Gushing Geyser
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A Gushing Geyser

(Galveston Daily News, February 21, 1901)

Beaumont, Tex., Feb. 20--The Beaumont Oil Well is One of The Marvels of The Present Day--A Scene of Activity--Numerous Derricks Are Now Completed and Three Wells Are Going Down--The Rotary Auger in Use--How Near The Discoverers of Oil Came To Missing The Great Golden Fountain of Oil.

To those who live on what may be called the coast line of Texas, any description of the way the land lies is superflous, but it may be well to describe it to other peole who have their eyes directed to it. (omitted)

In town, where the incongrous and peculiar mass of speculators hang about the hotels and try to ascertain what each other knows, there was nothing to be known except speculation. Many of them told me that no boring was going on. These were the bears. Others told me that boring was progressing. These were the bulls. Well, there is boring going on. More than that, the very great preparation is being made to change the appearance of this lake of dirt by dotting it thickly with derricks which from far away look like tepees. That more has not been done than has been done is due wholly to the shortness of time between the discovery of the first oil and the present; of the difficultty in getting material and machinery for boring; and finally because of getting such heavy things across the wet and sticky ground to the place where the boring is to be done. I counted 14 derricks already completed. There was timber here and there for more. They were waiting for the boring outfits (drilling rigs). All along the route to the field, teams tugged and pulled at wagons loaded with iron wheels, iron plates, iron pipes, iron chains, iron rivets, and to me, nearly everything made of iron except guns. A railroad has built a switch to within a few hundred yards of the big well, about which the new derricks seems anxious to get. Men were removing all things (made of) iron from the cars----removing them by wagons or crowbars and the like, throwing them on the prairie. For as all powerful as the railroad is supposed to be, it could not build platforms and the like for freight. The ever present restaurant was already on the ground, through there was every evidence that it had only been built a day or so. For it was only a hastily-constructed box house, that is, a house of upright planks, while its new iron roofing had every evidence of having just come from the store.

The placewas already named and is called Gladys City. The derricks, restaurant, and men trying to get material off the cars and to the derricks were all the evidence of a city. It is thought the strident voice of the keno (pitch) man and the low-modulated voice of the faro man will soon be heard in the land. But they are not here yet. Gladys City was built in a night or a day, and it will grow wonderfully if the rotary borers get what they seek, and what everyone who pretends to know anything of oil believe they will find.

To the ordinary man, the work of getting one of the (drilling) machines ought to be speedy and cheap. This is a mistake - it takes time to construct one of them and money besides, because they are heavy, complicated, and valuable. To the uninitiated such as myself, the process is marvelous. I was informed by a well borer that the old plunging well driller would not work in this land. For after sand is encountered, the very sand which perhaps is the oil-bearing stuff and yet must be gone down through, it returns to the location the moment the plunger or long iron rod (drill bit) throws it to one side. For instance, if a man were to thrust a crowbar into the earth and withdraw it for another thrust, sand would fill the hole he had just made while he withdrew the crowbar, and he would not make much headway. The rotary boring apparatus is not withdrawn an inch when it gets to work. It is merely an auger, and its shavings are brought to the surface by the action of the iron casing which goes down with it, and a stream which is pumped into the hole and forthwith flows back by the pressure of the auger.

If a man were to plunge a pencil in a hole but little larger than the pencil while that hole was filled with water, that hole would overflow, The water is an all-important thing as shown by the fact that small tanks were being dug at each derrick. One workman was stirring up a tank with a mortar hoe. I asked him why he did it, and he said that clear water was not heavy enough for the work. Why, he would not explain. But the water flows in and out. It is pumped into the well from the small tank and is at once thrown out by the weight and action of the piping. (comp. by W. T. Block)

Copyright 1998-2018 by W. T. Block. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, the material published on this site is copyrighted by William T. Block.
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