Oil field engines tend to have a certain . Looking at a Bessemer
or a Reid, most collectors will know right away, ‘that’s an
oil field engine.’ But looking at a smaller Economy or Hercules
engine, those same collectors will think otherwise, assuming from
its and size that it’s a farm engine once used in a non-oil
field application. But application is the key word here, for what
makes an engine an oil field engine is not only the type or size of
the engine, but the application in which it was used.
Most oil field engine enthusiasts entered the hobby because of a
love for the large engines commonly needed in oil field service.
But the big names in oil field engines were not the only type that
pumped black gold from the ground. As I have seen time and time
again, the oil field man makes do with the resources he has at
hand. To quote one of my favorite historical personalities,
President Theodore Roosevelt; ‘Do what you can, with what you
have, where you are.’
Associated Oil Field Engine?
Such was the case with a 6 HP Associated I located recently. The
engine was located at a site where there were three wells, all
rather close together. A power was set up with an S.M. Jones
eccentric turntable and rod lines connected to the three wells with
Jones pump jacks. But to power the turntable someone had mounted
two Reid flywheels (of about 15 HP size) where the belt pulley
should have been. I knew they were Reid flywheels because one of
them had the hole at the hub for the charge cylinder journal.
These flywheels were driven by means of a friction drive made up
from an automotive wheel and tire mounted on the Associated where
its belt pulley would normally be. The clutch for the drive was a
brake drum from a car. A lever acting on a conical-shaped part had
been fabricated to apply the brakes in the drum, thereby
transferring drive force to the wheel. I suppose when it came time
to pump, an operator would start the engine and get it going (it
ran rather fast from the looks of the governor springs), then
engage the lever to transfer drive to the tire, which in turn
started burning rubber on the edge of those Reid flywheels! It must
have been a sight to see. Once the flywheels were spinning I’m
guessing there was enough momentum to hook up the wells and pump
and get them rolling.
I suppose you could call the whole system a torque amplifier.
The 6 HP Associated would probably not have had the power to run
that equipment, but with the momentum of the large Reid flywheels
mounted on the power it could be done. All the Associated had to do
was keep those big wheels turning.
I would imagine this engine has had a rather hard working life.
People in the area say it has been eight or nine years since it
last ran, and that the wells were probably no longer producing. It
was definitely an interesting site, the powerhouse littered with
junk and relics of the past, including a cider jug with a
four-digit phone number on it and numerous cans of ‘Rocket
Motor Oil’ strewn about.
The gentleman who owns the oil lease wanted to tear down the
building housing the engine and sell off the equipment. I made
arrangements to purchase the engine and equipment, but before the
building was taken down I took a number of pictures to document the
site. Then it was all loaded on a trailer and taken to it’s new
home – and a much easier life in retirement.
As always, let us know if you’d like a free membership in
the Oil Field Engine Society by writing or sending an e-mail to me
at the address below.
Contact the Oil Field Engine Society at: 1231 Banta’s
Creek Road, Eaton, OH 45320-9701, on the Web at:
www.oilfieldengine.com or e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org