Oil Field Engine News

By Staff
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An Acme geared pumping engine for pumping two or more oil wells.
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A 20 HP Acme cross-head gas engine.

Samuel Milton Jones, often referred to as “Golden Rule Jones,”
was born Aug. 3, 1846, in north Wales, United Kingdom. He and his
family emigrated to Lewis County, N.Y, when he was 3 years old. He
grew up in New York until he moved to Titusville, Pa., and as an
18-year-old, he worked in the oil fields of Pennsylvania. There, he
studied different methods of oil production and became a producer
himself in 1870. Depressed by the death of his first wife, he moved
to Lima, Ohio seeking change. In 1886, with his headquarters in
Lima, he operated oil fields. He made a big strike near Lima in
1886. That same year he met Helen W. Beach, a lady from a prominent
Toledo, Ohio, family. In 1892, they married and settled in

Jones work in the oil fields led to his inventing the sucker
rod, which permitted deep-well drilling. He patented his invention
and began to manufacture it, but in 1893, shortly before Jones
opened his factory, economic catastrophe struck America. Stocks
plunged, banks failed, businesses collapsed and millions of people
were thrown out of work. It was the worst depression in the
nation’s history.

Jones’ business plans were not affected by the massive downturn,
but his soul was profoundly altered. Contemplating the tramps
camped on the outskirts of town, the desperate men who begged him
for a job, the upsurge of petty crime and the angry demands for law
and order from the pulpit and city hall, Jones began to ask himself
if there were something fundamentally wrong with America.

The big Welshman had been brought up on the bible by his
parents. Was it the failure to practice the teachings of Jesus that
had created these terrible problems? Of all the teachings of the
man from Nazareth, the one that had made the deepest impression on
Jones was the Golden Rule.

Jones decided to see if the Golden Rule could be practiced in
business. When he opened his factory, workmen discovered a sign on
the wall: “The Rule that Governs This Factory: ‘Therefore
Whatsoever Ye Would That Men Should Do Unto You, Do Ye Even So Unto

Jones’ place was different from others. There were no foremen or
time clocks. Everything was done on the honor system. For very
little money the workers could buy stock in the company, unheard of
at the time. To give his employees a sense of community, Jones
sponsored picnics and outings to nearby lakes. And each Christmas
every worker received a bonus, along with a letter from Jones.

Frequently, he hired men who were unshaven and unkempt;
derelicts, other people called them. Some became his most
productive workers. Jones astonished the Toledo business world by
giving his employees one week’s vacation with pay. Even more
astonishing in the era of the 12-hour day, he instituted the
eight-hour day, so more men could have jobs in a time of terrible
want, and because he believed eight hours were the most a man could
work productively.

Next to the factory, Jones built Golden Rule park and
playground, where workers enjoyed relatively fresh air and their
children capered on slides and swings. In nearby Golden Rule Hall,
people heard speakers from across America, teaching them how to
improve their lives through education and spiritual rebirth.

Soon, many people were urging Jones to run for mayor of Toledo.
After much soul searching, he became the Republican candidate in
1897. He won, and promptly began to apply the teachings of Jesus to
politics. On his office wall he carved on a 3-by-1-foot board:
“Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged.”

The new mayor banned the police habit of dragging poor people
off the street and throwing them in jail on mere suspicion of
wrongdoing. With the help of a crusading young lawyer named Brand
Whitlock, the mayor began hearing these cases himself. Mayor Jones
also disliked police smacking people around with their clubs. He
replaced the clubs with light sticks that could not inflict serious

Next, he established civil-service examinations for policemen
and other municipal employees, ending the demoralizing habit of
wholesale firings whenever a new administration took over city
hall. He put all city workers on eight-hour days and set a minimum
wage. He introduced kindergartens into the city’s schools. He
turned over his salary to his clerk, who was told to distribute it
to those who needed help. When that stipend vanished, as it often
did within a week, the mayor dug into his personal fortune.

Despite all his civic and business reforms Jones remained
unsatisfied with his own spiritual progress. He constantly tried to
live the Golden Rule no matter how difficult it became. Once, he
went to see an opponent with a written statement of his opposition
on a controversial issue. The man snatched the paper out of Jones’
hand and tore it up. In his day, Jones had held his own in the
rough-and-tumble world of the oil fields. His big, hardened hands
had thrown their share of punches. But Mayor Jones walked away
without striking a blow or saying a word. He went to the office of
Whitlock, who had become his protégé. Struggling against rage,
Jones told Whitlock what had happened. Then a smile broke over his

“Well, I’ve won the greatest victory of my life,” he said. “A
victory over myself, over my own nature. I have done what it has
always been hardest for me to do.”

“What?” asked Whitlock.

“It has always seemed to me that the most remarkable thing that
was ever said of Jesus was that when he was reviled, he reviled not
again. It is the hardest thing in the world to do.”

Jones died of pneumonia in 1904 at the age of 57, not long after
his fourth election victory. Only then did people discover that
during his seven years as mayor, Sam Jones gave more than $700,000
to the poor – two-thirds of his original fortune. That is the
equivalent today of nearly $13 million dollars.

I would like to thank Dave Hayden, Thomas Fleming and Rick
Dorrel for their assistance in compiling information for this brief
review of Jones’ life.

Contact The Oil Field Engine Society at: 1231 Banta’s Creek
Road, Eaton, OH 45320-9701; oilengine@earthlink.net •

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