Time Periods

The Age of Oil, also known as the Oil Age or the Petroleum Age, refers to the era in human history characterised by an increased use of petroleum in products and as fuel. Though unrefined petroleum has been used for various purposes since ancient times, it was during the 19th century that refinement techniques were developed and gasoline engines were created. The oil age is commonly thought of as beginning in 1901 with the strike at Spindletop, near Beaumont, Texas in the United States which launched large scale oil production and soon made the petroleum products widely available. Other earlier dates which are sometimes used as start dates include 1846 (Abraham Gesner invented kerosene making coal and petroleum practical raw materials for lighting fuel), 1859 (Edwin Drake invented the first modern drilling process for deep oil wells), and 1879 (Karl Benz produced the first practical gasoline-powered automobile).