Steam Power in the Early Oil Industry

“The 19th century was driven by steam.  The oil industry’s need for steam power in the 1860’s wasn’t based solely on drilling or pumping oil wells but also for refineries and even for river vessels that transported oil and products from Oil Creek to Pittsburgh and returned with oilfield supplies. Steam locomotives of various railroads were bringing trains to the oil region and hauling away oil and refined product in wooden tanks mounted on flat cars beginning 1865 (and oil in barrels before that).  Pipelines commenced to use steam pumps in 1865.  Steam hammers made some of the fittings and parts of the drilling paraphernalia.  Even some of the coins in circulation in Drake’s day were stamped at the mint by an automated steam press. ” …


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