“The Most Important Product of Spindletop was Men.”

spindle top 1902

On January 10, 1901, the Spindletop well in Beaumont, Texas blew into history and started the modern oil industry in Texas. Spewing out into the East Texas sky at a rate of 200 feet high and 70,000 barrels per day, this huge gusher keep going till the 19th of January when it was finally brought under control.

This 1902 photograph of the Spindletop field is part of the Sam Houston State University Archives, J. L. Clark Collection. Dr. Joseph L. Clark was a History Professor at Sam Houston State Teachers College. Dr. Clark acquired a copy of this photograph from the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce to possibly use in his 1955, 4 volume book set, “The History of the Texas Gulf Coast; its History and Development.” This photograph never made it into his book.

In his book, Dr. Clark says that the most important product of Spindletop was men.  The Spindletop Oil Field was the training ground for the oil industry at the time. From drillers to geologists to financers, most learned their trade from their experiences at Spindletop.

You can read more about Spindletop (in chapter 30 of volume II) and Texas related history in Clark’s multi-volume title. The main collection of the Newton Gresham Library has a set you can check out at call number F392.G9, vol.1-4.

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