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Timeline for Early Petroleum Development in Petrolia and Oil Springs Area

To understand the importance of the oil discovery, key milestones have been determined by Robert O. Cochrane and Charles O. Fairbank. The Heritage Community Foundation thanks the authors for permission to reprint the timeline from the Oil Heritage Tour of Lambton County: The Birthplace of the Canadian Oil Industry booklet.

Date Event

1819 Birth of Queen Victoria
1833 Completion of Survey of Enniskillen Township
1837 Queen Victoria suceeds George IV to British throne
1842 Creation of the Geological Survey of Canada
1846 Dr. Abraham Gesner produces kerosene oil from coal
1849 Creation of the County of Lambton
1849 Start of Great Western Railway from Niagara Falls to Windsor
1853 Lambton becomes an independent County
1854 C.N. Tripp founds International Mining and Manufacturing Company (IMMC)
1854 Dr. A. Gesner obtains US letter patents to produce kerosene from crude oil
1855 Sale of IMMC to James Miller Williams
1858 James Miller Williams produces oil from dug wells in Oil Springs
1858 Opening of Great Western Railway between Sarnia and London
1859 Col. E.L. Drake drills an oilwell at Titusville, Pennsylvania, USA
1861 J.H. Fairbank arrives in Oil Springs
1861 to 1865 American Civil War
1862 Hugh Nixon Shaw's oil gusher in Oil Springs
1866 Captain B. King discovers oil in Petrolia
1866 Founding of Oilwell Supply Company
1866 Building of Railway Spur Line from Wyoming to Petrolia
1866 Town of Petrolia incoporated as a village
1866 Discovery of oil at Oil Springs, Texas, USA
1867 Confederation of Canada
1868 Opening of Van Tuyl & Fairbanks
1869 Opening of Little Red Bank by Vaughn & Fairbanks
1871 World's first Oil Exchange at Vaughn & Fairbank
1874 Departure of first Foreign Drillers from Petrolia
1880 Sixteen companies form Imperial Oil Company in London
1885 Last spike driven on CPR Railway
1888 Construction of Victorian Playhouse
1890 Construction of 'Sunnyside', home of J.H. Fairbank
1898 Imperial Oil Refinery moves to Sarnia
1898 Rockefeller's Standard Oil trust acquires control of Imperial Oil
1901 Formation of Canadian Oil Refining Company
1901 Spindletop Oil Discovery in Texas, USA
1901 Death of Queen Victoria
1903 Construction of Fitzgerald Pumping Rig
1904 Discovery of Natural Gas in Medicine Hat, Alberta
1910 Discovery of Oil in Turner Valley, Alberta
1914 to 1918 World War One
1914 Opening of Baines Machine Shop
1930 Discovery of East Texas Oilfield, USA
1939 to 1945 World War Two
1942 Establishment of Polymer Corp. to make Synthetic Rubber
1942 Down Plant in Sarnia to make Polystyrene
1947 Discovery of Oil in Leduc, Alberta
1952 Canadian Oil moves from Petrolia to Corunna
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