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Edwin Drake. Portrait of US oil engineer Edwin Drake (1819-1890). Drake, known as 'Colonel', was in charge of a drilling operation at Titusville, Pennsylvania, USA, in 1859. On 27 August, with the well 23 metres deep, oil shot skywards from the drilling pipe. This was the first oil discovered on U.S. soil, and was the beginning of the 'black gold rush' of oil exploration. The oil produced was refined by George Bissell, who marketed one of the fractions under the name 'kerosene'.
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