Year Keyword Event  and Description
1233 en ec Coal U England mines coal at Newcastle for the first time. The town will become so famous for its coal that “carrying coals to Newcastle” will become a common phrase to signify superfluous effort. 
1600 en ee Electric U De Magnete, Magneticisique Corporibus by English physicist-physician William Gilbert, 60, is a pioneer work on electricity that introduces such terms as electric attraction, electric force, and magnetic pole (see Leyden jar, 1745). 
1615 en ec Coal U England turns increasingly to cheap coal as timber grows scarce and firewood becomes costly (see 1658). 
1628 en ir Steam U English engineer Edward Somerset invents the first crude steam engine (see Savery, 1698). 
1698 en ir Steam U English engineer Thomas Savery, 48, pioneers the steam engine with a crude steam-powered “miner’s friend” to pump water out of coal mines (see Newcomen, 1705; Watt, 1765). 
1709 en ir Coal K An industrial revolution begins in England with the discovery that coke, made from coal, may be substituted for charcoal, made from wood, in blast furnaces used to make pig iron and cast iron. Growth of iron smelting has been limited by the fact that it takes 200 acres of forest to supply one smelting furnace with a year’s supply of charcoal, but Quaker ironmaster Abraham Darby, 31, finds that coke serves just as well for his furnaces at Coalbrookdale, Shropshire, where he makes iron boilers for the Newcomen engine, invented in 1705. Regular use of coke will not come for 50 years and will await improvements by Darby’s son and namesake, but Darby’s breakthrough brings an immediate surge in the demand for coal and for the Newcomen engine, whose energy will be used increasingly to permit production of coal from flooded colliery galleries. 
1746 en ee Franklin U Benjamin Franklin begins experiments with electricity at Philadelphia. Franklin will improve the Leyden jar (or Kleistian jar) invented last year by replacing its water with pulverized lead and he will invent an adaptation of the Leyden jar—a foil-coated pane of glass that will be called the Franklin pane (see kite, 1751; Priestley, 1767). 
1751 en ee Franklin U Benjamin Franklin discovers the electrical nature of lightning by flying a kite in a thunderstorm. The kite has a wire conductor, a key at the end of its wet twine kite string, and a silk insulator which Franklin keeps dry by standing in a doorway. He sends his friends in England a paper entitled “Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia” and will follow it with other papers on the subject. He works to develop a lightning rod that will pre-vent the fires that so often begin in thunderstorms (see 1752). 
1765 en ir Steam T The steam-driven three-wheel gun tractor devised by French engineer Nicholas Joseph Cugnot, 40, pioneers development of the automobile. Cugnot’s gun tractor can run at 2.5 miles per hour but must stop every 100 feet or so to make steam (see Trevithick, 18
1765 en ir Steam U Scotsman James Watt, 29, invents a steam engine that produces power far more efficiently than the Newcomen engine of 1705. Mathematical instrument maker to the University of Glasgow, Watt employs a separate chamber, or condenser, to condense exhaust steam from the cylinder of his engine (see Boulton and Watt Foundry, 1769). 
1769 en ir Steam U James Watt patents his 1765 steam engine with some improvements, grants two-thirds of the profits to ironworks owner John Roebuck, who has financed his experiments, and goes into partnership with engineer Mathew Boulton, 41, to found the Boulton & Watt Foundry at Birmingham (see Wilkinson, 1774). 
1774 en ir Steam K English ironmaster John Wilkinson, 46, patents a precision cannon borer that will permit commercial development of the Watt steam engine of 1769. Wilkinson’s borer permits accurate boring of cylinders (see steam flour mill, 1780). 
1782 en ir Steam U James Watt patents a double-acting rotary steam engine. He has improved on his engine of 1765 and employs the new engine to drive machinery of all kinds
1783 en ee Electric U A crude electric cell constructed by Italian anatomist Luigi Galvani, 49, employs two different metals and the natural fluids from a dissected frog. Galvani decides that the electric current produced by the cell must derive from the frog fluids (see Volta
1799 en eg Gas U Gas lighting is pioneered by French chemist and civil engineer Philippe Lebon, 30, who develops methods for producing inflammable gas from wood. Lebon will make important contributions to the theory of gas lighting and will foresee most 19th-century uses 
1799 en eg Gas U Scottish steam engineer William Murdock, 45, develops methods for purifying and storing gas. He has worked in Cornwall for Boulton and Watt since 1779 and carried out experiments in the distillation of coal, peat, and wood.  
1821 en eg Gas U The first U.S. natural gas well is tapped at Fredonia, N.Y. 
1821 en ee Electric U English chemist-physicist Michael Faraday, 29, pioneers the electric motor with a demonstration of electromagnetic rotation. He has pondered on Oersted’s 1819 discovery and conducts various experiments, including one involving a 
1823 en ee Electric F Michael Faraday discovers the basic principle of the electric dynamo (see 1821; Sturgeon, 1823). His electromagnetic current generator consists simply of a cylindrical coil (solenoid) and a bar magnet that can be slipped into the coil, but Faraday succeeds in generating electrical current October 17 and discovers electromagnetic induction. He finds by using his galvanometer that a current is registered while the magnet is being inserted, and that the current starts again in the opposite direction when the magnet is withdrawn, but that no current is registered while the magnet is stationary (see galvanometer, 1826; Gramme, 1872). 
1826 en ee Electric U Electrodynamics by André Ampère expands knowledge of electricity (see 1820). 
1827 en ee Electric U German physicist Georg Simon Ohm, 38, finds that the current flowing through an electrical conductor is proportional to the voltage across it and inversely proportional to its resistance. This will be called Ohm’s Law and the practical unit of electrical resistance will be called the ohm to honor Ohm’s discovery of the relationship between the strength (or intensity) of an unvarying electrical current (the electromotive force) and the resistance of a circuit (see Ampère, 1820). 
1831 en ee Electric U Michael Faraday discovers the basic principle of the electric dynamo (see 1821; Sturgeon, 1823). His electromagnetic current generator consists simply of a cylindrical coil (solenoid) and a bar magnet that can be slipped into the coil, but Faraday succeeds in generating electrical current October 17 and discovers electromagnetic induction. He finds by using his galvanometer that a current is registered while the magnet is being inserted, and that the current starts again in the opposite direction when the magnet is withdrawn, but that no current is registered while the magnet is stationary (see galvanometer, 1826; Gramme, 1872). 
1831 en ee Electric U Joseph Henry discovers a method for producing induced current much like that of Faraday’s (see 1827). The unit of induction will be called a henry. 
1851 en ee Electric U German physicist Franz Ernst Neumann, 53, enunciates the law of electromagnetic induction. 
1851 en ee Electric U German physicist-manufacturer Heinrich Daniel Ruhmkorff, 48, invents the high-tension induction coil. 
1851 en ee Electric S William Thomson gives a complete account of thermodynamic theory that coordinates the discoveries of the past half-century. The Glasgow mathematics professor, whose 1848 absolute scale of temperature will be called the Kelvin scale after 1892 when Queen Victoria raises him to the peerage as Baron Kelvin of Largs, has developed the findings reported in 1840 by J. P. Joule, he will lay the foundations of the theory of electric oscillations, and his study of the oscillating discharge of condensers will lead to the discovery of radio waves by German physicist Heinrich Hertz in 1887. 
1859 en ee Electric U Electric home lighting has its first U.S. demonstration. Salem, Mass., inventor Moses Gerrish Farmer, 39, lights two incandescent lamps on his mantelpiece with platinum strip filaments powered by a wet-cell voltaic battery. 
1859 en ee Electric U French physicist Gaston Plante, 25, invents the first practical electric storage battery (see Daniell, 1836; Leclanche’s
1859 en ep Petro U Petroleum production begins at Titusville, Penna., giving the world a new source of energy and reducing demand for the whale oil, coal gas, and lard now used in lamps (see Baku, 1823). Unemployed New Haven &  Hartford Railroad conductor “Colonel” Edwin Laurentine Drake, 40, has been sent to Titusville in Pennsylvania’s Venange County by New York banker James Townsend, an associate of George Bissell (see 1854). Using salt-well drilling equipment to dig into oil-bearing strata, Drake strikes oil August 28 and his 70-foot well is soon producing 400 gallons per day (2,000 barrels per year) to begin the first commercial exploitation of petroleum in the United States and inaugurate a new era of kerosene lamps and stoves (see Gesner, 1855; Rockefeller, 1860). 
1860 en ep Exxon U John Davison Rockefeller enters the oil business at age 20. A group of local businessmen has sent the junior partner in the Cleveland produce commission firm Clark & Rockefeller to investigate the potential of the petroleum found last year at Titusville, Pa., 100 miles away. He reports back that petroleum has little future, but he pools his savings with those of his partner Maurice B. Clark, they invest $4,000 in the lard oil refinery of candle maker Samuel Andrews, and Rockefeller persuades richer men to build more refineries for petroleum which he foresees as a major energy source (see 1863). 
1863 en ep Exxon U John D. Rockefeller builds a petroleum refinery at Cleveland (see 1860; 1865). 
1868 en ep Exxon U Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler begins a battle to drive out competition in the chaotic U.S. petroleum industry as Rockefeller develops a huge market for his kerosene by underselling coal oil and whale oil (see 1865). Henry Morrison Flagler, 35, moved west from his native Canandaigua, N.Y., at age 14, he has married Mary Harkness whose uncle Stephen owns a distillery at Bellemore, Ohio, that has supplied whiskey sold by Clark & Rockefeller in Cleveland, he joined Rockefeller and Andrews last year, and he will persuade Harkness to loan the firm $70,000 that will permit acquisition of more refineries and pipelines as the firm grows larger and more efficient. With a capacity of 1,500 barrels per day when many competitors refine only one or two barrels, Rockefeller buys his wooden barrels at 96¢ each when other refiners pay $2.50 and obtains a 15¢ rebate on every barrel he ships via the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad (see Standard Oil, 1870). 
1871 en ep Co. U Brooklyn, N.Y., oilman Henry Huttleston Rogers, 31, patents machinery for separating naphtha from crude petroleum.
1872 en ee Mfg U Belgian electrician Zenobe Theophile Gramme, 46, perfects the world’s first industrial dynamo, employing a ring winding of the same type invented independently by Italian physicist Antonio Pacinotti in 1860 (see Faraday, 1831). 
1873 en eg Gas U Thaddeus Lowe of 1866 artificial ice fame discovers a process for manufacturing water gas that will greatly enhance use of gaslight illumination (see coke oven, 1897; Welsbach mantle, 1885). 
1873 en ep Co. U Russia’s Baku oil fields increase production as Alfred Nobel of 1866 dynamite fame and his brother Ludwig invest capital to build a refinery that will make Baku the world’s leading petroleum producer (see 1871; 1901). 
1873 en ee Electric U Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism by Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell, 42, describes properties of the electromagnetic field and gives equations that entail the electromagnetic theory of light (see Hertz, 1887). 
1875 en ee Edison C New York inventor Thomas Alva Edison, 28, perfects the first duplicating process to employ a wax stencil. He has developed quadruplex telegraphy, is experimenting with paraffin paper for possible use as telegraph tape, and will receive a patent next year for “a method of preparing autographic stencils for printing.” Edison will improve the process, obtain a second patent in 1880, and license Chicago lumberman Albert Blake Dick, now 19, to use his invention. Dick will construct a flat-bed duplicator suitable for office use, employing a strong stencil fabric made from a species of hazel bush that grows only in certain Japanese islands, and the first A. B. Dick Diaphragm Mimeograph will go on sale March 17, 1887 (see typewriter stencil, 1888). 
1878 en ee Edison U The first carbon filament incandescent light bulb of any value is demonstrated December 18
1878 en ee Edison U Thomas Edison works out methods for cheap production and transmission of electrical current and succeeds in subdividing current to make it adaptable to household use. Gas company shares plummet as news of Edison’s work reaches Wall Street. 
1878 en ee Edison U The Edison Electric Light Co. is founded October 15 by New York investors who have raised $50,000 to support Thomas A. Edison’s experiments. Edison receives half the stock in the company, incorporated later in the month with $300,000 in capital (see 1879). 
1879 en ee Electric U U.S. electrical wizard Elmer Ambrose Sperry, 19, invents an improved dynamo and a new type of arc lamp (see gyroscope, 1910). 
1879 en ee Edison U Sir Joseph Swan demonstrates a carbon-filament light bulb to 700 people at Newcastle-upon-Tyne February 5 while Thomas Edison experiments with filaments of platinum, carbonized paper, bamboo thread, and other substances (see 1878). The incandescent bulb that Edison demonstrates October 21 has a loop of cotton thread impregnated with lamp black and baked for hours in a carbonizing oven. This vacuum light bulb is much like the one pioneered by German chemist Herman Sprengel in 1865. After it has burned for 45 hours Edison is sure it will burn for at least 100. His bulb is announced December 21, Edison Electric Co. stock soars, and the inventor says electricity will make lighting so cheap that only the rich will be able to afford candles. But candlewax, whale oil, coal oil, coal gas, and kerosene will continue to light the world until the development of dynamos, fuses, and sockets (see 1880; 1882). 
1880 en ee Edison U Thomas Edison obtains a patent on his 1879 incandescent bulb (see Owens, 1903;
1881 en ee Edison U Thomas Edison’s Edison Electric Light Co. creates a subsidiary (The Edison Co. for Isolated Lighting) to furnish factories and large department stores with individual power plants (see 1880; Edison Illuminating, 1882). 
1883 en ee Edison C Thomas Edison pioneers the radio tube with a method for passing electricity from a filament to a plate of metal inside an incandescent light globe, and he patents the “Edison effect” (see Arnold, 1912). 
1883 en ee Gas U George Westinghouse pioneers control systems for long-distance natural gas pipelines and for town gas distribution networks (see 1882; 1885). 
1883 en em GE U Thomson-Houston Electric Co. is founded by Philadelphia inventor Elihu Thomson, 30, and electrical engineer Edwin James Houston, 36. Thomson has invented a transformer that steps down high-voltage alternating current (see 1888; General Electric, 1892). 
1884 en ir Steam U The compound steam turbine invented by English engineer Charles Algernon Parsons, 26, exerts steam power first upon a large vane wheel and then—through slots in the casing—on another vane wheel and so on until the power of the steam is spent. The turbine develops 10 horsepower at 18,000 rpm, but Parsons will add a condenser in 1891, adapt the turbine to maritime use in 1897, and be building 1,000-kilowatt turbines by 1900; his geared turbine will appear in 1910 (see 1897). 
1885 en ee Electric U The principle of the rotary magnetic field discovered by Italian physicist-electrical engineer Galileo Ferraris, 38, will lead to the development of polyphase motors (and of Italy’s hydroelectric industry). Ferraris will devise transformers for alternating current. 
1885 en ee Edison U U.S. electrical engineer William Stanley, 27, and George Westinghouse perfect a practical transformer for large electricity supply networks. They will give the first demonstration of a practical alternating-current system in March of next year at Great Barrington, Mass., and while Thomas Edison has rejected the alternating-current system in favor of direct current, Westinghouse Co. will exploit the AC system and use it to send high-voltage current over long wires, employing transformers to step down the voltage for local distribution to houses, stores, factories, and the like (see 1888; Thomson, 1883). 
1885 en ee Westinghouse U Westinghouse Electrical & Manufacturing Co. is founded by George Westinghouse who buys up rights to the European Gaulard-Gibbs transformer and will buy patents to the Nikola Tesla induction motor and Tesla polyphase alternator, which will make it economically feasible to transmit power over long distances (see 1883; 1888). 
1886 en ee Union Carbide U National Carbon Co. is founded to produce carbons for electric arc streetlights and similar carbon products (see 1879; Ever Ready battery, 1890). 
1887 en eg Cabot K Cabot Corp. has its beginnings in a lampblack firm founded by Boston entrepreneur Godfrey Cabot, 36, who breaks away from the family paint company to start the business that will be the basis of a vast fortune. Cabot has found that the oil and gas fields of western Pennsylvania are plagued by the sooty carbon debris of gas blowoffs and refining, he begins to build and acquire carbon black plants, will branch off into natural gas production and distribution, and will make his Cabot Corp. the major supplier of carbon black for electric lamp filaments, telephones, and other uses. 
1888 en ee Edison U An alternating-current (ac) electric motor developed by Croatian-American inventor Nikola Tesla, 31, applies a variation of the rotary magnetic field principle discovered 3 years ago by the Italian Galileo Ferraris to a practical induction motor that will largely supplant direct-current (dc) motors for most uses (see Stanley and Westinghouse, 1885). A former Edison Co. employee at West Orange, N.J., Tesla will make possible the production and distribution of alternating current with his induction, synchronous, and split-phase motors (he will also develop systems for polyphase transmission of power over long distances and pioneer the invention of radio), but the Tesla Electric Co. he organized last year is unsuccessful, and he will never derive much material success from his inventions (see 1893). 
1889 en ep Co. U Union Oil has its beginnings 75 miles northwest of Los Angeles, where prospector Lyman Stewart strikes oil in Torrey Canyon. 
1890 en ep Co. U Sun Oil Co. of Ohio is founded by entrepreneur Joseph Newton Pew, 42, who in 1874 married a young Titusville, Pa., woman whose family helped develop the Pennsylvania oil fields. Pew has pioneered in pumping gas by mechanical pressure, patented a pump of his own invention to supply cities with heat and light, will acquire other companies, and will market his products under the name Sunoco. 
1892 en em GE U General Electric is created through a merger engineered by New York financier J. P. Morgan who combines Henry Villard’s Edison General Electric with Charles A. Coffin’s Thomson-Houston (see 1883; Langmuir, 1912). 
1892 en ep Shell U Shell Oil has its beginnings as English entrepreneur Marcus Samuel, 57, sends his first tanker through the Suez Canal with oil for Singapore, Bangkok, and other destinations to break the Standard Oil monopoly in the Far East. Samuel and his brother control the trading company M. Samuel & Co. begun in 1830 by their late father, Marcus’s namesake, who chose the company’s shell emblem because he had earlier been in the seashell business (see Royal Dutch-Shell, 1907). 
1895 en ee Electric U The Niagara Falls Power Co. incorporated in 1889 transmits the first commercial electric power from the Falls August 26, employing three 5,000-horsepower Westinghouse Electric generators that deliver two-phase currents at 2,200 volts, 25 cycles. Pittsburgh Reduction Co. uses the power to reduce aluminum ore (see Mellon, 1891). 
1900 en ep Petro U U.S. chemist Charles Skeele Palmer, 42, invents a new process for cracking petroleum to obtain gasoline. He will sell rights to the process to Standard Oil in 1916 (see Houdry process, 1936). 
1901 en ee Edison U U.S. electrical engineer Peter Cooper Hewitt, 40, invents mercury-vapor electric lamp (his father Abram Stevens Hewitt produced the first American-made open-hearth steel in 1870). 
1901 en ep Co. U More than half the world’s oil output is from Russia’s Baku oil fields which have been developed by Ludwig Nobel, brother of dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel, and by Rothschild interests (see 1871). Nobel has devised the world’s first oil tankers and tank cars and has installed Europe’s first pipeline, but the world’s major supplier of petroleum is the United States, which will produce as much as two-thirds of the world’s export oil for 20 years (see 1946). 
1901 en ep BP U Persia sells a 60-year concession to explore for oil in four-fifths of the country to New Zealander William Knox D’Arcy who has made a fortune in Australian gold mining. D’Arcy pays $20,000 for the concession, he will sell it in 1908 to Burmah Oil Co., which will be backed by the British government in forming the Anglo-Persian Co., which will begin Middle Eastern petroleum production (see 1908). 
1901 en ep Texaco U The Beaumont Field contains more oil than the rest of the United States combined, Spindletop establishes Texas as the major petroleum-producing state, Higgins has a 10 percent interest in the Lucas lease and becomes a millionaire overnight, and the Gulf Oil Co. has its beginnings as Galey and Guffey get backing from Pittsburgh banker Andrew W. Mellon and his brother Richard, who take 40 percent of the new J. M. Guffey Petroleum Co. (see aluminum, 1891; Texas Co., 1902). 
1901 en ep Petro U The Spindletop gusher that comes in January 10 at Beaumont, Tex., gives John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust its first major competition. One-armed lumberman Patillo Higgins, now 36, located the Gulf Coast oil field in 1892 and has leased some 600 acres to Slavic-American Anthony F. Luchich (Lucas), who has been drilling since July 1899 into a salt dome on the field abandoned as unproductive by Standard Oil prospectors. Backed by Pittsburgh financiers John H. Galey and Col. J. M. Guffey, Lucas has drilled some 700 feet into the Big Hill and struck oil that spouts 110,000 barrels per day, flowing wild for 9 days before it can be brought under control. 
1902 en ep Exxon U History of the Standard Oil Company by Ida Minerva Tarbell, 44, appears in McClure’s magazine installments, revealing that John D. Rockefeller controls 90 percent of U.S. oil-refining capacity and has an annual income of $45 million. 
1902 en ep Texaco U The Texas Company is founded to battle Rockefeller interests. Former Standard Oil executive Joseph Cullinan receives backing from financier Arnold Schlaet and enlists the support of Texas governor James Hogg and John W. Gates (see 1898). Now 47, Gates has agreed to stop his “bear” raids on the stock market (after losing a fortune) and helps Cullinan buy up oil fields near Gulf Oil’s Spindletop Hill in East Texas (see 1901) and build a marketing organization that will cover the United States and much of the world (see 1903; CalTex, 1933). 
1903 en ee Edison U A new bottle-blowing machine permits volume production of electric light bulbs, whose high cost has discouraged widespread use of electric lighting. Michael J. Owens has improved his 1895 machine to create a completely automatic mechanism containing more than 9,000 parts. With the new machine, two men can produce 2,500 bottles per hour and as many light bulbs (see Langmuir, 1912). 
1903 en ep Phillips U Oil gushes out of a new well on Osage Nation land in Oklahoma Indian Territory. The town of Bartlesville springs up near Jake Bartle’s trading post (see 1905; Phillips Petroleum, 1917). 
1903 en ep Texaco U Texaco (the Texas Company) brings in its first oil well in January as prospectors make a major strike at Sour Lake, Tex. (see 1902; SoCal’s Bahrain strike, 1932). 
1907 en ep Shell U Royal Dutch-Shell is created by a merger of Henri Deterding’s Royal Dutch Oil with the 10-year-old Shell Transport and Trading Co. of English oilman Marcus Samuel, now 72 (see 1892; Anglo-Persian, 1914). 
1908 en en Nuclear S The Geiger counter developed by German physicist Hans Geiger, 26, and New Zealand-born British physicist Ernest Rutherford, 37, at Manchester University detects radioactive radiations. A high-voltage wire runs down the center of a cylinder in a near vacuum, alpha particles passing through the gas in the cylinder cause it to ionize into charged particles, and a pulse of electrical current for each alpha particle can be observed on a dial. Geiger will improve the counter in the 1920s with help from W. Muller to distinguish between alpha particles and beta and gamma rays by reduced voltage and to produce clicks through a loudspeaker (see Rutherford, 1911). 
1908 en ep Petro U Petroleum production begins in the Middle East May 26 as drillers employed by William Knox D’Arcy strike oil at Masjid-i-Salaman (Mosque of Solomon) and begin tapping what will prove in the 1930s to be the world’s largest reservoir of oil. British cabinet member Winston Churchill, now 33, persuades London to buy up D’Arcy’s 1901 concession from the shah of Persia and establish Anglo-Persian Company, which begins commercial exploitation (see Gulbenkian, 1914; Anglo-Iranian, 1935; British Petroleum, 1954). 
1908 en ep Hughes U Hughes Tool Co. is founded by Houston entrepreneur Howard Robard Hughes whose steel-toothed rock-drilling bits will enjoy a monopoly in the petroleum industry. Hughes runs the first successful rock bit in an oil well at Goose Creek, Tex., and revolutionizes oil-drilling technology that has been based until now on a pulverizing technique. The device he patents is the first to utilize rolling cone cutters, and by the time his son and namesake inherits the business in 1924 Hughes Tool will be making profits of $1 million per year. 
1911 en ep Exxon U The Supreme Court breaks up John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company trust May 15, ruling in the case of Standard Oil Co. of N.J. v. United States, but the court rules only against “unreasonable” restraints of trade where a company has “purpose or intent” to exercise monopoly power in violation of the Sherman Act of 1890 (see tobacco trust decision). The trust is reorganized into five separate corporations plus some smaller ones—Standard Oil of New Jersey will later be called Esso and then Exxon, Standard of California (SoCal), Standard of Indiana, Standard of Ohio (Sohio), and Standard of New York (later Socony-Vacuum, then Mobil). Also Atlantic Refining (Atlantic Richfield beginning in 1967), Vacuum Oil, Prairie Oil & Gas, Buckeye Pipe Line, and Anglo-American Oil (see 1902). 
1912 en ep Petro U The U.S. Navy establishes petroleum reserves at Elk Hills and Buena Vista Hills, Calif, as it converts its ships from coal to diesel (see Teapot Dome, 1914). 
1912 en em GE U Electric light bulbs last longer thanks to General Electric research chemist Irving Langmuir, 31, who discovers that filling incandescent bulbs with inert gases will greatly increase the illuminating life of tungsten filaments developed by his colleague W. D. Coolidge (see 1913). Confuting conventional wisdom that the vacuum in the light bulb is what permits its filament to burn so long, Langmuir shows that while bulbs with poor vac-uums are no worse than those with the best, adding nitrogen gas (which does not react with the tungsten filament) will avoid evaporation of the filament and prolong the life of the bulb. Langmuir will substitute argon for nitrogen (see 1894). 
1912 en ep Petro U Turkish Petroleum Co. is founded to exploit reserves discovered in Mesopotamia. 
1914 en ep Petro U Britain increases her equity in the 6-year-old Anglo-Persian Co. to protect Royal Navy fuel supplies.  Armenian oilman Calouste Gulbenkian negotiates one of history’s largest petroleum deals between Anglo-Persian and Royal Dutch-Shell. Pointing out that the shilling may decline in value, Gulbenkian turns down the consortium’s offer of a shilling-per-ton royalty on all the oil drilled, obtains as payment for his services a royalty to be paid in actual oil—2.5 percent to come from Anglo-Persian, 2.5 percent from Royal Dutch-Shell, and will receive 5 percent of all the oil produced in Middle East for the rest of his 86 years (see Iraq, 1927; Anglo-Iranian, 1935). 
1916 en ep Petro U U.S. petroleum companies raise gasoline prices 7¢ per gallon above 1914 levels as the European war and mounting domestic demand create shortages. Engineers predict that world petroleum reserves will be exhausted within 30 years (but see Lake Maracaibo, 1922; Iraq, 1927; east Texas, 1930; Bahrain, 1932; Saudi Arabia, 1933; Kuwait, 1938; Alaska, 1968; North Sea, 1969). 
1916 en en Science S A general theory of relativity announced by Albert Einstein revolutionizes the science of physics (see 1905). Now at the University of Berlin and a director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, Einstein has evolved the theory from his work in the geometrization of physics and the integration of gravitational, accelerational, and magnetic phenomena which he will try to unite into a unified field theory represented by a single set of equations (see 1919; 1929). 
1919 en ee Auto T Electric starters become optional on the Model T Ford but most Model Ts are still started by handcranking the engine (see Kettering, 1911). 
1921 en ep Petro U The Teapot Dome scandal that will help tarnish the Harding administration has its beginnings as Navy Secretary Edwin Denby transfers control of naval oil reserves to the Department of the Interior whose secretary Albert Fall secretly leases Teapot Dome to private oil operators Harry Sinclair and Edward Doheny (see 1914). Sinclair and Doheny will lose their leases after a congressional investigation in 1923 but they will be acquitted in 1928 of charges that they bribed Secretary Fall. 
1922 en ep Petro U An oil well near the shores of Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela, gushes for 9 days, spills nearly a million barrels into the lake before it is capped. A company controlled by Royal Dutch-Shell has brought in the discovery well (see 1914). Gulf Oil and Standard Oil of Indiana hold adjacent leases. 
1922 en ee Machine C U.S. electrical engineer Vannevar Bush, 32, helps start a company to produce the S-tube, a gaseous rectifier developed by inventor C. G. Smith that greatly improves the system of supplying electricity to radios (see analog computer, 1930). 
1927 en em GE  F General Electric introduces a refrigerator with a “monitor top” containing an hermetically sealed compressor.  The 14-cubic-foot refrigerator sells for $525, few can afford it, but it will make GE the industry leader by 1930 (see 1929). 
1929 en ep Conoco U Continental Oil Corp. (CONOCO) is created by J. P. Morgan & Co. The New York banking house took over Marland Oil 2 years ago from polo player E. W. Marland and merges it with Continental Oil of Maine, which it has also taken over (see 1908). 
1930 en ep Petro U World oil prices collapse after wildcatter Columbus M. Joiner, 71, brings in a gusher October 3 in Rusk County, eastern Texas, to open a huge new field. Joiner will sell out to H. L. Hunt for $40,000 cash, $45,000 in short-term notes, and a guarantee of $1.2 million from future profits, his field will produce at least 3.6 billion barrels of oil, and it will make Hunt the richest man in America (see 1920; 1936). 
1932 en ee Electric E Chicago utilities magnate Samuel Insull, now 73, runs into financial difficulties, and three of his largest companies go into receivership. Once Thomas Edison’s private secretary, Insull is indicted on charges related to his activities as president of Chicago Edison, Commonwealth Edison, Peoples Gas Light and Coke, and other companies, but he will avoid arrest for 2 years and be acquitted after trials in 1934 and 1935. 
1932 en ep Chevron U Standard Oil of California (SoCal) prospectors in Bahrain strike oil in early June with their first well in the British Persian Gulf protectorate. Production will reach 20,000 barrels per day by 1936, and SoCal will take in the Texas Company as an equal partner to avail itself of Texaco’s marketing facilities in the Far East (see 1903; 1933). 
1933 en ep Chevron U Saudi Arabia’s Abdul-Aziz ibn-Saud gives Standard Oil of California a 60-year exclusive concession to explore for oil on a 320,000-square-mile tract of desert (see 1932). He receives a loan of $170,327 from SoCal, which has recently begun pumping oil on the Persian Gulf island of Bahrain and will soon find that its concession overlies the world’s richest petroleum reserve. To help exploit the Saudi Arabian reserve, SoCal makes a 50–50 arrangement with the Texas Co., forming Arabian American Oil Co. (Aramco) to produce the petroleum and CalTex to market it through Tex-aco outlets in Europe, Africa, and Asia (Aramco will later take in other partners, including the Saudi Arabian government, which will acquire full ownership in 1976). 
1936 en ep Co. U Sun Oil and Socony-Vaccum introduce the Houdry process for cracking oil to produce gasoline. They are joint owners of the catalytic process invented by French-American engineer Eugene F. Houdry, 44 (the fils in the French steel-making firm Houdry & Fils), who has used bauxite as a catalyst to produce upwards of 80 percent gasoline from the lowest grade crude oil and refinery residuum without producing a gallon of fuel oil, on which profit is nil or minimal. Thermal cracking of crude oil by the Palmer method of 1900 or the Bosch method of 1924 has required pressures of up to 3,000 pounds per square inch and temperatures of up to 1,200° F.; the Houdry process requires pressures of only 20 to 40 psi and temperatures of only 900° F. 
1937 en en Radio S A magnetic resonance method for observing the spectra of atoms and molecules in the radio-frequency range is invented by Austrian-American physicist Isidor Isaac Rabi, 39, at Columbia University. Rabi’s invention will make it possible to deduce the mechanical and magnetic properties of atomic nuclei (see medicine, 1977). 
1937 en ep Exxon U Standard Oil of New Jersey drills the first offshore Louisiana oil wells. 
1938 en ep Co. U An oil strike in southeastern Kuwait February 23 begins to revolutionize the emirate’s economy (Mikimoto’s cultured pearls have ruined its pearl fishery, once its leading industry; see 1893). Kuwait Oil Co., jointly owned by Anglo-Iranian and Gulf, will develop the giant petroleum reserve in the British protectorate.  
1938 en ep Petro U Mexico nationalizes her petroleum industry March 18, revoking licenses granted to British and U.S. oil companies to operate in Mexico. Oil is a natural resource that belongs to all the Mexican people, the Cardenas government says; it expropriates properties valued at $450 million and proposes oil barter agreements with Germany, Italy, and other nations to exchange oil for manufactured goods imported up to now largely from Britain and the United States. 
1938 en en Nuclear U The first nuclear fission of uranium is produced December 18 by German chemist Otto Hahn, 59, who has found that the nucleus of certain uranium atoms can be split into two approximately equal halves, releasing not only energy but also neutrons that can, in turn, split further uranium atoms (see Fermi, 1934). Assisting Hahn are his colleague Fritz Strassman and Austro-Swedish physicist Lise Meitner, 60, whose nephew Otto Frisch, 34, will help her work out the implications of Hahn’s observations (see Bohr, Einstein, 1939). 
1939 en em GE U General Electric introduces fluorescent lighting, which is far more energy-efficient than incandescent. GE has developed it with help from University of Chicago physicist Arthur Holly Compton, 47. 
1940 en ec Coal U A continuous coal-digging machine developed by Consolidation Coal president Carson Smith and engineer Harold Farnes Silver, 39, will revolutionize coal mining.  Six banks of cutter chains moving at 500 feet per minute will enable the Joy machine to dig out a series of vertical slices 18 inches deep and to bore a tunnel up to 18 feet wide. Joseph Joy, now 56, will purchase the rights in 1947; his Joy Manufacturing Co. will dominate coal-mining equipment production.  
1947 en g Economy E U.S. coal mines return to private ownership June 30 after operation by the federal government since May 22 of last year.
1948 en ep Co. U Arabian-American Oil (Aramco) sells a 30 percent interest to Standard Oil of New Jersey and a 10 percent interest to
1949 en ep Co. U Seven major oil companies control 90 percent of world petroleum reserves outside the United States and the Soviet bloc
1949 en ep Hughes U Hughes Tool Co. supplies more than 75 percent of all bits used in oil drilling anywhere in the free world. Hughes leases
1954 en ee AT&T U A solar battery developed by Bell Laboratories makes it possible to convert sunlight directly to electric power, but solar
1960 en en Nuclear U The first privately financed nuclear power plant opens at Dresden, Ill., just south of Chicago. Within 14 years
1960 en ep Petro U The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets for the first time September 14 at Baghdad and
1968 en ep Petro U Oil is discovered on Alaska’s North Slope, the new reserve proves to be the largest north of the Mexican border, and
1969 en ep Phillips U Phillips Petroleum drillers discover a giant oil field off the coast of Norway. The North Sea basin will prove to be the
1973 en ep Petro U An energy crisis grips the world; an oil embargo by Arab nations in the fall exacerbates the problem. 
1973 en ep Petro U Saudi Arabia’s Faisal announces September 4 that his country will not increase oil production so long as U.S. policy
1977 en ep Petro U Oil from Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay fields on the Arctic Ocean arrives July 28 at the ice-free port of Valdez on Prince
1983 en ep Getty U Pennzoil buys 590,000 shares of Getty Oil stock on the open market in December. On December 27 it launches a tender
1984 en ep Chevron U Standard Oil of California acquires Gulf Oil in a $13.3- billion cash merger and changes its name to Chevron as world oil
1984 en ep Texaco U Texaco’s board acts January 5 to authorize management to negotiate for the acquisition of Getty Oil for as much as
1986 en ee Future U Superconductivity makes news in January as Swiss physicist K. Alex Müller, 58, and German physicist J. Georg
1987 en ee Future U A powerful superconductor made of ceramic and capable of operating at relatively low temperatures is announced