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Journal Article

Oil at 150: Energy Past and Future in Pennsylvania

Brian Black and Marcy Ladson
Pennsylvania Legacies
Vol. 10, No. 1 (May 2010), pp. 6-13
DOI: 10.5215/pennlega.10.1.6
Stable URL:
Page Count: 8
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Oil at 150: Energy Past and Future in Pennsylvania
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Abstract Icons shape many of our memories of historical events. This image of colonel Edwin Drake (in top hat, below) and a local druggist named Peter Wilson at the world's first intentionally drilled oil well was shot by an undnown photgrapher in 1861. It illustrates the birth of the conspicuous consumption of hydrocarbons in the hills of Pennsylvania. We assume, with our subconscious knowledge of resources, that this oil well sparked a clear change in our usage that resulted in Henry Ford's Model T, “Getting Our Kicks on route 66,” OPEC's embargo, and American's fetish with gas-guzzling vehicles like GM's Hummer. Closer to home, we might see the natural connections to Breezewood, Pennsylvania, the city of motels, the Lincoln Highway, or the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

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