Oil Industry Born

Over the years, my husband, most of my neighbors and friends, and I have all been employed in some aspect of the oil business.

The oil business was the first trillion-dollar industry, and it all started about 150 miles from where I'm sitting on a cold January day in 1901. That was the day a drilling derrick blew out a gusher at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont, Texas.

The gusher was so big that it covered the surrounding area for hundreds of feet. That well struck oil at a little over 1,000 feet down. It was so much that it flowed at about 100,000 barrels a day and took the crew 9 days to cap. It took a while for the workers to learn how to prevent a gusher so the oil wouldn't be wasted.

Up until that date, petroleum had been primarily used in this country as a lubricant and in distilling kerosene for lamp oil. Spindletop of course ushered in inventions like internal combustion engines for cars, airplane engines, and the conversion of trains and ships to the cleaner-burning liquid fuel.

Takeaway Truth

It seems odd that so much we take for granted is relatively new.

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