c. Pitch was used as axle grease for chariots of the Pharaohs in Egypt.
d. The Greeks destroyed a Scythian fleet by pouring oil on the sea and setting it on fire (Scythian:
ancient nomadic people who inhabited Scythia adjacent to the Black Sea).
e. Early records in China indicate the use of both oil and natural gas.
f. Early American use of petroleum:
(1) The first use of petroleum in America dates back to the Indians who obtained oil by skimming it
from the surface of springs and streams (it appeared as a thick, scummy substance).
(2) Early Americans dating from the colonists to the first half of the nineteenth century had only the
fatty tissue of animals (tallow) from which candles were made ad whale oil for light. Whaling became a major
industry as New England ships combed the seas. Over the years, the supply of whales became scarce ad the need
for an alternate source of fuel became obvious.
(3) During the early 1850s, some oils for illumination were being distilled from coal and petroleum
skimmed off ponds and streams.
(4) The beginnings of the petroleum industry in the United States, as we know it today, occurred in
Titusville, PA in August 1859 when COL Edwin Drake successfully drilled the first oil well in America. The
successful drilling of petroleum led many to believe that an endless supply of economic energy had been
discovered. It was soon after that the oil boom began in America and the first refinery was put into operation
(1861). Refineries initially concentrated on the production of kerosene (an odorless, smokeless illuminate),
greases, and lubricating oils.
g. The use of petroleum by the military in America:
(1) The use of petroleum products by the United States Armed Forces can be traced back to the
Revolutionary War when coal ad kerosene were purchased to keep Washington's soldiers warm in the winter.
(2) Prior to World War I, mechanized warfare had not yet come into its own and the requirements for
petroleum products were relatively small and easily filled.
(3) During World War I, the tank made its first major appearance on the modem battlefield. Fewer
than 200,000 barrels of oil products were supplied daily to the allied forces, but even with this limited use of
petroleum, its impact on the war effort was realized by both sides.
(a) Realization of its importance was stated best by Lord Cruzon who, after the armistice in
1918, said, "The World War was won for the Allies not by blood, but by oil."
(b) More significant was the confession of Germany's military strategist, General Lundendorff,
who, in his memoirs stated, "It was chiefly because of insufficient oil reserves in the World War that the German
General Staff was forced to sue for peace."
(4) After World War I, the Army increased its dependence on petroleum products when it began to
mechanize its forces.