Shooting an Oil Well With Eighty Quarts of Nitroglycerine, Pennsylvania

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
When the flow of oil in a petroleum (p-tr´ l-m) well becomes sluggish, the well is often "snot". By this term is meant the discharging of a blast of nitroglycerin (n´ tr-gls´ r-n) in the bottom of the well. This nitroglycerine is lowered in cans, ans is set off by a falling weight called a go-devil. This go-devil strikes a torpedo in the top of the can and ignites the explosive. The results of one of these charges you see for yourself. Far above the derrick-almost twice its height-streams and sprays of oil are thrown. The view reminds one of a geyser shooting forth dark water. You can judge of the force of the explosion when you know that this derrick is 72 feet high. If you shot has been successful, the flow of oil from this well should begin anew. Sometimes, however, the oil does not follow a blast. In this case the drillers know that this well os no longer profitable. It will either be necessary to drill elsewhere or to sink the shaft deeper into the earth. You will note the small group of women and children who have come out to see the shot. It is an event in the neighborhood. A far more wonderful spectacle, of course, is when the oil is set on fire and blazes to a great height. You will observe the engine, the water tank, and the other equipment used in drilling the well. The United States easily leads all other countries in the production of petroleum. It produces (1915) 65% of the world's product. Russia ranks second, with 16%, and Mexico, third, with 8%. Our greatest oil-producing state is California, with Oklahoma second, Illinois third, and Texas fourth. Keystone ID: 20352 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.