The World Petroleum Industry: It All Started in Pennsylvania

The modern petroleum industry is a vast and complex association of multinational corpora­tions, producing countries, consumers and other inter­acting elements. The petroleum milieu is often identified and equated with the largest oil companies, “the seven sis­ters”: Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell, Gulf, British Petroleum, Mobil, Standard of California, and Texaco. As if to empha­size the...
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The Valley That Changed the World: Visiting the Drake Well Museum

“They’ve struck oil!” They were only three words, but they thundered triumphantly throughout the valley along northwestern Pennsylvania’s Oil Creek during the days following the long-anticipated breakthrough – one that would change the world forever – on an otherwise quiet Saturday in August 1859. To many it was a miracle, one on which great fortunes would be...
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Barbara T. Zolli on “A Drop of Oil”

Crude oil, found in abundance in northwestern Pennsylvania, held out many possibilities by the mid-nineteenth century. It burned when ignited, served as a practical lubricant, was thought to have medicinal properties, and had been used for various purposes by generations of Native Americans. That it might be in ample supply became apparent to many locals when it oozed from the ground and...
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