Cover image for A Few Scraps, Oily and Otherwise By Alfred W. Smiley

A Few Scraps, Oily and Otherwise

Alfred W. Smiley

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$24.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-06212-9

224 pages
5" × 8"
55 b&w illustrations
1907

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A Few Scraps, Oily and Otherwise

Alfred W. Smiley

First published in 1907, A Few Scraps records the birth of the oil industry in Pennsylvania from the eyewitness perspective of Alfred Smiley, a Pennsylvania native who worked on the world’s first modern oil well. The “Drake” well, often called the birthplace of the modern petroleum industry, was struck on Oil Creek near Titusville, Pennsylvania, in August 1859. Smiley worked on this well and many others throughout the region, riding the overnight success and eventual decline of the oil boom in the second half of the nineteenth century. Mixing a quirky personal narrative with historical information, Smiley recounts stories of the growing oil industry and its effects on life in western Pennsylvania. He describes in lucid detail the early processes and practices of the oil rigs and pipelines, the fever of speculation, and the characters responsible for the creation of “oildom.” The text incorporates unique photographs from the late nineteenth century, providing a further glimpse into the development of communities on the verge of modernization and industrialization.

 

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An Open Access edition of A Few Scraps, Oily and Otherwise is available through PSU Press Unlocked. To access this free electronic edition click here. Print editions are also available.

First published in 1907, A Few Scraps records the birth of the oil industry in Pennsylvania from the eyewitness perspective of Alfred Smiley, a Pennsylvania native who worked on the world’s first modern oil well. The “Drake” well, often called the birthplace of the modern petroleum industry, was struck on Oil Creek near Titusville, Pennsylvania, in August 1859. Smiley worked on this well and many others throughout the region, riding the overnight success and eventual decline of the oil boom in the second half of the nineteenth century. Mixing a quirky personal narrative with historical information, Smiley recounts stories of the growing oil industry and its effects on life in western Pennsylvania. He describes in lucid detail the early processes and practices of the oil rigs and pipelines, the fever of speculation, and the characters responsible for the creation of “oildom.” The text incorporates unique photographs from the late nineteenth century, providing a further glimpse into the development of communities on the verge of modernization and industrialization.

Alfred W. Smiley (1843–1927) was a clerk, administrator, and owner of several oil fields, operating his own refinery in Shamburg, Pennsylvania. He later became a member of the first board of directors of the Foxburg, St. Petersburg, and Clarion Railroad Company. In 1886 he was elected to the legislature for Clarion County, and he served as the Democratic presidential elector for the twenty-seventh district of Pennsylvania.

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