Friday 24 March, 2023

How Long Have Humans Used Petroleum Based Heating Oil?

humans and heating oil - a history

Humans have been on this Earth for nearly half a million years according to some expert analysis. Many cold nights have been suffered along the way. Our species has looked for any and all remedies to stay warm through cold and bitter wintery days. But just how long have we used petroleum oil to heat ourselves? We will answer that very question in this article.

In the 1850’s crude petroleum was discovered in Pennsylvania. People knew that this sulfur-smelling concoction had value but they didn’t know exactly how to use it yet. They applied flame to it and realized it would stay lit and give off light as well as heat. So, its very first uses were exactly that – it was used in lamps to provide light. 

A few years later it was placed into very crude furnaces and set on fire as a way to extract heat. Because the process was so new and a great deal of money was spent on research and development, only the wealthy could afford to heat their homes with petroleum oil. After some time passed, both heating oil furnaces and the extraction and distribution of oil itself became much more affordable. But this wasn’t until the late 1800’s. The overwhelming majority of people still burned wood in fireplaces to stay warm. 

During World War 1 heating oil saw a boom. The war effort saw countries around the world amp up their coal and oil production. As a result, people paid to have oil furnaces installed at record numbers. 

The first dip in sales and use was the 1970’s when the oil embargo crisis hit. Oil became more scarce and as a result the price skyrocketed. Things would return to normal in the 80’s however and heating oil use saw a resurgence. 

Today, heating oil is still a primary method used to heat homes throughout the world. Heating oil is efficient and safe to use as a heating source for your home or office. 


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