In the 1960s, I delivered new and used drilling machines around the United States for George E. Failing Co. and other manufacturers.
Georgia Tech had purchased a new 1966 Ford F-800 truck with air brakes and
tandem axles in Atlanta, and delivered it to Enid, Okla., where a new Failing
1250 rig was mounted on it.
Once it was ready to transport, Failing contracted me to deliver the drill to
Georgia Tech. I drove the drill some 1,250 miles from Enid to Atlanta. It was
one of the nicest rigs and trucks that I had ever seen or driven at that time.
Upon arrival, I was asked to go over the inventory with the professors. I
realized they didn’t have a clue about drilling, so while I was there, I
applied for the job as driller. When I returned home on the bus, a letter was
waiting for me, offering me a job to set up the Georgia Tech drilling division,
and to core-drill for phosphate in South Georgia.
One of the contributing factors to my getting the job was that, when leaving
Enid for Atlanta, I realized that this drill, having air brakes, didn’t seem to
stop as quickly as it should. When making a quick stop, the front wheels would
stop and skid. The back axles appeared to do nothing.
Upon my arrival in Atlanta, I advised the people at Georgia Tech that the
brakes didn’t appear to work as well as air brakes should. We took the drill
back to the Atlanta Truck Sales where they purchased it, but the shop couldn’t
find a problem.
Then, while in the Georgia Tech machine shop, I used leveling jacks to lift the
drill wheels off the concrete. I then started up the truck, ran the rear axles
and then hit the brakes. The rear axles just kept spinning – proving that the
truck only had front brakes.
In tracing the air brake line to the rear wheels, I found no air was getting
through a short crooked air line through a frame cross member. I removed the
air line, and found a grease pencil blocking the air line passage. I reported
my findings to the professor in charge of our drilling project. He, in turn,
reported it to campus security and of course, campus security had no interest
in pursuing the problem. So we called Ford Motor Co.’s factory customer
service; two officials were sent out to interview me and see exactly where I
found the plugged air line. We all agreed that some disgruntled factory worker
probably had plugged the line on the assembly line.
From that day forward, when you hit the brakes, the truck stopped immediately.
I was so proud of this equipment, and core-drilled with it for about three
years all over south Georgia, usually in the road right-of-ways.
I left Georgia Tech in 1969 to reinstate Cutter and Dad Drilling Co. in Adel,
Ga., which we operated until 1980.
In 1980, we decided to move back home to Enid, Okla., where I worked for
Ewbanks Mfg. in Fairview, Okla., for a time, then went to work for George E.
Failing Co. Shortly afterwards, I was transferred to Casper, Wyo., to work as a
field sales representative, eventually becoming the branch manager when Oliver
I continued to work for Failing Co. until shortly before they closed the branch
in Casper. ND