Early uses of oil

Samuel KierAs the patent medicines of the late 19th century firmly secured their hold on the American public, pharmaceutical companies began to search out more creative sources to find these “miracle drugs.” And crude oil was one of those discoveries.

An 1855 ad urged people to buy Samuel Kier’s Rock Oil before “this wonderful product is depleted from nature’s laboratory.” The tonic – which was made from petroleum – was touted as “bubbling up from the salt wells near Pittsburg” and claimed to be a cure for everything from diarrhea, rheumatism and ringworm to deafness.

Ingesting crude oil can lead to depression, severe vomiting, poor coordination, immune diseases, and even death. So if you’re feeling sick, don’t reach for a bottle of Yamalube 2m oil – save that for your outboard motor.

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