Not for Fuel Only
(Galveston Daily News, March 5, 1901)
Austin, Tex., Mar. 4--Beaumont Oil Fields The Finest Kind of Lubricant and Kerosene--Also A Fine Asphalt--Tests made By Forward Reduction Company Prove Great Value To The Find--Texas to Grease The World--Dr. Forward Shows Photographs of Earthen Tanks--Oppose Beaty-Green Bill.
It has been generally understood since the discovery of oil in the Lucas gusher at Beaumont that it was a fuel oil, purely and simply. And that it possessed no illuminating or lubricating properties, and futhermore, a great many people have taken it for granted that nothing but fuel oil would be found in the district. According to the statement of Dr. C. B. Forward and evidence presented by him, the product of the Lucas gusher has other uses than for fuel, and is a much richer find than it would be were it fit for fuel only. If the history of other oil fields is to be repeated, the Beaumont district may yet afford lighter oil, which will turn out illumination in great quantities.
Dr. Forward is general manager of the Forward Reduction Company of Cleveland, Ohio. The company has processes for refining the heavy petroleum oils, and is now preparing to erect a refinery on the Pacific coast for the purpose of handling the heavy oils produced in the Bakersfield district. Some of these oils have been shipped to the company's refinery at Cleveland and have been worked on there. Last night, Dr. Forward showed your correspondent a number of samples of lubricants made from the California product, ranging from heavy engine oil to sewing machine oil.
"You know, it was claimed," said he, "that the Bakersfield oil could be used for fuel; that it possessed no lubricating or illuminating properties, but we have demonstrated that the claims were not true. We have made from it the very finest grades of lubricants, which have been fully tested and found to be of the highest value commercially."
One of the lubricating oils, Dr. Forward said, had been used by the American Wire Company on a crank pin which they had been unable to keep cool, although a steady stream of oil was kept running on it. They turned his oil made from this California product upon it while hot, and the pin was cooled down and kept that away. Several other concerns which have had similar trouble with machinery used the oil with perfect success.
"Now what do you think of this," Dr. Forward continued, exhibiting another case containing a number of samples of lubricating oil. The correspondent admitted that the oil looked pretty enough to go on a salad.
"Is this from Bakersfield also," he asked.
"No! This is from the Lucas gusher," said Dr. Forward. "I took some of the oil as it as running from the pipe at the well, sent it to our works, and by our processes, we suceeded in making these lubricants."
"Now, smell this," he continued, presenting a bottle containing a clear, white oil. There was a great deal of talk about the foul smell of the Beaumont oil. But haven't you seen a great deal of kerosene which smelled worse than this. Yes, this is from the Lucas gusher. We have made an illuminating oil from this product which has been said to be fit only for fuel."
"Now here is an oil made in the process of reduction which possesses neither illuminating nor lubricating properties and which we have to turn back into fuel oil," the doctor continued, taking up another bottle.
Dr. Forward then showed the correspondent two samples of asphalt, one soft and another hard, both of which he said were products of the Lucas oil. He was asked how it would compare in quality with the Trinidad asphalt.
"It is better," he said, "because it is practically pure. This is 98 percent pure asphalt in this sample, while Trinidad asphalt is only 45 percent pure, carrying a great deal of sand with it. An asphalt is used simply for the purpose of coating the grains of sand and binding them together, and as the sand can be procured anywhere, the purer the asphalt, the more desirable it is for handling and shipment."
Dr. Forward said the tests which his company have made from the oil from the Lucas gusher were not mere laboratory tests, but the company has demonstrated the commercial value of the oil.
"I should have been very much disappointed," said he, "if a heavy oil had been found, and I shall be disappointed if we do not a find a still heavier oil. The heavy oils are what we are looking for. I fully expect to see heavier oils developed around Beaumont, and I shall not be surprised to see light oils, illuminating oils developed. In the Bakersfield, Ca. District, light and heavy oils are found in the same county, some of the oils being so heavy that they can not be pumped, but it is necessary to bail them out of the wells."
"It is certain, however, that the Beaumont fields yield a fine lubricant, and I will say now, as I said two years ago, when we began work down here, that I believe that Texas will furnish lubricating oil for the entire world."
"We have 40,000 acres of land in the district, and we expect to put in a refinery to handle the oil, according to our processes. We believe that the Texas oil fields will prove the greatest in the world and that this development will revolutionize the industries of the State."
Dr. Forward was asked if the asphalt resulting from the reduction of the Beaumont oil could be supplied to the trade cheaper than Trinidad asphalt.
"Well, we will naturally want to sell it for all we can get," he answered, smilingly, "and I think we should get as good a price as that asked for the Trinidad article."
Dr. Forward is opposed to the provision in the Beaty-Greer bill now pending in the (Texas) house, which requires operators in the oil fields of Texas to provide iron or wooden tanks for the storage of oil before they sink their wells, and before they know that they will even get oil.
"This would be an unnnecessary and a very burdensome requirement," said he. "It is not right that man should be required to go to such expense when every good purpose to be achieved by the requirement can be reached in another and less expensive way. Tanks can be made by excavating in the ground that will hold the oil perfectly. Where there is a clay subsoil that will furnish an absolutely impervious bottom for the tank, then if the sides are built of wood, with clay tamped in back of the wood, the tank will hold every drop of the oil. Such a tank can be made at one-half the outlay it would require for an iron or wooden tank of equal capacity. So far as safety is concerned, they are not only as good as the iron or wood overground tanks, but they are better. Lightning is less apt to strike the ground tank than the metal or metal-hooped tanks. If it strikes an overground tank, the oil will be scattered around the country, which would not be the case with an earthen tank."
"Where there is no clay subsoil, a brick cement bottom will hold the oil. Now here is a photograph of such a tank in the Bakersfield area. We use them also in the Ohio district, even for storing gasoline and benzine, the most dangerous of all the petroleum products."
"Of course, men should not be permitted to sink wells and let the oils run all over the country. And Guffey and Galey would not have done so, had they known or even suspected that they would strike a gusher. The earthen tank, however, is entirely sufficient, when properly constructed, and I hope the legislature will not pass the bill requiring anything any more expensive."
Dr. Forward was asked if he disapproved of the requirement that valves should be provided on wells. "No," said he, "I think that is a good thing." (compiled by W. T.Block)