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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Canadian Petroleum Heritage
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Jerker Rod Pumping System

Jerker Rod Pumping SystemThe jerker rod is a Canadian invention used all over the world. In the 1890s, J.H. Fairbank founded an oil company in Oil Springs, Ontario but was short on start up capital. Instead of having a separate, expensive steam engine for each well-head pump, he came up with what he called a "jerker line" system, which let him operate clusters of pumps from a single engine. Modern recovery technology still uses Fairbank’s invention. Pumps are lowered down to the bottom of a well on steel rods, called a rod string. The rod string is hung from the wellhead and connected to a drive unit and motor on the surface. The rods convey power to the pump by rotating or moving up and down, or “jerking.” Multiple pumps can be attached to the one motor on the surface. The old “iron horse” pumps commonly seen are one type that uses jerker rods. Other types of pumps such as submersible and progressive can also be attached to a jerker rod.




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