by George E. Totten, Ph.D

This is a timeline of the history of Committee D02 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants and key moments in the history of the petroleum (and related) industries. For an abridged, designed version from the June 2004 issue of ASTM Standardization News magazine, click here.

To 1899 1900-1919 1920-1939
1940-1959 1960-1979 1980-2004
Print Version
1900 The advent of the automobile is welcomed as a relief from pollution. New York City, with its 120,000 horses, scrapes up 2.4 million pounds [1.1 x 106 kg] of manure every day.

1901 Henry Ford forms the Henry Ford Company but will later quit in a dispute. The company will become known as Cadillac with the first Cadillac automobile manufactured in 1902. In 1903, Henry Ford will form the Ford Motor Co. in Michigan. (During this time, steering wheels replaced tillers.) In 1908, the first Model T will roll off the Ford assembly line.

1903 At Kitty Hawk, N.C., the Wright brothers achieve the first powered, manned, heavier-than-air, controlled flight.

1904 Henry Royce builds his first motor car and, with Charles Rolls, begins producing the Rolls-Royce automobile.

1904 ASTM Committee N on Standard Tests for Lubricants is formed when the Society’s Executive Committee discusses the need for standards in the petroleum industry during their meeting at the Engineers Club in Philadelphia, Pa., on Oct. 22. Committee N will go on to hold its first meeting in May 1905 in Pittsburgh, Pa. Its membership will consist of 10 people.

1906 Gasoline stations open for business across the United States, but dispensing is still done mostly by buckets and funnels. Metered or graduated systems will not be used until after 1911.

1908 The General Motors Company is formed from Oldsmobile (1896), Cadillac (1902) and Buick (1903).

1910 Alfa Romeo is formed.

1911 Gilbert & Barker introduce curb pumps with measuring devices; the Beman Auto Oil Can Co. of Meadville, Pa., is already selling their “New Improved Automatic Tank.”

1911 The U.S. Supreme Court orders the dissolution of Standard Oil Trust, resulting in the creation 34 new refining companies.

1911 U.S. kerosine output is eclipsed for the first time by a formerly discarded byproduct: gasoline.

1913 William Meriam Burton receives a patent for his cracking process, which converts oil to gasoline.

1913 The first drive-up gasoline station opens in Pittsburgh, Pa.

1915 Ford Motor Company develops a farm tractor.

1917 Pacific Aero Products Company changes its name to Boeing Airplane Company.

1917 ASTM Standard D 47, Methods for Specific Gravity of Lubricants, is issued, containing a variety of testing methods, including some that are not specific-gravity methods. In 1921, ASTM D 88, Test Method for Saybolt Viscosity, will be published, based on a viscosity method originally incorporated in D 47. Other methods will be spun off from D 47, including: ASTM D 97, Method for Pour Point of Petroleum Products (1921); D 189, Method for Conradson Carbon Residue of Petroleum Products (1924); and D 287, Method for API Gravity of Crude Petroleum and Petroleum Products (Hydrometer Method) (1928). D 47 will be discontinued in 1928.

1918 Committee N issues its first standard, D 56, Method for Flash Point by Tag Closed Tester.

1919 The American Petroleum Institute is established.


To 1899 1900-1919 1920-1939
1940-1959 1960-1979 1980-2004

For author and acknowledgements information, click here.
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