A Working Oil Lease in 2002
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The eccentric "power" that pumps Merle Zetler's oil lease. Barely visible to the left at about the 9 o'clock position is the flatbelt pulley driven by the Bovaird & Seyfang engine. The metal lines hooked to the eccentric run to pumps on the seven oil wells Merle pumps on his lease.
One of the seven wells on Merle's lease. A line from the power can be seen coming in from the right and then linking to the well pump. Another line from the power is just visible running in the background.
Engine speed is controlled by a Pickering No. 1 vertical flyball governor. Watching it run, you think the engine's going to stop before the flyballs ever close up and let the engine fire some more, but it doesn't. It always picks back up again. When collectors run engines 'on the cock,' as they say, the engines run very smooth and evenly, but when they're running off the governor and really working they sound a lot different.
Merle says this engine suffered from poor water circulation in the head, resulting in overheating and warped heads. To improve water circulation, Merle drilled and tapped the bottom of the head, fitting a water pipe that feeds cooling water from the water pump from the bottom through both the cylinder and the head. A large, external cooling tank supplies cooling water.
The PowerMerle has the only heated and insulated power shed I've ever seen - he doesn't have to worry about freeze-ups and the Bovaird & Seyfang is easy to start in any season. His heating fuel is natural gas, a by-product of the oil pumping process, and he also uses this essentially free, natural gas to heat his home and light his outdoor lights. Must be nice.
The actual oil 'power' eccentric is in an unheated back room, and it takes its power from a flat belt running off the Bovaird & Seyfang.
The Bovaird & Seyfang is lubricated by a Manzell force-feed oiler, which is driven off the same rod that activates the WICO magneto. Oil is force-fed to all the engine's bearings and critical components. Crankcase lubrication is by the usual splash system, a galvanized cover over the crank and rod.
Running a power is an interesting exercise, and an experienced pumper like Merle can tell just by watching the action of the rod lines when a well is pumped off. A rod line will make three slight dips on each stroke when oil is pumping, but when the oil is pumped off, the rod line only makes one little dip. Interesting stuff.