The last two oil leases in Illinois using a central power and rod lines.
Powered by 35 H.P. Superior Oil Field Engines.
Flat Rock, Illinois

June 8, 2003
I visited with an engine collector in Flat Rock, Illinois.  While there he took me to visit the last two oil leases in Illinois that are still using a central power and rod lines to pump the oil.  They are both owned by the same people and are ran with 35 H.P. Superior engines.  It was like stepping back in time.  The pictures below are a combination of the two leases.  I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures but are no lights in the power house buildings and few windows it was hard to get good photos.  If you ever get a chance to see an outfit like this please be sure to go look.  It is very interesting.

Click on picture for larger view.

The engine is located in the left end of the building and the 16 foot diamater Power is located in the right hand end of the building.

The little building to the left of the main building houses the gasometer. The gasometer regulates the flow of natural well gas to the engine.

The tall water pipes work of a the vacumn of the engine to circulate the water to cool the engine. The pipe in the center is the exhaust with barker.

This is the gasometer which regulates the flow of gas to the engine.

The cypress water tank is about 8 feet tall and probably 10 feet in diameter. The water is used to cool the engine and was like very hot bath water.

The head end of the 35 H.P. Superior.

The rear of the 35 H.P. Superior.

The head end of the 35 H.P. Superior in the second power house.

The rear of the second power house engine.

The Central Power from the second power house. This was an all metal wheel made by Reid.

Another view of the Reid Power. The wheel in the other power house was also 16 feet in diameter but made of wood.

The rod lines leaving the power house.

The rods rest on wood stakes over 15 or 20 feet apart.

The power moves the rods about 16 inches back and forth.

Here is a place where the rods are rigged to make a turn and head in a different direction.

Another couple of rods heading off to wells in the distance.

This is a pump jack hooked to a rod line that was pumping water froma pond to the main water tank for cooling the engine.

Rod lines leaving the other side of the power house.

One of the pump jack hooked to a rod line pumping oil.

Both of these central powers were each pumping 10 or 11 wells.


On June 15, 2003, after the SIAM show in Evansville, I took a few out of town guest back to Flat Rock to see the operation.  We took a generator and some 500W halogen lamps with us to light up the dark pump house.  Here are some pictures taken on this day.

Looking directly down on the center of the power excentric.

You can see all the rod lines connected to the excentric

The 16' wooden band wheel.

The belt tightener. The little weights on top of the shaft are the emergency engine kill switch in case the belt breaks.

Steve Barr testing the water in the cooling tank.

The exhaust is the center pipe and has a "Barker" on it. The other pipes are the cooling water pipes. They work on the vacuum from the intake stroke

Rod lines leaving the power house.

The 35 H.P. Superior Engine.

Govenor, mixer, and magneto.

Magneto and mechanical lubricator.

The rods have to cross a creek. There are pipes driven in the ground to keep the rod lines level.

These next pictures are from the second power house we visited about 2 miles from the first.

Here is the exhaust with "Barker"

This is an oil pump that originally was connected to a pipe line. It would pump the oil to the refinery.

The oil pump was connected to the levers shown here that were connected to the power excentric.

One of the pump jacks pumping a well.

Curt Holland also took some pictures during the visit on June 15th.  Here is a link to his pictures:



While there our host showed off a few of his engines.

35 H.P. Superior

20 H.P. Superior

20 H.P. Oil City/South Penn Half Breed. Converted from steam to gas in 1900.

Superior 15 H.P. powering his machine shop.


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