Ohio Historical Timeline

1814: Oil discovered in Noble County – Thorla-McKee Well.

1860: First commercial oil well drilled in Macksburg, Washington County.

1870: Standard Oil Company was assembled in Cleveland by J.D. Rockefeller. Cleveland became known as the predominant oil producing, refining, transporting, and marketing region.

1884: First natural gas well drilled for commercial production in Findlay.

1890s: Ohio was the nation’s oil production leader until the 1920s.

1891: First offshore drilling rig in the U.S. over Grand Lake St. Mary’s in Mercer County. At that time, it was the largest man made lake in the country.

1940s: Horizontal drilling technology is discovered.

1947: Hydraulic fracturing technology is introduced.

1990: Digital and 3-D seismic technology begins.

2000’s – 2010: Combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling unlock shale energy, launching the Shale Revolution.


Read the 1901 edition of The Ohio Journal of Science article on the Corning Oil and Gas Field!



Learn More

To learn more about Ohio’s natural gas and oil history visit the following:

American Oil & Gas Historical Society
The American Oil & Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) is dedicated to preserving
U.S. petroleum history, which provides a context for understanding the modern energy business.

Thorla McKee Well Park
Caldwell, OH

Wood County Museum
Crude Oil Production Display
Bowling Green, OH
(419) 352-6220

Buckeye Agricultural Museum and Education Center
Natural Gas and Oil Exhibit
Wooster, OH
(330) 845-2825

Drake Well Museum
Titusville, PA
(814) 827-2797

The Oil and Gas Museum of Parkersburg
Parkersburg, WV
(304) 485-5446