Monday, July 26, 2010
Today's picture was taken in 1944, and shows roughnecks "making a connection" on a rotary drilling rig in Southwest Oklahoma. Notice that two of the roughnecks are not wearing hard hats. The pipe coming out the rig floor is the drill stem. Each stem is about 30 feet long. So, after drilling each 30 feet, they have to lift the entire drill string, and put another section of pipe on. The large implements connected to the drill stem are the tongs. They are like enormous pipe wrenches. The end of the tongs are connected by chains to a motor. The "driller" operates the motor to pull the chains. The roughnecks keep the tongs on the drill stem. The driller and roughneck work the tongs together to either loosen or tighten the drill stem. It takes about 30 minutes to drill 30 feet, and so this operation has to be done a couple times an hour. When making a connection, there are lots of heavy objects moving around under a lot of force, and the roughnecks are right in the middle of it. As you can imagine, a very dangerous job.