Home Drake Well Foundation About OilHistory.com The Author Contact
Portable Cable Tool Drilling Machines
Opening Remarks
Corbett Portable Drilling Rig
Parkersburg Rig
Keystone Driller
Star Drilling Machine
Cyclone Drill
Columbia Driller
Wolfe Rig
Fort Worth Spudder
The Ohio Cleaner
Bolles Rig
Yo-Yo Rig
Combination Rig
Miscellaneous Rigs
Concluding Remarks

Cyclone Drill

The Cyclone portable wheel-mounted rigs were made in Orrville, Ohio, by the Sanderson Cyclone Drill Company.  This company reached the full spectrum of rock drill users by making a goodly number of rig sizes of varying capacities.  Mining companies used Cyclone rigs for test borings, construction sites used them to drill blast holes, small or light sizes were in use for water wells, and there was a market for these drilling machines in the eastern oilfields of Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, etc.

The Cyclone heavy duty rig had a double walking beam using only a single samson post and had a front cross beam which held the temper screw.  The mast was an A-frame ladder type, the base of which straddled the double walking beam.  One 1890 model had wooden wheels and axels (Brantly, 1971).   A heavy or deep drilling Cyclone could attain 800 feet in the early 1890's.  That depth was acceptable, but barely, in a few of the shallow eastern fields.

Besides drilling, Cyclone machines were used for cleanout work in the oilfields and perhaps more of them were assigned to that duty than drilling.  Here again, the variety of rig sizes came in handy.

Originally the rigs were mostly pine with cast iron and steel gears, wheels and other fittings.  A one cylinder Cook gasoline engine powered some of the early self-propelled models, replacing the horse drawn models.  Hercules engines were later used instead of the Cook engine.  During the 1920's - 30's these traction rigs were again modified and mounted on trucks (Weber, researcher, written communication).  The truck models were assembled throughout the rest of the history of Cyclone.

In 1973-74 Ingersoll-Rand Corporation acquired the Sanderson Cyclone Drilling Company.

The Drake Well Museum has a 1915 or 1917 Sanderson Cyclone Drilling rig mounted on a 1926 GMC "Big Brute" truck.  It was used in Butler County, Pennsylvania

This Cyclone rig was used for cleaning out wells and is probably the 800 foot model.  The A-frame mast is gone.  It had seen over 50 years of use before abandonment and has lain there for nearly 50 more years.  The wagon frame is wood.  The whole machine is slowly sinking into the ground. 
This Cyclone rig (also shown above and below) was abandoned in the early 1950's at the very well it was working on.  A drilling tool is seen protruding from the well in front of the rig.  The wrench and circle jack are in working position.  The engine (hauled separately to the site) is no longer there.
As seen spooled in this view, the Cyclone rig (above) was using wire line.  The gears and wheels are cast iron and steel.  A portion of the wooden frame can be seen forward.
This is a detail of the Cyclone machine's band wheel showing the wooden ply.
Detail of rear wheel and wooden "truck" or wagon frame.
Sanderson-Cyclone Drill Co. cable tool rig (type 44) mounted on an International truck.  A plate on the drilling rig says "When ordering parts give the serial number".  That number is 3337.  The rig's gasoline engine is forward of the machinery.

© 2004, Samuel T. Pees
all rights reserved