“I believe that the role Antun Lucic played in the development of the oil industry in the world is similar to the role of his countryman Nikola Tesla in the development of the electrical industry,” says Dr.Darko Zubrinic, a professor at the Zagreb Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
“The native of Split has given so much to the world, but few know about him in Croatia,” added Zubanic, when talking about Lucic, whose family roots come from the picturesque island of Hvar.
Antun Lucic, whose name was ‘americanized’ to Anthony Francis Lucas, was born in the Dalmatian City of Split in 1855 and died in Washington in 1921. Although ridiculed by many and written off because of his small budget, Lucic discovered a large oil well in Texas.
More than 100,000 barrels per day were running out of the wells and between 40 and 50 thousand people would come to see the huge stream of oil that rose tens of meters in height. It was the earliest mass exploitation of oil in the world, and also the beginning of a new era for America and the world, writes daily newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija.
At the site where Anthony F. Lucas discovered the first eruptive oil well on 10 January 1901 (The Lucas Gusher), an 18 meter granite monument has been erected in his honour.