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Sperry-Sun Drilling Services records

1888-1999 Majority of material found within 1930-1995
 Collection
Accession: 2246

Abstract

Sperry-Sun Drilling Services, Inc. provided drilling services and equipment to the petroleum industry, first in Texas and the Gulf Coast and then world wide. This collection of historical miscellany was collected for a 65th anniversary celebration in 1995 and other materials from the company's public relations office. The principal series is the Historical file. It contains material assembled for the 1995 company history booklet. Many of the documents dealing with the Sun Oil Company, members of the Pew family, Elmer Sperry and the Sperry Gyroscope Company are photocopies purchased from other Hagley accessions.

Dates

  • 1888-1999
  • Majority of material found within 1930-1995

Creator

Extent

6 Linear Feet

Historical Note

Sperry-Sun Drilling Services, Inc. provided drilling services and equipment to the petroleum industry, first in Texas and the Gulf Coast and then world wide.

In the late 1920s, J. N. Pew, Jr. (1886-1963) of the Sun Oil Company began planning to develop better well-drilling techiques in the Texas oil fields. Among the principal problems he confronted was a means of measuring and regulating the inclination of the drilling rig, as the drill bit would tend to drift and change direction as it encountered strata of differing hardness and density.

Pew negotiated with gyroscope inventor Elmer Sperry (1860-1930) for special gyroscopes that could be lowered down drill holes with the drilling rig. the Sperry-Sun Well Drilling Company was incorporated on October 9, 1929, as a joint venture of Pew's Sun Oil Company and the Sperry-Gyroscope Company. Sperry-Sun continued to make numerous innovations in well drilling. In 1932, Robert S. Hyer (1892-1951) developed the magnetic method of operation, which enabled the operator to accurately direct the drill bit, a technique that increased in importance with the growth of offshore drilling.

The Sun Oil Company bought out Sperry's interest in 1947. In January 1974, Sperry-Sun absorbed Reamco, Inc., another well drilling service, and was renamed Sperry-Sun, Inc. During a downturn in which Sun underwent considerable restructuring, it sold the Sperry-Sun operation to NL Industries, Inc. for $252 million on April 22, 1981.

NL Industries, the former National Lead Company, was alreaady deeply involved in oil well drilling through its Baroid Division, which made drilling fluids and performed logging services. NL Industries formed a new subsidiary, NL Sperry-Sun, Inc. to continue the business. However, a severe downturn in the oil industry that began in the early 1980s led to many years of poor performance for the parent company. NL Industries, Inc. spun off all its petroleum and chemical services businesses, including Sperry-Sun to a new entity, the Baroid Corporation, in 1988.

Baroid Corporation merged into Dresser Industries, Inc. in 1994. On November 1, 1997, Sperry-Sun Drilling Services, Inc. was merged into Dresser Industries, Inc. as a division called "Sperry-Sun."

Arrangement

Arranged into 3 series:

Series I. Historical files; Series II. Publications and advertisements; Series III. Manuals.

Scope and Content

The Sperry-Sun Drilling Services, Inc. records are a collection of historical miscellany collected for a 65th anniversary celebration in 1995 and other materials from the company's public relations office.

The principal series is the Historical file. It contains material assembled for the 1995 company history booklet. Many of the documents dealing with the Sun Oil Company, members of the Pew family, Elmer Sperry and the Sperry Gyroscope Company are photocopies purchased from other Hagley accessions. There are also some Sperry catalogs copied from originals in other libraries and a photocopy of In the Light of the Flares, a history of the Turner Valley Oil Field in Alberta. The files also contain three unrelated historical documents: a Japanese patent, a certificate of registration for National Lead's "Dutch Boy" trademark in Venezuela, and an 1888 mortgage of the Cornell Lead Company to Jacob Schuehle.

The Publications and advertising series includes a variety of Sperry-Sun, NL Industries, and Sun Oil Company employee newsletters and magazines and a scrapbook of Sperry-Sun advertisements from Petroleum World (1941).

The Manuals series consists of a number of manuals for Sperry-Sun directional drilling systems and other products from the 1980s and 1990s.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access.

This accession is stored at the Hall of Records. Advance notice of at least 48 hours is required for retrieval.


Additional Information

Related Names

Source

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Sperry-Sun Drilling Services records
Status:
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400