Natural Gas History

About 2,500 years ago, the Chinese discovered that natural gas could be used. By using bamboo to pipe it from shallow wells, they could burn it under pans to heat seawater and separate the salt to make the water drinkable.

Around the first century, the King of Persia (Iran) built a kitchen in his palace around a natural gas flame that had been ignited by lightning. This was probably the first real use of natural gas in a home.

As early as 1626, natural gas was identified in America by Native American Indians. French explorers found them igniting gases that were seeping from the ground near Lake Erie.

In 1859, Colonel Edwin Drake drilled a 69-foot well in Pennsylvania, striking oil and natural gas. From this well the first pipeline was constructed - a 5.5-mile-long pipeline only two inches in diameter that would carry the natural gas to the town of Titusville.

In 1885, German chemist and physicist Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen perfected the Bunsen burner that was invented by Michael Faraday. By mixing air and natural gas in a continuous stream through a tube, the flame could be easily regulated.

Today natural gas is widely used. In fact, it is the third largest source of energy after petroleum and coal.