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Encyclopedia > Samuel M. Kier

Samuel Martin Kier (July 19, 1813 - October 6, 1874) was an American inventor and businessman who is credited with founding the American petroleum refining industry. He has been dubbed the Grandfather of the American Oil Industry by historians. July 19 is the 200th day (201st in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 165 days remaining. ... 1813 is a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... October 6 is the 279th day of the year (280th in Leap years). ... 1874 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... An inventor is a person who creates new inventions, typically technical devices such as mechanical, electrical or software devices or methods. ... Nodding donkey pumping an oil well near Sarnia, Ontario, 2001 Petroleum (from Latin petra – rock and oleum – oil), crude oil, sometimes colloquially called black gold, is a thick, dark brown or greenish flammable liquid, which exists in the upper strata of some areas of the Earths crust. ... View of the Shell/Valero Martinez oil refinery An oil refinery is an industrial process plant where crude oil is processed and refined into useful petroleum products. ...


Kier was born in Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, near the town of Livermore. He was the son of Thomas Kier and Mary Martin Kier. The Kiers were Scotch-Irish immigrants who owned several salt wells around Livermore and nearby Saltsburg, Pennsylvania. Conemaugh Township is a township located in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. ... Indiana County is a county located in the state of Pennsylvania. ... Livermore, Pennsylvania is the name of a former borough located on the Conemaugh River in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. ... Ulster-Scots is a term mainly used in Ireland and Britain (Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irishis commonly used in North America) primarily to refer to Presbyterian Scots, or their descendents, who migrated from the Scottish Lowlands to Ulster (the northern province of Ireland), largely across the 17th century. ... Immigration is the act of moving to or settling in another country or region, temporarily or permanently. ... Saltsburg is a borough located in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. ...


In addition to the salt business, Samuel helped found Kier, Royer and Co., in 1838. The company was a canal boat operation that shipped coal between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Kier also owned interest in several coal mines, a brickyard, and a pottery factory. City nickname: The Steel City Location in the state of Pennsylvania Founded 1758 Mayor Tom Murphy (Dem) Area  - Total  - Water 151. ... Philadelphia is a village located in Jefferson County, New York. ...


He, along with several other investors including Benjamin F. Jones, founded several iron foundries in central Pennsylvania. The iron business would be the forerunner of the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company, one of the largest steel producers in America.


By the 1840s, Kier's salt wells were becoming fouled with petroleum. At first, Kier simple dumped the useless oil into the nearby Pennsylvania Main Line Canal, but after an oil slick caught fire, he was forced to stop. He then decided to look for some way to profit from this otherwise worthless byproduct.


With no formal training in science or chemistry, he began experimenting with several distillates of the crude oil. He developed a substance he named "Rock Oil" and later "Seneca Oil". In 1848 he began packaging the substance as a patent medicine charging the exorbitant price of $0.50 per bottle. He also produced petroleum butter (petroleum jelly) and sold it as a topical ointment. Neither product proved to be a commercial success. What is science? There are different theories of what science is. ... Chemistry (in Greek: χημεία) is the science of matter and its interactions with energy and itself (see physics, biology). ... Patent medicine is the term given to various medical compounds sold under a variety of names and labels, though they were for the most part actually trademarked medicines, not patented. ... Petroleum jelly or petrolatum is a byproduct of the refining of petroleum, made from the residue of petroleum distillation left in the still after all the oil has been vaporized. ...


After further experimenting, he discovered an economical way to produce kerosene. Kerosene had been known for some time but was not widely produced and was considered to have little economic value. But at the time whale oil, the principle fuel for lamps in America, was becoming increasingly scarce and expensive. Kerosene, gas oil, or paraffin (not the same as the waxy solid of that name) is a colorless flammable hydrocarbon liquid. ...


Kier began selling the kerosene, named "Carbon Oil", to local miners in 1851. He also invented a new lamp to burn his product. Kier unfortunately never obtained a patent for his developments and many other inventors and businessmen would go on to improve upon his work yielding huge fortunes. Even so, Kier's income at the time exceeded US$40,000 per year, a huge sum for the time. Events January 23 - The flip of a coin determines whether a new city in Oregon is named after Boston, Massachusetts, or Portland, Maine, with Portland winning. ... A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a government to a person for a fixed period of time in exchange for the regulated, public disclosure of certain details of an invention. ...


Kier established America's first oil refinery in Pittsburgh in 1854. Kier consulted with Edwin Drake concerning his experimental oil well and the first shipment of oil from Drake's well went to Kier's refinery. 1854 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Edwin Laurentine Colonel Drake (1819-1880), an American oil driller, is popularly credited with having discovered oil. ... An oil well is a laymans term for any perforation through the Earths surface designed to find and release both petroleum oil and gas hydrocarbons. ...


External links

  • Before gas and oil, petroleum yielded riches in another form (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/opinion/columnists/vignettes/s_169345.html)
  • Petroleum and the Birth of an Industry (http://www.che.utexas.edu/~kenneth/petrol/)

 
 

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