The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953

Book Reviews

Spindletop. By James A. Clark and Michel T. Halbouty. New
York (Random House), 1952. Pp. xvi + 306. $3.95-
Spindletop, forecast for a decade by Patillo Higgins and
patiently ushered in by Captain Anthony F. Lucas, made of
January lo, 1901, not merely the natal day of an unprecedented
and uncontrolled wild gusher, nor merely the date of an up-
heaval that created a bizarre boom town unrivalled, but the
time of unleashing of a force like a mighty magnet that drew to
it millions in money and most of the talent, skills, energy, and
adventure of oildom. Truly this premier of the petroleum age
marked the birth of a giant industry destined to influence the
history of the world.
The lusty youngster shook the complacency and monopoly of
Standard Oil far more than court decrees, for here was the incu-
bator that hatched the Texas Company, Gulf, Humble, Magnolia,
and Sun. Integrated companies of producing, transporting,
refining, and marketing came into being through the trial and
error method. Sea-borne transportation by tanker was another
outgrowth resulting from the advantage incident to this initial
coastal discovery. Unlike cotton transported across the nation
for processing, or cattle driven to large packing centers for
slaughter, the oil of Texas, beginning here, led the fight against
colonial dependency of raw material furnishers by building re-
fineries from the outset.
The lessons learned in Spindletop school were legion. Drilling
techniques were revolutionized. Howard Hughes' drill bits born
here of experience are now used around the world. Geologists
who had been the medicine men of oildom evolved into highly
specialized professionals. Geophysics had here its proving grounds
that produced a world-renowned E. De Golyer along with others.
Here was the spawning ground for the technical know-how used
in operating and developing the oil fields that belt the globe.
Even the disaster of fire carried blessings in disguise for out of
vast losses arose methods and techniques for preventing future
recurrences. The extravagant waste and prodigality incident to
such as 300 wells on the 15-acre Hogg-Swayne tract posed the
question and pooled the thought that found the ultimate answer
for conservation in proration, pooling agreements, and unitiza-
tion. The list could be extended at length.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/. Accessed October 22, 2014.