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Appalachian Natural Gas Timeline

1600sEarly American settlers notice "burning springs" throughout Appalachia.
1756Gas lighting experiments in Philadelphia.
1770George Washington discovers burning gas springs in Appalachia.
1806Oil and gas discovered by salt well drillers in western Virginia (now West Virginia).
First drilling tools developed.
1815Capt. Wilson reportedly discovered natural gas looking for brine in Charleston,
W.Va. Wet gas meter patented by a London, England company.
1816Gas Light Company of Baltimore becomes first manufactured-gas firm in U.S.
1818Kentucky salt well driller Martin Beatty accidentally finds oil and natural gas.
1820Salt well drillers discover natural gas by accident in Pittsburgh and Ohio.
1821First commercial natural gas well drilled in Fredonia, N.Y., by William Hart.
1826First gas cooker developed.
1830Barcelona, N.Y., lighthouse uses natural gas.
Petroleum used for medicine, light, and lubricant in West Virginia.
1831Natural gas used by salt manufacturers in West Virginia.
New drilling methods invented by William Morris in Kanawha County, W.Va.
1836Gas used for illumination in Findlay, Ohio.
Manufactured gas works begin in Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
1840Natural gas used to evaporate brine water in Butler County, Pa.
1848Manufactured gasworks opens in Buffalo.
1854First deep natural gas well drilled in Erie, Pa.
1855Robert Bunsen invents "Bunsen burner" concept.
1858Fredonia Gas Light and Water Works Company becomes first natural gas utility in the United States.
1859Col. Drake drills first oil well in Titusville, Pa.
Oil wells follow in West Virginia and Ohio, many-producing natural gas as well.
1863First commercial gas wells drilled in Kentucky.
West Virginia becomes the 35th State of the Union, partially due to oil wealth there.
1865Oil boomtown Pithole uses petroleum gas for lighting.
First oil pipeline built.
1867Gas well in Oil City, Pa., supplies houses.
1868Jarecki Manufacturing Company in Erie, Pa., becomes the first industrial user of natural gas. Gas pumps first used for oil wells in Tidioute, Pa.
1870Standard Oil Company formed.
Natural gas first used in Pittsburgh-area iron manufacturing.
1871Discovery well drilled opening huge Bradford, Pa., oil and gas field.
1872First long-distance (twenty-seven miles) wooden gas pipeline completed from
West Bloomfield, N.Y., to Rochester.
First iron gas line constructed (five and one-half miles) from Newton, Pa., to Titusville.
1873Theodore Lowe invents carbureted water gas manufacturing process.
1875Jacob J. Vandergrift pipes natural gas in Butler County, Pa.
1878Gas discovered at the Haymaker Well near Pittsburgh at Murrysville, Pa.
Electric light firms begin service in region.
1880First natural gas compressor station built at Rixford, Pa.
1881Natural gas firms begin to form throughout northwestern Pennsylvania.
1882Thomas Edison produces electricity at power station.
1883Natural gas supplied by first Pennsylvania-chartered natural gas company, Joseph
Pew and Edward Emerson's Penn Fuel Gas Company.
1884George Westinghouse discovers natural gas on his property, purchases Philadelphia Company to supply natural gas to Pittsburgh, develops numerous natural gas patents.
Short-lived Findlay, Ohio, and northern Indiana gas boom begins.
1885Peoples Natural Gas Company becomes first official natural gas firm in Pennsylvania.
Speechley well drilled near Oil City, Pa.
Manufacturers Natural Gas Company (later part of Columbia) serves Pittsburgh area.
First suggestion of odorizing gas by Ohio Gas Light Association.
Gas water heater developed.
1886United Natural Gas Company organized in Oil City, Pa, UNG constructs 87-mile wrought iron pipeline from McKean County, Pa., to Buffalo, N.Y.
Gas also exported from Pennsylvania to West Virginia. Gas crematory used in Pittsburgh.
1887Dresser couplings patented, allowing construction of longer pipelines and reduced leakage.
Federal government passes Interstate Commerce Act, start of regulation interest in Standard Oil.
1888Standard Oil forms Natural Gas Trust to hold securities of natural gas firms.
Philadelphia Company purchases Equitable Gas interests in Pittsburgh, designs meters for gas services. Gas meter manufacturer Metric Metal Company forms in Beaver Falls, Pa.
1890sManufactured gas interests consolidate in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Buffalo. Electric and gas consolidation movement begins in many areas.
1894Big Moses well discovered in West Virginia, first 100 million cubic foot well in the United States.
1896Buffalo streets are lighted with electricity generated at nearby Niagara Falls, N.Y.
1898Hope Natural Gas Company in West Virginia and East Ohio Gas Company in Ohio formed by Standard Oil interests. Akron "Ten-inch" line begins construction from West Virginia to Ohio.
1899First 1,000 horsepower natural gas-powered gas compressor installed by UNG.
1901Famous Spindletop Well drilled in Texas, leads to great Southwest discoveries of oil and gas.
1902National Fuel Gas Company incorporated from investments in Standard's Natural Gas Trust.
1903Natural gas delivered to Cleveland for the first time by East Ohio. Standard Oil interests purchase Pittsburgh's Peoples from Pew.
1903-04First extraction of natural gasoline from natural gas by the compression and cool¬ing method in Tidioute, Pa.
1905George W. Crawford's Ohio Fuel Supply Company (later part of Columbia) granted a franchise in Cincinnati to serve natural gas.
1906West Virginia surpasses Pennsylvania as largest producer of natural gas.
1907-10Gas utility regulation begins in New York with Public Service Commission.
1909Gas trash incinerators developed.
1911U.S. Supreme Court breaks up Standard Oil, but firm's natural gas interests largely unaffected. Orifice meter invented by John G. Pew and Howell C. Cooper of Pittsburgh.
1912Liquid propane (LP) bottled gases first supplied in Waterford, Pa.
1913Gas utility regulation begins in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
1915First natural gas storage experiments in Welland, Ontario, Canada.
Gas refrigerators introduced.
1916First natural gas storage field in U.S. begun at Zoar Field, south of Buffalo.
1917-19Appalachian production reaches its peak, gas shortages appear during World War I years.
1918American Gas Association formed.
1919UNG installs first natural gasoline recovery plant using the charcoal absorption process at Lewis Run, Pa. Kentucky's Menifee field becomes the second storage area in the U.S.
1920First natural gas storage in Pennsylvania at Queen field.
Natural gas conservation efforts begin.
1923-25Buffalo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Erie, and other areas build facilities to generate additional supplies of manufactured gas.
1925East Ohio helps establish American Gas Association testing laboratories in Cleveland.
1930Oriskany sand gas boom begins in central Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia.
1935Public Utility Holding Company Act passed by Congress, eventually causes wave of holding company divestitures.
1938Congress passes the Natural Gas Act, Federal Power Commission regulates expansion of interstate pipelines.
1942-48Severe shortages of gas, wartime and post-war restrictions become effective, Appalachian gas fields near depletion, and underground storage facilities increase.
1943Standard Oil (New Jersey) divests itself of Peoples, East Ohio, and Hope, which
form Consolidated Natural Gas. Rockefeller Foundation divests itself from NFG. "Big Inch" crude oil pipeline begins operation.
1944Liquefied natural gas storage tank in Cleveland fails and explodes, leading to Cleveland's greatest fire that took 130 lives.
1944-52Appalachian companies augment gas supply from Southwest producers from "Inch" lines that are converted to gas.
Tennessee Gas delivers Southwest gas to Appalachian markets, pipeline gas odorized.
1948The city of Philadelphia receives natural gas for the first time.
1950Pittsburgh's Equitable separates from the Philadelphia Company.
Another Oriskany sand boom starts in Appalachia.
1950sMost manufactured gas operations phased out.
1952New York City receives natural gas for the first time.
U.S. Supreme Court Phillips Petroleum decision confirms FPC control of natural gas prices at the wellhead.
1955-68Massive growth of customers and consumption of natural gas in Appalachia and across the United States.
1968Appalachian companies begin receiving interstate pipeline supply curtailments.
1973OPEC oil embargo begins.
1975Curtailments of industrial natural gas customers implemented by regional utilities.
Appalachian companies increase local drilling and explore alternative supplies from coal, oil, and imported LNG.
1977Cold snap and natural gas shortages close schools and factories across U.S.
Natural gas customer expansion halted.
1978Congress passes the Natural Gas Policy Act, creates Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from FPC.
1978-83Natural gas prices escalate sharply.
Utilities transport third-party gas for industry.
1982Boundary Gas Project imports gas from Canada.
1983-85Most gas production deregulated, surplus in market begins price decline.
1989Natural Gas Wellhead Decontrol Act passes Congress deregulating all natural gas supplies by 1993.
1992FERC Order 636 requires interstate pipelines to become common carriers.
1990sGas utilities offer residential gas supply choice programs.
1997-2004Various Appalachian utility acquisitions and mergers into larger firms including Dominion, Energy East, and NiSource.

Reprinted from The Natural Gas Industry in Appalachia, A History from the First Discovery to the Maturity of the Industry by David A. Waples, published by McFarland Publishing Company (2005).