El Dorado in Butler County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Model K Star Spudder
This is a Model K Star Drilling Machine, also called a "spudder".
Drilling machines such as this one were used for two purposes:
1. To drill the initial hole for a rotary-drilled well.
2. To drill a complete oil well at shallow depth (1,000-3,000 feet).
This drilling machine used a cable tool rig to drill. It worked by repeatedly pounding a heavy steel bit into the ground in an up-and-down motion. The bit smashed the rock and earth below it to "make hole". A separate engine, which was sometimes attached to a tractor, provided power by a long belt attached to the drilling machine.
This machine had a drilling crew of two men, the driller and the tool dresser. The driller was in charge; his main duty was the operation of the drilling equipment. The tool dresser sharpened the bits on a portable forge, dumped the bailer, and did other chores around the rig.
This driling machine is rigged for completing a 5" hole; in other words, a hole 5" in diameter at the bottom. The depth of the hole depends on how deep the oil producing formations lie.
[Spudder diagram explanation]
2 DRILLSTEM. Provides weight and momentum to the bit and keeps the hole straight.
3 BAILER. Used to remove cuttings made by the bit from the hole and to test the well for oil.
4 CASINGHEAD. A heavy steel fitting which allows the well to be sealed off.
5 WRENCHES. Used by the drilling crew to fasten the bit onto the drillstem.
6 CHAIN HOIST. Used by the drilling crew to move the wrenches, heavy bits, and other equipment on the derrick floor.
7 CIRCLE AND JACK. Used for leverage when fastening the bit to the drillstem or taking the bit off.
This particular spudder was manufactured by the Star Drilling Machine Company in Ohio about 1939. It was designed to operate at depths of from 1,500 to 2,500 feet and was well-suited for use in the shallow pay zones of the El Dorado field. It has drilled many wells in Butler and Greenwood counties. With a few minor repairs, it could operate today.
Erected by Kansas Oil Museum.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1939.
Location. 37° 49.016′ N, 96° 50.702′ Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 383 East Central Avenue (US 54), El Dorado KS 67042, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Tool Rack (a few steps from this marker); Pole Trailer (a few steps from this marker); Oil Field Lease House (a few steps from this marker); Steel Oil Derrick / 1930's Cable-Tool Drilling Rig (a few steps from this marker); Star Drilling Machine (a few steps from this marker); Cable Tool Drilling Rig (within shouting distance of this marker); Kansas Oil Museum (within shouting distance of this marker); The Central Power Unit (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in El Dorado.
Also see . . . Butler County History Center and Kansas Oil Museum. Museum website (Submitted on June 7, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 24, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 7, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 605 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 7, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.