The Model T & the Water Well Drilling Machine!

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There is something about water. It is one of life’s necessities and it can make or break us. Looking on Facebook these last few days I am seeing devastating news about ranchers and flooding in Nebraska. Often it seems water is either too plentiful, or scarce. At the Florida Flywheelers show in Avon Park, there was a very cool machine that at one time helped find water. They think it is a Keystone Well Drill that was attached to a Model T chassis.

well drilling machine
Bruce poses with his cool will drilling machine.

Bruce O’Neil

The neat combination was located outside of Bruce Neil’s building. “This is family building it was built by my late dad,” Bruce said.

Bruce originally was from Georgetown, Ohio but now livess in Lake City, Florida.

History of the Model T & Water Drilling Machine

well drilling
Cool Keystone water drilling machine on the Model T Ford chassis.

“I bought this eight years ago outside of Gainesville. It was originally from Pennsylvania.”

Bruce is interested in Model T’s, so this combination caught his eye. “It was used until 1953. This kind of water well drilling was called a ‘thumping machine’ because it crushes through the rock. They had a baler bald out the rock and the water, it was a long process.”

The well driller machine is circa 1919 and was built on a Model T Ford chassis.

Bruce bought this very cool machine five years ago and restored it. “‘I got it running. It is not a well driller, but a water system to put a well in.”

I was at the show with the Elliotts and Jane and Beth Elliott and I were listening with fascination to Bruce’s story. Art Pietscker from LaSalle, Michigan heard it as well and chimed in that when he was four or five his grandfather had put in a well with a system like the one Bruce had restored.

A little more drilling history

I did a search online and found that you could buy plans to build one today! Bruce had a brochure attached to his display a brochure from Keystone stating, “Why Not Go Into the Well Drilling Business Today?” The brochure stated, “The KEYSTONE WELL DRILL will bring in big money because the demand for drilled water wells is unfailing. Every farm and small town residence needs a well – some need several. You need never be idle. Little capital needed to start. Easy terms. We have had forty years experience manufacturing well drills and driller supplies.”

The catalog was from Keystone Driller & Pump Co. Beaver Falls Pennsylvania. The drill on the brochure was a bit different than Bruce’s, but the concept was the same. This reverts back to what I was talking about at the beginning of the blog, it all comes down to the ever present need for water!