“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Borger in Hutchinson County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Bessemer Gas Engine

Bessemer Gas Engine Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, June 7, 2022
1. Bessemer Gas Engine Marker
Inscription.  With the drilling of the first commercially successful oil well by Edwin Drake in 1859, a new industry was born - one that demanded new technologies for oil extraction. Initially, steam engines were used for drilling wells and were kept in-place to lift the oil to the surface. As a well's production dropped off, the economic feasibility of firing a boiler and maintaining a steam operation at each individual well fell far short of the income from the well's production, which was often a fraction of a barrel per day. Installing a gas engine at each well or converting the existing steam engine to gas eliminated the large quantity of fuel and labor required to steam a boiler for a few hours of production. The high initial cost of gas engines prevented this in most cases, so it became more economical to convert the steam engine used to drill the well to gas. Engine conversion is commonly credited to Dr. Edwin J. Fithian, a Pennsylvania physician with a great interest in mechanics. His 1897 prototype for a 10-horsepower conversion cylinder was rejected by Oil Well Supply Company of Oil City, PA, so in 1898 Dr. Fithian partnered with John Carruthers
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forming the Carruthers-Fithian Clutch Company, headquartered in Grove City, PA. The "half-breed", as these converted engines were called, was an immediate success. An oil producer could convert his steam engine to a 10 HP gas engine for $120.00. Many companies soon capitalized on the market for conversion kits. Most produced a two-stroke gas cylinder to bolt onto a steam engine's bed, avoiding patent infringement from Carruthers-Fithian, which by 1899 had become the Bessemer Gas Engine Company. Other companies produced engines that were purely internal combustion design and examples of both exist to this day. The company still exists today as Cooper International Corporation, a division of Schlumberger Corporation.
Erected by Hutchinson County Historical Museum.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1859.
Location. 35° 40.357′ N, 101° 23.374′ W. Marker is in Borger, Texas, in Hutchinson County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of North Main Street and East 7th Street. The marker is located in the courtyard north of the Hutchinson County Museum. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 618 North Main Street, Borger TX 79007, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. LeRoi Motor-Generator Set (here, next to this marker); The Huber Paraffin Scraper
The Bessemer Gas Engine is behind the blue tractor image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, June 7, 2022
2. The Bessemer Gas Engine is behind the blue tractor
(here, next to this marker); Allis-Chalmers/Cooper Winch Tractor (here, next to this marker); Nitro Storage Safe & Do-It-Yourself Drilling Rig (here, next to this marker); Auxiliary Equipment from the Early Borger Oil Field (here, next to this marker); The Panhandle Oil Boom & the Borger Field (here, next to this marker); 1950 GMC Winch Truck (here, next to this marker); Boomtown (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Borger.
Also see . . .  Cooper Bessemer.
Cooper-Bessemer refers to the Cooper-Bessemer Corporation and the Cooper-Bessemer brand of industrial engines and compressors, manufactured in Mount Vernon, Ohio. The Cooper-Bessemer Corporation was formed when C. & G. Cooper (founded in 1833) and the Bessemer Gas Engine Company (founded in 1899) merged in 1929. In 1965, the company was renamed to Cooper Industries and relocated to Houston, Texas. In the 1990s, Cooper Industries' Petroleum and Industrial Equipment Group was spun off to become Cooper Cameron Corporation, known as the Compression Systems group of Cameron International
The Bessemer Gas Engine image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, June 7, 2022
3. The Bessemer Gas Engine
Corporation. Cooper Machinery Services is the current original equipment manufacturer for Cooper-Bessemer engines. Source: Wikipedia
(Submitted on June 23, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 23, 2022. It was originally submitted on June 22, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 266 times since then and 65 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 23, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.

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Apr. 25, 2024