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Titusville, Pa., and the History of Oil

by Christian Williams


Tags: Oil, Company History, Gas Engines,

When “Colonel” Edwin Drake modified a salt well drill to successfully tap the earth for oil in Titusville, Pa., he probably had no idea just how important oil would become over the next 151 years. It’s often forgotten that the history of oil, at least by modern definition, began in that small western Pennsylvania town on Aug. 27, 1859.

Soon after Drake’s well began producing, Titusville stood as a beacon to prospectors and speculators hoping to get their piece of the pie, much like the sort that were attracted to California in the 1849 Gold Rush. And from an industrial standpoint, Titusville began to specialize in equipment specifically suited for the extraction, production and distribution of oil.

Of course, if you’re a gas engine enthusiast, particular of the oil field variety, then you’re well aware of Titusville’s role in the epic history of oil. If not, then the following video of a family’s tour of the Drake Well Museum in Titusville might enlighten you, as well as a few links to articles from Gas Engine Magazine related to Titusville and the machinery built there.

 


Related articles from Gas Engine Magazine:

- The Evolution of the Oil Industry
- History of the Titusville Iron Works
- Dick Bouma's Rare Half-Breed Gas Engine