Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM


ADOMITES, Paul, 1139 Route 38, Emlenton, PA 16373 and BRICE, William R., 116 Luna Lane, Johnstown, PA 15904,

With so many headlines about the hydrofracturing process, or “fracking,” we sometimes lose sight of the fact that it is not a new process. In fact the technique of using some kind of process to enhance the flow of petroleum or natural gas from a well is almost as old as the modern petroleum industry itself. Edwin Drake brought in the first drilled oil well on the banks of Oil Creek near Titusville in 1859, and Col. E. A. L. Roberts and his brother Walter did the first “fracking” in 1864, not too far from the original Drake Well on Watson Flats. However, instead of high pressure fluids, sand, and chemicals, Col. Roberts did his work with black powder and later with nitroglycerin. This is the story of the people involved with the first fracturing of rock in a well, who they were, how they did it, and the result of their work.