Black Gold
January 10, 2009 6:48 AM   Subscribe

When the modern oil industry began 150 years ago, many speculators moved into Northwestern Pennsylvania. Among them was John Wilkes Booth, who walked off the stage and onto the oil fields in an attempt to increase his fortunes with the Dramatic Oil Company.

Their well, the Wilhelmina, began producing oil at a rate of about 25 barrels a day (pdf, pg 11) during the summer of 1864. Looking for more return, Booth invested in the Boston Oil Well Company, but in a few months, he left his oil ventures with a dry well and a wallet emptied of over $6000.

Had Booth's business lasted into 1865, his well might have been saved by Roberts Torpedo, a more reliable method of shooting wells to resume oil flow after a build-up of debris and parrafin, and his investment would have yielded return on the 500 barrels a day produced by the Homestead well.
posted by hoppytoad (4 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
(corporate mascot for Dramatic Oil Company)
posted by crapmatic at 9:22 AM on January 10, 2009


Too soon?
posted by ZeroAmbition at 10:22 AM on January 10, 2009

Soooo did it work out for him or what?
posted by P.o.B. at 12:33 PM on January 10, 2009

1865: Failed oil entrepreneur kills Lincoln.

2008: Failed oil entrepreneur kills Lincoln's party.
posted by Skeptic at 1:31 PM on January 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

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