Fossil Fuels

When was the first oil well in the United States drilled?

The Drake well at Titusville, Pennsylvania, was completed on August 28, 1859 (some sources list the date as August 27). The driller, William “Uncle Billy” Smith (d. 1890), went down 69.5 feet (21 meters) to find oil for Edwin L. Drake (1819–1880), the well’s operator. Within 15 years, Pennsylvania oil field production reached over ten million 360-pound (163-kilogram) barrels a year.


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