The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has designated the Hughes Christensen two-cone drill bit as a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark. The award recognizes this drilling technology as one of the nation's most important mechanical engineering achievements. ASME officials presented Baker Hughes with the Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark designation during a ceremony at the Baker Hughes drill bit technology facility in The Woodlands, Texas, on Aug. 10 – the 100th anniversary of the two-cone drill bit patent. An early production two-cone drill bit will be permanently displayed in the lobby at this facility.

"The Hughes two-cone drill bit launched Hughes Tool Co. Perhaps more important, many experts view it as a key technology that ushered in a new era of abundant, inexpensive fuel and laid the foundation for Henry Ford's successful Model-T and the automobile age," says Scott Schmidt, president of Baker Hughes' Hughes Christensen product line. "We are honored the ASME is recognizing this truly game-changing technology, and we are proud to have provided our customers with the highest quality products and services to enhance their drilling programs for over 100 years." 

Prior to 1909, the traditional fishtail bit scraped the rock, and quickly dulled in service. The Hughes two-cone bit's revolutionary rolling action crushed hard-rock formations, allowing drillers to tap vast oil reservoirs deep below the surface. In 1933, Hughes Tool Co. enhanced the two-cone bit concept with the tricone three-cone drill bit. In 1987, Hughes Tool Co. merged with Baker International to form Baker Hughes Inc. Hughes Christensen is the Baker Hughes drill bit product line.

The ASME History and Heritage Landmarks Program began in 1971. The History and Heritage Committee examines and acknowledges particularly significant mechanical engineering achievements. The program has designated nearly 250 landmarks as historic mechanical engineering landmarks, heritage collections or heritage sites. Each represents a progressive step in the evolution of mechanical engineering and its significance to society. Past designees include the U.S. standard screw threads, Drake oil well, Wright Flyer III and Ford Model-T.