My favorites from the American Oil and Gas Historical Society‘s This week in Oil and Gas History: The first US Drive-In Gas Station opens (1913), the first seismic derived oil discovery (1928) and the Oklahoma City Oil Field is discovered (1928).
December 1, 1913 – First U.S. Drive-In Service Station opens in Pittsburgh
“Good Gulf Gasoline” goes on sale when Gulf Refining Company opens America’s first drive-in service station at the corner of Baum Boulevard and St. Clair Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Unlike earlier simple curbside gasoline filling stations, this purposefully designed pagoda-style brick facility offers free air, water, crankcase service, and tire and tube installation. A manager and four attendants stand by. The service station’s lighted marquee provides shelter from bad weather.
“On its first day, the station sold 30 gallons of gasoline at 27 cents per gallon. On its first Saturday, Gulf’s new service station pumped 350 gallons of gasoline,” notes the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
The gasoline pump can trace its roots to a pump that dispensed kerosene at an Indiana grocery store in the late 1880s. See First Gas Pump and Service Station.
Gulf Refining Company’s decision to open the first service station (above) along Baum Boulevard in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was no accident. By 1913 the boulevard had become known as “automobile row’” because of the high number of dealerships.
December 4, 1928 – First Oil Discovery using Reflection Seismography
Amerada Petroleum drills into a Viola limestone formation in Oklahoma – the first successful oil well produced from a geological structure identified by a reflection seismograph.
The exploration technology for the first time reveals an oil reservoir near Seminole. Successfully tested as early as June 1921, reflection seismography – seismic surveying – will lead to oilfield discoveries across the world.
Amerada Petroleum’s subsidiary Geophysical Research applies the new technology, which has evolved from World War I weapons research. Scientists developed portable equipment that used seismic reflections from artillery to aid the in locating the source.
Seismic: An energy source (explosive charge, weight drop, vibration generator), creates sound waves that reflect of subsurface layers, returning to surface detectors.
December 4, 1928 – Oklahoma City Well uncovers Giant Oilfield
Henry Foster’s Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company and Foster Petroleum Corporation bring in the 4,000 barrel-a-day Oklahoma City No. 1 well, discovery well for the Oklahoma City oilfield.
Petroleum companies had searched for decades before this successful well is completed just south of the city limits.
The 6,335-foot-deep wildcat well produces an astonishing 110,000 barrels of oil in its first 27 days, causing a rush of development that soon extends the field northward toward the capitol.
The Oklahoma City oilfield added stability to the economy of Oklahoma during the Great Depression.