Roughnecks, Drillers, and Tool Pushers

[ Texas ]

Roughnecks, Drillers, and Tool Pushers

Thirty-three Years in the Oil Fields

By Gerald Lynch

Introduction by Bobby Weaver

A working-class history of the Texas oil fields, told by one of its workers.



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6 x 9 | 278 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-292-77052-2

Oil, the black gold of Texas, has given rise to many a myth. Oil could turn a man overnight into a millionaire—and did, for some. But these myths have obscured what life was really like in the oil patch, a place that was neither the El Dorado of legend nor quite the unredeemed den of sin and iniquity that some feared.

In Roughnecks, Drillers, and Tool Pushers, Gerald Lynch provides a much-needed insider's view of the oil industry, describing life in various oil fields in and around Texas. He also chronicles changes in drilling methods and oil-field technology and how these changes affected him and his fellow oil-field workers. No one else has written a working-class history of the oil fields as colorful and articulate as this one.

Introduction by Bobby Weaver
1. Breaking In
2. From Weevil to Top Hand
3. My First Boom: Nigger Creek/Mexia
4. The Bruner Boom in Luling
5. The Free State
6. The East Texas Depression
7. Fading Depression, Fading Boom
8. Hard Rock Drilling in Hobbs and Oklahoma City; Leaving East Texas
9. Cayuga and Mabank, Then on to Illinois and a New World
10. West Texas—S-H-K and Big Lake
11. Back to Odessa, Still Drilling
12. Pushing Tools: Starting, Then Becoming the Loner
13. Kermit and New Mexico: The Exodus from Odessa
14. The Tulk Field
15. Andrews and the Maguetex
16. Back to New Mexico: Wildcat at Clovis
17. Wildcat at Grandfalls, Then on to Lovington, Sweetwater, and Lovington Again
18. Winding Up

Gerald Lynch is a retired oil driller and freelance writer.

Bobby Weaver is archivist of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.

"The people in this story are real! The events took place just as I described them, with no embellishment. It is a true factual story of thirty-three years in the 'patch' through boom and bust and how people coped with both—the small triumphs, as well as the trials and troubles of the people who made the oil fields. Not from the outside, I lived it with them. Their troubles were mine and we shared a strange life. We loved it and were and are proud to be 'oil-field trash.' We drilled 'em deeper and cheaper, some of us got killed or crippled, and we received little credit for our work. We made the booms, lived through the busts, and paved the way. Believe me, it wasn't easy!"
—Gerald Lynch