Happy Holidays Oil Field Engine enthusiasts! Recently, my good friend John Burns of New Carlisle, Ohio, proprietor of Oil Field Engine Parts LLC, shared with me a letter he received from Paul Dietz. John and Paul met when Paul noticed John wearing a shirt with the ‘Reid’ logo on it. I found Paul’s letter and an accompanying photo he sent to John so interesting that I inquired of John if Paul Dietz would mind me sharing it with the readers of Gas Engine Magazine. John called Dietz, who was happy to share the letter, and I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Reid Memories: By Paul Dietz
John: I am glad that I noted ‘Reid’ on your shirt. It was nice talking to you. As I said, my Father, John Dietz, sold Reid engines and powers in the Reid branch located on Second Street in Marietta, Ohio. He worked for them from 1901 until the depression in 1928, when he lost his job. It was a severe blow to him when he was let go; at this time there were no jobs available.
My father’s territory was southern Ohio and northern West Virginia. Father was a good salesman and sold most of the Reid engines in this area
In the summertime I would go with Father on his sales trips. One time we stopped at Volcano, W.Va., to see the continuous-cable pumping setup, which was the only one of its kind. The rope went continuously in one direction from one well to another and pumped several wells at one time. There is a model of this operation at the Oil and Gas Museum in Parkersburg, W.Va.
Joseph Reid came to Marietta one time and stayed at our home, and he held me on his lap – an event I well remember.
Do they still use gas-o-meters? Such as where there are two large cans, one upside-down in the other with oil in the bottom of one as a sealant. This gadget was used to make sure a volume of gas was available when the charging cylinder sucked in gas. Many times they didn’t need the gas-o-meter, instead they used a joint of large casing connected to the gas supply line next to the engine as a reservoir to supply the volume of gas necessary.
At the Marietta branch they stocked all parts for the Reid engine. The Reid must have been a trouble-free engine, as I don’t think they sold many parts. They sold a lot of hot tubes because these were stolen from the engine to make rings out of (silver). They sold some valves and hot tube liners, and some bearings. They had a man from Oil City, Pa., who came around on a schedule and went out to the leases in the area and poured babbitt to repair main bearings. As I recall, I think his schedule was about once a month.
The oilmen of the area all stopped in the Reid branch office to buy parts, or more often to just loaf around and find out what was going on in the oil fields. Old man Leidecker (Leidecker Tool Co.) stopped in almost on a daily basis. Leidecker paid a decent wage to his employees, $5 a day. Brickwedy furniture factory was across the road from Leidecker’s plant and they paid $3 a day to their men. This caused some friction with their lower-paid employees. Brickwedy put pressure on Mr. Leidecker to reduce his wages. Brickwedy was connected with the banks and had one of Leidecker’s notes recalled. Leidecker thought his men earned $5 a day and refused to lower what he paid them. Fortunately, Leidecker was able to secure other financing.
Pattin Bros, (whom I met one time) was across the street from the Reid office and made the Pattin Bros. engine there until the plant was destroyed by fire.
Years ago, there was a tug boat operating out of Marietta, powered by a Reid engine. The boat’s name was ‘Gipsie.’
I am sending a picture that was taken at Oil City in 1912. The photo was taken at a banquet for the heads of the various sales offices of the Joseph Reid Gas Engine Co.
My Father is seated in the bottom row in the picture, seventh from the left, above and slightly to the right of the hole in the picture. The taller man in the center of the back row is Joseph Reid, the inventor of the Reid gas engine.
In the left of the picture (on the table) is a model of a Reid engine, and it seems to be running some pumping equipment (by means of an electric motor visible on the table).
Nice to meet you, keep the Reid engines running in memory of my father. He sold many of the engines for which you make parts – you are rendering a great service.
Cordially, Paul C. Dietz Beverly, Ohio