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The Drake Chapters
Introduction to the Drake Chapters
The Beginning of the Petroleum Industry
Oil Creek Before Drake's Well
Refining Seep Oil
Chemical Report of Seep Oil
Pinched Noses
Other Predicaments
Drake's First Visit to Titusville
Drake Commences Work at the Seep
Drake's Well
First Production
Petroleum Geology of the Drake Sand
Drake's Other Wells
Dismantling of the Derrick
The Deepening of the Drake Well
Among the First Players
Drake's Tomb


Introduction to the Drake Chapters

Coincidence, timing and luck combined to get the first concerted search for oil underway in the 1850's. The right eyes saw a sample bottle of crude oil from a seep. The oil was tracked to a site near Titusville, Pennsylvania. A stock company to extract and market it was formed. After a favorable chemical analysis, promotion to sell stock and to finance the extraction venture took place. Drilling for it was undertaken. Jeers turned to astonishment when Col. Edwin Drake brought in his shallow oil well and commercial sales commenced. The boom started. The "Age of Illumination" was given a strong boost. Drake left the oil belt which he had discovered, only to suffer debilitating sickness and to die in penury. An industry which brought great riches to so many, finally honored him by bringing his body back to Titusville and interring it in a fine tomb replete with symbolic bronze sculpture. The oil industry honors its birthplace with a museum and memorial park at the site where Drake struck oil in his pioneer well.


© 2004, Samuel T. Pees
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