Notes on the Geography of The Western United States: Pioneer Oil Fields of the San Joaquin Valley: Photo 6
Walking beams like this did more than drive pumps. In the days before drills, they raised and lowered the heavy percussion drills, which basically bashed their way from the rock. Power to drive these beams came in the early days by oil-fired boilers, rather than electricity. The 6-by-6 inch beam standing vertically near the well is a headache post, designed to spare the driller a good braining if he was standing near the well when the crank apparatus failed.
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