Who Discovered Oil?

Nowadays, we use different types of oil – for cooking, maintenance of vehicles, and for other things. But where did this really start? Who discovered oil?

A Part of Human History

Ever since the start of recorded history, it was known that oil was already part of man’s existence. Earliest records point to about two hundred million years in the past before the dinosaurs roamed the lands. But there were no actual records of the first person or group who discovered oil.

Some sources of oil come from animal fat. That is why no one is sure whether the oils used during ancient times actually refer to animal fat or the ones that can be found under the ground.

Ancient Writings

Early Greek writings show how oil was already a necessity. It was used to set fire to the fleets of enemies. Its thicker version, named as “Pitch,”was also used as a waterproof blocker for Noah’s ark and the basket where the baby Moses was said to have been placed. Also, oil was used by American Indians during their time for waterproofing canoes and making medicines and warpaint.

Some Types of Oil

Petroleum as we know now came from the Greek word “petra” or “petros” which means rock, and the Latin word “oleum” which means oil or fat. Taken literally, the word petroleum would mean the “oil that comes from rock.”

Crude oil was used about 2500 years in the past in a place in China called as Sichuan. Seems like a long time ago. However, there are some accounts which show the usage of oil wells started around 347 A.D. in the same country.

Historical Records of Oil Wells

As mentioned above, it was in 347 when the country of China made and used the oil wells. According to accounts, the wells had a depth of around eight hundred feet deep, and were connected to some bamboo poles with the use of bits.

In 1264, the mining of the oil’s natural seeps took place in Persia. This was witnessed by a well-renowned man named Marco Polo while traveling through Baku.

During the 1500s, Poland’s Carpathian Mountains became a source for seep oil to provide light for street lamps.

In Baku, Persia, it was written that the oil wells were actually hand dug to about thirty five meters in its depth (which is equivalent to 115 feet deep). This was in the year 1594.

In the year 1735, the oil sands were mined and extracted in France – particularly, in the Pechelbronn field in Alsace.

In Pennsylvania, records show that oil was produced in brine wells in 1815.

Asia also had its own modern well. It was in 1848 when the first oil well was drilled by F.N. Semyenov, a Russian engineer, in the northeastern part of Baku known as Aspheron Peninsula.

Europe also had its share in the oil industry when it had its first oil wells drilled at Bobrka, Poland in 1854 by Ignacy Lukasiewicz.

Just like no one knows who discovered oil, the question on who to give credit to for making the first oil well is still confusing. Some say that credit should be given to the person who drilled the oil well known as “Little Texas” in Germany. Others, say the first drilled oil well is the one in Louisiana, USA. Nevertheless, even with these confusing details, all these oil wells continue to serve its benefits up to now to answer the needs of mankind.

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