Hydrocarbons. Arguably our planets most valuable commodity, produced by millions of years worth of organic matter fermenting under a combination of extreme heat and pressure deep beneath the earths surface. The result a thick black liquid, known today as crude oil.
In the early 1800’s, in Northern Pennsylvania after the emergence of stories of this black liquid seeping from the ground, the then fledgling Seneca Oil Company sent Colonel Edwin Drake to the area in search of this elusive substance. Drake, a retired railroad worker from New York, selected only because he had a free rail pass was tasked with pioneering a reliable method of extracting this liquid in the hope it could be used for lighting homes. Drake accepted the task and set about finding a solution as quickly as possible. But of course, it was never going to be that easy.