May 4, 1869
Thomas Fitch Rowland was issued a patent for an offshore drilling concept. The owner of Continental Iron Works of NY, his idea consisted of a 4 legged iron structure with a ship moored alongside for the drilling equipment. It was capable of drilling in water depths up to 50 feet.
Thomas Rowland has other claims to fame - his Continental Iron Works built the USS Monitor during the Civil War and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) named an award after him. It has been awarded annually since 1882.
May 5, 1889
Standard Oil begins construction of the largest refinery in the US near Chicago. Now owned by BP, it is still the largest.
May 7, 1920
Erle Halliburton starts his oil well cementing business. His red cementing trucks are still working.