Stories

Hubris Defined

Hubris Defined

When a 1914 dictionary dropped coal from its definition of “fuel,” the Standard Oil Bulletin gloated. But cheap energy is tough to displace, and hubris is ill-advised.
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Rocket Man

Rocket Man

An early pioneer of rocket-powered travel, Max Valier is an example of the kind of bravado, vision and wild ideas required to alter the course of history.
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Long Way Around

Long Way Around

During the Arab Oil Embargo, Canada had to use foreign tankers to transport its oil from west to east. Energy security is rarely a priority … until it’s too late.
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Once Upon a Time…

Once Upon a Time…

These children’s stories might seem to be just about a whale, a caboose or a steam shovel. But they’re actually helping to shape the next generation’s energy beliefs.
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Nobody Tips a Scandiscope

Nobody Tips a Scandiscope

As a young climbing boy meets his fate in the bowels of a tiny flue, Peter examines why the horrific practice of sending children up chimneys persisted for so long.
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Alfred Dickie’s Utility Bill

Alfred Dickie’s Utility Bill

The 1915 utility bill of a lumber magnate gets Peter thinking about our relationship with our energy sources and the shared responsibility of consumers and producers.
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When Stoke Stokes

When Stoke Stokes

In 1947 England, a man sends his daughter a postcard featuring smoke-belching factories. Why was such an image glorified? The answer is how we define prosperity.
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The Investor Visit

The Investor Visit

Skeptical of gushing promises made by a fast-talking broker and slick oil company CEO, an investor visits his oil investment in 1915, leading to some timeless advice.
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The Great Aha

The Great Aha

A once-staunch stagecoach driver sees the light and buys a Model T, never to look back. This 1914 Ford Times story shows how human need influences energy transitions.
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Stairway to Hell

Stairway to Hell

A visit to a ghost coal-mining town reminds Peter of the recurrent maladies that still plague business attitudes today — and to look beyond the spreadsheet for answers.
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