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Play in new window Download Embed From farm to pharmaceutical, diesel truck to dinner plate, pipeline to plastic product, it is impossible to think of an area of our modern-day lives that is not affected by the oil industry.
The story of oil is the story of the modern world. And this is the story of those who helped shape that world, and how the oil-igarchy they created is on the verge of monopolizing life itself. From farm to pharmaceutical, diesel truck to dinner plate, pipeline to plastic product, it is impossible to think of an area of our modern-day lives that is not affected by the petrochemical industry.
Parts of that story are well-known: Rockefeller and Standard Oil; the internal combustion engine and the transformation of global transport; the House of Saud and the oil wars in the Middle East. Other parts are more obscure: Not in Pennsylvania with the first commercial drilling operation and the first oil boom, but in the rural backwoods of early 19th century New York State.
He was neither a doctor nor a cancer specialist; his real name was not even Livingston. He abandoned his first wife and their six children to start a bigamous marriage in Canada at the same time as he fathered two more children by a third woman. He once bragged of his parenting technique: This is the story of the oiligarchy.
A most unlikely man alights from a railway car into the midst of this sleepy Western Pennsylvania town on the shores of Oil Creek: Drake is actually an unemployed railroad conductor who talked himself into a job after staying at the same hotel as Bissell the year before.
Calling him a Colonel, it is hoped, will help win the respect of the locals. Still, Drake has a task to complete: He tries everything he can think of. The Native Americans had historically collected the oil by damming the creek near a seep and skimming the oil off the top.
But Drake can only collect six to ten gallons of oil a day this way, even when he opens up extra seeps. He tries digging a shaft, but the groundwater floods in too quickly. They get to work drilling down through the shale bedrock to reach the oil.
On August 28th, they strike oil. Then on Sunday, August 28th,oil bubbled up the drive pipe. Uncle Billy and his son Sam bailed out several buckets of oil.
On Monday, the very day that Colonel Drake received his final payment and an order to close down the operation, they hitched the walking beam to a water pump and the oil began to flow. Years later a local newspaper interviewed Uncle Billy about the day they struck oil: I says to Mr.
What do you think of this?
Overnight a whole new industry was born. Before long in millions of homes, farms and factories around the world, lamps would be lit with kerosene refined from West Pennsylvania crude. When the word came out that Drake had struck oil, the cry went up throughout the narrow valleys of Western Pennsylvania: The crazy Yankee has struck oil!
It was like a gold rush. The Prize Part 1 Overnight, the quiet farming backwoods of rural Pennsylvania was transformed into a bustling oil region, with prospectors leasing up flats, towns springing up from nowhere, and a forest of percussion rigs covering the land. The first oil boom had arrived.
Already poised to make the most of this boom was a young up-and-coming bookkeeper in Cleveland with a head for numbers: He had two ambitions in life: And he read about the oil business just beginning and got interested, and came to realize it was a very volatile business at the time.Wheels of Fortune A vicious cycle in the used car business.
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