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The Illustrated London News, vol. 42, no. 1192, p. 259.

March 7, 1863


AMERICAN COAL OIL.--In the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society Mr. Heber R. Clark has given some interesting geological information respecting some specimens of this oil laid before the society. Some were of light colour; others thick and black, like tar. The Edenburg Continental boring (in Lawrence county, Pennsylvania) was sent down through 80 ft. of so-called drift; then through 200 ft. of sandstones and shales, with a layer of black, fetid shale at the bottom, from which the gas blew off violently; then through 45 ft. or 50 ft. of the "first white sandstone, with gas in its crevices (this sandrock is said to thin out eastward) ; then through 40 ft. or 50 ft. of shales and slates charged with gas and oil; then through 75 ft. or 80 ft. of the second white sandstone"--softer, coarser, and harder than the first, and full of gas--to the oil stratum, 448 ft. beneath the surface. The first sandrock has a soft middle member between hard top and bottom members. Mr. Clark gave it as his experience that the harder the rock was to drill the lighter in colour, purer in quality, and smaller in quantity was the oil; the softer the rock, the darker and more abundant the oil. At the Alban well, 600 ft. deep, on Oil Creek, six miles above its mouth, Mr. Clark saw the fresh oil spouting 100 ft. in the air a week after it had been struck. At the Edenburg well, first described, Mr. Clark noticed that for two or three weeks there occurred every day invariably, a few minutes after eight o'clock p.m., a blow of gas violent enough to stop the pump, and lasting from fifteen to thirty minutes, after which the gas seemed to be exhausted. He thinks that there is more gas blown off in winter than in summer, and that the testimony among the oil-well men is general to that effect.

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