Datapages, Inc.Print this page

Abstract: The Scope and Remains of Early Oil, NW Pennsylvania

PEES, SAMUEL T.
Consulting Petroleum Geologist, Meadville, PA

This illustrated lecture is intended to show what the Pennsylvania early oil belt looked like in its heyday and what it looks like now. The span of oil-related activities takes in Pre-Drake enterprises dealing with oil seeps, followed by the Drake strike, and the subsequent oil-mad decade of the 1860s. Oil drilling continued in booms as new strikes brought in new fields, many of these occurring nearly simultaneously. Signal inventions such as the oil pipeline, the railroad tank car, massive refining layouts and many more devices and techniques started in the 1860s and improved and multiplied throughout time. Repressuring of pressure-depleted shallow pools became a necessity and was particularly in use during times of national duress like the Great War and World War II.

Drilling machines, central powers and their engines, the pumping array, pumper's shacks, well jacks, casings and drive pipes, compressors, casing head gasoline installations, drips, old refining sites, pipelines, manufacturing plants of oil machinery, lease houses and foundations of ghost towns are still found where abandoned of the early oil region. These iron monuments lend a surreal touch to the forest-covered landscape.

The drama of early oil took place at numerous centers and provided actors and props for a great industrial theater. The latter word is occasionally used today in promoting an oil play in the sense that the promoter during a "show and tell" may get carried away and lend theater (rich prophesies) like a fillip to his pitch.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90930©1998 AAPG Eastern Section, Columbus, Ohio