All Dressed Up With Places To Go


I don't know who took this photograph or where it was taken. Is is a big double pole, portable, self contained cable tool rig that has its own bull wheel (draw works) that is spooled with wire rope and is therefore likely capable of 4,000 feet or more. Instead of calf wheels its actually got catheads. I put the time of this photograph 1940, plus or minus five years. This rig even got its own dog house off the floor!


That is a casing elevator lying on the floor. The bailer is hung back and stuck into the dump pot. Cuttings from the bailer or turned loose in this pot and drained to the reserve pit. The bell nipple is set to the top of the rig floor and given the size of the bit being dressed I'd say this well is still at a pretty shallow depth. Laying the bit down on the floor like that and whopping on it with sledge hammers temporarily put sharper edges on it bit, called re-dressing, but often when they got very worn out they had to be taken to town and super heated for proper re-sharpening.


Here's a couple of hands waiting for their oven to warm up so they can heat and dress a bit properly. I am unclear what the energy source is for this oven (the photograph is dated 1923); it could be coal, or even natural gas. In any case the bit is standing back with a chain on it. Heated just short of molten 'lava' they'll pull the bit out of the oven and start beating on it to put a sharp edge on the bottom and sides. See how the bottom of the bit is even beveled. I kind of think this oven and dressing operation is on a rig itself. I note the cut away 55 gallon drum, full of water, that the bit is sitting in now; think of it like shaping horse shoes in an old Western movie; quickly cooling the iron helps hardened it.