The world's first purposefully drilled oil well was the Edwin Drake # 1 well, drilled in August 1859 by an agent of the Seneca Oil Company, Edwin L. Drake. The Drake Well is located along Oil Creek, on the southeastern side of the town of Titusville in Venango County, northwestern Pennsylvania.
The well struck oil at 69˝ feet below ground surface. The discovery started the world's first oil boom, beginning an industry that literally changed the course of human civilization forever. This was followed by the oil & gas boom of northwestern Ohio in the 1880s and 1890s. The next oil boom after that was in Texas.
Drake's well produced two thousand barrels of oil in its first year. Within a decade, almost 1200 oil-producing wells had been drilled in the Venango Oil District. Natural oil seeps occur along Oil Creek - these have been known since pre-Columbian time. Hundreds of wood-cribbed pits, used to exploit oil, occur in the Oil Creek Valley, some dated to the early 1400s A.D.
Drake Well House (reconstruction), on site of the original oil well, now part of the Drake Well Museum grounds.
The producing oil wells along Oil Creek are considered “shallow”. Geologically, shallow wells in this area are those not penetrating below the Middle Devonian-Upper Devonian boundary. Shallow oil in the Drake Well area is produced from several shale-encased sandstone bodies in the lower Riceville Formation and the Venango Group (both Upper Devonian).
Early 1800s Wooden Spring Pole “Drilling Rig” (reconstruction) on display at Drake Well Museum. Such things were used to drill salt wells, and were capable of drilling three feet per day.
Mostly synthesized from Drake Well Museum info.