This year, I plan to repeat a goal from last year: read one book a month. History books get my attention the most, with the Revolutionary War topping the list recently. I’ve read books on the war itself, the period before and after, and biographies of Washington, Adams and (currently) Hamilton. What can I say? History fascinates me.

That fascination led me several years ago to develop a timeline of drilling history for our website. (Check out to see it for yourself.) I hadn’t mentioned it here in a few years, so thought I’d remind regular readers and re-introduce it for folks who joined us more recently and hadn’t seen it.

Drilling Through History

History bores plenty of people. If you fall into that category, turn the page or click to the next story. If you sometimes wonder about where tricones came from or when drillers first circulated mud, Drilling Through History is for you. We set out to offer readers as full a history of drilling as possible.

I could easily spend days researching history. I recently spent an entire Saturday in a genealogy library trying to puzzle out county lines in 1790s southwest Pennsylvania. (An ancestral line runs through the area about that time.) Putting together Drilling Through History was a labor of love. We put in many hours researching and confirming each entry. However, we have a magazine to put out and couldn’t spend all our time in the past. We wrapped up our work and published in May 2017, delivering a resource that gets hundreds of views a month.

The reception has impressed us. Traffic has run into the tens of thousands since launch, so readers seem as interested in the factoids we offer as we are in offering them. They can find out about everything from the first spring-pole well in 1806 through modern day directional drilling. We look at early oil and gas wells, and touch on the inventions of reverse circulation and the marsh funnel. We cover a few hundred years and plenty of innovations. But there’s always room for improvement.

That brings me to the point of this month’s column. We can do better.

A Shared History

As I said, we aim to document the history of drilling as fully as possible. We have a good start, but readers can help.

Take a few minutes and brainstorm. Ask your crew. Talk to the veteran drillers you know. Ask these folks about the important changes they’ve lived through during their time in the industry.

Are you part of a family that has lived and breathed drilling for generations? What do older family members have to say? What new technology from decades ago do they say changed the way they work when it hit the market?

All aspects of drilling interest us. We want to hear about major events and inventions, regardless of what you drill for or where. Think in terms of tools and technologies people on jobsites take for granted. Who invented that? Consider events or people who changed the industry.

Check out our Drilling Through History timeline. What important events or innovations did we miss? Let us know. Send an email to We’ll research submissions, verify them as best we can and add them to the page. Together, we can make it more comprehensive and a real go-to source for learning about the history of this great profession.

Stay safe out there, drillers.