Recovery of spilled hydrocarbons has been occurring almost as long as petroleum has been refined. The earliest attempt reported was the use of pitcher pumps attached to shallow posthole depth wells along a breached pipeline. This pre-1900 effort was not driven by environmental concerns, but by its ease in recovery and the perceived economic value of the oil. Most recovery efforts were continued until the labor value exceeded the product value, and then stopped. Primitive equipment, coupled with a lack of understanding of the mechanics of product migration in the subsurface, and the relatively low value placed on the recovered product provided little incentive for the development of remedial technologies.