(from the History Channel Website)
The 19th century was a period of great change and rapid industrialization. The iron and steel industry spawned new construction materials, the railroads connected the country and the discovery of oil provided a new source of fuel. The discovery of the Spindletop geyser in 1901 drove huge growth in the oil industry. Within a year, more than 1,500 oil companies had been chartered, and oil became the dominant fuel of the 20th century and an integral part of the American economy.
Many of the early explorers of America encountered petroleum deposits in some form. They noted oil slicks off the coast of California in the sixteenth century. Louis Evans located deposits along the eastern seaboard on a 1775 map of the English Middle Colonies.
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