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Edwin Drake (wikipedia.org)
37 points by onetimemanytime on Sept 26, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 9 comments

If you haven't seen the documentary on the oil industry "the prize" then it is a must watch. You can watch all of it on youtube. Here is the scene were they talk about drake's significance to the oil industry:


A true pioneer whose efforts for decades to come, spelled a relief for over-hunted whales.

Drake's Well Museum:


I was there this summer. Well over a 100 years old and some of the original equipment is still running. Sad that our modern equipment has little hope of that.

Drake drilled the well to secure a greater supply for the Seneca oil company. The drilling technology was not particularly revolutionary, since water wells and wells to pump salt brine had been previously drilled.

The key technology was fractional distillation of petroleum into an array of useful products, especially kerosene which could be used instead of whale oil for illumination.

How Yale Launched the Oil Economy - http://archives.yalealumnimagazine.com/issues/2005_11/old_ya...

What was the diameter of that first oil pipe? Drake clearly was repurposing a technology that already existed... what was the pipe's original purpose?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_Well only says cast iron. Maybe sewer pipe, Pennsylvania was early using that:


>Drake used copper pipe two or three inches in diameter and in sections 12 to 14 feet long. https://ethw.org/Beginnings_of_the_Oil_and_Gas_Industry

I'm not saying he didn't use copper pipe for the first well, but one could imagine he used cast iron pipe in the first well. If he did, my layman understanding is that copper pipe must be much more less likely to break, than cast iron pipe. (Cast iron is pretty brittle.)

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