Anthony Francis Lucas
name = Antun Lučić
birth_date = birth date|1855|9|9|mf=y
Split, Habsburg Empire(modern day Croatia)
Habsburg Monarchy(1855-1885), United States(1885-1921)
death_date = death date and age|1921|9|2|1855|9|9|mf=y
Washington, D.C., United States
Anthony Francis Lucas (
September 9, 1855– September 2 1921) was a Croatian mechanical engineer responsible for the first successful oil wellat the Spindletopoil field in Southeast Texas, which made Beaumont, Texasone of the first oil boomtowns. This meant the earliest massive exploitation of oil and petroleum in the world [ [http://www.mindfully.org/Industry/Oils-Big-Day.htm] Texas History:Oil's Big Day ] which started the Liquid Fuel Age, the greatest age in the history of the world. [ [http://www.croatianhistory.net/etf/lucic.html] The Liquid Fuel Age]
Lucas was born Antun Lučić to the Croatian [ [http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Bu-Dr/Croatian-Americans.html] From Croatian-Americans at www.everyculture.com] [ [http://www.firstbreak.org/content.php?section=7&id=690&issue=23&TAB=5&lang=&PHPSESSID=31206b13a649847cee0c344004d95583] An article from Franco di Cesare] [ [http://www.croatians.com/BIOGRAPHY-AMERICA-K-R.htm] American Biographies K thru R] [ [http://www.croatianhistory.net/etf/lucic.html] Lucich-Lucas Goes to America, Antun Lučić declaring himself as Croatian] family of shipbuilder and shipowner, Franjo Stjepan Lučić, in the city of
Split(now in Croatia), then part of the Habsburgmonarchy.
After regular education, already at the age of twenty he completed studies at the
Polytechnical Institute, ( Technische Hochschule) in Graz, Austria), becoming the mechanical engineer. It was exactly the same time when another famous individual from Croatia, the ethnically Serbian Nikola Tesla, was studying at the same school. After entering the Austrian Naval Academy, serving in Pulaand Rijeka, Lučić rose to the rank of the second lieutenant.
Visit to U.S.
In 1879, Lučić visited his uncle in the
United States, ( Saginaw, Michigan). He settled there and changed the name to Anthony Francis Lucas, receiving his naturalizationpapers on May 9, 1885at Norfolk, Virginia. [ [http://www.croatianhistory.net/etf/lucic.html] Lucich-Lucas Goes to America ] He married Caroline Weed Fitzgerald, and soon afterwards, with his son, Anthony Fitzgerald Lucas, moved to Washington, D.C.in 1887. First, he found employment in lumber industry. Later, interested in mining he ranged from Coloradopeaks to the plains of Louisiana prospectingfor goldand rock salt.
In 1893, Lucas started to work in the
saltexploration in Louisianafor the New Orleanscompany at "Petite Anse" Avery Island). Working at more different locations, ("Grand Cote","Anse la Butte" and "Belle Isle"), until 1896 he gained experience of which the most promising was that one of the possible relationship between the salt deposits and the sulfur, (most probably even crude oil), in the tertiarysediments of the Gulf Coastregion. Most mainstream geologists disagreed with Lucas's theory. However, as a result of explorations undertaken so far and the experiences gained, he was foremost expert on these formations in the United States.
In 1899, Lucas became drilling contractor and leased the land south of Beaumont, Texas from the oil explorer
Pattillo Higgins. He believed that the site - Spindletop hillsouth of Beaumont - was covering a vast pool of crude oil. Drilling began in late 1900 but was extremely difficult. At the depth of 60 m, a layer of sand was found. Later the equipment, (a new rotating hydraulic drilling), collapsed upon reaching a depth of approximately 275 m. Since able to deal with technical difficulties on his own but short on money, Lucas asked for help John Rockefeller, the one of the Standard Oil. Rockefeller denied the assistance but persuaded John H. Galeyand James M. Guffey, associates of the Mellon family from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to join the project. Finally, after reaching the depth of 370 m, in 10.30 in the morning of January 10 1901, gaseruption occurred followed by the stream of crude oil reaching the height of 60 m. The eruptionlasted nine days and was stopped by one of Lučić's device, invented before.
The Lucas Gusher, (also called the "Lucas Spindletop Gusher"), produced around 14 000
tof oil a day. The occasion witnessed by about 50 000 spectators was the earliest mass exploitationof the crude oil, in the entire world. Soon, the black " gold rush" began, and entrepreneurs from all over poured into Texas. The city population mushroomed from 8 000 to 60 000 within a year. With 1902 as many as 285 wells were operating on Spindletop Hilland over 600 oil companies had been chartered. Lucas possessed just a tiny share in company he helped to establish. Because this and other reasons at the end of 1901 he left the company.
The discovery revolutionized world fuel use and transformed the economy of Southeast Texas. It did help the development of the just recently invented
automobile, and it's manufacturingsince significant amount of new energyneeded for the new kind of transportation became available. With time, the city of Houstonbecome national center of the oil industry, and the United States surpassed Russiaas the world's leading producer.
His broad knowledge of
geologyenabled him to differentiate prospective fields from those considered unsuitable for exploration. He learned about natural properties of petroleum reservoirs, (also mineral deposits), and is also considered to be the founder of modern petroleum reservoir engineering. He later served as a consulting engineer in Romania, Russia, Mexico, Algeria, and United States. As successful businessman and undisputed expert in mining, Lucas was the life long chairmanof an "American Committee for Oil and Gas".
Inventions and Applications
Great number of Lucas inventions, scientific or technical knowledges were applied for the first time in the
oil exploration, extraction. Most of them are still used. Some of them are:
* invention of the christmas tree
* overhead method of mining in salt mines
surface explorationof underground mineraldeposits
* application of steam-driven, hydraulic-rotary drilling rig and of mud in
* construction and application of back
* use of
clayfor drilling fluids
* construction of blowout, so called "killing" equipment
* designing of
Lucas died in
Washington, D.C.on September 2, 1921. As to his nationality, he is often mistakenly described as Austrian, sometimes even as the Italian born in Trieste. On his grave in Rock Creek Cemeteryin Washington, D.C. he is said to be of Illyric origin, what was once the standard name for Croatian.
In 1936 the "
American Institute for Geological and Metallurgical Investigations" founded the Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medalprize [ [http://www.aimehq.org/awards/viewaward.cfm?TypeID=8] The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal] for development in the area of oil exploration. The museum with granite obeliskwas built to honor the exploreron which it writes : "On this spot on the tenth day of the twentieth century a new era in civilization began". [ [http://www.spindletopbolt.com/aboutus.html] Legend of Spindletop] [ [http://www.roadsideamerica.com/sights/sightstory.php?tip_AttrId=%3D11900] Gusher Monument and Replica Oil Boomtown] [ [http://www.mindfully.org/Industry/Oils-Big-Day.htm] Texas History:Oil's Big Day ] His discovery revolutionized industry and transport, revived the industrial revolution and changed lives of people in the whole world. As the true pioneer of oil mining, Anthony F. Lucas is with among 200 most deserving Americans in the course of the country's entire history. According to the report of the National Public Radio (NPR) he helped to transform the United States into a Superpower. [ [http://www.croatianhistory.net/etf/lucic.html] Centennial of Spindletop] A street and Elementary school bear his name in the City of Beaumont, Texas.
* Darko Žubrinić, with permission of Mr. Adam S. Eterovich, Santa Clara, USA (2002) " [http://www.croatianhistory.net/etf/lucic.html] ". LUCICH DISCOVERY OF OIL AT SPINDLETOP, TEXAS.
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