Edwin Drake

From Academic Kids

(Redirected from Edwin L. Drake)
Missing image
Edwindrake.jpg

Edwin Laurentine "Colonel" Drake (1819-1880), an American oil driller, is popularly credited with having "discovered" oil. He was born in Greenville, New York on March 11, 1819.

On August 27, 1859, a well that Drake built near Titusville, Pennsylvania struck oil. While petroleum oil was known prior to this, it was not available in large enough quantities to be very useful.

According to Ida Tarbell's 1904 book The History of Standard Oil, the oil well was not Drake's idea, but rather that of his employer, George Bissell.

Bissell sent Drake to the site in the spring of 1858. Drake, a native of Greene County, New York, had spent his earlier life working as a clerk, an express agent, and a railway conductor on a brand new sometimes dangerous conveyance railroad. Then, in the late 1850’s Edwin Drake was hired by the Seneca Oil Company to investigate suspected oil deposits in Titusville, Pennsylvania. The oil company chose the retired railway man partly because he had free use of the rail. Drake decided that the best way to find oil was to dig for it. He used an old steam engine to power the drill. In 1857 and again in 1858 Drake searched for oil in and around Titusville. He had limited success, but was only able to extract a maximum of 10 barrels (1.6 m³) per day. This was not enough to make a commercial yield sustainable. When attempts to dig huge shafts in the ground failed due to water seepage, Drake decided to drill in the manner of salt drillers. The well was dug on an artificial island on the Oil Creek. It took some time for the drillers to get through the layers of gravel. At 16 feet (5 m) the sides of the hole began to collapse. Those helping him began to despair. But not Drake. It was at this point that he devised the idea of a drive pipe. This cast iron pipe consisted of ten foot long joints. The pipe was driven down into the ground. At 32 feet (10 m) they struck bedrock. The drilling tools were now lowered through the pipe and steam was used to drill through the bedrock. The going, however, was slow. Progress was made at the rate of just three feet (1 m) per day. After initial difficulty locating the necessary parts to build the well, which resulted in his well being nicknamed "Drake's Folly," Drake proved successful.

Meanwhile crowds of people began to gather to jeer at the apparently unproductive operation. Drake was also running out of money. Amazingly the Seneca Oil Company had abandoned their man and Drake had to rely on friends to back the enterprise. On August 27th Drake had persevered and his drill bit had reached a total depth of 69.5 feet (21 m). At that point the bit hit a crevice. The men packed up for the day. The next morning Drake’s driller, Billy Smith, looked into the hole in preparation for another day’s work. He was surprised and delighted to see crude oil rising up. Drake was summoned and the oil was brought to the surface with a hand pitcher pump. The oil was collected in a bath tub.

While some claims of prior art do exist, the Drake Well at Titusville was the first well to be widely copied. Within a day of Drake's striking oil, Drake’s methods were soon imitated by others. This culminated with the establishment of the oil boom town of Pithole City, which was built around the Frazier well. This well pumped out 250 barrels (40 m³) of oil per day and the result was the birth of the petroleum industry.

Drake set up a stock company to extract and market the oil. But, while his pioneering work led to the growth of an oil industry that made many people fabulously rich, for Drake riches proved elusive. Drake did not possess good business acumen. He failed to patent his drilling invention. Then he lost all of his savings in oil speculation in 1863. He was to end up as an impoverished old man. In 1873, Pennsylvania voted an annuity of $1500 to the "crazy man" whose determination founded the oil industry. He died in 1880 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. [1] (http://ks.essortment.com/whowasedwindr_rhim.htm)

See also

External links

es:Edwin Drake

Navigation

Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)

Information

  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Toolbox
Personal tools