A recent number of the Country Gentleman contains an interesting communication from Dr. S. J. Parker, an old resident of Tompkins County, New York, showing conclusively that the drive well is an old invention, and was in actual use at Syracuse, New York, between 1840 and 1847. Dr. Parker says: A piece of cast iron about six feet long, both with and without side holes, was made, and a hole four to six inches in diameter in the center. This cast iron point was fastened to a wooden log ten or more feet long, and pressed down in the mud near the lake. Then to this log, joining like the common aqueduct log, everywhere in use, the second log was se-cur^ and so on a third and fourth and more logs, as one after the other they were sunk to the salt water. A shed with earth and stones to weight the part of- the logs Mid of the ground so as to sink the log tube was used. Here is truly, in 1840 to 1847, the American driven wel1, for H had a iwinh a tube sunk without the removal of the earth upwards, holes near the point, and what is singular the tube itself was used as the pipe of the pump, for the line of logs, nearly or quite a quarter of a mile long to the Salina pump-house, was attached to the top of the tube, and drew the water that distance ; that is, drew the water up one hundred and sixty or eighty feet, thence along the level many rods to the pump-house, and up to the great cyliuder worked by the canal water wheel, and forced it, a boiling stream, to the top of the tanks; whence a similar line of logs conveyed it to the fires that boiled the water. There were wells over twenty years ago, seen by tens? of thousands of our citizens, with every principle or device of tft American driven well that inventive skill can name. The substitution of one material, gas-pipe, for- log-pipe, is not invention but the choice of a mechanic, artist, or engineer. In some cases a wooden plug was driven in the cast iron pipe, which weighed several hundred pounds, and the well sunk to near the salt water by the pressure of the stones that lay near by—the tube being dry and clear over 100 or 150 feet, when a heavy bar on the end of a rope was let down and the plug driven out. The tube was thus cleared at the point after being sunk. In 1860, Dr. Parker had occasion to drive a tube well for his own use, and employed for this purpose two old locomotive flues^ which he had welded together, making a pipe 16 feet long. This he pointed with a block of wood, drove it down with an axe, then with an iron rod pushed out the wooden point, and thus in an hour's time, at a cost of only $2'50 he had a good well, which has been in operation ever since. The Doctor was advised to apply for a patent, but as he had only copied the plans which he saw used several years previous, he felt that he could not conscientionsly take the oath of invention. Other parties saw the pump at the time the Doctor started it, and since that time several patents have been granted for improvements. It remains to be Been whether the original patentees of the drive well can sustain their broad claims in view of the facts above presented.
This article was originally published with the title "The Drive Well"