Drake Well is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I went there on vacation recently. It is so impressive to see what people in the past accomplished with nothing more than mechanical systems. From the way they distributed power to the logistics of the well, it is really impressive. I highly recommend visiting Drake Well at least once.
The technology they used at Drake Well was really impressive for the time period. They used a central power plant and transmitted the power through mechanical means. They did not give each well it’s own motor. They had a big engine with a wheel that caused things to move back and forth at each of the wells. The power was not transfered by electricity, it was transported by the movement of large metal poles. That was the coolest part. After all electricity was nonexistent back in the 1800s. So they had to move the power somehow. I just love the way they transmitted power back in the old days.
They have a super nice museum describing the methods of collecting petroleum. However, you really can tell that it was paid for by the petroleum industry, because it does not mention any of the downsides of petroleum. They even have a really tacky film about the methods of collecting petroleum, and the discovery of petroleum in Pennsylvania. The movie just screams out like the old films made in the 50s and 60s as propaganda, like this and this. The exhibits are all highly interactive, and present something for everyone. The exhibits move and do things. Some of the exhibits present a game, and others are just to read. The museum is really hands-on and very interactive which is good for getting people involved, and learning about the topic.
The outside exhibits are even more impressive. They set up a fully functioning replica of the original well. I got to see a demonstration of it, and it really was impressive. Even though it no longer pumps crude, they have it there to demonstrate the methods, and that is what is important. They had somebody out there to demonstrate it, and explain it which is pretty cool. The have exhibits of all kind outside, from the ancient well drilling methods of the Chinese to a modern oil derrick. Visiting drake well is a really cool event, and something that should be seen at least once by everybody in Pennsylvania.