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  • Drilling advances


    Recently, while watching a documentary on agriculture, I was struck by the similarities between farming equipment used in the mid- to late-19th century and early drilling equipment. In the film, an old thresher powered by a steam engine was separating grain from husk. The engine was connected by a wide fabric band to a large wooden wheel with a crank arm that converted rotary motion into a linear rocking arm. I remembered seeing a similar machine somewhere in an old photograph. Sure enough, a quick check of an old water-well, cable-tool rig, similar to the ones my grandfather used in the early 1900s, confirmed that the power-conversion system was almost identical to that of the thresher. I then went back to a photo album, which I had assembled during high school, of antique pumping equipment in the Texas Panhandle.

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