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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The Piney Dam and Spillway on Clarion River

A tributary of the Allegheny River, the Clarion River snakes through northwestern Pennsylvania for 110 miles, draining the mountainous region of the Allegheny Plateau of the Ohio River watershed. For much of the nineteenth century, loggers used the river to raft lumber to market. Historians believe that James V. Cassatt piloted the last lumber raft on the river from Clarington, Forest County, to...
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Harnessing the Power of the Wind: A Contemporary Use for a Historic Energy Source

Much like the oil farms of the last century were for drillers and riggers, Pennsylvania’s wind farms are proving grounds for engineers and technicians as they harness wind power. The long-standing use of wind power that for centuries propelled sailing vessels has been transformed throughout the world to produce electricity. Farmers used wind power in the late nineteenth and early twentieth...
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