Hakeem's Energy Timeline By 8242257 Jan 1, 1300 Beginning of Wind Power The first horizontal-axis windmills (like a pinwheel) appeared in Western Europe. Sep 17, 1626 Natural Gas French explorers discovered Native Americans burning gases that were seeping into and around Lake Erie. Aug 6, 1748 The first commercial U.S. coal production began near Richmond, Virginia Coal was used to manufacture shot, shell, and other war material during the Revolutionary War. Jan 27, 1800 Hydropower was beginning to be used for electricity. The first hydroelectric plants were direct current (DC) stations used to power nearby arc and incandescent lighting. Jun 29, 1826 Ethanol Samuel Morey developed an engine that ran on ethanol and turpentine Dec 17, 1881 Street lamps in the city of Niagara Falls were powered by hydropower (direct current) The use of hyro-powered energy is successful. Jan 22, 1890 The United Mine Workers of America was formed. The United Mine Workers of America (UMW or UMWA) is a North American labor union best known for representing coal miners and coal technicians. Jul 1, 1900 Windmills in California pumped saltwater to evaporate ponds. This provided gold miners with salt Aug 27, 1946 The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 was passed. It was the first major amendment of the original Energy Act, which gave the civilian nuclear energy program further access to nuclear technology. Aug 29, 1949 The Soviet Union detonated its first atomic device The Soviet project to develop an atomic bomb began during World War II, in the wake of the USSR's discovery of American efforts to develop nuclear weapons.