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Crude oil sells for over $100 a barrel, but 200 years ago it was an abundant resource used in medicine and cosmetics.  Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil and gas.

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The first century of the oil industry was a wild and unregulated time, with fortunes made and lost almost overnight.Library of Congress

  • For the past century, crude oil has been the engine of the world economy.

  • Previously, the oil industry was marked by wild fluctuations in the usefulness and market value of the resource.

  • Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil, according to Daniel Yergin’s 1991 book “The Price.”

Commonly known as “rock oil”, crude oil has been found in many places around the world, seeping from the ground or floating on the surface of ponds or streams.

Crude oil sells for over $100 a barrel, but 200 years ago it was an abundant resource used in medicine and cosmetics.  Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil and gas.

 | Local News

An ooze of natural oil.USGS

Source: Yergin, p. 19

Indigenous peoples of North America and Asia commonly used “rock oil” for medicinal and cosmetic purposes, including treating headaches, toothaches, stomach aches, and even preening Eyelash.

Crude oil sells for over $100 a barrel, but 200 years ago it was an abundant resource used in medicine and cosmetics.  Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil and gas.

 | Local News

Library of Congress

Source: Yergin, p. 19

People usually collected the oil using rags or blankets to soak it up and wring it out in a container.

Crude oil sells for over $100 a barrel, but 200 years ago it was an abundant resource used in medicine and cosmetics.  Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil and gas.

 | Local News

An oil tank in Pennsylvania.Library of Congress

Source: Yergin, p. 19

A 19th century banker, when asked to finance the innovative idea of ​​drilling for oil, scoffed at the idea: “Oil comes out of the ground, pumps oil out of the ground like you pump oil. water? This is nonsense! You’re crazy.”

Crude oil sells for over $100 a barrel, but 200 years ago it was an abundant resource used in medicine and cosmetics.  Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil and gas.

 | Local News

Oil pumping in western Pennsylvania.Library of Congress

Source: Yergin, p. 26

Soon the pumped oil was worth half as much as the barrels of whiskey that were reused to hold it. To this day, the 42-gallon barrel of whiskey remains the industry’s unit of measurement, even when no actual barrel is used.

Crude oil sells for over $100 a barrel, but 200 years ago it was an abundant resource used in medicine and cosmetics.  Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil and gas.

 | Local News

Woodford oil well with barrels of whiskey in 1861.Library of Congress

Source: Yergin, p. 28

Drillers unleashed the first-ever gushing in April 1861, sending 3,000 barrels a day into the air before an explosion and fire killed 19 people and burned for three days.

Crude oil sells for over $100 a barrel, but 200 years ago it was an abundant resource used in medicine and cosmetics.  Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil and gas.

 | Local News

An oil rig in Titusville, Pennsylvania.Library of Congress

Source: Yergin, p. 30

When the Civil War interrupted the supply of camphene illuminating oil from the South, a market for kerosene derived from Pennsylvania oil emerged. The Union has also started exporting crude oil to the growing market of Europe.

Crude oil sells for over $100 a barrel, but 200 years ago it was an abundant resource used in medicine and cosmetics.  Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil and gas.

 | Local News

Pennsylvania oil rigs.Library of Congress

Source: Yergin, p. 30

After the war, the rush for production so outstripped demand that a fall in prices in the 1870s made oil cheaper than drinking water for households in oil regions.

Crude oil sells for over $100 a barrel, but 200 years ago it was an abundant resource used in medicine and cosmetics.  Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil and gas.

 | Local News

Oil refining in Erie, Pennsylvania.Library of Congress

Source: Yergin, p. 42

Kerosene was the dominant petroleum product before 1905, while gasoline was a small by-product often dumped into rivers. Gasoline sold for as little as 2 cents per gallon in 1892.

Crude oil sells for over $100 a barrel, but 200 years ago it was an abundant resource used in medicine and cosmetics.  Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil and gas.

 | Local News

The interior of the Pennsylvania Petroleum Exchange.Library of Congress

Source: Yergin, p. 14

This began to change in 1905 with the invention of the automobile, which led gasoline sales to overtake kerosene sales in 1911.

Crude oil sells for over $100 a barrel, but 200 years ago it was an abundant resource used in medicine and cosmetics.  Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil and gas.

 | Local News

Ford Model T assembly line.Library of Congress

Source: Yergin, p. 95

In the early years of the automobile, gasoline was sold in hardware and general stores by shopkeepers who kept it in unbranded canisters under the counter or outside behind the store. Some contractors even attempted to deliver via gas wagons, which tended to explode.

Crude oil sells for over $100 a barrel, but 200 years ago it was an abundant resource used in medicine and cosmetics.  Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil and gas.

 | Local News

General store.Library of Congress

Source: Yergin, p. 209

World War I ushered in the era of modern petroleum, when combustion engines demonstrated their reliability and versatility superior to coal-powered and horse-powered modes of transportation.

Crude oil sells for over $100 a barrel, but 200 years ago it was an abundant resource used in medicine and cosmetics.  Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil and gas.

 | Local News

A German car towing an airplane during WWI.Library of Congress

Source: Yergin, c. 9

By 1920, the service station concept had taken hold, with around 12,000 service stations by 1921, soaring to over 140,000 by 1929.

Crude oil sells for over $100 a barrel, but 200 years ago it was an abundant resource used in medicine and cosmetics.  Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil and gas.

 | Local News

Gas station from the 1920s.Library of Congress

Source: Yergin, p. 209

In 1929, the once dominant kerosene was basically negligible, due to increased demand for gasoline and fuel oil, which accounted for 85% of oil consumption.

Crude oil sells for over $100 a barrel, but 200 years ago it was an abundant resource used in medicine and cosmetics.  Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil and gas.

 | Local News

Hartford Oil and Gas Co. workers.Library of Congress

The 1920s also forged the link that would bind politics and oil prices for the next century. A Wisconsin senator has spoken out against corporate price manipulation, warning that if this were to continue, “the people of this country must be prepared, before long, to pay at least $1 a gallon for gasoline.”

Crude oil sells for over $100 a barrel, but 200 years ago it was an abundant resource used in medicine and cosmetics.  Here are 15 surprising facts about the history of oil and gas.

 | Local News

Oil Rigs in Oklahoma.Library of Congress

Source: Yergin, p. 211

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