1615 Brick Kiln Lane, Louisville, Kentucky 40216
Have you ever thought of how things would be if there had never been any gas or oil?
Of course no one could possibly know what that would mean to our current lifestyle, but have you ever thought about it? If you're like most of us probably not. Most people take things like that for granted. But if that were true there would certainly be an altogether different set of circumstances surrounding our lives.
Instead of natural gas heat, most of us would be using, perhaps wood or electricity, or something else not ever dreamed of, for that, and what about our automobiles? What about our old gas engines and tractors? What a whole new ball game that would be.
Without doubt there would be alternate sources of fuel, you can count on that. After all, a young Henry Ford envisioned automobiles as running on hydrogen, and in fact invested much time and money in experiments with this particular fuel. The biggest obstacle he encountered was with the storage of hydrogen in the automobile. Such storage required a container able to withstand tremendous pressure safely, but with much less weight than containers of the day. If he had had the technology that we have available in this day and age, at his disposal, there is no doubt that liquid hydrogen would have played a very important part in the fueling of our auto engines. Since hydrogen is so abundant it may well turn out to be a 'fuel of the future'.
Of course there are other fuels that could have been used such as alcohol and even coal, if indeed there was coal available.
Most people would be very much surprised to hear that Rudolph Diesel, the father of the diesel engine, at first intended his engine to run on coal. That's right! Powdered coal mixed with water. What's more surprising is that right today, this very thing is being done in Europe on an experimental basis and a large single cylinder engine, designed to drive a generator, has been running for several months now with no major problems. This engine is approximately 200 HP in size and runs well but is being evaluated as to wear from the powdered coal and water mixture, which obviously would be much greater than with conventional diesel fuel. It is believed this concept is entirely feasible and most certainly will be used in the future. I know it is difficult for the average person, including myself, to believe that a compound such as this would fire in an engine, but it does.
I hadn't really thought much about the oil and gas aspect of my old gas engines until I became so very much interested in the oil and gas industry as a result of my attendance at the West Virginia Oil and Gas Festival at Sistersville each year. (Sept. 12-15 this year). And the more I learn about this important industry, the more fascinated I become with everything about it.
One of the many stories in connection with that concerns the title of this story 'The Yellow Dog'.
The yellow dog didn't have four legs and a wagging tail, as you might expect. It wasn't alive at all. If someone called you a yellow dog you'd be inclined to resent it and may very well be ready to fight. I know you've heard it said that 'so and so' would vote a particular party if there was a yellow dog running on the ticket.
Now that may be true but that also is not the type of yellow dog I'm talking about.
It seems back in the early days of oil well drilling, and in operating a producing well, there were no electric light, especially in remote areas, and night operations were very hard and in fact almost impossible to continue by the light of a 'coal oil' lantern. So good old American ingenuity took over and the iron foundries of the area started producing a vessel looking somewhat liked an old iron tea kettle but with two spouts, one on each side. Now how in the world did something like that get such a name?
Well, picture yourself if you will, walking down a dark hollow at night, and through the mist. Hanging low up ahead, you can make out two yellow spots. These spots were two wicks, one in each spout, that were lit to provide light at the well site. Since there was an abundance of crude oil available, it was a simple matter to fill the 'kettle' and light the wicks. The two yellow lights were said to look, from a distance, like the eyes of a dog shining in the night, hence the name 'yellow dog'. It's amazing how names develop, isn't it?
Recently, thanks to 'good old Ed Deis' I acquired one of these yellow dogs. Not in very good shape to be sure but then maybe someone out there has a better one that they would part with. If so let me know.
Little do we realize how much our lives depend on the oil and gas industry. Without it that plastics industry would most surely not be in the high degree of development that it is today. The makeup of our wearing apparel would be almost all oriented toward the natural fibers instead of synthetics.
Many types of food additives have been developed from oil as well as medicines, fertilizers and many chemicals that are directly involved in all facets of our everyday lives. Whether this is good or bad simply depends upon your particular viewpoint.
The amazing reality is that our use of oil as a fuel involves less than one third of our oil consumption. Ah yes! Where would we be without our abundant supply of gas and oil?