It is of interest historically that the first use of mineral oil was for medicinal purposes. Samuel Martin Kier was the earliest refiner of oil. He first refined oil, not for lamps, but for medicine, a hundred years ago. When the oil springs of Pennsylvania were discovered, oil was skimmed off the water and the product used in a variety of "remedies." An editorial in the Chicago Daily News, which appeared on the one hundred and twenty-fifth Anniversary of Samuel Kier's birth, read as follows:
Kier's method of refining, the basis of most refining ever since, came naturally from the western Pennsylvania environment. Whisky was the great staple, not second even to pig iron in that region, and nearly every farmer had a still. Kier devised a special one-barrel still that derived something very much like modern kerosene from Pennsylvania crude, and after his medicine ventures had failed to meet
NOVAK FJ. INNOCUOUS OILS USEFUL IN RHINOLOGIC PRACTICE, IN CONTRAST TO LIQUID PETROLATUM. Arch Otolaryngol. 1940;32(2):195–199. doi:10.1001/archotol.1940.00660020198001
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