Oil Field Engine News

Oil Field Stover

| April 2006

The history of man's endeavors to obtain oil by one means or another dates back years before the advent of internal combustion engines. The first "oil field engine" would have to be the one used to drill and pump the Drake well in Titusville, Pa. - it being the first well drilled with the intent to extract oil. John Eaton, president of The Oil Well Supply Co., wrote a history of oil well machinery in 1907. This fascinating history traces the earliest attempts to extract oil up to the "modern" drilling rigs of his day. This article was first published by the Oil Men's Assn. of Butler County in their Oil Region Reminisces printed in 1907. This issue includes excerpts of the article up to the Drake well, and in a later issue I will submit the second half of Eaton's history.

"The Evolution of Oil Well Machinery"
By John Eaton, President, The Oil Well Supply Co.

Webster defines the word machinery as: "Means and appliances by which anything is kept in action or a desired result is obtained."

It would seem, therefore, that the crude methods adopted in the early history of petroleum or rock oil may very properly take their place in considering the "Evolution of Oil Well Machinery."

Oil dipped out of pools where it had settled. Woolen blankets were thrown into pools and after becoming saturated, the oil was wrung out of them. Boards were placed in pools, the oil accumulated on the boards and then was scraped off.

Records show that for centuries in the region of the Caucasus Mountains in Russia, petroleum has been collected by skimming it from the surface of springs. On the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea there were 20,000 such springs in 1868.