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aostling
08-23-2009, 09:40 PM
Two weeks ago I spotted this old drilling rig in Rangely, an oil field in the NW corner of Colorado. It is powered by a Minneapolis-Moline diesel, partially visible at the front of the apparatus.

It was in a lot outside the local museum. I failed to ask about its vintage. I was impressed by its use of timber framing to support the machine elements.

Can anybody give an approximate date, from the look of the thing?


http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/Rangelydrillrig.jpg

wierdscience
08-23-2009, 10:41 PM
Looks like a water well rig to me.Probably originally steam or one lung engine powered and converted later.Could even have been power by steam traction engine.Date could be anywhere from late 1800's to the early 1950's.The trailer is most likely an add on.

There were lots of machines built from wood with metal hardware.Plenty of sawmill equipment and rigging equipment was made like that early on.Saved a bunch on shipping to ship out a few crates of parts along with a set of drawings.Timber could be obtained locally,sawn and assembled into the machine.

Here is an example of a restored Frick sawmill.The main frame,carrage frame and knees are all wood with metal fittings.

http://www.farmcollector.com/uploadedImages/FCM/articles/issues/2000-08-01/FC_V3_I01_Aug_2000_10-1.jpg

Boucher
08-23-2009, 10:45 PM
My guess would be 1950 ish. With the wooden walking beam it might be earlier. In this part of the country they started using wire cable drilling line instead of hemp rope in the mid thirties. How deep was that field in those days?

J Tiers
08-23-2009, 10:59 PM
At the Permian basin oil museum in Texas, there are a couple of those rigs. I was very surprised to find that they were indeed rather late in manufacture, 1930s at least. And they had older hit and miss type engines.

The one you show does indeed look newer than the ones I saw, and 1950 is possible. The small operators and water well folks used older type stuff, not the new "high tech" machinery.

Guido
08-23-2009, 11:20 PM
Around Rangely, Colorado, that machine may have seen oil action as a spudder, or cable tool rig, up until about 1950, but then relegated to the water well industry. That machine was probably painted after being pulled to the museum. The spool of pretty heavy wireline is quite large. Cable tools below 2K feet, better bring a big box of groceries.

More than one green floorhand was decapitated by flying wireline, not to mention lost arms. OSHA was long, long overdue.

http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p86/Guido_album/tronawaterwellrig.jpg

Pic of wooden mast and draw works mounted on 19XX automobile, for cable tool drilling of water wells. Finally resting, just north of Trona, Ca. on the road to Death Valley. I wish that thing could talk.

G

aostling
08-23-2009, 11:22 PM
Here is another view of the rig. Perhaps the size indicates if it was used to drill for water instead of oil.

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/drillrigbeam.jpg

Inside the museum was this re-creation of a kitchen. It looks like 1950s with some elements of 1940s. Is that an electric oven atop the stove? I never saw one of those before.

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/Rangelymuseumkitchen.jpg

J Tiers
08-23-2009, 11:33 PM
It's a "roaster'...... they are still made, still look pretty much like that. My in-laws cook turkeys in theirs.

Nice old stove...... pre-1950's, most likely.

aostling
08-23-2009, 11:51 PM
Finally resting, just north of Trona, Ca. on the road to Death Valley. I wish that thing could talk.
G

What a wonderful photo. I was on that Trona road in the late 1980s, but don't recall seeing this rig. Next time I drive to SF I may have to take this road again.

A.K. Boomer
08-24-2009, 12:28 AM
Those were the days --- rough neckin worms corner---- 12 hour days 7 days a week.:eek:

Alguy
08-24-2009, 12:31 AM
About 1980 i spent some time working a shallow cable rig. No pics at the time except some photos of the pumpjacks i took at the time . Our rig was a bucyrus erie. i dont remember the size of it . the mast was about 36 ft tall it could spool 2500 ft of 7/8 cable. we were drilling to about 1100 ft and it took about 2 weeks of 24 hr days , 6 days a week. we used caseing in 32 to 33 ft length,, 4 and 6 inch diameter. The local water drilling rigs we small compared to what we had. These were shallow oil wells low production little over a barrel a day but once up and running other wells were still producing at that rate 30 years later.
Here is link to similar type rig we had at the time.
http://www.rigplanet.com/webfront/listings/details.php?listingid=193

DaHui
08-24-2009, 12:32 AM
we used to cook ballistics gel in our roaster...go figure.

winchman
08-24-2009, 11:24 AM
Looks like there just might be enough tongue weight on that old rig. :D

camdigger
08-24-2009, 11:58 AM
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/Rangelydrillrig.jpg[/IMG]


Here's a wild guess...After the turn of the last Century. Probably late 30's or 40's because...

1.)This rig is what is known as a "spudder" design. Most portable cable tool rigs use a second(?) class lever for the motion of the tools as opposed to the older, more rugged walking beam design (like a playground seesaw) with the fulcrum centered on the beam. They give up mechanical advantage for a more compact design.
2.) There is some effort at guarding. Unusual in the pre 1900's machines.
3.) It has a portable derrick or mast. Units that heavy usually used a traditional fixed derrick built up of timber like the scenes from the very early Oklahoma and West Texas oilfields.
4.) Very early drilling rigs used wooden pulleys with flat belts or grooved pulleys for drive ropes, not multiple vee belts.
5.) the rig had Minneapolis Moline diesel power. Minneapolis Moline was a big supplier of power and diesels were not all that common until at least WWII. Even the early Caterpillars/Holt, JD, Cletrac, Oliver crawlers were gasoline fueled.

Now the cautions... Like machine tools, drilling equipment is often rebuilt, repowered, and remanufactured. There are pieces of equipment in use today that were built in the 40's, 50's, and 60's the individual components have been repaired and rebuilt several times. This rig may have components built in the early days that were reconditioned and reused in the present machine. Rigs originally built with steam were largely repowered with Diesels by the '50's hereabouts.

I'd be surprised if that unit did wells deeper than 1000' because of the light mast, but that's pure speculation on my part...

Editted P.S. Anyone else notice the two auxilary winches mounted one on either side of the rig?

Boucher
08-24-2009, 02:44 PM
Those winches are called cat heads. Some were driven all the time and some had clutches. The main line had the drill attached. The second smaller line called the sand line was like 3/8 cable and was used to bail the cuttings out of the hole. It had a clutch and was fairly fast. The sand line with a snatch block running on it and attached to a dead man or maybe a tree in Colorado, was used to handle the bit. A couple of turns of hemp rope around the cat head and an experienced hand or driller could use that to pull very effectively.
They were handy but dangerous!

madman
08-24-2009, 03:57 PM
MAN that looks like My Kitchen at home .

camdigger
08-24-2009, 06:09 PM
Those winches are called cat heads. Some were driven all the time and some had clutches. The main line had the drill attached. The second smaller line called the sand line was like 3/8 cable and was used to bail the cuttings out of the hole. It had a clutch and was fairly fast. The sand line with a snatch block running on it and attached to a dead man or maybe a tree in Colorado, was used to handle the bit. A couple of turns of hemp rope around the cat head and an experienced hand or driller could use that to pull very effectively.
They were handy but dangerous!

Ding-Ding-Ding-Ding-Ding we have a winner.

Catheads on rotary drilling rigs had an inner spool/reel for the spinning chain on the drillers' side and a breakout line on the off driller's side. The spinning chain was wrapped around the drill pipe and used to spin up the connection. A B!tch link on the spinning chain was connected to the end of the makeup tong.

You weren`t really a rig hand until you could throw all 4 wraps of chain off the stump of the pipe in the hole to the pipe hanging from the travelling block and keep the chain tight enough to bring the shoulders of the connection together with an audible thump.....:D

Part of the reason catheads were so dangerous is they were solidly connected through the drawworks mechanism to hundreds of HP and the controls to disengagethe drawworks was several steps away from the cathead themselves.

aostling
08-24-2009, 07:10 PM
This was laying in the grass near the drilling rig. What is it called, and how did it function?

[edit] Another photo I took of the Minneapolis-Moline engine shows it has spark plug wires, not a diesel.

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/drillapparatus.jpg

camdigger
08-24-2009, 07:36 PM
That is a hydraulic power tong. Incomplete, it is missing the tong dies and inner table. Power tongs of that size were most often used to screw production tubing(1.66", 2 3/8", 2 7/8" or 3 1/2") od pipe together. Many, many fingers lost in those...

They're still available in both closed face (like that one) and open face designs.

The bolted clamp laying on top of the tongs is a polish rod clamp used to hand the polish rods off on top of the wellhead and to fasten the "bridle" of the horsehead on the pump jack to the rod string.

if this link works, there's examples of handling tools in this catalogue, including closed face tubing tongs. http://www.blancsrl.com.ar/wft013828.pdf

ulav8r
08-24-2009, 09:09 PM
About 3 years back I saw a crew driving steel posts. Had a cathead winch mounted horizontally beside a 10-12 mast on the rear of a truck. A weight guided by the mast had a rope attached that ran over the pully and one loop around the cathead. The operator would pull on the rope to raise the weight, then slack off to drop it onto the top of the post.

Peter S
08-25-2009, 01:03 AM
Another photo I took of the Minneapolis-Moline engine shows it has spark plug wires, not a diesel.

I was wondering about that, because the only old (1940's?) MM I have seen in NZ with a diesel was fitted with a Meadows diesel engine. That is the only Meadows diesel I have seen too, they were a UK engine manufacturer, I presume MM had no diesel of its own at that stage. Meadows petrol engines were fitted to some English cars and no doubt industrial equipment too. The old MM petrols are quite interesting engines with their horizontal valves and very long vertical rocker arms between camshaft and valves, like a Duesenberg.

aostling
08-25-2009, 01:28 AM
I was wondering about that, because the only old (1940's?) MM I have seen in NZ with a diesel was fitted with a Meadows diesel engine.

Peter,

You confirm what I suspected, that there would be some MM tractors in New Zealand, perhaps on the wheat fields of the Canterbury Plains. Here are two photos. The engine looks like a dog's lunch now, but who knows, it might even still run.


http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/sparkplugwires.jpg


http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/Minneapolis-Moline.jpg

Peter S
08-25-2009, 05:50 AM
Peter,

You confirm what I suspected, that there would be some MM tractors in New Zealand, perhaps on the wheat fields of the Canterbury Plains. Here are two photos. The engine looks like a dog's lunch now, but who knows, it might even still run.

A,

Yes, the 1940's MM tractors were not uncommon in NZ. There is a nicely restored one not far from me, and there were two on the farm I grew up on. They were tricycle type tractors, on a hill farm! I reckon they must have had a very good salesman! Our neighbour had one too. However, the NZ tractors used four cylinder engines with horizontal valves, whereas your drill rig has a big six cylinder running on tank gas. It looks to be a later model with conventional pushrods. I read that MM did make some big tractor engines (600+cu inch) and even 800 cu in later, and diesels as well. I am guessing this is one of those 1950's-60's-70's engines?

I still have a few odd MM parts (F-M impulse Mag, generator) which I removed when our tractors got scrapped, probably before I was ten.