Drake, Edwin Laurentine

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b. 29 March 1819 Greenville, New York, USA
d. 8 November 1880 Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
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American pioneer oil driller.
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He worked on his father's farm, was a clerk in a hotel and a store, and then became an express agent at a railway company in Springfield, Massachusetts, c.1845. After he had been working as a railway conductor in New Haven, Connecticut, for eight years, he resigned because of ill health. Owning some stocks in a Pennsylvania rock-oil company, which gathered oil from ground-level seepages mainly for medicinal use, he was engaged by this company and moved to Titusville, Pennsylvania, at the age of almost 40. After studying salt-well drilling by cable tool, which was still percussive, he became enthusiastic about the idea of using the same method to drill for oil, especially after researches in chemistry had revealed this new sort of fossil energy some years before.
As a manager of the Seneca Oil Company, which referred to him as "Colonel" in letters of introduction simply to impress people with such titles, Drake began drilling in 1858, almost at the same time as pole-tool drilling for oil was started in Germany. His main contribution to the technology was the use of an iron pipe driven through the quicksand and the bedrock to prevent the bore-hole from filling. After nineteen months he struck oil at a depth of 21 m (69 ft) in August 1859. This was the first time that petroleum was struck at its source and the first proof of the presence of oil reservoirs within the earth's surface. Drake inaugurated the search for and the exploitation of the deep oil resources of the world and he initiated the science of petroleum engineering which became established at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Drake failed to patent his drilling method; he was content being an oil commission merchant and Justice of the Peace in Titusville, which like other places in Pennsylvania became a boom town. Four years later he went to New York, where he lost all his money in oil speculations. He became very ill again and lived in poverty in Vermont and New Jersey until 1873, when he moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he was pensioned by the state of Pennsylvania. The city of Titusville erected a monument to him and founded the Drake Museum.
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Further Reading
Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. III, pp. 427–8.
Ida M.Tarbell, 1904, "The birth of industry", History of the Standard Oil Company, Vol. I, New York (gives a lively description of the booming years in Pennsylvania caused by Drake's successful drilling).
H.F.Williamson and A.R.Daum, 1959, The American Petroleum Industry. The Age of Illumination, Evans ton, Ill.
WK

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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  • Drake, Edwin Laurentine — ▪ American oil driller born March 29, 1819, Greenville, N.Y., U.S. died Nov. 8, 1880, Bethlehem, Pa.       driller of the first productive oil well in the United States.       A railway conductor in New Haven, Conn., Drake bought a small amount… …   Universalium

  • Edwin Laurentine Drake — Edwin L. Drake Edwin Laurentine Drake (* 29. März 1819 in Greenville, New York; † 8. November 1880 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania), auch Colonel Drake genannt, war der erste US Amerikaner, der erfolgreich nach Erdöl bohrte. Am 27. August 1859 stieß… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Edwin Drake — Edwin Laurentine Drake Born March 29, 1819(1819 03 29) Greenville, New York Died November 9, 1880(1880 11 09) …   Wikipedia

  • Edwin Drake — Edwin L. Drake Edwin Laurentine Drake (* 29. März 1819 in Greenville, New York; † 8. November 1880 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania), auch Colonel Drake genannt, war der erste US Amerikaner, der erfolgreich nach Erdöl bohrte. Am 27. August 1859 stieß… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Edwin L. Drake — Edwin Laurentine Drake (* 29. März 1819 in Greenville, Greene County, New York; † 8. November 1880 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania), auch Colonel Drake genannt, war der erste US Amerikaner, der erfolgreich nach Erdöl bohrte. Er bohrte im Auftrag des… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Edwin Drake — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Drake. Edwin Laurentine Drake (1819 1880), souvent appelé « colonel Drake » bien que n’ayant jamais réellement détenu ce grad …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Edwin Drake — Edwin Laurentine Coronel Drake (1819 1880), perforador de petróleo de los Estados Unidos, se le atribuye popularmente el haber descubierto el petróleo. El 27 de agosto de 1859, un pozo que fue construido por Drake en Oil Creek, cerca de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Pennsylvania — /pen seuhl vayn yeuh, vay nee euh/, n. a state in the E United States. 11,886,728; 45,333 sq. mi. (117,410 sq. km). Cap.: Harrisburg. Abbr.: PA (for use with zip code), Pa., Penn., Penna. * * * I officially Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State (pop …   Universalium

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