Historical Markers
LP-Gas Industry Historical Marker
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LP-Gas Industry

Lake Erie Region


Marker Location:
US 19 at square in Waterford

Dedication Date:
May 17, 1962

Behind the Marker

A portrait of Frank Phillips at a large desk in his office.
Frank Phillips
Propane is one of many fossil fuels and a commonly used liquefied form of petroleum. At its normal pressure and temperature, propane is a colorless and odorless gas. If the pressure and temperature are adjusted, however, propane changes into a liquid making it a remarkably flexible energy resource. For instance, in its liquid form, propane is 270 times smaller than in its gaseous form.

Early in the 20th century Dr. Walter Snelling investigated the evaporation of gasses from gasoline and discovered propane, butane and other hydrocarbons. Snelling constructed a still to separate the gasoline into its liquid and gaseous components. Two years later, residents of Pittsburgh used propane gas for home cooking. By 1913, some automobiles used propane. The market for propane broadened, and by 1920 it was sold widely. Dr. Snelling sold his propane patent to Frank Phillips, the founder of Phillips Petroleum Company, for $50,000. Propane has grown to be a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States.

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