|View from the Observation Deck|
|John Harrison (1693-1776)|
|Marion Packing Plant|
|S.T. California Getty|
The oil industry was forever changed by the invention by Howard Hughes, Sr. of a bit featuring cone-shaped revolving cutters with steel teeth capable of pulverizing rock. It was patented in 1909, and the Hughes Rock Bit would revolutionize the well drilling process. The financial windfall from this invention would also produce one of the greatest eccentric geniuses in history ~ Howard Hughes, Jr.
The 8" drill is hollow. While drilling for oil a thick "drilling mud" is injected into and pushed through the pipe. It is released through the drill bit to lubricate the drilling surface. The drilling mud carries rock and sand out of the hole and keeps the hole under high pressure. If the drill bit were to cut into a high-pressure pocket of poison oil or gas, a blowout could occur forcing the drill bit back up through the drilling rig in a potentially fatal explosion. Drilling mud helps to minimize this danger, along with other safety devices such as blowout preventers and early warning sensors.
The Observation Deck gave us a great view of Aransas Bay. It was a beautiful sunny day. Look close at one of the pictures and you will see our Excursion at the bottom.
Outside were several other exhibits. One was the LaTortuga. It was the only Texas Scow Sloop in existence on the Texas coast. It was used by early commercial fisherman.
|Totally Enclosed Survival Lifeboat|
|Inside the Lifeboat|
In toxic environments, there is a supply of compressed oxygen to provide breathable air for 10 minutes. Also stored on board are survival rations, enough to keep 45 people alive for two weeks.
The Whittaker Capsule is similar in purpose to the lifeboat to provide an emergency escape. It could accommodate 28 people. The pod was manually released by a lever inside next to the top hatch cover. The pod would drop about 50 feet into the water when deployed in an emergency situation. The Whittaker capsule design was discontinued as an emergency safety vehicle following an accident in the early 1970s which involved several fatalities.