We like to look forward here at National Driller. Where is the industry going? What products and innovations will improve productivity and safety in the next 10 years? What does the future of the resources drillers drill for look like?
But sometimes I find it helpful to look backward. We launched, a little over a year ago, a timeline of events and innovations in the drilling industry. (Check out www.nationaldriller.com/drilling-history to see it for yourself.) Drilling Through History starts with the first spring-pole well in the United States and ends with some of the advancements that help drillers push the envelope on depth and speed. It’s a great resource if you have a few minutes to kill and want to treat yourself. Thousands of readers have clicked through it since we launched in May 2017.
It’s also incomplete. And that’s an opportunity.
Think about the new and interesting products and methods you’ve seen in your lifetime. Our average reader has decades of experience in the field. What changes have you seen? What products have come out that made you think, “I’m not sure how I ever got anything done before this”? What new ways of thinking and doing things on the jobsite were passed down from your grandfather or uncle? What methods and technologies do you take for granted that, when you stop to think about them, revolutionized drilling?
We want to put together the most comprehensive timeline of the drilling industry anywhere on the web. You can help. Take a few minutes and brainstorm. Ask your crew. Talk to the veteran drillers you know. Ask them what important changes they’ve lived through during their time in the industry.
The next step, of course, puts what you found in context. Send an email to email@example.com. Tell us what innovations or technologies deserve memorialization on our Drilling Through History timeline. Give us a few-sentence description and, if possible, an approximate date. Then, we’ll put in the research to nail it down as much as possible and add it in. Over the next month or so, we’ll collect reader research and add it to our own, then do a big rollout of updates.
I wrote when we first released Drilling Through History that this industry is “littered with brave, and perhaps a bit nutty, people.” I stand by that, and the belief that nuttiness gave drillers throughout the 19th and 20th centuries the vision to create the equipment and techniques that now seem commonplace. The drillers I’ve met during more than five years covering the industry have a ruthless practical streak. They encounter problems all the time. Often, those problems sit unseen hundreds of feet below ground. Yet, drillers solve them — sometimes with engineering grit, and sometimes with spit and determination. It’s those solutions that deserve recognition.
Ben Franklin, in one of his famous almanacs, once wrote that the best investment is in the tools of one’s own trade. The tools of the drilling trade have their own distinct heritage after generations of investment. Together, we can honor and memorialize that heritage.
Stay safe out there, drillers.