The Arrival of Petroleum, Rockefeller, and the Lessons He taught Us
Before the arrival of petroleum there were a number of different fuels that could be used for light and power. Coal became an important fuel in industry for steam engines, but houses still cooked with wood and lit their houses with candles or whale oil. A large whaling industry existed in many parts of the world primarily to secure oil for lighting (Creighton 1995). However whale oil was expensive and only affordable by the well to do of society, particularly in 1850 where stocks dwindled due to being hunted almost to the point of extinction, the price went up dramatically (Chernow 1998) ? a hint and forerunner into the future petroleum oil scenario. This created an impetus to find another source of fuel for lighting.