John E. Elliott (SPE)
AIME Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal* in 1962
John E. Elliott received an AB in Geology and Mining from Stanford University in 1912. He then joined the late Ralph Arnold in "The First Big Oil Hunt—Venezuela" as Assistant Chief Geologist.
In 1913, he joined the late B. H. van der Linden as geologist for the American Gasoline Co., (later the Shell Oil Co. of California), where he served as Chief Geologist until the close of 1920. Among other discoveries, he and his staff surveyed and recommended exploration of the great Ventura Oil Field.
Following a brief period as Associate Professor of Petroleum Technology at Stanford, Mr. Elliott went to Los Angeles, determined to pioneer a core drill for use with rotary drilling equipment, which was fast replacing cable-tool drilling but which provided no geologic information. Unable to obtain capital from oil companies, he risked his own small savings, designed a double barreled core-drill and took, the first satisfactory core in Huntington Beach Oil Field in August, 1921. The accomplishment was hailed by geologists but ignored by most oil companies so Mr. Elliott had to undertake a campaign of selling. He succeeded so well that he was engaged in the manufacture of core-drills for over eighteen years. His design of the first rotary core barrel is the basis for all rotary core barrels in use today. The cable tool coring barrel which he invented is still used.
Since the sale of his companies, Mr. Elliott has taken an active part in both petroleum geology and engineering as a consultant, except for the interval during the early 1940's when he served in World War II as a Major of the Chemical Warfare Service Procurement, U.S.A.