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By April 27 2015
It wasn’t quite a Jed Clampett moment: Instead of shootin’ for some food, Samuel Kier was drillin’ for some salt in his salt wells in the appropriately named Saltsburg in Indiana County, Pa., close to Pittsburgh.
He kept finding this smelly and gooey black stuff coming from the ground, fouling the salt — sometimes almost spontaneously catching fire.
Trying to make lemonade out of this lemon, he experimented with the gooey stuff. By 1848 he started selling a distillate of it as Seneca Oil, an elixir, and then a proto-Vaseline as a topical ointment.