Oil

No one knew that oil could come from the ground until a bankrupt group of speculators hit pay dirt in northwestern Pennsylvania

By August 1859,   “Colonel” E. L. Drake and his small crew were disheartened. Few if any of the locals believed that oil—liquid called rock oil—could come out of the ground. In fact, they thought Drake was crazy. Read more >>

The problem is as old as the industry itself

This is a journalist’s list. My reading (and knowledge) is greatly influenced by the events of the day, the time, the era. My reading and my work are often one and the same. That is one of the best things about being a writer, but it may not be ideal for list making. Read more >>

IN WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA, CARS CAN STILL FILL UP AT A FOUNT THAT NURTURED THE AUTOMOTIVE AGE IN ITS INFANCY

Reighard’s Gas and Oil, which stands at 3205 Sixth Avenue in Altoona, Pennsylvania, looks pretty much like a thousand—or twenty thousand—other service stations across the country. Read more >>

The “loser decade” that at first seemed nothing more than a breathing space between the high drama of the 1960s and whatever was coming next is beginning to reveal itself as a bigger time than we thought

That’s it,” Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then U.S. ambassador to India, wrote to a colleague on the White House staff in 1973 on the subject of some issue of the moment. “Nothing will happen. Read more >>

How Americans Met the First Great Gasoline Crisis—Nearly Forty Years Ago

According to the members of the blueribbon committee, the situation was desperate. Their report, released to the Washington press corps, had been blunt, unsparing, and apocalyptic. Read more >>
The twentieth century blew into Texas one year and nine days late. On January 10, 1991, two veteran oilmen named Patillo Higgins and Anthony F. Read more >>

Our Frontier Heritage of Waste

Historians of the future, looking back on the twilight years of the twentieth century, may designate the mid-1970’s as worthy of that supreme accolade accorded only the most significant dates in history: to serve as a dividing point between chapters in their textbooks. Read more >>

HOW AND WHY THE UNITED STATES GOT INVOLVED IN THE MIDDLE EAST

In October, 1973, Arab states clapped an embargo on oil shipments to the United States. All at once the nation had to go on daylight-saving time, throttle back on the highways, and turn down thermostats. Read more >>

America’s greed for oil has drastically upset the ecological balance of Alaska’s North Slope, and the end is not in sight

How gullible Edwin L. Drake, an ailing ex-railroad conductor, brought about America’s first and gaudiest oil boom