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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


The Leidecker Tool Co. of Marietta, Ohio, made drilling machines and oil well supplies.  A 1906 model is pictured immediately below.  By 1923 they had five sizes listed in their K catalog.  Four of the models (sizes) were numbered according to their depth capacity rating which was based on the amount of 2 1/4 inch manila rope that could be spooled on the cable spool:  No. 14 = 1400 feet, No. 16 = 1600 feet etc.  The capacity would be greater if wire rope was used instead of manila rope.  No. 24 had a rated depth capacity of 3000 feet and was their largest size in 1923.  However, 2 1/2" manila rope, instead of 2 1/4" was preferable for this deep rig, changing the spooling capacity to 2400 feet and the actual depth to 2200 feet.

The rig frames were made entirely of structural steel.  According to Catalog K, "castings and other parts were of cast steel, deep forgings, and malleable or high tensile strength cast iron".  Some essential parts continued to be made of wood due to its elasticity (according to the manufacturer).  These included the band wheel, brake wheel, samson post, pitman and mast.  In this respect the Leidecker machine is not unlike the construction of rival makes on the percentage of wood to metal with wood remaining the favorite material for many heavy duty parts (not gears).

All sizes except No. 24 had a vertical steam engine mounted in the front.  No. 24, the largest size model, had a Leidecker horizontal steam drilling engine mounted separately behind the rig.  The boiler for No. 24 was placed at a distance behind the engine if space allowed.

The mast for the various rigs was the single pole type, 60 feet high.  A special A-frame mast was made preferably for model No. 24 and obtainable by request.

The company's byword as printed on every page of their 1923 K catalog was  ' "LEIDECKER", another word for satisfaction'.  Judging from testimonials by drilling contractors and oil companies, Leidecker had a good number of machines working in Ohio, Oklahoma and Wyoming in the 1920's and to varying extent in other basins, even a foreign trade.  A photograph in Catalog K shows a No. 16 machine at work on the African coast.

By 1930 (or before) the No. 24 machine was put out by Ideco-Leidecker, essentially with no changes.  IDECO was the name used for the International Derrick and Equipment Company.  They associated with this model because of its depth rating, a unique and patented spudder attachment and the independent calf wheel to name a few.

This cut shows the "Marietta Drilling Machine" as advertised by Leidecker in January, 1906, in the Petroleum Gazette.  It was billed as "the latest improved portable drilling machine on the market" and could be mounted on a wood or steel frame as desired.
The Leidecker No. 20 drilling machine showing the right side of the machine.  The frame consisted of reinforced 9" steel I-beams and was 6 feet wide, 21 feet long.  The steam engine had an 11" bore, 10" stroke and developed 30 HP.  The walking beam was 11" x 20", 21 feet 6 inches long and made of yellow pine.  Both spudding pulleys are present, but one is not in tilted working position.  This rig could spool 2000 feet of 2 1/4" manila cable.  No. 20 was a popular model.  The cut is from the 1923 K catalog.
The Leidecker patented spudding attachment is shown at work in this model.  The thick manila rope leaves the spooling wheel, goes around the rear tilted pulley, thence more or less horizontally to the underside of the middle spudding pulley on the frame, up to the crown pulley at the top of the mast and then down to the rope socket and the string of tools as shown.  The bailer is held in position on the rig floor ready to be lowered in the hole for cleaning after the tools are out.  The cut is from the 1923 K catalog.
Originally made and marketed by Leidecker Tool Co., this size 24 drilling machine was manufactured and sold by Ideco-Leidecker in 1930 or slightly before.  The calf wheel is located between the big band wheel shaft and the sand reel which is at the rear of the machine.  Quoting K catalog description, "the large calf wheel gear meshes with the sliding pinion gear on the band wheel shaft and has a ratio which develops an enormous advantage.  Both the pinion and brake band for the calf wheel are operated from the front of the machine the same as the sand wheel and friction clutch.  This equipment with the casing sheave in the mast provides a very satisfactory method of handling casing".

© 2004, Samuel T. Pees
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