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==The Need for Cheap Indoor Illuminants==
The future of oil changed in 1846. Abraham Gessner, who was trained as a physician in England but spent his life in geological work in his native Canada instead, was performing public lectures in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. During one demonstration Gessner showed how oil distilled from bituminous coal could be used to light a lamp. He called the distillate "kerosene" and those in attendance that day were on hand for the birth of the oil refining industry.<ref>University of Toronto and Université Laval, ''Dictionary of Canadian Biography'', (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1959).</ref>
Indoor illuminants at the time relied on whale oil which was, of course, difficult and dangerous to obtain and expensive - $2.50 a gallon at a time when a good day's wage was less than one dollar.<ref> Yergin, Daniel, ''The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power'', (New York: Free Press, 1991).</ref> Kerosene burned smokily and smelled awful but tinkerers soon discovered that a lamp with a glass chimney solved both problems. Finding petroleum for these proliferating cheap "kerosene lamps" stoked the fire of the day's entrepreneurs.
==Enter a Visionary==