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Oil Field Artifacts
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Where does the story start. Does it start with the power house?
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The place where the gas engine generated the power to pump the wells.
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The place now long abandoned and left to be reclaimed by nature.
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Stripped of it's engine. Leaving only the mounting pads.
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Some power houses still have parts of the engines.
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Some are almost complete.
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From once great names like Oil City Boiler Works of Oil City PA.
Click here for Video 1
of operating engines
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Or Bessemer of Grove City PA.
Video of of an 1899 Bessemer engine
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Here a Bessemer engine sits in the open it's power house long gone.
Video of starting a Bessemer engine.
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Here is a Reid engine from
Joseph Reid Gas Engine Company
Oil City PA.
Video of working Reid Gas Engine
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A relatively new power house powered by propane gas.
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In the early days, engines were run on steam. Here is the firebox from an old steam boiler.
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Power houses used a belt to connect the engine to the band wheel that connected rod lines to the pumping jacks.
Click for video of belt driven eccentric.
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Here an engine and belt tightener are shown. Video of oil field band wheel central power.
In these videos the gas engine has been replaced by an electric motor.
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Here the belt tightner and band wheel are shown. Video of oil field band wheel central power, rod lines and pumping jacks.
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Here the engine belt tightener and band wheel are shown.
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The eccentrix and band wheel inside a power house.
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The remains of an old engine and power house.
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A gear driven eccentric with no band wheel needed. Belt attached to the shaft on the right.
Video of operating engine and gear eccentric.
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The dismantled remains of a gear eccentric.
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Note the gasoline engine in the lower right once used to power this power house.
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A gasoline engine and transmission modified to replace the natural gas piston engine.
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The remains of the old cloth belt used to connect the working parts.
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This band wheel has been abandoned for a long time. Note the tree growing up through the center.
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A geared eccentric with rod line removed.
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A geared eccentric with rod lines still attached.
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Only the mounting pads from this power house remain.
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But maybe we should start with the drilling rig used to spud the well into the ground.
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Here a drilling rig sits abandoned.
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Early drilling rigs were made mostly of wood. Here a Wolf Rig sits in a field.
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A Wolf Rig with most of the wood decayed.
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Only portions of this Wolf Rig remain.
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This Wolf rig is almost gone. It's hard to believe that these rigs were dragged through the woods by teams of horses.
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This is the spud bit from a Wolf Rig.
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Even the bulldosers and front loaders haven't survived.
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Once drilled, the well was connected to a pumping jack.
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A really strange pumping jack.
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A relatively modern pumping jack powered by an electric motor (missing in this photo).
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The grave yard of oil field items.
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Once drilled, the well was connected to a storage tank. Early tanks were made of wood.
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The oil and brine soaked into the wood and helped to preserve it.
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Some survive better than others.
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Some show the signs of animals.
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Porcupines chew the wood to get the salt from the brine.
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Some wooden tanks loose the battle and all that remains are the metal bands.
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Metal tanks are from a more recent era.
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Wood and metal tanks are often found side by side.
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A strange storage tank.
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Some tanks were built into the ground.
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A well hunter lifting the lid of an underground tank.
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An above ground trnsmission line.
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The rod lines that connected the pump house to the well have their own story.
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Stones and trees were used as anchors for rod line connectors.
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Trees have grown over rod lines.
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A vast system of supports and hangers kept the rod lines off the ground.
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Here a photo, from the Drake Well Museum grounds, shows a rod line supported by a pipe and knotched wood block.
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A rod line support tower made of split chetnut logs.
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Metal rod line support towers.
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Remains of an old wood spoked wheel vehicle.
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Nature isn't fast but it will overtake you given enough time.
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So don't lean against a tree for too long.
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Wooden brake shoes on a drive shaft.
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Maybe a strange pressure control on a old transmission line.
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Some kind of pump.
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A cooling loop found in the woods.
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A Moser well head made in Kane PA.
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Note the pipe in the tree. No the tree didn't grow up. Someone placed the pipe in the tree and the tree grew around it.
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Porcupines like to chew on aluminum sheets left in the woods.
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The ultimate goal of the Orphan Well Project is to get the wells plugged.
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The orange pipe is left as a marker so the well can be located later.
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Some plugged wells get a marker showing the well number and the depth.