Near Petroleum in Wood County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
Endless Cable System
Invented by W. C. Stiles and installed here in 1870's by Volcanic Oil & Gas Co. Pumped as many as 40 wells from central power station via a system of graduated handmade wooden wheels and cables which conveyed motion to walking beam and sucker rod. Required one engine and operator, enabling profitable operation of low production wells until dismantled in 1979. Site of state’s first oil pipeline.
Erected 1980 by West Virginia Department of Culture and History.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1979.
Location. 39° 14.613′ N, 81° 18.168′ W. Marker is near Petroleum, West Virginia, in Wood County. Marker is on Volcano Rd (County Route 5) near the boat dock parking lot, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 34 Shore Side Dr, Walker WV 26180, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Early Oil Wells (within shouting distance of this marker); Thornhill Mansion (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); William Cooper Stiles, Jr. (approx. 0.3 miles away); U.S.S. Cisco Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); Walker Creek Recreation Impoundment (approx. 0.4 miles away); Volcano, West Virginia (approx. 1.1 miles away); Camp Kootaga (approx. 7.4 miles away); Dunmore’s Camp (approx. 7.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Petroleum.
Regarding Endless Cable System.
1975 report by Dennis M. Zembala, Historian, Historic American Engineering Record,
National Park Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, DC. Excerpt:
During the summer
One of the most striking aspects of the whole operation was its similarity to the small and middle-sized farming typical of the surrounding area. Like these farms, the West Oil Company was isolated and quite self-sufficient as both a working and a living unit. With few exceptions, parts for Old Buckeye had been manufactured on the site from local materials These included two band wheels, one of over 17 feet and the other of 12 feet diameter, made of solid oak segments and spokes. The three smaller wheels at each well were of similar construction, made in West’s “machine shop” from timber cut on the site. The machine shop itself was not unlike those found on small farms and included an assortment of general-purpose woodworking machines, such as a table saw, lathe, planer, jigsaw, drill press and wheel lathe. These tools and a small blacksmith's forge made the West Oil Company virtually self-sufficient in terms of replacement and repair of its equipment.
Also see . . . West Oil Company Endless Wire Pumping Station, U.S. Route 50 (Volcano vicinity). Library of Congress catalog. Includes 48 photographs
A rare example of a technology which was once considered to be the best available means of long distance power transmission. The endless-wire cable method was introduced and advanced in the United States by John Roebling and his sons as a likely market for the products of their cable factory. Its use here was a result of the decline of flowing wells and the increased necessity of pumping the oil out of the ground. The technique was adapted to local conditions by William C. Stiles. This particular installation dates to about 1895 when Michael West first leased the oil rights to this land from the Volcanic Oil and Coal Company.(Submitted on May 19, 2021.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 24, 2022. It was originally submitted on May 19, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 468 times since then and 68 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week May 23, 2021. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 19, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.