Historical oil shocks

Authored by: James D. Hamilton

Routledge Handbook of Major Events in Economic History

Print publication date:  January  2013
Online publication date:  February  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415677035
eBook ISBN: 9780203067871
Adobe ISBN: 9781135080808


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Illuminants, lubricants, and solvents in the 1850s were obtained from a variety of sources, such as oil from lard or whales, alcohol from agricultural products, and turpentine from wood. Several commercial enterprises produced petroleum or gas from treatment of coal, asphalt, coal-tars, and even shale. But a new era began when Edwin Drake successfully produced commercially usable quantities of crude oil from a 69–foot well in Pennsylvania in 1859.

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