' Destruction '

| May/June 1973

King Road, Silver Creek, New York 14136

Some of your readers must remember the Franklin Oil and Gas Engine, made in Pennsylvania. They were 2 cycle, made like a steam engine with crosshead. Twelve inch bore and sixteen inch stroke. Top speed about 350 r.p.m. and much over that would shake oil out of tin covered crankcase.

The riggers set them on twelve timbers bolted and keyed and with fine gravel under the ground timbers. The rig I saw used oil for fuel. This they started with a blow torch on hot tube. The intake was on the left side and was threaded. As they were to drill near gas at any level, a piece of pipe was screwed in, taking the intake (maximum at all times) outside the belt hall.

Whether some one forgot or gas was struck unexpectedly, I do not know. The crew started to pull tolls out of the hole. The gas, coming out of the hole, was drafted down the narrow belt hall and into the intake pipe. The hot tube fired gas as well as oil.

The engine gained speed until it blew up the flywheels. I found a piece of the rim and a short stub of spoke at least 300 feet away. Fire broke out and the outside derrick timbers away from the engine burned first, letting the derrick fall, with all but about six foot of stem, which was still in the hole. We went to see it the next day. The heat was so terrific, the stem looked like a giant measuring worm laying on the ground.

I think the crew survived at this but on a later one about the same, the driller was badly burned and did not survive.


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