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The Drake Chapters
Introduction to the Drake Chapters
The Beginning of the Petroleum Industry
Oil Creek Before Drake's Well
Refining Seep Oil
Chemical Report of Seep Oil
Pinched Noses
Other Predicaments
Drake's First Visit to Titusville
Drake Commences Work at the Seep
Drake's Well
First Production
Petroleum Geology of the Drake Sand
Drake's Other Wells
Dismantling of the Derrick
The Deepening of the Drake Well
Among the First Players
Drake's Tomb

Dismantling of the Derrick

At some point in the late 1860's the original Drake well had ceased to produce or was shut-in. Some say that production could still be realized, but it would be meager and hardly worth the effort considering the many wells in the area that had drilled somewhat deeper and were producing oil from the underlying Venango sands. By 1876 the well had fallen totally into neglect. The buildings were still there but most of the machinery including the boiler and engine had disappeared.

In a burst of patriotism and pride as well as wanting to show the world what the history-making Drake derrick and engine house looked like, a group undertook to dismantle the structures. The boards and remaining devices were then sent to Philadelphia where they were reassembled and put on view at the United States Centennial Exhibition (1876).

Unfortunately, after the close of the Centennial Exibition, the Drake well display was never returned to Titusville. Only the drilling tools, made by Drake's driller Billy Smith, were saved. These famous pioneer oil tools are now in the Drake Well Museum. 

© 2004, Samuel T. Pees
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