A Brief History of the Oil Industry

Oil was a valuable commodity long before the first well, the “Drake Well”, was drilled specifically in hopes of finding and producing oil in the United States. It was drilled by Colonel Edwin Drake near Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859. Nine states had drilled producing oil wells before oil was discovered in Texas at Oil Springs in 1887, near Nacogdoches. It was not until 1901 that Louisiana drilled and completed its first commercial oil well.

Colonel Drake’s well, 1887

The Lucas Gusher, 1901

On January 10, 1901, the “Lucas 1 Well” came in at Spindletop, marking the birth date of the modern petroleum industry. At 100,000 barrels of oil a day, the gusher tripled U.S. oil production overnight, and jump-started Texas’ transformation into a major petroleum producer and industrial power. A California Gold Rush of 50 years earlier was being repeated on the Texas Gulf Coast with rotary drill bits and derricks instead of pick axes and gold pans.

Before long, wells were being drilled all over the world.

The following pages are historical pictures form the Oil Patch.


Early Oil Fields

East Texas Oil Field

Dad Joiner and Doc Lloyd, his Geologist, in front of the No. 3 Daisy Bradford

Daisy Bradford

“World’s Richest Acre” Kilgore, Texas

Drilling Rigs