1959 4¢ Petroleum Industry Centennial
Issue Date: August 27, 1959
City: Titusville, Pennsylvania
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 10 ½ x 11
The first oil well in America was drilled in Titusville, Pennsylvania – the site of the First Day of Issue for U.S. #1134. The stamp marked the 100th anniversary of the “Drake Well,” named after owner Edwin Drake.
The Titusville location was selected for drilling after chemist Benjamin Silliman, Jr., determined that oil found in the region could produce a high-quality fuel for light-sources. The oil was typically found in “seeps” – pooling up from the ground. Drake’s project ran into difficulties, and on the day he was notified to sell his materials to pay his debts, he finally struck oil.
Although later surpassed by oilfields elsewhere, Pennsylvania was responsible for half of all oil produced in the world until 1901.