Jack Line Oil Fields, Kern River, Ca.

Photos by Bruce Petty

Along the Kern River and north of Oil City, near Bakersfield there were many small oil fields using Jack Line pump plants. In this view the Eccentric Drive Machinery that pulls the Shackle Lines (cables) is seen at the top of the hill with Shackle Lines seen coming down to several Pump Jacks. The hold-up post for the Shackle Lines are seen clearly between the Pump Jacks and the Eccentric Drive Machine.

The cable on this Jack Line oil pump is clearly seen going out of the picture to the pulling machinery. The oil drum cut in half is filled with weights to off set the weight of the cable. On the hill in the background is another Pump Jack like the one in the above photo.

This is the a close up view of the Eccentric Drive Machine that was usually powered by a 25 HP electric motor, these units would pull between 10 and 20 Pump Jacks in a shallow field.

Seen on the left photo is the Shackle Line on hold-up post coming to the Butterfly used for changing the direction of the Shackle Line going to a Wooden Triangular Pump Jack at the right. This type of technology over the years developed many tupes of Pump Jacks designs and methods to get the Shackle Lines to them.

This drawing of a Butterfly made of wood is from a Petroleum Production Engineering book published in 1939.

If you like oil history, then may I suggest this fine book "Drilling Through Time" by William Rintoul. Published by the California Department of Conservation, Divison of Oil and Gas. ISBN 0-9627124-0-X

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1/87 Scale Jack Line Oil Field Model

For those in High School and may be looking for a career in geology. Montana Tech has one of the few Petroleum Engineering programs left in the US, as well as Mining Engineering. Montana Tech's website is www.mtech.edu and this direct link to Professor Diane Wolfgram PHD, Mining Engineering department's web page.