12
   

Who doscovered oil first in the USA and what happened after that?

 
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2008 01:12 am
@Setanta,
I am tired butI finally got it:
'it clung to everything it touched, instantly igniting any organic material--ship's hull, oars, rigging, crew, and their clothing. Nothing was immune.'

It was probably hand-written and 'cl' looked like a 'd' and was typed as a 'd'.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2008 06:52 am
@talk72000,
Of course it was originally "clung," and yes, it got rendered as "dung"--i was just exercising my perverse sense of humor.

However, this:

Quote:
It was probably hand-written and 'cl' looked like a 'd' and was typed as a 'd'.


. . . was very likely not the answer.

This probably resulted from the lazy use of an OCR program. The dreaded OCR program (optical character recognition) is a program which takes an image of printed words and renders them as text which can then be read, and edited on-screen on your computer. It has several applications--such as in security systems in which a license plate on a car from a camera image can be converted to text--but the most common is simply to take a scanned image of a page of a book which is then rendered into readable text at a web site.

But it is sheer laziness (and probably stupidity) for people to use an OCR program and then fail to re-read the text and edit it appropriately. So, for example, i recently posted a portion of Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England in a thread, but only after i had edited the text. It was an appalling example of the stupidity of those who use OCR programs that it had not been corrected at the university web site where i had found it.

If you will look at this page, you will see examples of what i am about to describe. That linked text, however, has a few errors. The most immediate is that the "s" it describes, which looks a lot like an "f," was also used in handwritten texts (see the Declaration of Independence or the United States Constitution, for example) as well as in printed texts, and it was in use well into the 19th century. It also appears that whoever prepared that page was unaware that the two different types of the letter "s" (the one with which we are familiar and the one that looks a lot like an "f") were often used together. Therefore, to someone who doesn't understand this, the word "success" using one of these typefaces could look like "fucceff" or like "fuccefs."

The text from Blackstone which i posted to the thread, even though it was from a university website, was an egregious example of the lazy or stupid use of an OCR program. Here is how it appears at the site of Yale University's Avalon project:

Quote:
THE law of nations is a fyftem of rules, deducible by natural reafon, and eftablifhed by univerfal confent among the civilized inhabitants of the world a ; in order to decide all difputes, to regulate all ceremonies and civilities, and to infure the obfervance frequently occur between two or more independent ftates, and the individuals belonging to each.


This is OCR program use run amok, and it is shameful that a university such as Yale hadn't bothered to check their work. The passage above, when cured of it's OCR faults should read:

Quote:
THE law of nations is a system of rules, deducible by natural reason, and established by universal consent among the civilized inhabitants of the world a ; in order to decide all disputes, to regulate all ceremonies and civilities, and to insure the observance frequently occur between two or more independent states, and the individuals belonging to each.


I have absolutely no doubt that the text you quoted had been rendered usable (arguably) by an OCR program, and then he or she or they who posted it online were either too stupid or too lazy to check the text. Otherwise, they would have realized the "clung" had been rendered as "dung."
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2008 07:35 am
The utility of oil as a fuel and lubricant, can be traced mostly to Abe Gessner, a CAnadian who, in 1849 developed a process for fractionating petroleum into kero and several other by products (including glycerine), which, up till then was mostly gotten from whale oil.

After Drake,(1865) Johny Rockefeller, and several partners (Including I W Farben)set up a large network of kerosene cracking units in Ohio. This later became the Standard Oil Co.

A lot of things conspired to substitute whale oil with petroleum. These included

1The civil War did a lot to decrease the size of the whaling fleet

2The cracking process of petroleum was easier and cheaper than hunting whales.The product line of whales dropped markedly in the years after the Civil WAr, so that by mid 1870's there were less than 40 ships doing whaling (The whale fleet was as big as 750 ships at one time)

3Whale oil just STANK as a lamp oil

4 The biggest by product of whales, called glycerine, was needed for explosives manufacture. WHen John D set up Standard oil, less than 2 years later Nobel invented dynamite and the need for glycerine gwadoopled. (Farben gruppe, later IG Farben, ws a major stockholder in Standard and, before Standard was busted up, it developed many of these oil distillates into other useful chemicals because STandard had plenty of feedstock that whales couldnt provide)
A little later (1880? about)The TWiuchell/Gessner process also had a side reaction that allowed hydrogenation and later a process for removing the glycerine from the petrolea molecules. (oil is a mish mash of many chemical substances merely bound loosely). Glycerine , almost exclusively gotten from whale oil,was originally used in milled soaps but with all that sulfuric acid around, it was discovered to make a mighty fine (yet very unstable) explosive, which was, later desensitized by NObel and people could use the product, DYNOMITE, for baseball bats, it was that safe. (UNless of course you let it re distil by sitting in heat)

Whales were actually saved by industrial processes rather than an actual "SAVE THE WHALES" program, we still use whales a teeny bit in JApan , and those are mostly for Sushi.

ANYTHING that whales could provide, petroleum could provide better or, in the case of faux whalebone, could provide cheaper for a slightly inferior product.

Now, the increasin need for petroleum led to several oil exploration programs in the US that made the late 1800's and early 1900's an exciting time to be an oil person.
In those days , oil was mostly a hit or miss discovery. Uses of earliest field data was pretty much limited to mapped oil seeps . In the late 1800's , it was discovered that other seeps could produce even greater amounts of oil and the Barret Field near Nacadoches Texas was developed as a 300 to 400 bbl a day field. The drillers noted that these wells were in areas of saline soil that looked like circular salt pits with lots of caves and depressions. The geologists called these salt domes and just kept drilling the same way (shallow). In the late 1880's , a series of drillers ,seeking water for agriculture, discovered that the deeper on drilled the more the fluids were under pressure (THEY HAD ONLY BEGUN TO REALIZE THAT THE SALT DOMES WERE VERY DEEP) . SO some dreillers began hitting that nuisance , oil, in their dreillfluid and thsi led to the bringing in of the Lucas Field that was located in the salt dome that later became known as Splindletop. All this occured in the very early 1900's and these "gushers" as the overpressured fields were called , began proving out at thousands of barrels a day, not the 10 to 300 barrels that came of shallow drilling near seeps.

Technology still wasnt very advanced and oil finding was more luck than skill. However, the oil explorers became more associatede with geologists who began figuring out why oil was where it was and how the age of the fields helps determine the optimal drilling locations and yields of "plays".

Today, our hit rate is over 80% (from an early 20th century hit rate of less than 5%)

Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2008 09:36 am
@farmerman,
Quote:
The civil War did a lot to decrease the size of the whaling fleet


The decline in the available population did a lot more to decrease the size of the whaling fleet. The London whalers were down after 1813, but not out. With several nations' whaling fleets in operation in large numbers from 1815 onward, and with each ship hoping to take from 30 to 40 "old bulls" in a three year voyage, 100,000 or more whales, most of them large males, were taken each decade. By the time the Civil War in the United States began, more than a half-million whales had been taken in the South Sea "fishery," and once again, most of those were the identifiable large males. This had an obviously drastic effect on breeding viability of the sperm whale. Keep in mind that when USS Essex devastated the London whalers, she did so by taking 15 prizes in six months time, and not all of those were whalers. From the perspective of a frigate taking prizes, that was wonderful work (and doubtless made the captain and crew a considerable amount of money, including Midshipman David Farragut, the future hero of the U.S. Navy in the Civil War); from the perspective of the size of the South Seas whaling fleet, it shows just how small that fleet was in 1813. At the point at which there were 750 whalers out there, the "resource harvesting" area of the trade was saturated--it was a case of far too many would be profiteers chasing a dwindling resource. Sperm whales were first taken in the North Atlantic (where they were in relatively small numbers) in the 18th century, and the relatively small population was followed into the South Atlantic. By the end of the 18th century, the commercial whale fisheries of the North Atlantic were just about played out, and the American, English and French fleets had transferred almost completely to the South Atlantic.

By that time, the size of the whaling fleets was increasing, both because of the more wide-spread use of whale products by consumers and industry, and because of the success of the American revolution had lead to a burgeoning and vigorous competition with the English on the part of Americans. In 1786, James Colnett, who had sailed as a midshipman with James Cook on the second voyage, was fitted out for an expedition to the Pacific Northwest of North America, because of the value of the sea otter pelts (highly valued in China) which had been obtained during Cook's third voyage. The expedition was intended to pay its own costs, and even to make a profit, by taking whales along the way, and especially by taking or trading for sea otter pelts on the northwest coast.

Colnett's voyage, although attempted on the cheap, was nonetheless outfitted according to Royal Navy standards, and Colnett was seconded by competent officers and petty officers, and Captain Colnett himself kept the kind of meticulous records for which James Cook had been justfiably famous. The most important effect (an unintended consequence) of Colnett's voyage was to develop the South Seas whale fishery. After the War of 1812, New England whalers went out in numbers sufficient to dwarf the entire number of English and French whalers combined.

The Civil War did not so much decrease the size of the whaling fleet as it reduced it to reasonable levels. The frenzy to profit from the Pacific sperm whale fishery had already died away. As FM points out, it was an expensive undertaking--a sharp case of being obliged to spend money in order to make money, and the money needed to be spent up front. Whaling crews did not need to be paid, they took shares of the catch, so the high costs were entailed in outfitting the vessel and provisioning the ship before it sailed. Once at sea, no further costs were necessarily entailed, although storm damage might require the master to draw on letters of credit to get materials for repair in Valparaiso. That port, however, was notorious for not having what was needed, and for charging astronomical prices for what was available. Most whalers operated on military principles, and took as much sail cloth, cordage and spars as could reasonably be packed into the hold along with the barrels for the whale oil. The chase for the wild profits of the sperm whale fisheries was already in decline when Drake started drilling in Titusville.

At all events, FM's information confirms what i pointed out, which is that initially, primitive petroleum distillates did not provide the lubricants necessary to replace the use of whale oil in industry. But as for the size of the whaling fleet, as is the case in so many commercial frenzies, by the time it had increased to over 500 ships, and by the time whalers were chasing after whales as far west as the coasts of New Zealand and Australia, and as far north as the coasts of Japan and Alaska, the enterprise was already being overworked. By 1850, the whaling fleets of the world had already begun to rapidly decline, because it had become a matter of luck whether or not a ship could find enough whales to fill its hold before the hundreds of other whalers showed up to exploit the whales that ship had found. Like the "dot-com" boom or the sub-prime mortgage scam, whaling became such a hot commercial venture that people rushed to capitalize whaling operations and outfit ships at the very time when the sheer numbers of whalers at sea were making it unprofitable.
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2008 11:41 am
@isabella7097,
So, Isabella. Does this answer your question? (chuckling to myself) Razz
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2008 11:48 am
I got suckered into commenting despite my own rule of not doing homework. Well, anyway, she probably was scared away by Setanta.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2008 12:10 pm
I think that she probably got enough material from you and from me in our first responses, and that how she has shaken the dust of this site from her virtual shoes and has no further interest in our ramblings . . .
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2008 07:06 pm
@Setanta,
well, IMHO, you and Farmerman are some of the best ramblers on A2K, partic on this subject. No need to stop now, unless you feel like it.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2008 08:01 pm
Thats all I got.
0 Replies
 
Mr Stillwater
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 02:09 am
Actually, it wasn't the 'discovery' of oil that did the trick. It was the 'refining' of the oil into its constituents. Incredibly, the first oil refineries were set up in places like Poland and Romania in the 1850 and produced kerosene (I think the US calls it paraffin). This is what replaced whale oil in lamps - the other fractions like diesel and petroleum were just dumped in the nearest creek.
Mr Stillwater
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 02:32 am
@Ragman,
Quote:
So, Isabella. Does this answer your question?


Isabella. Born: August 1997. Posted on A2K, then disappeared. Probably cause; her mum took her to the mall with her friends. There's a signpost up ahead... you're crossing into the Twilight Zone.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 11:20 am
@Mr Stillwater,
No, in the United States the term paraffin is applied to a waxy substance made from aromatic hydrocarbons. In the U.S. we call kerosene kerosene.
0 Replies
 
 

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