Skip Navigation

Sign In or Register

West-virginia-encyclopedia-text

John Henry: The Steel Drivin’ Man


The Steam Drill

Burleigh_2p_standard

As hard as the shakers and steel drivers worked, their progress was slow. Addressing this problem, rock drilling technology improved. Between 1850 and 1875, American inventors patented more than 100 mechanical drills. The Burleigh compressed air steam drill was among them, and possibly was the drill confronted by John Henry.

Steam drills gained favor as they became more reliable and as they gained portability and the flexibility to drill in multiple directions and positions. Manufacturers marketed their contraptions as savers of time and money with demonstrations on the job site.


Related Articles


Other Exhibits

West Virginia Humanities Council | 1310 Kanawha Blvd E | Charleston, WV 25301 Ph. 304-346-8500 | © 2018 All Rights Reserved

About e-WV | Our Sponsors | Help & Support | Contact Us The essential guide to the Mountain State can be yours today! Click here to order.