A Famous Drill From WAY Back Is On Display In Casper
This old drill could go a lot deeper than you might think it could.
On display in Casper, Wyoming is the Model D Fort Worth Spudder. It was capable of drilling down 3000 feet, which was a bid deal back in those days.
Today's drill rigs can go deeper, faster, and even turn and start drilling sideways and make other turns.
Cable tool drilling machines are commonly called Spudders. Back then machines often got their name based on the noise they made.
In this case, the name developed because of the guide pipe that was set in the ground to keep the drill bit vertically, The bit used to drive that guide pipe was a blunt-ended drilling device called a spud bit. Those drilling machines came to be called “spudders” and from it developed the term “spudding,” or “spudding in,” to identify the beginning of the drilling process.
Below is a video showing one of these old machines in action.
Before these drills came along most of the work was done by hand. You can imagine how labor-intensive that process must have been.
These larger ones, like the one you see on display in caster, were rarely used because of their size. It was hard to get it to places, as you might imagine. Most models were smaller and only used for drilling a few hundred feet down.
Using them would have been expensive. They would have to be taken apart for transport across land that often had no roads, then reassembled.
Some were self-propelled, but most were towed to the well site by teams of horses or in later times by track-type tractors.
The first spudders were steam-powered. By the 1920s came the introduction of the internal combustion engine to power them.
The machine best remembered in West Texas, particularly in the 1930s through the 1950s, was the Fort Worth Spudder, manufactured by the Fort Worth Machinery and Supply Company of Texas. By 1935 they offered eight sizes of machines capable of drilling from 200 to several thousand feet. Five of those models were heavy duty portable units specifically designed for oilfield use. Their Jumbo J model machine was even advertised as being capable of drilling to a depth of 6,000 feet. (PBOil&Gas).
The West Texas Fort Worth Spudder. That's what this machine in Casper is.
Looks complicated, doesn't it? Yet all of those big gears and cable produces a hefty amount of torque.
This rig was used in the Osage oil field in Weston County.
You'll find it on King Blvd. at the Oil & Gas Conservation Building in Casper.