Clipped From The Bakersfield Californian
Drake early appreciated possibilities of the oil deposits, many baffling delays and followed his dream through realization As this oil does not gum or become rancid by exposure, it possesses in that, as well as in its wonderful resistance to extreme cold, important qualities as a lubricator. It is worthy of note that my experiments prove that nearly the whole of the raw product may be manufactured without waste, solely by one of the simplest of all chemical processes." But the need today is power. In 1857, when Colonel Edwin L. Drake began, in December, to drill th« world's first oil well near Titusville, Pa., it was illuminant that was wanted. Oil .can furnish that, too, but the world has learned to translate it into electricity. The problem of lighting the world is simple. The problem of moving its machinery has been engaging engineers for many years, and that, too, is simple. The answer is oil. How the world struggla for oil began back there in Titusville, Pa., sixty-five years ago is here interestingly told by C. H. Drake, son of Colonel Edwin L. Drake, drilier of the world's first oil well: "About the middle of December, 1857," said Drake, "my father came Jolting into Titusville on tha mall wagon from Erie. He was provided with flOOO to begin operations, and was to be paid an equal sum annually for his services. He brought his family to Titusville early In 1858. The American Hotel boarded him, my mother, two children and a horse for $6.50 a week. "Well drillers and well-drilling machinery were hard to find in 1868, and months of costly delay elapsed before the 'pump house' and derrick were built. Ami K^CU 'UncU Bil^' (Smith, th« driller finally secured, at last operations, unexpected difficulties e*t> tinued to impede raj father'* progress. The beginning WM made in quicksand and clay. Af fast M a hole wu made, tt filled with water and caved in. finally my father suggested the driving of an iron pipe through to bedrock. Ho should have patented this procedure, for his success with it was later to make it the standard practice in oil fields; "After rock was reached, the actual drilling started. Three feet a day wei the measure of Uncle Billy's progress. By Saturday afternoon, August 28,1KB, the well had reached the,depth of sixty- nine feet and the drill was working ia coarse sand. Smith and his sons, who were helping him, had finished for the week.. As they were quitting the drill dropped six inches, apparently into a crevice, as was common in salt wells. No attention was paid to this circumstance, the tools were drawn out and all hands adjourned to Titusville. "The following morning Uncle Billy •trolled out to the scene of the drilling to see that all was in order. To his astonishment he found the well filled within a few feet of the surface with a dark fluid. He drew a sample of the liquid. It was oil "A straggler, out for a walk, aj* proached, heard the story, sniffed the oil and bore the tidings to the village. When my father came out in the morning, Uncle Billy was guarding three barrels of petroleum. The pumping apparatus was adjusted, and by noon the well was producing at the rate of twenty barrels a day. The problem of the ages was solved. The world's first oil well was la production. "The news swept the region in a day. Villages and country folk flocked to the wonderful well. There was a mad scrarV ble for adjoining properties. ^ "A FEW feet from where my father •*»• drilled the world's first oil well there was a sawmill. Years before my father came to Titusville the oil observed by Prof. Silliman had been skimmed from Oil Creek to lubricate the mill machinery. Oddly enough, this Pennsylvania grade of crude oil is still the best lubricant that man has ever found. The Pennsylvania well* have been outstripped is production by the "gushers" of Texas and Oklahoma. Yet the product of the Pennsylvania fields Is far more highly prized. Geologists say this quality Js due to the vegetable origin of Pennsylvania oil, as opposed to the animal origin of other crude oil. And since refineries can add nothing to an oil that was not present in its crude state, Pennsylvania crade, $rud« oil is still supreme."