Wamsutta Oil Refinery

Wamsutta Oil Refinery

Wamsutta Oil Refinery

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Wamsutta Oil Refinery was established around 1861 in McClintocksville in Venango County near Oil City, Pennsylvania, in the United States. It was the first business enterprise of Henry Huttleston Rogers (1840-1909), who became a famous capitalist, businessman, industrialist, financier, and philanthropist.

Whale oil and petroleum compete

Prior to the second half of the 19th century, whale oil was the primary source of fuel for lighting in the United States. The whaling industry was the mainstay for many New England coastal communities for over 200 years. Among these was Fairhaven, Massachusetts, founded on land purchased by English settlers of the Plymouth Colony from an Indian chief and his son, who was named Wamsutta.

In 1854, natural oil (petroleum) was discovered in western Pennsylvania. In 1859, George Bissell and Edwin L. Drake made the first successful use of a drilling rig at Titusville, Pennsylvania. This single well soon exceeded the entire cumulative oil output which had taken place in Europe since the 1650s. The principal product of the oil was kerosene. Another related product was natural gas. Kerosene and natural gas soon replaced whale oil in North America. In New England, whaling reached its peak in 1857, then gradually began a period of decline. The situation was aggravated considerably by the American Civil War, as whaling vessels and crews were diverted to assist in blockading the Confederate coastal areas and ports. By 1900, the whaling industry had...
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