In 1880 Robert Magee Downie from Butler County, Pennsylvania, patented a portable steam well drilling machine. Within years the patent would change the way mankind would view water; water was now accessible and pumped from an 8 inch hole. The 3 foot well was obsolete. By 1885 the main office was in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. A decade would pass and the Keystone Driller was modified for oil and well drilling. Company offices would spring up in Joplin, Missouri and in South Africa.
In 1912 a Keystone machine was patented that became America’s first portable backhoe. It would revolutionize highway construction in America. The machine was called the Keystone Skimmer. Gasoline and electrical models of the driller and skimmer were added to the production line. The machines followed United States soldiers in two World Wars around globe.
This is the history, with over 100 first time photos, the rise and fall, the tragedies and shock of percussion from 1978 to 1959 and the Cold War, from Butler County to Beaver Falls, from the Campine Canal in Belgium to the village of Ban-Me-Thout, Vietnam in 1965. And in a not so surprising discovery, many Keystone Drillers are yet found in use in America and across the world in 2007.
The book was written for the Little Beaver Historical Society and the entire proceeds from the history go toward the construction of our Industrial Annex. The society has an abundance of Western Pennsylvania, Beaver County, agriculture and industrial equipment. Much of the equipment has been donated by engine collector Keith Blaho of Enon Valley, Pennsylvania. The mission of the LBHS is to give it a home and to preserve and educate the public of an important industrial past.
About the Author:
Wayne A. Cole, a resident of Darlington, Pennsylvania, is a graduate of Geneva College and a retired English teacher form Blackhawk High School. He is the author of seven books that deal with railroads and industries of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. He is a Director and the Curator of the Little Beaver Historical Society.
Rex Downie, a resident of Beaver Falls, is a retired Attorney and former teacher at Geneva College. A member of the Little Beaver Historical Society, he is the author of many short stories and has long been an avid historian of Western Pennsylvania history. The Keystone Driller History is in his blood with his father the General Manager and his grandfather the founder.
Little Beaver Historical Society
The society sponsors two museums in the heart of the small village of Darlington in Western Pennsylvania: the Greersburg Academy built in 1802 which is also America’s oldest railroad station; and the Greersburg Museum built in 1882. John Brown and William Holmes McGuffey attended the Academy.
The museums are open June through September, Sundays 1:30 to 5:00 or call for special guided tours. Yearly membership is $10 and includes monthly new letter. The Keystone book can be purchased at our gift shop.
Some of the displays are as follows: Beaver County Underground Railroad, Beaver County glass and pottery, railroad and industrial, local domestic and agriculture, Fry Glass, Keystone Driller, Ing-Rich, World War I and II, Civil War, medicine and quack medicine, Tramp Art, Cooper and barrel display, coal and clay mining.
First Saturday in June Darlington Days
October 27, 2007, Saturday
Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroad Seminars
$20 includes lunch, 9 to 3 event
Saturday and Sundays, 10 to 5
Thanksgiving through New Years
Ridings Family Railroad show
Industrial Annex of LBHS
We are tax deductible corporation and are accepting donation for our new building. The grand project is underway with financial donations, design, property purchase, and a collection of fine industrial equipment. Most notably were significant donations by Jay Leno and LBHS member Mr. Arthur Nesbitt.
Email Wayne A. Cole for more information. Areas of the building are named for donors over $5000.
Copyright 2012 Wayne A. Cole
All Rights Reserved. No part of this book including web elements and images may be reproduced by any means or appear in any media without permission from the author and publisher, Wayne A. Cole, except for reviews or excerpts.