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Few people realize how often multiple strings of casing were run in old wells drilled along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf coasts in the early 1900's. Multiple casing strings insured some level of wellbore stability in very unconsolidated clastic sands in this basin. Drilling mud had yet to be fully developed. In the discovery of Spindletop in 1901, near Beaumont, Texas, you will please recall drilling mud was created by herding cattle into water puddles and the ensuing gook was pumped down wells as a lubricant and to help prop open holes that are forever caving in.

To help ensure wellbore stability, concentric strings of casing were run in wells and sometimes even cemented. For instance, in fairly shallow wells drilled with cable tools there might be 16 inch casing, 13 5/8ths set inside that, and 8 inch of 7 inch OD set inside that to the top of the known pay zone. The American Petroleum Institute (API) did not exist then and casing OD's were often very bastardized.

The first float guide shoe was not invented until 1916, by a fella named Baker, from California. Before that folks ran flared collars on the bottom of the casing string called "Texas shoes," like the ones shown in the first photograph, above. The collar was flared to keep the drill bit and/or bailers, etc. from hanging up as they were pulled off bottom back to the surface. Because most of this casing was driven downhole, similar to "pile driving," the serrated Texas shoe helped the driving process. When casing had to be driven, or pushed in the ground hydraulically, it could be rotated and the Texas shoe behaved a little like a bit.

To cement the bottom of the casing and offer some protective barrier, or vertical separation, the required number of sacks cements were calculated to place say 500 feet of cement to open hole annulus and leave a hundred feet or so of cement inside the casing, above the Texas shoe. That cement was them allowed to harden (WOC, or wait on cement), the drill string was run back inside the casing string, the cement was drilled out and off you went drilling new hole.

New Method Oil Well Cementing, later Halliburton, did not bring its jet mixing and new cement pump technology into the picture until 1918.

Just to show you how stinking old I am, I use to set surface casing with Texas shoes. Worked like a champ, as long as you had your volumes calculated properly and you did not over displace cement, that sort of thing.

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