February 19, 2013
Heating Oil or Kerosene as it’s also known is a thin, clear, low viscosity petroleum product that has had a monumental impact on the world we live in since it was discovered in about 1846. It was then that it was first called Kerosene by Canadian Geologist Abraham Gesner. He discovered the oil after distilling it from coal and then demonstrated how useful it was as a lamp fuel.
Its initial use was just for illumination but due to its relatively low cost and large reserves it quickly evolved becoming more commonly used as late to power jet engines and rockets, for domestic heating oil and cooking. Although still used for lighting it is more in rural areas of Asia and Africa where electricity isn’t available or with communities such as the Amish who abstain from other sources of power.
A big change in the industry came when it was discovered an effective replacement for coal as a power source. In 1905 The Royal Navy proposed and then commissioned the HMS Dreadnought which revolutionised naval designs at the time because of its stature, capabilities and the fact it was run on oil as well as coal. The success of the HMS Dreadnought brought about a transition by the Royal Navy to switch from coal to oil for their ships although it was already used for other vessels. The switch by the fleet to using oil only was so successful and its use so important for The Royal Navy that all other Navy’s then followed suit.
One of the most positive effects the discovery of heating oil had on the world was that due to its widespread availability the need for the whaling industry in the late 19th century went into significant decline as the use of whale oil in lamps was no longer needed.
With heating oil being one of the most popular choices for fuel in Britain the heating oil industry has been a massive success with the oil distribution sector and oil equipment manufacturing a huge part of our economy for employment and finance.