The American Petroleum Industry: The Age of Illumination, 1859-1899

By Harold F. Williamson; Arnold R. Daum | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
Changing techniques of production

Much of the permanence of the new petroleum mining industry that had emerged by the early 1870's was based on the rapid evolution of production techniques during the preceding decade. In reviewing the technological developments, J. T. Henry, writing in 1873, could say with a great deal of truth, "the business of operating in oil has been shorn of nearly all its drawbacks."1

Many of the changes relating to production came as practical oilmen responded to the particular problems encountered in the fields. Others had their origin in the mainstream of improvements affecting the economy as a whole. In either instance, innovation and adaptation left few immediate operating needs unsatisfied for long. New devices and mechanical applications were put into general practice with a speed that matched the reactions of operators to strikes in a new territory. There

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