CAPT. A. F. LUCAS

PIONEERING THE
GULF COAST

A STORY OF THE
LIFE AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF
CAPT. ANTHONY F. LUCAS


By

REID SAYERS McBETH

THE LUCAS GUSHER




Contents






Chapter I

THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN

The story of a man who adopted a new land
and saw in it what its own sons had overlooked.

Persistency and a nimble brain, backed by unwavering
confidence in the geological deductions that were the result
of years of study and experience, made Capt. Anthony F.
Lucas the foremost figure in the development of the
mineral resources of the coastal plain territory of Louisi-
ana and Texas. It was he who first attached special geo-
logical significance to the slight elevations on the surface
of the Coastal Plain. And it was he who afterward proved
these to be domes of great economic importance. Upon
these domes is based the development of the vast petro-
leum, rock salt and sulphur deposits in that part of the
L T nited States adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico.

It was Captain Lucas who, flying in the face of prece-
dent and undaunted by unanimously negative advice both
from geologists and oil men, began drilling his first well
for oil near Beaumont, Tex., in 1899. By devising new
drilling tactics he was able to conquer the quicksands that
theretofore had proved an insurmountable obstacle and
learn the secret of the lower rock formations. And his
theory concerning dome deposits of petroleum was spec-
tacularly vindicated in January, 1901, when the well
came in with an output estimated at more than 100,000
barrels of oil a day. The well was the famous Lucas
gusher at Spindle Top, the pioneer of the Gulf Coast oil
development. This location has produced more than



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

50,000,000 barrels of oil and is still producing. The result
of the Lucas well, which proved the existence of a natural
resource of great worth hitherto unknown and unlooked
for by scientists, was a great influx of capital and the
beginning of an unprecedented era of prosperity for the
district.

And something of the man who brought it about.

Captain Lucas is a great, upstanding man, with the
features of a Roman statesman. He is a man upon whom
one's eyes fall first, even though many others may be in
the range of vision. He stands forth from the throng,
even though he may be in the center of it. He is ideally
American in appearance and spirit, though he was born
in Austria.

Born in 1855 in the city of Spalatro, Dalmatia, Aus-
tria, which was founded by the great Roman Emperor
Diocletian, Anthony F. Lucas (or Luchich, as the name
then was known) was the son of a shipbuilder and ship-
owner on the island of Lesina. His forefathers were of
pure Montenegrin blood. When he was six years old, his
family removed to Trieste, where he passed through the
common branches and high school. It was during this
early schooling that began a series of incidents which
eventually made Anthony Lucas an American. The
Austrian Government even then was endeavoring to
Germanize Trieste, which lies in that stretch of territory
known as "Italia Irredenta." At the end of each scholastic
year Anthony's Italian and Slav classmates met the Ger-
man boys of the school on a hill in the suburbs and settled
accumulated grudges with clubs, stones and fists.

At the age of 18 young Lucas entered the Polytechnic
Institute at Gratz, being graduated two years later as an

[6]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

engineer. In 1875, at the age of 20, he entered the Naval
Academy of Fiume and Pola as a midshipman. He was
graduated in 1878 and received a commission as lieuten-
ant. It was his intention to follow a naval career, but,
because of his Slav origin, he soon realized that his oppor-
tunities for advancement were slight. Consequently, when
an uncle who resided in the United States invited Lucas
to visit him, the young naval lieutenant was more than
willing to accept.

Early in 1879, at the age of 24, Mr. Lucas arrived in the
United States. He had obtained six months' leave of
absence in which to make the trip. But he soon noticed
the difference between the two countries, and the pros-
pect of becoming a free American instead of an Austrian
appealed to him strongly. It was at this time that he
began using the name Lucas. His uncle had adopted the
name because of the difficulty Americans had spelling and
pronouncing Luchich. So the young visitor permitted
himself likewise to be addressed as Lucas. When a tempo-
rary position in America was offered him, he went to
work — and has been working in America ever since.

It was in Michigan, where he was visiting, that Mr.
Lucas had his first opportunity to get his hand into the
activities of the country that was about to adopt him.
Saginaw, where he was residing, was the center of the
lumber country. The design of a gang-saw lacked a great
deal of being perfect and the young engineer was asked
if he could solve the problem. He could. And he agreed
readily. The design he completed was satisfactory to the
mill men, and he was asked to supervise the erection of
the saw.

Then, just as the end of his leave was approaching, he



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

was offered a salary equal to three times his pay as a
lieutenant in the Austrian navy — so he asked to have his
leave extended another six months. But before this sec-
ond six months had expired he had resolved not to return
to Austria. He remained three years with this employer,
meanwhile making application for citizenship. He became
Anthony F. Lucas, American citizen, when he received
his final papers at Norfolk, Va., May 9, 1885. Only once
since his arrival in America has Mr. Lucas visited Austria.
That was in 1887, when he and Mrs. Lucas on their wed-
ding journey visited his birthplace, as well as Trieste,
Fiume and Pola. Although somewhat fearful of an em-
barrassing situation as a result of his informal manner of
leaving the Austrian naval service, Mr. Lucas was not
troubled. On the contrary he was entertained by the
naval officers at Pola. He remained abroad a year.

Returning from Europe in 1888, Captain Lucas took up
his residence in Washington, D.C., and entered the pro-
fession of mechanical and mining engineer. First he pros-
pected for gold with some little success in the San Juan
region of Colorado. He had gained some experience in
gold and copper mining before his marriage, having gone
West in 1883. On this second western trip he remained
two years.

In 1893, when he was 38 years old, Captain Lucas
accepted a position which marked the beginning of his
association with the territory that became the scene of
his greatest successes. He obtained employment as
mining engineer at a salt mine at Petit Anse, La. Here
he remained three years, constantly meeting and master-
ing problems arising from the encroachment of water and
caving in of the underground workings.

[8]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

At 41, Captain Lucas began the exploration with dia-
mond drill of Jefferson Island, which was a few miles off
Petit Anse. This island was owned by the late Joseph
Jefferson, the actor, with whom Captain Lucas had be-
come acquainted during his three years of mining at Petit
Anse. The drilling disclosed a great deposit of rock salt
99 per cent pure at a depth of 350 feet. The drill was
stopped — still in salt — at a depth of 2,100 feet.

At 42, beginning to cast his eyes on the economic re-
sources of the coastal plain, Captain Lucas explored on
his own account Belle Isle, La., discovering not only a
deposit of salt, but also of petroleum and sulphur. He
followed this up in 1898 with the uncovering of a great
bed of rock salt at Grand Cote, La. This deposit now is
being largely exploited.

One year later Captain Lucas discovered at Anse la
Butte, near Lafayette, La., both salt and oil. Conditions
for developing the oil production at that time were not
favorable, so he abandoned the discovery and went to
Beaumont, Tex., about 70 miles west of Lafayette. The
Anse la Butte district later became a producing oil terri-
tory and its output of petroleum still is large.

In 1899, at the age of 44, Captain Lucas was attracted
to a slight elevation near Beaumont. It was known locally
as Big Hill, although it arose only about 12 feet above the
surface of the prairie. At the apex were exudations of sul-
phuretted hydrogen gases, which suggested to Captain
Lucas the possibility of an underlying incipient dome
which, in the light of his Belle Isle experience, might
prove a source of sulphur or oil. Then began the series
of events which brought into existence the Gulf Coast oil
fields.

[9]



Chapter II
SPINDLE TOP

Difficulties almost innumerable overcome before
the greatest well ever completed in the United
States was drilled.

What first attracted the attention of Captain Lucas to
the hillock near Beaumont which was to be the scene of
his notable triumph were its contour, which indicated pos-
sibilities for an incipient dome below, and the exudations
of gas at the apex. The sulphuretted hydrogen gas, he
believed, betokened great possibilities to discover either
oil or sulphur. So he decided to drill.

Before starting the test well the explorer leased all the
acreage he could obtain in the vicinity of his proposed
operations. The hill embraced only about 300 acres, of
which he obtained 220 acres. In order to have ample
scope for the development, however, he leased alto-
gether 27,000 acres. This precaution proved unnecessary,
as no oil ever was found beyond the contour of the dome.

The elevation already had been explored by three com-
panies, but none of them had succeeded in sending a drill
deeper than 250 feet. A bed of quicksand had been en-
countered at about 200 feet. But Captain Lucas had
some ideas acquired in his earlier explorations in Louisiana
about coping with the quicksand problem. He knew that
his predecessors had used the ordinary cable drilling
method as used in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, etc.,
yet, owing to the generally soft yielding clayey and sandy
formation encountered throughout the Coastal Plain, he
surmised that in order to drill there with reasonable

[11]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

expectation of success, a change of method of drilling
should be employed. He had in mind the hydraulic
rotary drilling method, which at that time was almost
unknown for oil-well drilling, with the exception that it
had been used for drilling artesian wells of shallow depths
on ranches and rice plantations.

So Captain Lucas set to work with a crude rotary drill-
ing outfit, and on first penetrating the quicksand, he soon
realized that he had been correct in his surmise of why
the others had failed. He succeeded, however, in passing
the quicksand and bored to a depth of 575 feet. He en-
countered an oil sand — but the well collapsed because of
gas pressure and quicksand.

Then came a series of discouraging incidents that would
have disheartened any but the most courageous. Captain
Lucas decided before proceeding with heavier rotary drill-
ing machinery to seek aid, both geological and financial.
He laid his proposition before several capitalists, but they
failed to enthuse — in fact, some of them openly scoffed at
the idea of oil ever being found in that locality. Anyway,
they opined, if he did find oil it would prove of no com-
mercial value.

One of the men before whom Captain Lucas laid his
project was a former Congressman from Pennslyvania.
A mutual friend brought the meeting about. When he
had heard what Captain Lucas had to offer, the former
legislator proceeded to give a lecture on the dire conse-
quences of unsubstantiated enthusiasm. He asserted fur-
ther that he could not participate in such a wild scheme —
he would lend no financial assistance unless he could count
upon several thousand barrels of production a day. Cap-
tain Lucas got what consolation he could out of replying

[12]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

that if he had such a production as the Pennsylvanian
named, it would have been unnecessary for him to seek
financial aid.

Among others to whom he outlined the proposition was
an officer of the Standard Oil Company— H. C. Folger, Jr.
With him to New York, Captain Lucas carried a bottle
of the oil that he had obtained from the well before it
collapsed. The night before the conference with Mr.
Folger was bitterly cold, and Captain Lucas placed the
bottle of oil outside his window to give it a cold test. The
oil, which showed a gravity of 17 degrees Baume, did not
congeal, although the temperature was below zero. De-
lighted with the test, Captain Lucas went to Mr. Folger.
He explained that he did not desire money personally,
but was seeking assistance in further prospecting and
proving the field. Although Mr. Folger's declination was
gracious, he, however, declined. But he did promise to
send Calvin Paine, who then was the Standard Oil Com-
pany's expert, to look into the situation.

Mr. Paine, accompanied by J. S. Cullinan, who later,
as president of the Texas Company, was to take a leading
part in the development of the Gulf Coast field, arrived
at Beaumont a month later. The situation was looking
decidedly brighter, Captain Lucas showed them the loca-
tion of his first shallow well and the heavy oil he had
obtained from it. Then he explained in detail his nascent
dome theory, contending that the elevation was per se a
distinct structure from the surrounding sedimentation of
the prairie, with which the elevation was encircled, and
giving the opinion that it was a dome. The two listened
to all he had to say. Then it was Mr. Paine's turn to talk.
He asserted that there was no indication whatever to

[13]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

warrant the expectation of an oil field on the prairies of
Southeast Texas. Furthermore, he stated that he had
visited the oil fields of Russia, Borneo, Sumatra and
Roumania, as well as all the fields of the United States,
and that the indications Captain Lucas had shown him
had no analogy to any oil field he ever had visited. There
was absolutely no chance, he said, of petroleum being
found in such quantity and of such quality as to prove a
paying proposition. Again Captain Lucas showed him the
flask of heavy oil that he had obtained from the well. Mr.
Paine asserted that it was of no value or importance what-
soever, and expressed the further opinion that such heavy
stuff could be found anywhere. Captain Lucas, believing
then and still believing that Mr. Paine was sincere in his
advice that the Gulf Coast enthusiast quit dreaming and
return to his profession of mining engineer, naturally felt a
quavering of faith. It was necessary for him to take
several deep breaths before deciding not to capitulate.

But this was not the only blow the Lucas theory of
dome deposits received. A few months after the visit of
Mr. Paine, two widely known geologists visited the scene
of Captain Lucas' operations. They were Dr. C. W.
Hayes, then chief of the United States Geological Survey,
and E. W. Parker, a former chief statistician of the Geo-
logical Survey. To Dr. Hayes were given in detail by
Captain Lucas his deductions regarding possible accumu-
lations of petroleum about great masses of salt and that
the elevation was a distinct structure from the surround-
ing deposition. But Dr. Hayes did not agree with this
view. He asserted there were no precedents upon which
to base an expectation of finding oil in the great uncon-
solidated sands and clays of the Coastal Plains, and to

[14]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

further substantiate his view, Dr. Hayes referred to the
great well drilled by the city of Galveston only 40 miles
off. This well, which was put down to a depth of about
3,070 feet, had cost almost $1,000,000. Dr. Hayes
also pointed out to Captain Lucas that he had no seepages
of oil or other recognized petroleum indications. Captain
Lucas, however, pointed the sulphur dome near Lake
Charles, Louisiana, then under development for sulphur
by Herman Frasch as a possible analogy, and grasping at
a straw, recounted how there the wells were yielding \ Y />
barrels of oil. This was a heavy, viscous oil is true, and
the production was not considered at all as an oil proposi-
tion, but still it might serve to substantiate the Lucas
views in the eyes of the famous geologist; but not the least
encouragement could he obtain from Dr. Hayes.

But, still undaunted, Captain Lucas again set out to
seek co-operation and financial aid. This time he went
to J. M. Guffey, of Pittsburgh, Pa. Mr. Guffey, although
sceptical, finally was induced to give financial assistance,
but, in return, Captain Lucas was obliged to relinquish
the larger part of his interest in the venture. A contract
was entered into by which Mr. Guffey agreed to bear the
expense of drilling three wells, under the direction of
Captain Lucas, to a depth of at least 1,200 feet.



[15]



Chapter III

DRILLING THE GREAT GUSHER

Baffling problems met and solved in completing
well and bringing stream of oil under control.

Those discouraging verdicts of Mr. Paine, Dr. Hayes
and the others had had their effect. They hadn't shaken,
however, Captain Lucas' faith in the economic possibili-
ties of the dome, but they had made him realize that he
could not expect to meet co-operation that had any such
degree of enthusiasm as his own. So, as he expressed it,
in order to obtain financial backing from Mr. Guffey, he

was compelled "to sell
his birthright for a mess
of pottage." But he
wasn't thinking of that
just then. What he was
bent on doing was to
discover what was hid-
den beneath that little
elevation on the plain.
Captain Lucas im-
mediately contracted
with Alfred and James
Hamil, of Corsicana,
Tex., to drill the three
wells specified in the
agreement with Mr.
Guffey. The drilling
mr. alfred hamil. a live wire, here contractors were to re-

IN REPOSE, WHO BROUGHT IN THE LUCAS <* r . My i '

gusher ceive $2 a loot, exclu-




[16]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

sive of the cost of casings. For the first well a site was
chosen where the now famous Spindle Top, or Lucas,
gusher was developed. Operations were commenced in
October, 1900. The well was started with 12-inch casing,
the diameter finally being reduced as depth was attained
to 6 inches. The casings were large and heavy, Captain
Lucas remembering the gas collapse that put an end to
his first venture.

Beaumont, however, had not as yet undergone the
change incidental from a pastoral, lumber and rice indus-
try to that of a rich oil field, and in consequence the
various industrial requirements of an oil field were then un-
known and sadly lacking.

An incident may illustrate the arrival of the first carload
of pipe destined to drill the Lucas gusher. This carload,
known as the gondola type, was switched on a siding of
the Southern Pacific branch leading to Port Arthur about
two miles south of Beaumont, and near Spindle Top.

Captain Lucas asked a local concern to proceed and
unload it. The man went to look at the proposition and
reported that such a job was entirely out of his line, and
advised him to get a house-moving concern to do the
unloading. Captain Lucas, therefore, found the house-
moving expert and stated his needs, asking to send a
couple of men to unload the car, as the railroad people
were clamoring for it. The house-mover reported next
morning that he would have to use a derrick and a horse-
power outfit to unload that car, and that next day he
would make an estimate of the probable cost. At that
moment the head drilling contractor, Mr. Alfred Hamil,
arrived in Beaumont and Captain Lucas explained to him
the difficulty he seemed to encounter to get the carload of

[17]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

pipe unloaded, whereupon Mr. Hamil suggested to drive
over and look at the formidable proposition.

When they arrived at the switch, Mr. Hamil took off
his coat, climbed up on the car and before Captain Lucas
could stop him had thrown over two lengths of six-inch
pipe to act as skids and began to roll over the heavy
twelve, eight and six inch pipes on the ground so fast
that Captain Lucas was kept busy to roll them out of the
way to make place for the avalanche of pipe rolling down
the skids, so that in less than an hour the whole car was
unloaded.

They got into the buggy and returned to Beaumont,
where they encountered the house-moving contractor, and
this time with a regular estimate for the unloading of the
car. Captain Lucas informed him, however, that he had
no further need as the car had already been unloaded by
the man sitting in the buggy next to him. The contractor
would not believe it, stating that such a thing was impossi-
ble, as he had talked to him in the morning and it was then
afternoon; upon being informed that such was the case,
however, he went straight to the switch to ascertain if
the statement were true.

This incident illustrates how little the local people of
Beaumont were prepared in the art or experience of
handling pipes and machinery; but they soon learned
with vengeance, for it was only a few months later that
not one car, but trainloads of pipes and machinery began
to arrive, and the house-moving contractor, being by that
time convinced that carloads of pipes could be unloaded
without the aid of horse-power winches, ultimately became
a valuable adjunct — not only in unloading pipes, but to
string them along the 1 6-mile right-of-way to Port Arthur,

[18]


PIONEERING THE GULF COAST


where the first oil pipe line was laid in Texas to supply oil
for the refinery going up and for oil export.

The pipe lines in Texas and Louisiana today cover thou-
sands of miles and the capital invested in them aggregates
hundreds of millions of dollars.

The drilling went along with comparative smoothness
until the quicksand was reached. At about 250 feet
trouble began. The drill pipes began to stick; the minute
the counter pressure exerted by the pump was stopped in
order to place another length in, the pressure from below
would manifest itself in a most disconcerting manner.
Sand would fill up into the line for 100 feet or more, thus
making it impossible to proceed. An effort was made to
relieve the 6-inch pipe by going over it with an 8-inch
pipe. But this in turn became stuck. The situation
reached such a stage of acuteness that no progress was
being made. Captain Lucas struggled with the problem,
as did Alfred Hamil. Both worked indefatigably. The
dissolution of the enterprise was imminent. Captain
Lucas, in great distress to proceed with the work, toiled
and pondered and fretted.

But the night after he had arrived at the realization
that the practicable limits had been reached, sleep would
not come to him. His anguish drove his brain to re-
newed effort. Then the solution
came. It was almost morning
when it occurred to him that a
boiler having a 100-pound pres-
sure of water could be pumped
full without any water escap-
ing. Why? Because it was
equipped with a check valve.


[19]


PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

Greatly excited, Captain Lucas dressed himself hur-
riedly and hastened to see Hamil. He explained what he
wanted and, out of boards from a pine box lying in his
back yard, he made a check valve. With perforations in
the center and a small rubber belt underneath, the check
valve was placed between the couplings of the casings.
The device served the purpose admirably. The idea of
having it patented occurred to the inventor. But that —
and the monetary reward that the patent undoubtedly
would have brought — was forgotten in the frenzy of
progress that the check valve made possible.

While the drill works in alternating layers of clays and
quicksand, it is difficult to ascertain to a certainty the
various stratas passed on account that the returns brought
out by the circulating pump are badly mixed, and also to
the possibility to bring up heavy materials. The drill
proceeded, therefore, through various layers of quicksand,
gravel and clays until a depth of about 800 feet was
reached, when a very hard bottom was struck, and here
the 8-inch casing was set. The drilling then proceeded with
a 6-inch fish tail bit, but drilling was found hard, and prog-
ress was necessarily slow. The bit had to be periodically
drawn out and resharpened, while the returns obtained in
the settling pond were puzzling. In one instance, how-
ever, when the bit emerged from the well, a lump of clay
matter adhered to it, and by washing this down it was
found to contain a piece of rock, the size of a small egg,
which on examination proved to be limestone with calcite
intercalations.

This small piece of rock seemed to have given much
comfort to Captain Lucas, for he remarked to the drilling
crew that it looked quite encouraging. The extraction of

[20]


CALCITE AND LIMESTONE


PIONEERIN G THE GULF COAST

this small sample
of limestone and
calcite, together
with some frag-
ments of dolomite
and sulphur, de-
noted, however,
the certainty that
the drill had en-
tered the dome
structure proper,
and proved the
theory that the
well was being drilled in the right place.

The drilling proceeded in this formation for about 300
feet deeper with alternating layers of limestone, calcite,
dolomite and sulphur, the true definition of the material
drilled into, however, was hard to define, owing that the
return as brought out by the circulating pump was prac-
tically slimes. While lowering the 4-inch rod with a re-
sharpened bit the group of men at the mouth of the well
realized that the 4-inch rod, which was attached with the
block and five strands of 2-inch cable, was beginning to
rise. James Hamil, the assistant driller, was on top of the
68-foot derrick, but the beginning of the upward move-
ment of the pipe was so gradual that he had time to reach
the ground before things really began to happen. Captain
Lucas and the drillers stood spellbound as the movement
of the casing increased in momentum. Suddenly, with a
mighty heave, the casing shot into the air, carrying with it
the upper works and heavy tackle of the derrick. At a
height of some 500 feet above the derrick, the heavy rod,


[21]


PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

before a strong wind, twisted, bent and came crashing to
the ground, while the men scurried to safety. The remain-
ing 4-inch pipe, freed of the weight of the upper portion,
followed with even greater rapidity, shot through the top
of the derrick.

With the second section of casing, there came a gush
of muddy water. This was the water with which the hole
is drilled by the circulating pump when the drilling
is done by the rotary method. The water was followed by
a volley of rocks and fossils, and finally gas. Then came
the oil, which soon settled down to a 6-inch stream spout-
ing to a height of 200 or more feet, and then breaking in
the wind to shower the surface of the hillock. At first the
oil came at the estimated rate of 1,000 barrels an hour;
then it increased to 2,000 and quickly on to 3,000 and
4,000 barrels an hour, where it remained stationary.
On the third day after it had begun to gush, the discharge
then carrying no solid matter and a diminished quantity of
gas, officials of the Standard Oil Company and their engi-
neers estimated the flow to be at least 3,000 barrels an
hour, or about 75,000 barrels in 24 hours. The well is
estimated to have attained a maximum flow of in the
neighborhood of 100,000 barrels a day — the largest by
far of any oil well ever completed in the United States.
It came in January 10, 1901.

Exceeding as it did even the wildest hopes of Captain
Lucas, the well for ten days defied control. His first prob-
lem was to devise a means to control it and of preventing
the absolute waste of the oil in which he was ably sec-
onded by Mr. John Gayly, his partner. In devising a
method of shutting the well in, dams or levees were con-
structed hastily to surround the oil. The first levee, which

[22]


Surfdice_

36' \ Yef/owCfey
2,5.'] Cotirse£reySard

f!4 ' . | Btut C/ay.prefty h<i rd


75' ! /faff grey quick Sctnd


Vsr/ous/y colored grave / from &can to goose egg size.
Coarse grey <y a i ck Sand


$$'] 3/utChy


Z4-' \ Coarse grey Sand witA pyrific eoncre iions.
$5'.\ F//?e <grey Sand vr/M //y-ntfe ,

Qrey S<* -r-cf ' w.'ff! concretions and mac A Iran, ifc

-• Soft Li me Stone

Grey Clay and sulphuretted Ayctrogis# Gas
■-- h'&rcf 'Sands? 'one. w/fA ca/c/te deposits

Grev Sard


Compac i Jr&rcf Sand wit A pyrites '• •;
s= Hard Sandstone 3 nd ce/careous concret/ens


' Zi 1 — Hard Sand


'*?


■//A calcareous concretions



White calcareous SAeffs
Grey Clay

Grey -Sandstone with Oil
Grey day with calcareous concretions
Grs y Clay ge tting Arrets r
--3,-^: ~c-~'~ Calcareous' concretions with c^icHe


Hard grey Clay w itA calcareous concretions*
m ucA fine p yrites.


2.C : Sandstone and pyrites , pretty hard

:.$. .-irrr hard R oc k , apparently Lime stone.

2.4' %. {Ftnc Oil Sand wiiA hard letter towards bo*fom and

' ^J heavy pressure under it, fit/iny casing for 100 feet

j {shove point of dr/i/ing.


I Hard day and Gumbo


Calcareous concretions with layers of hard

Sands ton e & Suiphi



Struck hea vy gas pressure & Bit, which lasted for
snout one hour and then subsided



and nii*.ed With calcareous concretions
nd marine fossils


C&vern ous Dolomite

OlL

Commenced, Oct. 27 r * 1900,
Completed , Jan. 10*? ISO I


PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

was 2 Y /2 feet in height, was overflowed in 24 hours. Suc-
cessive earthen dykes were thrown up until the lake of oil
covered nearly 30 acres. The oil came from the earth at
a temperature of about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It graded
23 degrees Baume and had a sulphur content of 2 to 4 per
cent.

The clay soil that formed the bed of the improvised
reservoirs held the oil fairly well, but there was a constant
danger of fire. This was accentuated by the throngs of
sightseers that came first from Beaumont, three miles to
the west, and later from more distant points. These,
indeed, were exciting days. Captain Lucas, Alfred Hamil
and their men were working like beavers to save the oil,
and at the same time arranging for the control of the well.
To aggravate the situation the Sabine and East Texas
Railroad Company, whose embankment a quarter of a
mile west of the well formed one side of the lake of oil,
served notice that the oil must be removed because of
danger to the tracks. The marine insurance companies
likewise requested the removal of the oil that had made
its way to Port Arthur and Sabine Pass, seaports sixteen
miles below the well, asserting that the petroleum con-
stituted a menace to shipping and threatening to revoke
the insurances.

A newspaper had published a statement that Captain
Lucas would give $10,000 to anyone who would close the
well. Consequently he was flooded with offers. But he
realized that the solution of the problem rested with him
and his men, so he did not wait for someone to come in and
conquer the well for him. It required ten days to con-
struct out of steel rails a carriage on which to pass an
8-inch gate valve over the 6-inch stream. It was necessary

[24]



PIONEERING

THE

GULF COAST



to have the gate valve and its carriage extremely heavy
in order to withstand the terrific pressure of the oil.

It was at 10 o'clock on the morning of the tenth day
after the well had been brought in that preparations were
made to put the gate valve in place. With the aid of a
block and tackle, horses were used to drag the valve and
its heavy anchorage up to the geyser of oil. As the valve,
which was open, began to cut into the stream, the diverted
force of the oil began to make itself felt on the derrick,
already badly shaken. The derrick began to rock.
Captain Lucas recalls seizing one of the fossils from the
ground and throwing it at the horses to urge them to
greater speed. Had the derrick come tumbling down, it
would have meant starting the work of closing the well




ALFRED HAMIL SEARCHING FOR GAS ESCAPES IN CUBA



[25]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

all over again after the wreckage had been removed —
aside from the danger of poisonous gases and injury to
those engaged in the work. But fortunately the derrick
held. Finally the valve was in position, the stream of oil,
again unimpeded, shooting up through it. Then the valve
was screwed tightly to the 8-inch casing. The valve,
securely anchored, was closed without difficulty and the
wildest of wild gushers was tamed.



[26]




METHOD EMPLOYED TO CLOSE THE LUCAS GUSHER



Chapter IV
RECOGNITION

Congratulations from those who discouraged
project — the Spindle Top boom — then solid
prosperity.

Newspaper services heralded throughout the world the
triumph of Captain Lucas. So unexpected was his suc-
cess and so far-reaching promised to be its result, that it
was one of the greatest news sensations in years. The
day after the completion of the well came a telegram from
Mr. Paine extending to Captain Lucas the warmest con-
gratulations and promising to come at once to see the new
wonder. Little did he and Dr. Hayes suspect, however,
that their previous discouraging attitude had contributed
largely toward diminishing the pioneer financial reward.
Their adverse advice had played a part toward putting
Captain Lucas in a state of mind that had made it possible
for the Guffey interests to drive a harder bargain than
otherwise might have been the case.

Mr. Guffey, in financing the undertaking, had organized,
with Andrew Mellon, of Pittsburgh, the J. M. Guffey
Petroleum Company, with a capital of $15,000,000. The
gusher was completed, however, at a cost of less than
$6,000. The capital soon was increased to a much larger
amount, and the title of the company later was changed
to the Gulf Refining Company. The Mellon interests
still are dominant in the great organization.

Among the early arrivals at the well was Mr. Cullinan.
He plunged into the midst of things and became a large
factor in the development of Spindle Top and other fields

[28]



PIONEERING

THE

GULF COAST



that followed it. The Texas Company, of which he was
the first president, was the outgrowth of his efforts.

From the ends of the earth, lured by the prospects of
quick fortunes, came the adventurers, promoters and
speculators along with those who desired to take a legiti-
mate part in the development of the newly discovered
store of wealth. The boom perhaps was the greatest ever
seen in the United States, eclipsing even those of Bir-
mingham and Cripple Creek. Land values, leases and
options leaped skyward. Although the productive area
proved to be only about 300 acres, of which the Guffey
company had obtained through Captain Lucas 220 acres,
the speculative frenzy was not limited by acreage.

Before the advent of the well, common prairie land in
the locality was valued at about $5 an acre. Then up




MEDAL PRESENTED TO CAPTAIN LUCAS BY THE BOARD OF TRADE
ASSOCIATION OF BEAUMONT, TEX.



[29]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

it went through the hundreds and into the thousands —
and then into the hundreds of thousands. It is asserted
that one acre within the proven field sold for $100,000.
It is stated that a New York broker stood in the Crosby
House at Beaumont one night after the productive area
had been rather well defined and offered $100,000 cash
for any acre of proven ground in the Spindle Top field —
and was laughed at. So rapidly did prices advance that
options on land, no matter where located, were dealt in
extensively. Women as well as men participated in this
method of speculation. The option was held a few days
and then disposed of, sometimes at great profit.

Companies almost innumerable were organized, with
capitalization aggregating millions upon millions. Other
wells were started as soon after the completing of the
Lucas well as leases and drilling material could be ob-
tained. Most of these were by boom companies hastening
to complete gusher wells in order that they might dispose
of their stock at high prices. The fact that there were no
pipe lines or other facilities for marketing the oil, cut no
figure with them. The gushers were merely for exhibition
and advertising purposes. By the late summer of 1901
more than a dozen wells had been completed, but the
Guffey company was the only one that had made any
serious effort to arrange for the marketing of its output.
This organization was then running a 6-inch pipe line to
Port Arthur, Texas, and had started the construction of
a tank farm at Lucas Station.

One writer asserts that immediately after the completion
of the Lucas well every acre of land within 30 miles of it
was leased. This frenzied speculation continued until a
well off the Spindle Top Dome came in dry. Then prices

[30]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

of outside acreage went down with a thump and the boom
was broken.

The 80 acres or so of productive land on the dome that
was not held by the Guffey company was subdivided into
lots of from one to five acres. Quarter acres even sold for
from $50,000 to $100,000. Because of the enormous cash
offers for fractions of acres, and again because no provi-
sion had been made to dispose of the oil that was so
willing to gush from the earth, it appeared to speculators
to be more profitable to sell their small leases than to drill
on them. Tracts as small as 25 by 25 feet changed hands.
Some of the leases only afforded sufficient room for the
erection of a derrick — and it was necessary to obtain
surface rights from a neighboring leaser on which to place
the boiler plant. And each of these tiny leases formed
the only asset of some boom company that was capitalized
for at least $1,000,000.

Captain Lucas recalls an instance in which four com-
panies, each capitalized at $1,000,000, owned jointly a
tract 45 by 45 feet. The companies contributed equally
to a fund for drilling a well in the center of the lot, each
owning a one-fourth interest in the production. The well
was completed and each company was enabled to adver-
tise its stock in full-page displays in the eastern papers,
hinging the advertising upon the ownership of gusher
wells at Spindle Top. Such proceedings continued until
the supply of stock was exhausted or until the collapse of
the boom took the edge off speculative fervor.

When the Spindle Top excitement was at its height,
excursions were run from New York, St. Louis, New
Orleans, Galveston and other cities. These excursions, of
course, were conducted by the speculators and stock



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

promoters. Trainloads of would-be millionaires arrived
wearing gaudy badges inscribed "All is Well in Beaumont."
And a dozen wells would be set to spouting away for their
entertainment. Wagers even were laid as to which well
was spouting the highest. President McKinley, then on a
visit to the West, was invited to Beaumont and a com-
mittee was organized to arrange to have the greatest possi-
ble number of wells spouting for the occasion — but the
President very wisely declined the invitation.

The city of Beaumont, which successively had been
known as a cattle, lumber and rice-growing center, sud-
denly became famed as an oil metropolis. The city in
succession had had its cattle, lumber and rice kings. It so
happened that shortly after the completion of the Lucas
well, the rice growers of the locality met in Beaumont —
and the rice king, meeting Captain Lucas, protested that
he no longer could lay claim to the crown, so the dis-
coverer of Spindle Top became Beaumont's oil king. Now
that Beaumont has passed the zenith of its glory as an
oil town, it has become, with the deepening of the Neches
River, also a great shipbuilding center.

Hotel facilities at Beaumont were far from adequate
to take care of the throngs that were attracted by the
oil boom. Many persons were unable to find accommoda-
tions either for eating or sleeping. Travel-weary transients
slept on billiard tables, in barber chairs and even in bath
tubs — and paid handsomely for the privilege. But the
crowd was happy. Money was plentiful. And the boom,
as are all booms, was expected to last indefinitely.

All sorts of fantastic schemes were evolved for capital-
izing the situation. A physician gave up his practice in
Washington, D.C., settled in Beaumont and conceived

[33]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

the brilliant idea of organizing a salvage company. Capi-
tal $1,000,000 — that seemed to be the favorite amount.
His idea was to gather the oil that the gushers were wast-
ing and hold the oil in storage until it was marketable.
Accordingly he proceeded to organize the company and
market the stock. The company constructed enormous
earthen storage tanks and drained into them through
ditches oil that otherwise might have been wasted. He
succeeded in storing millions of barrels of oil. But a year
later when he was negotiating for the sale of the oil, the
petroleum and tanks were attached by a group of oil-well
owners. The salvage company could not prove owner-
ship — and another million-dollar company was dissolved.
More than one spectacular fire was caused by the
immense quantities of oil held in earthen storage at
Spindle Top, as well as by the crowding of derricks on the
dome. This was one of the worst fears of Captain Lucas
(as well as the railway and steamship insurance com-
panies) from the time the initial gusher began to splatter
the surrounding territory with oil. One of the most serious
conflagrations occurred on March 3, 1901, less than two
months after the discovery. Captain Lucas estimates that
800,000 barrels of oil went up in flames, as well as all the
stores and the houses of the Guffey company workmen
and all the derricks and drilling rigs. The destruc-
tion, great as it was, would have been greater had
it not been that the wind was favorable for fighting the
fire. When it was realized that there was no possibility
of saving the lake of oil, Captain Lucas ordered a counter
conflagration started. When the two walls of flame met
there was a terrific explosion which threw the blazing oil
high into the air and shook the earth. The Lucas well

[34]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

was not damaged, it having been covered with a great
sand heap as a precaution against just such an occurrence.
Poems were written and songs were composed setting
forth the glorious results of the oil discovery. One poet,
who also chanced to be a cleaner and dyer, scattered
thousands of handbills that combined poetry with adver-
tising. Here is one of the ebullitions of King, the dyer:

A MILLION BARRELS

When the oil is aspoutin'

And the Beaumont folks is shoutin'

And Lucas has realized his dream,
Just remember, I'm still workin'
And my business I'm not shirkin',

So bring me all your siled clothes to clean.

And if you ventured near the geyser
When you should have been much wiser

And your clothes got full of Lucas grease,
The spots I'll all remove and
Press them slick and smooth

An' in your pants I'll put the proper crease.

And by patronizing me, you
Help the town you see —

And that's been the tried and proper caper,
And in one year from this date
Bradstreet us high will rate

And I will build a 90-story scraper.

So Speculator, Grafter,

And the gang that follows after,

[36]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

Your star of luck is looming up on high.
While you are carrying off the money
Please don't forget, ma honey,

The King that does the expert clean and dye.

The town truly was badly in need of cleaning. The air
was impregnated with sulphuretted hydrogen gases, which
turned the white paint on houses, as far away as Beau-
mont, a dirty drab. The silver in homes fortunate enough
to possess such ware turned black, as did the silver coins
that are such a common medium of exchange in that
section of the country. But King's poetical masterpiece
contained a little less of cleaning and a little more of the
spirit that was rampant around the oil field. Here it is:

'CAUSE LUCAS HE STRUCK ILE'

Once I was a farmer man

Who owned a piece of ground
Where 'taters, corn and sich like grew

That I peddled over town.
But now I'm rich and money have

And live in bang-up style,
And it came about without a doubt

'Cause Lucas he struck ile.

I done bought my wife a diamond ring

To wear upon her hand,
My daughter Sal a peane grand — -

She plays to beat the band.
We're going to hire a Pullman car

To travel East in style,
And it comes about without a doubt

'Cause Lucas he struck ile.

[37]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

And when we get to big New York

The people they will stare,
And shout "Hurray! There goes the Jay,

The oily millionaire."
We'll show the Gotham folks just how

To put on Beaumont style,
And it comes about without a doubt

'Cause Lucas he struck ile.

We'll hire old Souse and his band

At a thousand plunks a day,
To follow us 'round the streets of York

And rag-time music play.
We'll buy our kids an automobile,

Dress in the latest style,
And it comes about without a doubt

'Cause Lucas he struck ile.

And when to Beaumont we return
With money for to burn,

On future oil prospects we'll have an eye,
And all our sailed clothes we will bring
To that Famous Cleaner King,

The man who does the expert clean and dye.

The story of the Lucas accomplishment and the result-
ant frenzied rush even was set to music, and the song,
bearing on the cover pictures of Captain Lucas and his
gusher, were sold at Beaumont music stores. The words
of "The Lucas Gusher March Song" are by Frederick
C. King and the music by Fannie Lamb. The words
follow :



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

Let me tell you of the greatest town the world has

ever seen,
I know you'll not believe me, it does seem like a

dream,
When I tell you of the geyser that spouted up green

oil,
But it's right down here in Texas, in good old Beau-
mont soil.
Ten thousand barrels of greasy goods came spouting

out the pipe,
The railroads brought a million in to see the wonder

sight.
The oil it spouted up so high you could not see the sun,
It flowed in rivers, lakes and streams, you ought to

see it run.

CHORUS

The streets were filled with happy folks who left their

daily toil.
The news was passed from mouth to mouth that

Lucas had struck oil.
The millionaires came pouring in the wonder for to see,
And the farmer who owned the land, his heart was

full of glee.
They all grabbed Lucas by the hand and shook it

until sore,
They tried to lease the Public Square for more oil for

to bore,
The happy owners of the land, this lucky Beaumont

soil,
Had to carry a gun to keep the gang from boring

them for oil.

[39]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

The Standard they came quickly in with millions at

the back,
Old "Golden Rule" of Toledo fame brought his

money in a sack,
The Crosby got so full of folks with four men in a bed,
And before the rush was over they stood them on

their head.
You talk about your Klondike rush and gold in

frozen soil,
But it don't compare with Beaumont rush when

Lucas he struck oil.
So if you want a lease for oil you must be an early riser
To get a whack at our Cracker Jack, The Famous

Beaumont Geyser.

At the height of the boom, when companies were being
organized by the dozen, local newspapers offered pre-
miums for the most catchy names under which these new
companies might sail. To his eternal credit, however, be
it said that Captain Lucas did not lend his name to any of
these stock-jobbing propositions. On one occasion a trio
of promoters called his attention to the fact that there
was no Lucas Oil Company, and asserted that they
desired to perpetuate the name of the originator of the
new industry. They had excellent banking references,
which they exhibited before outlining their proposition.
They suggested that it was their desire to finance a Lucas
Oil Company with capital of $1,000,000. For the use of
his name as president they offered Captain Lucas 10
per cent of the stock.

Naturally, Captain Lucas asked regarding the assets of
the company which they proposed to have bear his name.

[40]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

The promoters assured him that they had acreage with
prospects equal to or perhaps even better than Spindle
Top. To this Captain Lucas replied that, if such were
the case, the completion of the arrangements might be
accomplished without difficulty. All that he desired, he
said, was to be taken to the land in order that he might
examine its economic possibilities. They hesitated over
this, suggesting that, as Captain Lucas was such a busy
man, it shouldn't be necessary for him to go through the
formality of looking over the acreage. But Captain Lucas
persisted, asserting that, as it had not been his experience
that anything was obtained without effort, he would feel
that by examining the land and finding it as meritorious
as represented he would have earned his 10 per cent
interest.

Finally a map of the land was produced. Captain Lucas
already was acquainted with the location, so it wasn't
necessary for him to visit it again. He quietly declined
to have any part in the proposition. The promoters
insisted on knowing his reason.

'There is no oil on that land," Captain Lucas finally
retorted, in order to close the interview.

"What is that to you, Captain Lucas, so long as you are
made president and get your 10 per cent of the capital
stock, which would be worth par as soon as it was incorpo-
rated?" This came from the leader of the trio — and he
spoke somewhat heatedly.

It wasn't far to the door, and the spokesman got through
it without any effort on his part. The others, viewing the
forced departure of their companion, left as rapidly and
as unobtrusively as possible. And there never was a
Lucas Oil Company.

[41]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

Just before the breaking of the boom an Englishman
sought out Captain Lucas and urged him to accept a
valuable scarf pin, not only as a token of esteem, but also
because he was grateful — Captain Lucas' success, he ex-
plained, had enabled him to clear nearly $200,000 dealing
in options. In presenting the pin the Englishman re-
marked that he knew of the completion of the well almost
24 hours before Captain Lucas himself knew it. He
explained that when the news of the discovery was
flashed over the world, he was at Bombay, India, the
calendar there reading January 9, whereas in the United
States it was January 10. He had taken steamer next
day for Liverpool and from there to New York, arriving
at Beaumont in time to realize handsomely on the dis-
covery.

The collapse of the boom, with the completion of an
unproductive well off the Spindle Top dome, wiped out
the fictitious values that had been put on hundreds of
square miles of territory in that section of Texas. But
then a new and substantial era came. It was based largely
on real assets and there was a seriousness of purpose about
it. The companies that had been organized on something
tangible survived. The others failed. It was a case of
the survival of the fittest. New and responsible com-
panies were organized, new pools were discovered from
time to time, pipe lines were laid, refineries erected and
serious plans made for commercializing the vast stores of
petroleum. In conjunction with the pipe line and re-
finery systems, great numbers of steel storage tanks,
commonly known as tank farms, were erected. Today a
tank farm skirts the edge of the Spindle Top dome. But
Spindle Top long since has passed the glorious days of

[42]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

her great productivity, so the tanks today contain oil that
has been transported perhaps from the fields of Okla-
homa and Kansas by the pipe lines that link those fields
with the refineries that the Lucas discovery caused to be
established at various ports along the Gulf Coast. Many
of these companies have their own fleets of tank steamers
that carry oil not only to the ports of the Atlantic and
Pacific, but to foreign countries as well. In fact, the
Standard Oil Company named at that time one of their
new crack steamers the " Captain A. F. Lucas." Millions
upon millions of capital have been invested by these com-
panies.

Here are the names of the oil pools that have been
opened in Louisiana and Texas since Captain Lucas at
Spindle Top demonstrated the correctness of his deduc-
tions regarding petroleum deposits in the domes of the
Gulf Coast: Jennings, La.; Sour Lake, Tex.; Anse la
Butte, La.; Saratoga, La.; Batson Prairie, Tex.; Humble,
Tex.; Vinton, La.; Edgerly, La.; Goose Creek, Tex.;
Hoskins Mound, Tex. ; Welsh, La. ; Matagorda, Tex. ;
Big Hill, Tex.; Markham, Tex.; New Iberia, La.; Bryan
Heights (Freeport), Tex.; Damon Mound, Tex.; Caddo,
La., and Sabine, which lies both in Louisiana and Texas.

But the number of the fields that resulted does not indi-
cate so graphically the far-reaching importance of Cap-
tain Lucas' discovery at Spindle Top as do the oil-produc-
tion figures for the territory. The total production of the
Gulf Coast fields from Spindle Top up to and including
19 1 7, according to estimates of the United States Geo-
logical Survey, has been 360,149,955 barrels. (The figures
used for 19 17 are the preliminary estimate of 26,900,000
barrels.)

[44]



Chapter V
MORE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Other explorations made by Captain Lucas
in Coastal territory and their results.

Although Captain Lucas retained his financial connec-
tion with the Guffey company only a little more than
six months after the completion of the great Spindle Top
gusher, he did other interesting exploratory work for that
company before the connection was severed. He obtained
land and drilled for the Guffey company on a dome then
known as Bryan Heights, which is about 40 miles south-
west of Galveston. It was here that in July, 1901, at
a depth of 800 feet such a powerful flow of sulphuretted
hydrogen gas was encountered that everyone was driven
off the location.

The Guffey company unfortunately neglected the
Bryan Heights discovery, and the lease became forfeited
in the next three years. Subsequently it was taken up by
speculators, who induced Eric L. Swenson, a New York
banker, to become financially interested on the basis of
positive knowledge of the existence on the property of a
great sulphur deposit. Mr. Swenson organized the Free-
port Sulphur Company, which is exploiting the deposit.
The company is recovering the sulphur by the method
as applied by Herman Frasch at a similar deposit in
Louisiana. The process consists of melting the sulphur
with hot water and then forcing it to the surface by the
pressure of hot air. This company and the Union Sulphur
Company are two of the principal producers of sulphur
in the Lmited States.

[45]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

Another well drilled by Captain Lucas for the Guffey
company in 1901 was on a tract of land known as Damon
Mound, in Brazoria County, Tex., some 30 or 40 miles
from Houston. In order to obtain the lease on this dome,
it was necessary for Captain Lucas to promise the owner,
J. H. Herndon, that the well would be called by his name.
Although the well became clogged and ruined at a depth
of 1,600 feet, it hardly could be regarded as a failure,
because it enabled those who were drilling it to ascertain
the existence of a bed of sulphur, oil and rock salt.

This promising field was abandoned until about 191 5,
when Ed. F. Simms, of New York, again began to prospect
the dome, which rises to a height of 96 feet and is one of
the largest structural domes on the Coastal Plain. The
result was that several wells were completed with daily
output of from 5,000 to 10,000 barrels each. On another
part of this dome a sulphur bed is being exploited, and
deeper down an enormous deposit of rock salt extends to
an unknown depth.

It was about midsummer of 1901 that Captain Lucas
severed his connection with the Guffey company. He
realized the financial influence of Mr. Guffey and the
Mellon group as compared to his own, and sold to them
his interest in the company for a satisfactory sum. His
chief reward, however, was to have created a precedent
in geology whereby the Gulf Coast has been made to
yield millions upon millions of barrels of petroleum.

His explorations at Damon Mound netted him nothing
in the way of monetary remuneration. However, he pur-
chased two tracts of land at the time he was drilling, and
two additional tracts amounting to ten acres were pre-
sented to him by the Cave heirs, of Paducah, Ky. As he

[47]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

did not deem his operations here satisfactory however, he,
of his own accord, deeded back the tracts presented him
by the Cave heirs. Later they became very valuable, as
they produced large quantities of oil. Captain Lucas re-
tained the tracts he had purchased, amounting to seventy
acres, and saw them develop into substantial assets.
In selling out his holdings to the Guffey company, Cap-
tain Lucas also retained the leases he had acquired at
High Island, near Galveston, 70 miles southwest of
Spindle Top.

After spending considerable time in additional explora-
tory work in this locality, Captain Lucas became con-
nected in 1902 with Sir Wheetman Pearson, now Lord
Cowdray, who has large oil interests in Mexico and is
head of the Mexican Eagle Oil Company, Ltd., and allied
concerns. Captain Lucas first went to Coatzacoalcos, now
known as Puerto, Mexico, where he located two oil fields,
one known as San Cristobal and the other as Ialtipan on
the Tehuantepec Railroad. The San Cristobal field pro-
duces a light paraffine oil of high quality, while the other
field is productive of a somewhat sluggish heavy oil. Both
are regarded as oil fields of great promise. They are in
southern Mexico. The Pearson interests also own large
oil concessions in the Tampico field, the British navy
obtaining a large part of its fuel oil supply from Pearson
leases.

When, after three years as advisory engineer for Sir
Wheetman, Captain Lucas decided to return to Washing-
ton and resume the profession of consulting engineer, the
British capitalist made him a flattering offer to remain as
managing engineer in Mexico. Mr. Lucas, however, de-
clined and in 1905 returned to Washington.

[49]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

While in Mexico, Captain Lucas, through the instru-
mentality of his employer, went by way of Oxaca to a
point near Port Angel on the Pacific Coast in the State
of Vera Cruz, where the son of President Diaz and other
capitalists had been operating for oil. There were no safe
ports near the scene of operations, and it was necessary
to beach barges of supplies that were towed from San
Francisco. Many difficulties were being encountered in
the drilling, which was in pure syenite, a crystalline rock
that ordinarily would not be expected to be productive
of oil, although there were some showings of neutral oil
on the surface.

Captain Lucas discouraged the continuation of the
work. Because they already had invested large sums of
money, the operators, however, did not receive the advice
gracefully and continued the work for another year and a
half. They finally were compelled to abandon the proposi-
tion, and the field never has produced oil. While here,
Captain Lucas contracted an illness that kept him con-
fined to his home for almost a year.

It was after his recovery that he decided not to continue
his endeavors in Mexico. In his private practice of con-
sulting engineer, his work took him not only to the vari-
ous oil fields of the L T nited States, but to such foreign
countries as Algeria, North Africa, Russia, Roumania
and Galicia.

\\ 'hen the Lmited States entered the European War in
191 7, Captain Lucas entered actively into the quest for
war minerals, his experiences with the salt and sulphur
deposits in the Coastal Plain territory making his co-
operation of considerable value. Sulphur constitutes one
of the most valuable of war minerals. His only son,

[51]




CAPTAIN LUCAS (CENTER) AND FRIEND ON RIGHT, GERMAN GUARD

ON LEFT, PHOTOGRAPHED BEFORE BEING PERMITTED TO DESCEND

IN THE STASSFURT POTASH SALT MINES, GERMANY



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

Lieut. Anthony F.
G. Lucas, went to
France injune,i9i/,
with the Sixteenth
Regiment of Infan-
try, with the first
contingents of
L'nited States
troops to be sent to
the front, his bat-
talion marching in
Paris in the 4th of
July celebrations.

In his early days
of salt and sulphur
mining Captain
Lucas had some in-
teresting and valu-
able experiences. In
fact, it was then

that he laid the groundwork and formulated the theo-
ries that resulted in his later spectacular accomplishments
and placed his name firmly in the record of American sci-
entific achievement.

When he took up salt mining at Petit Anse, La., in
1893, he found the salt deposit only 20 feet below the
drift soil, and the shaft 160 feet deep. The mine and mill
were in bad condition because of the fact that water had
found its way into the mine and caused much caving.
Constant care was required to stem the caving, the water
and the ravages of salt on the mill. He opened long drifts in
virgin ground and adopted the overhead method of mining.




LIEUT. ANTHONY F. G. LUCAS, JR.

OO

PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

A gallery 50 or 60 feet wide and 200 to 300 feet long
was started with a 7-foot undercut. After the salt thus
obtained had been hauled out on tram-cars, a second
undercut 18 to 20 feet in height was started. This in turn
having been cleared away, the final mining was started
with the aid of tripod ladders on which light hand-drills
were placed. Batteries of holes were drilled 10 feet into
the roof, six or eight holes resulting in the shooting down
of hundreds of tons of salt. Greater height then was
accomplished by working from the top of the loose salt.
The roof was arched toward pillars about 40 feet square
that were left standing. Suspiciously loose slabs of salt
were pried from the roof before the chambers were re-
garded as finished and the work of removing the 3,000 to
5,000 tons of mined salt begun. By this method it was
not necessary to use any timbering at all. The mining
cost was about 14 cents a ton, and the salt was of unusual
purity, showing 98.5 to 99 per cent sodium chloride and
the remainder gypsum.

The rock salt deposit at Petit Anse was discovered in
1862 by a negro who was digging a well for water. It first
was worked by the Confederate Government and opera-
tions were continued until the Union forces, attacking by
land and sea, destroyed the works. The plant was not
rebuilt until 1879, when Charleston and St. Louis capi-
talists leased the property. Their handling of the proposi-
tion, however, was unfortunate and the property passed
through many vicissitudes before it reached the stage of
successful development. Before Captain Lucas took
charge of the mine, the encroachment of water, because
of the location of the shaft in a sink caused a great deal of
difficulty.

[56]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

This deposit, however, had no rival in Louisiana until
1896, when Captain Lucas, drilling at Jefferson Island, a
few miles to the northwest, discovered at 290 feet the
great bed of salt. The diamond drill was sent down to a
depth of 2,100 feet, where operations were halted as a
result of gossip by persons who were not familiar with
the method it was necessary to employ in drilling. The
drill was still in salt at this depth and Captain Lucas
desired to continue operations until he determined the
location or the geological horizon of the floor of the salt
bed. But the gossiping persons spread the rumor that Air.
Jefferson was being deceived regarding the great salt
deposit, because, they said, Captain Lucas was hauling
carloads of salt from Petit Anse to Jefferson Island. He
had been doing that very thing, but the salt from Petit
Anse was used in making brine with which to bore, so
that the bore would not be enlarged excessively. Had
pure water been used, the walls of the bore would have
been dissolved. Mr. Jefferson listened to the gossip and
asked Captain Lucas if he had found enough salt, as
it was his desire to halt operations. Mr. Lucas replied
that he believed he had found salt in sufficient quan-
tity to salt the entire earth, but that he was proceed-
ing nicely and desired to determine the geological
formation upon which the salt was resting. The actor
didn't happen to be interested in geological research,
however, so one of Captain Lucas' early studies was
balked.

One of the most interesting of the Lucas explorations
was at Belle Isle, which is in the waters of the Atcha-
falaya Bay to the southeast of the other deposits. This
island had been the rendezvous of the famous pirate,

[57]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

Lafitte, and his buccaneer companions a century ago.
Numerous legends still are heard in that locality of
treasure that these adventurers buried on the island.
In the neighboring bayous are old sunken wrecks popu-
larly believed to be relics of the buccaneer fleet. Many
expeditions have been formed to dig on the island for the
traditional buried treasures, but there is no authentic
record of success. There is, however, a tale of a myste-
rious Monsieur Leblanc, or Lenoir, who suddenly and
unaccountably became wealthy.

It was in 1897 that Captain Lucas contracted with the
owner to explore Belle Isle on his own account. Four
wells were drilled, the result being the discovery not only
of salt, but also of sulphur and petroleum. Nothing of
interest was found in the first well, but the second en-
countered a 56-foot bed of sulphur, below which was dis-
covered the matrix of a salt dome. By further boring an
oil sand was found at a depth of 115 feet, and a strong
flow of petroleum gas at about 800 feet. Having com-
pleted his contract at this stage, Captain Lucas halted
operations and acquired title to one-half of the mineral
resources of the island.

Owing to the lack of sufficient capital, Captain Lucas
was unable to exploit his oil discovery on Belle Isle. The
island later was purchased by the American Salt Com-
pany, and Mr. Lucas received as his share $40,000 in
bonds and $10,000 in cash. It was his observations in the
Belle Isle operations that led him to study the accumula-
tion of oil around salt masses. He had fully expected the
American Salt Company to put him in charge of the
development but the subject was not broached by either
party.

[59]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST



A New York man was put in charge of the company's
operations, which involved more than $2,000,000. A
large working shaft was started at a point where the salt
deposit showed nearest the surface — 115 feet. The de-
posit, however, had not previously been sounded by bor-
ing to ascertain its conformity and purity. The salt,
which would have found a ready market with meat
packers, was impregnated with oil and gas. The salt
particles that were bailed from the hole and dumped on
the derrick floor would jump around like pop-corn, or
fire crackers, as a result of the liquefaction causing the
liberation of gas brought in contact with the air. Accord-
ing to Captain Lucas, this is the only salt deposit en-
countered in all his explorations of the domes on the Gulf
Coast showing an oil and gas impregnation through more
than 3,000 feet. It was caused, he believes, by an enor-
mous gas and oil pressure from below the salt deposit.

The salt company
sent its shaft to a
depth of 250 feet
and started driving
toward the interior
of the deposit,
searching for purer
salt. When Cap-
tain Lucas learned
whatwasbeingdone,
he telegraphed to
ask if the drift was
in the right direc-
tion and if Sound-
ly ^^ U~A U J SALT CRYSTALS AT 1500 FEET DEPTH CONTAIN-

ings had been made ING GAS AND j L , belle isle, la.


[61]


Lake Pcingreur



Tide Water Line



JEFFERSON ISLAND.



Tide Water Liue



PETITE ANSE ISLAND.


iHH 1 " BELLE ISLE.



BELLE ISLE.

Sectional Views of Louisiana Rock Salt Deposits.

Scale 1 Inch =800 feet
Clay t$M^ Sand I I Oil bearing Shalo

Oravel IHTiTFTTTI Rock Salt WM Limestone and Sulphur

SECTIONS OF THE SALT ISLANDS, LA.



THE SALT ISLANDS, LA.



GULF OF MEXICO



SECTION ALONG LINE A— B



-Anhydrite arid gas



SECTION OF SALT AND SULPHUR DEPOSITS AT BELLE ISLE, LA.



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST


SOOO FEET


'Contour lines on salt show o'/stance In feet tefow sea level



TOPOGRAPHICAL PLAN OF BELLE ISLE, LA.

with a diamond drill in that direction. The next he
learned was that the salt had been passed through and
quicksand encountered. The mire of the marshes driving
the operators out, barely giving them time to save the
men. Thus the first shaft was lost. It afterward was
found that the salt in this locality formed a depression,
500 feet westward, although it was connected with the
main dome.



[64]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST


GAS BURNING, TAKEN AT NIGHT IN BELLE ISLE, LA.


Another shaft was started to the westward. The salt
here was reached at a depth of 276 feet. On the top of
this salt was found a layer of about 30 feet of quicksand
which could not be passed through. An expert shaft
sinker was called upon, and he employed a freezing pro-
cess. But he did not put his brine pipes in the salt. He
stopped in the quicksand, so that when the mass was
frozen preparatory to mining, they were just as badly off
as before and could not pass the quicksand. A large sum
of money was spent before this effort finally was aban-
doned. The company then started to explore for oil, but



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

was not successful. The property finally was disposed of
at public sale and the island now is the property of the
New Orleans Mining Corporation.

In the meantime, Captain Lucas had discovered an
excellent bed of salt at Weeks Island. This is being
worked with commercial success. His discovery of oil and
salt at Anse la Butte provided him with further material
upon which to base his deductions regarding Spindle Top
and other similar structures.



[6?]



Chapter VI
PETROLEUM

History — theories of origin — the hydraulic rotary
drilling system — fuel oil — some of Lucas' deductions.

Petroleum is a term that in its widest sense embraces
the whole of the hydrocarbon family — gaseous, liquid and
solid — occurring in nature. The word itself is derived
from the Latin words petra, meaning rock, and oleum,
meaning oil — rock oil. Although the commercial develop-
ment of the world's petroleum resources extends over
only a little more than a half century, it was gathered for
various ritual uses in remote ages, and later for medicinal
purposes.

Herodotus described in his writings oil pits near ancient
Babylon and the pitch springs near Zante. Strabo,
Dioscorides and Pliny made mention of oil obtained at
Agrigentum in Sicily and used for illuminating purposes.
Plutarch's writings refer to petroleum found near Eba-
tana. The ancient records of China and Japan contain
numerous allusions to the use of natural gas, while petro-
leum, or "burning water," was known in Japan in the
seventh century. The gas springs of North Italy led to
the adoption in 1226 by the municipality of Salso-mag-
giore of a salamander surrounded by flames as its emblem.
Marco Polo in the thirteenth century referred to the oil
springs of Baku.

Probably the earliest mention of petroleum in the
western hemisphere occurs in Sir Walter Raleigh's refer-
ences in 1595 to the pitch lakes of Trinidad. Thirty-seven

[69]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

years later Jospeh de la Roche d'Allion referred to the oil
springs of New York, as published in Sagard's "Histoire
du Canada." A Russian traveler, Peter Kalm, in a book
on America published in 1748, showed a map of the oil
springs of Pennsylvania, and about the same time Racie-
vitch referred to the deposits of liquid bitumen in Rou-
mania.

The active growth of the petroleum industry began with
the drilling of the Drake well in Pennsylvania in 1859,
although in the early part of the century oil from the
region of Lake Seneca, New York, was used for medicinal
purposes by the Indians and white settlers under the name
of Seneca Oil. The Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company was
formed in 1854, but its operations were unsuccessful. It
was in 1858 that certain persons who had been associated
with the first enterprise formed the Seneca Oil Company,
under the direction of which E. L. Drake started a well
along Oil Creek in Pennsylvania. After drilling had been
carried to a depth of 69 feet, the tools on August 29, 1859,
suddenly dropped into a crevice and on the following day
the well was found to have ' 'struck oil." This well yielded
25 barrels of oil a day for some time, but by the end of the
year the output had been reduced to 15 barrels a day.
From Oil Creek the development spread first over the
eastern district of the United States and then gradually
to other regions. For many years, however, Pennsylvania
was the leading oil-producing territory of the world.

The origin of petroleum still forms a problem over which
scientists ponder. The various theories propounded, how-
ever, may be divided into two groups, one ascribing its
origin to inorganic matter and the other regarding it as the
result of the decomposition of organic materials. Among

[70]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

those who hold to the organic theory, believing petroleum
to have been formed by the breaking down both of animal
and vegetable organisms (terrestrial and marine), may be
mentioned J. P. Lesley, E. Orton and S. F. Peckham.
Others believe it to have been of exclusively animal origin,
basing their view upon the circumstances surrounding the
occurrence of petroleum in the Trenton limestone, and
upon the experiments of C. Engler, who obtained a liquid
resembling crude petroleum by the distillation of fish.
There is not sufficient evidence supporting either of these
views to be conclusive. Many scientists believe that
petroleum, like coal, was formed at moderate tempera-
tures under pressure varying with the depth of the con-
taining rocks.

M. P. E. Bertholet, on the contrary, suggests that min-
eral oil owes its origin to purely chemical action similar
to that employed in the manufacture of acetylene. Men-
deleheff ascribes the formation of petroleum to the action
of water at high temperature on iron carbide in the interior
of the earth. Eugene Coste advances the theory that
petroleum, being found in rocks of all ages, is of volcanic
origin. Robert T. Hill also holds to this view. The vol-
canic plug theory of Lee Hager is practically a combina-
tion of volcanism and distillation. The problem of the
origin of petroleum, as may be judged from the wide dif-
ference of opinion on the part of scientists, is far from
having reached a satisfactory solution.

Captain Lucas, as a result of his studies and observations
in the Gulf Coast territory, and in the absence of positive
proof to the contrary, advances the hypothesy that petro-
leum may be the production of hydro-solfatara volcanism
but not of eruptive origin, and that oil and gas hydrocar-



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

bon is being produced continuously through chemical
agencies and pressure on iron carbide at great depth. He
also is actuated by recent studies of the coastal dome
structures to believe that the nucleii of petroleum at great
depth are stored in "laccoliths" probably at the base of
these domes, and that they are connected with other
domes visible or hidden, not only on the Coastal Plain,
but far out into the Gulf of Mexico.

When Captain Lucas began his explorations of the Gulf
Coast territory, there was little geological data obtainable
that could have served to guide him. He searched state
and national libraries in vain for bulletins or papers that
might be of assistance. Not having had the educational
training to qualify him either as a professional geologist
or chemist, he was compelled to look for guidance to the
senses with which nature had endowed him — his hands,
eyes and nose. His analysis of a gas escape at Spindle Top
was accomplished by inserting the neck of a clear glass
bottle in a vent or fumarole through which gas was escap-
ing, with the result that in a few days a light film of yellow
sulphur had formed on the glass. This suggested that the
gas was sulphur dioxide.

He also was depending upon his sense of smell to guide
him in his search for a seepage of sulphuretted hydrogen
gas that he felt sure would be found on the southern slope
of a great dome at High Island, which is on the coast of
the Bolivar Peninsula about 30 miles east of Galveston.
His search was in vain. But chance gave him the desired
evidence in the shape of an almost solid core of sulphur.
It came about in this way. A friend of his, Geo. E. Smith,
leased him about 1,100 acres on the dome in December,
1900, after having had the dome under observation at

[72]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

various times for several years. In fact, he had for years
great faith in the commercial possibilities of the medicinal
or "sour" waters such as are observed at Sour Lake and
Spindle Top, he had drilled at High Island many holes
with a post hole auger varying in depth from five to ten
feet.

Years later a man plowing over the site of the holes
encountered one of them which he had plugged with
sage grass — the plow extracted from it a core of almost
solid sulphur 6 inches in diameter and 18 inches long. It
was this "evidence" that Mr. Smith came to show Captain
Lucas in February, 1901. Obtaining this information
within a month after the advent of his great well, Captain
Lucas was quick to realize its physical significance and be
inclined to the belief that High Island, with an area of
some 4,000 acres, might develop a dome equal in impor-
tance to Spindle Top, whose productive area proved to
be only about 275 acres. These incidents also emphasize
the "hit or miss" indications to which a geologist is sub-
jected in the territory of the Coastal Plain.

As the development of the nation's petroleum resources
had progressed, drilling methods necessarily have been
subjected to modifications and even to radical changes.
Prior to the entry of Captain Lucas into operations at
Spindle Top, several efforts had been made to drill there
with cable outfits. This method proved unsuccessful be-
cause of various strata of unconsolidated materials, espe-
cially quicksand of the Quaternary age, which is general
on the Coastal Plain. Captain Lucas therefore was com-
pelled to adopt the hydraulic rotary method which he
had used in his earlier explorations of the rock salt islands
of Louisiana and at Anse la Butte.

[73]



EARLY HYDRAULIC ROTARY DRILLING TABLE



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

Up to that time the prevailing drilling systems were
those that had been used since Drake drilled his first
well on Oil Creek. They were cable systems with various
improvements and modifications, depending largely upon
the depth to which it was necessary to drill in order to
reach the oil sands. The most common were the well-
known cable rig and the Canadian pole tool rig. The
method used in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and
other fields east of the Mississippi River consists in the
main of a cable, walking beam, stem and jars, with a
heavy drill and bit at the end. The bit cutting into the
rock with the assistance of the stroke of the walking beam
and the jars.

Before Captain Lucas' venture at Spindle Top the
rotary method had been used solely for the drilling of
water wells at moderate depth. It was then a decidedly
crude system and difficult to cope with the unknown con-
ditions encountered at Spindle Top. A coarse, gray quick-
sand was encountered between 200 and 300 feet (see log
of well) and another layer was found at greater depth.
Both layers were actuated from below by a heavy pres-
sure that at the surface was impossible to realize and
defied efforts to penetrate. Therefore the casing and drill
rod became fast when the counter pressure from the pump
was stopped in order to add additional drill rod. Thus
three lines of pipe were grasped and held fast by the sand
before Captain Lucas hit upon the check valve idea. This
check valve he made out of a pine board with holes drilled
through it and a flexible rubber nailed on the bottom.
This check valve was placed in a coupling connecting the
two ends of the drilling rod — and the problem was solved.
Not only did the crude contrivance permit the quicksand

[75]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

to be passed, but it permitted the release of the two lines
of casing. Had it not been for this check valve the proba-
bility is that the great well never would have been com-
pleted, or at least retarded. This simple hand-made
wooden valve was quickly adopted by all oil well supply
houses, being featured in their catalogues as "back pres-
sure valve."

After the Lucas success with this system, the demand
for rotary outfits became so keen that the supply was
inadequate. So anxious were some of the lease owners to
begin drilling that they had cable outfits shipped to Beau-
mont from Pittsburgh, Marietta and other points in the
eastern fields. It soon was proved conclusively, however,
that the quicksand could not be passed with cable tools.
No sooner would the open drill hole reach the quicksand
under pressure from below, than sand would shoot up into
the casing for ioo feet or more, and then become packed
until it had the density almost of sandstone. Sometimes
the driller would be able to withdraw his tools in time to
avoid a jam of tools and cable in the casing. But if he
did, it only meant temporary salvation, because the tools
insisted upon eventually becoming tangled and caught.
As a result of this situation many cable drillers left the
field or sought employment as helpers, until they had
learned this new method of drilling into unconsolidated
formations. Some of these men who started as helpers
ultimately became the most efficient drillers in the Coastal
Plain.

Eventually it became the practice to utilize cable drill
outfits for penetrating the rock formations after the rotary
had passed the quicksand and the casing had been set in
the rock.

[76]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

In the early Spindle Top days, mud was pumped into
some of the wells. This was done in some eases by incompe-
tent drillers endeavoring to hasten progress to the oil sand.
Rich bonus inducements often were offered such drillers
by unscrupulous promoters who were interested not in
the ultimate fate of the field, but in developing as quickly
as possible gusher wells in order to unload the stock of
their boom companies. Since that time the forcing of mud-
laden fluid into wells under certain conditions to facilitate
drilling has become a very useful practice. These Spindle
Top drillers, however, pumped mud down indiscrimi-
nately. The cap rock in that dome was found to consist
mainly of calcareous lime honeycombed with depositions
of sulphur and calcite, while the oil sand or rock proved
to be a porous to cavernous dolomite containing many
fossil varieties and sulphur incrustations. The effect of
forcing mud down in a careless fashion was to fill the oil
sand with mud, choking the oil passages and destroying
the usefulness of that part of the field.

This haphazard operating practice, coupled with the
drilling of wells close together and permitting a dozen or
more to spout at the same time, speedily resulted in a
diminishing of the oil pressure in the rock. With the pres-
sure from below relieved, it became possible to utilize the
cable method of drilling for the entire well — but that was
after the days of the great gushers.

With the permanent adoption of the hydraulic rotary
method in the Gulf Coast fields, California, Roumania,
Galicia, Mexico and other districts in various part of the
world, numerous improvements were devised by progres-
sive manufacturers of oil well supplies. This resulted not
only in enlarging the scope of its usefulness, but also in

[77]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

standardizing the many parts of the equipments. There
are built now rotary machines capable of handling heavier
lines of pipe than had been used in the early days. This
makes it possible to drill now to greater depth than would
have been dreamed of at the time of Captain Lucas'
pioneering work on the Coastal Plain.

One source of perplexity to drillers in the early use of
the rotary method was when the "fish tail" oit en-
countered hard rock strata such as limestone, pyrites or
dolomites. So slow would be the progress made by the
bit grinding away on these rocks that it frequently was
difficult to determine whether to continue with the rotary
or to go to the expense of changing to a cable rig for the
finishing of the well. To meet such an emergency manu-
facturers of drilling supplies evolved a combination outfit.
This consisted of a complete rotary outfit, with the prin-
cipal attachments for cable drilling in addition. Nat-
urally such equipment was quite expensive. In recent
years, however, the problem has been solved by the manu-
facture of a cone-drilling bit for use with a rotary outfit.
This bit now is used extensively and is an excellent tool.
Not only will it drill rapidly through hard rock formations
encountered, but the hole it makes is straighter and more
nearly round than that made under similar conditions
with the "fish tail" bit. When the hard strata has been
passed, however, greater speed can be made by the "fish
tail," the common practice being to continue with it until
the casing has been set in rock.

When the Lucas well was brought in there were pessi-
mistically inclined persons who asserted that the oil was
practically worthless. It was a heavy, sulphurous oil with
an asphalt base — and of a decidedly unpleasant odor. The

[78]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

refineries in operation at that time were not equipped
to handle it. Its use as fuel as a substitute for coal was
suggested, but the objection was raised that the sulphur
would prove injurious to boiler fire boxes. This, however,
proved a fallacy.

Today the Gulf Coast, California and the Mexico fields
are regarded as the principal sources of fuel oil in the
United btates. Captain Lucas' well at Spindle Top dis-
closed the fact that there were available great stores of
this most valuable of fuels within easy reach of shipping
seaports on the Gulf Coast, from where the oil could
be transported by water to points on the Atlantic sea-
board. Today scores of cargo vessels plying the Atlantic
burn under their boilers oil from the Gulf Coast territory.
Also the naval fuel board program adopted by the
United States Government in 1901 specifies that all the
vessels shall be equipped for the burning of oil as fuel.
Railroads in increasing numbers are using it, and manu-
facturers are substituting it for coal and gas. Fuel oil is
therefore rapidly becoming the most sought after, either
its by-product or the crude petroleum as produced from
the well.

Not only has oil from the coastal fields proved of immense
value for the production of fuel oil, but there are refined
from it excellent illuminants and lubricants. It is even
used extensively for medicinal purposes. An excellent
illustration of the possibilities of this petroleum was pro-
vided at a dinner given at Port Arthur, Tex., in 1901 to
the directors of a large producing and refining company.
A special salad was served with some show of ceremony
and, after the guests had partaken of it, the toast-master
asked them for their gastronomic opinions. The verdict

[79]



PIONEERING THE GULF COAST

was favorable — unanimously so. They then were in-
formed that the oil used on the salad was not a ' 'Lucca
oil," but a "Lucas oil" — the product of Spindle Top,
refined and colored to an excellent representation of the
finest Italian olive oil.

Captain Lucas has seen his vision develop from an
intangible thing, that was branded by some scientists and
business men as impossible of realization, into a mighty
force of reality, involving the investment of millions upon
millions of dollars of solid capital and proving an enor-
mous source of wealth. His theories, labeled at first as
exalted imagination, opened to capital one of the nation's
greatest storehouses of riches. His reward, like that of all
pioneers, has not been great wealth, but the pride of
accomplishment — the pride one must feel who has proved
a theory by practical results.

At heart, Captain Lucas still is a pioneer — and he still
is a petroleum pioneer. He believes that the perplexing-
problem of future petroleum production will be solved
through explorations at greater depth than the areas from
which oil now is being obtained. He is firmly of the opin-
ion that there is a way whereby another discovery may be
added to the record of the great Coastal Plain — a dis-
covery of even greater importance than that of 1901.
Perhaps Captain Lucas is a dreamer. He doesn't mind
admitting it. But a dreamer who dreams real dreams is
not a dreamer at all — he is a creator.



HECKMAN p

BINDERY INC. P

A DEC 93


N. MANCHESTER,
INDIANA 46962




Source



VIDEOS


The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) recently honored Dr. Curtis Hays Whitson, Founder & CTO at Petrostreamz, with the Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal at SPE's Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition held 31 October through 2 November in Denver, Colorado US. Each year, SPE presents awards that recognize members whose efforts have advanced petroleum technology, as well as their professional achievements and contributions to SPE, the industry and society. This award recognizes outstanding contributions in the oil and gas industry.

Dobitnici Lučićeve zlatne medalje, koju od 1936. svake godine dodjeljuje Društvo petrolejskih inženjera u SAD-u:

Past recipients of the Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, USA:


2011 - Curtis Whitson
2010 - Christine A. Ehlig-Economides
2009 - Mukul M. Sharma
2008 - Tony Settari
2007 - S.M. Farouq Ali
2006 - Keith K. Millheim
2005 - Stephen A. Holditch
2004 - Gary A. Pope
2003 - W. John Lee
2002 - Abbas Firoozabadi
2001 - Ian M. Cheshire
2000 - Jean-Laurent Mallet
1999 - Michael J. Fetkovich
1998 - Andre G. Journel
1997 - John C. Calhoun Jr.
1996 - Larry W. Lake
1995 - Fred I. Stalkup
1994 - Lawrence B. Curtis
1993 - Michael Prats
1992 - Lincoln F. Elkins
1991 - Donald W. Peaceman
1990 - George W. Govier
1989 - Keith H. Coats
1987 - Eugene R. Brownscombe
1986 - Henry J. Welge
1985 - Nick Van Wingen
1984 - Joseph E. Warren
1983 - Henry J. Ramey Jr.
1982 - Paul B. Crawford
1981 - Claude R. Hocott
1980 - R.C. Earlougher
1979 - Donald L. Katz
1978 - Gustave E. Archie
1977 - Marshall B. Standing

1976 - J. Clarence Karcher
1975 - Michel T. Halbouty
1974 - William L. Horner
1972 - Albert G. Loomis
1971 - M. King Hubbert
1970 - Henri G. Doll
1969 - Clarence J. Coberly
1968 - A.F. van Everdingen
1967 - John E. Sherborne
1966 - Lloyd E. Elkins
1965 - Ralph D. Wyckoff
1964 - William Hurst
1963 - Lyon F. Terry
1962 - John E. Elliott
1961 - Edwin O. Bennett
1960 - Albert C. Rubel
1959 - John T. Hayward
1958 - Carl E. Reistle Jr.
1957 - John E. Brantly
1956 - Stuart E. Buckley
1954 - Bruce H. Sage
1953 - Morris Muskat
1950 - William E. Wrather
1948 - Wallace E. Pratt
1947 - William N. Lacey
1946 - James O. Lewis
1944 - Charles V. Millikan
1943 - John R. Suman
1941 - Marcel Schlumberger
1941 - Conrad Schlumberger
1940 - Everette L. DeGolyer
1938 - Henry L. Doherty
1936 - J. Edgar Pew



 







The Lucas Geyser March Song sheet music
Sheet Music: Source



Lučićeva eruptivna bušotina iz 1901.

Antun Lučić - Anthony F. Lucas je dolje lijevo uz bušotinu

Rekonstrukcija Lučićeve eruptivne bušotine