I caught a few minutes of a History Channel show on the beginnings of the oil boom in Pennsylvania in 1853 which showed that, prior to its discovery as a fuel, “black gold” was used as a salve for all sorts of ailments. Anyway, in one of the old advertisements they showed, it was called “Rock Oil, or Petroleum,” and suddenly it all clicked. Petra=rock. Oleum=oil. Just like corn oil or sunflower-seed oil or olive oil. People must have thought that this black stuff bubbling up and ruining their pure drinking water wells was oil from rocks. (Too bad some of them didn’t realize that the men selling it as a remedy were salesmen of oil from snakes.) Once again, it’s funny how that was there all along and I never discovered it until now (and with a little help).

PatrickConnections/Words03/18/04 1 comments


Dad • 03/20/04 10:00 AM:

There really is oil from rocks, but it hasn’t been harnessed much yet. For a time, I worked on development of “Shale Oil” technology, which Exxon was hoping would help replace mid-East oil. Exxon even purchased a project from TOSCO (The Oil Shale Company) in Parachute Creek Colorado, but the technology didn’t work and the project was eventually cancelled under it’s own excessive financial weight.

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

Please capitalize your name properly and use the same information each time you comment. We will not send you spam, and your email address will not be posted.

Remember me?


Related Entries
  1. See How They Run
    Stockings needed mending? See how they run? Stockings? Run?
  1. Peach
    If peaches are not “peach” colored, then what is?
  1. With a name like Smucker’s
    What does it mean to have a name like Smucker’s?