The History of Propane
In 1910, a Pittsburgh motor car owner walked into chemist Dr. Walter Snelling’s office, complaining that the gallon of gasoline he had purchased was half a gallon by the time he got home. Consumers were being cheated, he said, because the gasoline was evaporating at a rapid and expensive rate, and he asked Dr. Snelling to investigate.
Dr. Snelling took up the challenge. Using coils from an old hot-water heater and other miscellaneous pieces of laboratory equipment, he built a still that could separate the gasoline into its liquid and gaseous components and discovered that the evaporating gases were propane, butane and other hydrocarbons.
People soon discovered the value of this wonderful new fuel. By 1912, the first propane gas stove was cooking food in the home. The first propane-powered vehicle ran in 1913, and, by 1915, propane was being used in torches to cut through metal. By 1920, it was marketed for flame cutting and cooking applications. In 1927, total sales in the United States exceeded 1 million gallons.
Why Propane is the Right Choice for You!
- It is one of the nation’s most versatile sources of energy and supplies about 4 percent of our total energy needs.
- It exists as a liquid and a gas. At atmospheric pressure and temperatures above –44 F, it is a non-toxic, colorless and odorless gas. Just as with natural gas, an identifying odor is added so it can be readily detected.
- Approximately 90 percent of the United States’ supply is produced domestically, while 70 percent of the remaining supply is imported from Canada and Mexico. Approximately equal amounts of propane come from the refining of crude oil and from natural gas processing.
- When contained in an approved cylinder or tank, it exists as a liquid and vapor. The vapor is released from the container as a clean-burning fuel gas. Propane is 270 times more compact as a liquid than as a gas, making it economical to store and transport as a liquid.