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I think in the winter this might have been a good job, working the boilers, though I have read they were forever blowing up and/or catching fire, particularly during infill drilling where you could use oil or natural gas as a fuel source. Early boilers in exploratory work were mostly wood, or coal burning.

Boilers were always set back several hundred feet or more from the rig; when wells came in unexpectedly there was always a mad scramble to shut down, and shut up the boilers to avoid fires. If the blowout caught fire, and a lot of them did, boilers and the steam they produced were used to extinguish the fire.

For rig hands it must have been nice in the rain and cold to have an extra set of clothes to hang by the boilers. After a connection you could run over and swap out wet clothes for dry, warm ones, like putting stuff on straight out of an electric dryer at home. Toasty.

Kilgore 1934

Kettleman Hills, California; 1931

I've been around a long time and done some damn hard things in my life in the oilfield, under very extenuating circumstances. But every time I start to think I am a tough son of a bitch I think back on these days, this era, and realize I don't really know what tough means.

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