Station (1940); “Oil Queen of California” dies (1941); First Kansas Oil Well (1892); Standard Oil registers “Esso” Trademark (1923)… 


Visit a new, mobile-friendly AOGHS site The updated AOGHS website helps new visitors find the content they are looking for. Historical topics have been added by subjects areas for sharing information about old petroleum company stock certificates, oilfield artifacts, preserving family histories, and more. Thank you again for your interest in AOGHS and petroleum history. — Bruce Wells, American Oil & Gas Historical Society Executive Director 

Year-End Giving – Please help maintain the historical society’s website, article research, and expanded public outreach, including STEM education links – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Your financial support makes a difference!

Support AOGHS

American Oil & Gas Historical Society, 3204 18th Street NW, No. 3, Washington, District of Columbia 20010, United States, (202) 387-6996. Copyright 2020 Bruce A. Wells.

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