Gas Engines in the Oil Fields

By Staff
1 / 5
2 / 5
3 / 5
Franklin Engine Direct-Connected to Ingersoll-Rand Compressor Fig. C-220
4 / 5
5 / 5

6299 N. Country Road Wading River, New York 11792

To many, the Bradford oil fields south of Allegany, New York,
may not seem like an interesting place in which to spend one’s
childhood. Looking back, at the age of 49, it had all that one
could wish for: a rural setting, solitude, good neighbors and
beautiful scenery. To many GEM enthusiasts, it might have been
viewed in much the same way, but with a few additional attractions:
gas engines.

These oil fields extend into New York State and brought great
prosperity to the region at one time. When I was a child, oil
production was in a state of decline, which continues to this day.
But the remnants of this industry were still quite active, as
evidenced by the fact that within twenty-five miles of Allegany
there were three oil refineries: Kendall in Bradford, Pennsylvania,
Quaker State in Farmers Valley, Pennsylvania, and the Socony Vacuum
in Olean, New York. Also within two miles of our house, nine power
houses and two pressure plants were still operating. Each power
house had a large single cylinder gas engine similar to those
pictured in the accompanying oil-well advertisement from the #46
Catalogue (no date available) of the Oil Well Supply Company. (See
next two pages.)

A pressure plant might have one or more gas engines driving
pumps which supplied water to the oil fields that were flooded to
improve production. One of these pressure plants, which was located
about 400 yards from our house, operated twenty-four hours a day
for 365 days a year.

The men who ran this pressure plant must have loved their
machinery. It was practically spotless inside and the equipment was
meticulously maintained. The machinery and floors were painted, and
carpeting created a walkway around the engines and pumps. As one
might expect, we as children were discouraged from and often
reproached for going inside.

This was one of our favorite spots to find warmth on a cold
winter day, since the engines provided a welcome heat and the water
from the fountain inside thepressure plant was cold and refreshing.
The engine noise in and around the plant was veiled by the use of
thousand gallon oil tanks, as mufflers, that had a few hundred
holes cut into the sides of them.

On warm summer nights the gentle boomp, boomp, boomp of the
engines blew in the open windows with the breeze to lull you to
sleep. There was a deafening quiet ushered in throughout the valley
by the dismantling of this plant.

The demise of the pressure plants didn’t necessarily mean
the same fate for power houses. A few of the oil leases were still
producing without the flood. Alease like this may have been located
between two others and benefited from their floods, or just had a
decent natural production. A powerhouse had a single engine,
typically manufactured by Reid, Clark, Bovaird &. Seyfang,
Worthington, Franklin or the Oil Well Supply Company.

The natural gas needed to run these engines often came from the
very wells that it pumped. Through a clutch assembly and a belt or
direct drive, the engine drove an eccentric which had several rod
lines hooked to it. These in turn were connected to an oil pump
(jack) at the well head, often several hundred feet from the power
house.

The pumper, who ran the power house, had to be attentive to his
jacks since they pumped off at varying rates and could be damaged
if allowed to pump a dry well. As some of the wells pumped off, he
would disconnect them and connect other wells that hadn’t been
pumped that day. The rod lines that pulled the jacks were typically
held aloft by tripods constructed of rails split from chestnut logs
that became plentiful as a result of the chestnut blight.

As a child, it was disheartening to see the manner in which
these great operations were dismantled. Usually, the tin building
was razed and the engines and other equipment were torn from their
concrete foundations with the winch ofa bulldozer, only to be
loaded on a flatbed and trucked to a local junkyard. This daunting
process seemed to convey such a lack of respect for the
dependability and enduring service offered by these workhorses.
Others were either abandoned as is, or had their wells pulled, rod
lines and jacks scrapped. In some cases, the engine and band wheel
are still intact.

For those of you who have never seen one of these operations,
there are a few oil leases still producing around the Bradford,
Pennsylvania, area. Some of the more enterprising types among our
readers may be able to salvage a whole power house if the timing is
right. Some of these are small enough to fit on a flatbed.

It’s ironic that neither my father, who worked in the oil
fields, nor I ever realized that small gas engines were so
plentiful and diverse. It wasn’t until five years ago that I
got my first engine, a 1 HP Witte. It’s remarkable that so many
have escaped the junkyard and found a new life. To all of the
collectors out there, your efforts to preserve this relatively
unknown segment of history are valued.

OIL WELL SUPPLY COMPANY

Franklin Valve less Engines

Type OGC Gas Engine

The Franklin Valve less Type OGC Gas Engine has incorporated in
it many features which make it an outstanding engine for drilling,
pumping, operating compressors, mill machinery, pumps, generators
and other power transmission equipment.

This engine is of the horizontal, 3-port, 2-cycle design, and
can be readily converted into Type OFC Oil Engine in 90
minutes.

The frame is entirely enclosed and oil tight, completely
protecting the bearings from dirt, water and grit. A splash system
of lubrication is provided so that all bearings run continuously in
a bath of oil. By removing the oil shield and door frame, all
working parts are easily accessible.

The engine is equipped with an air cooled piston, metallic
piston rod packing, and a steel connecting rod which is adjustable
at both ends. The piston rod is of forged steel, heat-treated,
ground and polished, and is bolted to the flange in the piston,
thus preventing any loosening or turning of the piston.

The cylinder is amply water-jacketed, insuring a cool, running
engine. The water jacket is provided with removable cover on the
cylinder head to facilitate cleaning.

The steel crosshead, with adjustable bronze shoes, is connected
to the piston by means of a flange, making it unnecessary to screw
the rod out of the crosshead when removing piston. A large, hollow
steel crosshead pin is used.

The main bearings are of extra large proportion, with removable
babbitt lined shells. They are provided ‘with wedge adjustment
with heavy steel tie bars through the jaws of the main bearings.
Ball Bearings are used for all thrust bearings on the governor.

The OGC Engine, as regularly built, has a belt driven governor
which is entirely enclosed. A lay shaft drive can be furnished if
desired with or without a water circulating pump.

A Wico ignition system is regularly provided as standard
equipment.

Specifications

Operating Speed

Floor Space

Bore In.

Stroke In.

R.P.M.

Over All Inches

Weight Pounds

H.P.

Normal

Maximum

40

12

16

180

300

52 x 138

8000

Type OFC OIL Engine

The Type OFC Oil Engine is of the same design and construction
as the Type OGC Gas Engine with the exception of the cylinder head
and governor control box. A fuel pump and injector are used in
place of the magneto, cable and spark plug.

The Type OFC Oil Engine is of the 2-cycle, solid injection type.
It is very economical on fuel and lubricating oils and requires
very little attention. In designing this engine, simplicity,
ruggedness, low fuel and operating costs were primary requisites.
It has the fewest possible parts and does not require an
experienced engineer to operate it.

The design is such that the OFC Oil Engine can readily be
converted to the Type OGC Gas Engine by two men in ninety
minutes.

Both the OFC and OGC engines are adaptable for any power
requirements drilling, pumping, operating compressors, mill
machinery, pumps, generators and other power transmission
equipment.

The OFC Engine, as regularly built, has a belt driven governor
but a lay shaft drive can be furnished if desired, with or without
a water circulating pump.

Specifications

Operating Speed

Floor Space

H.P.

Bore In.

Stroke In.

R.P.M

Over All Inches

Weight Pounds

Normal

Maximum

40

12

16

275

350

53 x 138

8000

Franklin Valve less Gas Engines

Types YC and YCS

The Franklin Valve less Gas Engines, Types YC and YCS, are of
the horizontal, 3-port, valve less, 2-eycle type. They are straight
gas engines and are not convertible to operate on oil.

These engines are built in four sizes20, 25, 30 and 40 h.p. The
30 and 10 h.p. sizes arc built only as Type YC, while the 20 and 25
h.p. engines arc built either as Type YC or Type YCS.

Types YC and YCS engines are of the same design except that the
YC engines are counterbalanced on the crankshaft while the YCS
engines are not.

The frames arc entirely enclosed and oil tight. A splash system
of lubrication, the most efficient, reliable and economical type,
is used, and all bearings run in a bath of oil. The cylinder is
lubricated by a force feed lubricator, having a capacity large
enough to run for twelve hours.

These engines are designed so they can be operated at various
speeds to meet the needs of individual installations.

For operating pumps and compressors, as well as pulling tubing,
casing, rods, cleaning out, drilling and pumping, these engines
have proven durable, economical and dependable.

The engines can be equipped with either one-way or reversible
clutches.

Specifications

Operating Speed

Floor Space

Bore In.

Stroke In.

R.P.M

Over All Inches

Weight Pounds

H.P.

Normal

Maximum

20

10?

12

180

300

47 x117

5200

25

11?

12

180

300

47 x117

5200

30

10?

16

180

3 00

4 ? x 133

5900

40

12

10

180

300

4 ? x 133

6300

‘OIL WELL’ 4-Cycle Black Bear Gas Engine

This engine is of the straight line, horizontal 4-cycle type,
equipped with trunk piston. The crankshaft is made from an alloy
steel forging with large bearing surfaces. Counterbalanced
fly-wheels arc well proportioned and heavy, to provide smooth
operation for ideal pumping. One wheel is equipped with a flange to
which can be bolted a one-way or reverse clutch.

Valves and magneto are operated by a cam shaft which is driven
by gears from crankshaft. Valves are of the poppet type and are so
placed that they receive the benefit of the cooling water in
cylinder head. A Wico magneto is furnished as standard equipment
although a Bosch magneto can be supplied at a slight additional
cost.

This engine is equipped for gas operation but can be converted
for or furnished with gasoline equipment. It cannot be converted
into oil operation. Air starting equipment can also be furnished
upon application. An enclosed type crank case cover can be
furnished when specified,

A belt-driven Pickering governor provides accurate control of
the engine and is so arranged that the speed of the engine can be
controlled from the derrick floor.

Specifications

Bore In.

Stroke In.

Floor Spam

Weight Pounds

H.P.

Over All

25

11

18

50 13/16‘ x 9’6 ?’

6650

40

13

20

54 ?’ x 10’5 ?

8885

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines