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William Earl Griffith


William Earl Griffith was born and brought up in Sheridan, Wyoming. His father owned a small machine shop where Earl was taught the skills of a machinist by his father. There being limited skilled tradesmen in the area, Earl quickly learned to weld and to do mechanical work. He moved to Casper, Wyoming as a young man and worked in an oilfield shop where, with his learning abilities and experience gained in Laramie, he quickly became the contact of choice for drilling contractors in the area. It was here that he met Jim Barber and Ralph Will.


Jim Barber who moved to Alberta in 1940, bought the only machine shop servicing the drilling industry in Turner Valley from Walter Mueller and called his new purchase Barber Machinery Co. Ltd. It was immediately apparent to Jim that the shop was without leadership on technical expertise. Ralph Will who had moved to Canada as drilling superintendent of Anglo Canadian Oil Co. Ltd. suggested to Jim that he get somebody with some rig knowledge to run the shop or he would have to make other arrangements to have his work done. Ralph further suggested that he get Griffith. In 1940, Griffith came to Canada as 20% owner of Barber Machinery and ran the shop which was then located at Longview - in the south end of the valley.


During the wartime period, Griffith designed a technique for spiral welding 6" bar stock to drill collars to build up the weight and diameter of difficult to replace drill collars. He designed and built dies to produce 2, 3 and 4" welding fittings made from 2 pieces of steel. Fittings were impossible to buy but were required in the oilfield. There were also significant wax problems in Turner Valley so Earl and Ken Doze invented a dewaxing knife which was standard with the industry until 1950.


When Leduc was discovered, Earl immediately headed to Edmonton and bought and installed equipment into the Longview buildings which he moved to Edmonton. He was open for business within a few months of the discovery at 10358 - 65 Avenue. He was the first service and supply company to open for business in Edmonton. Earl bought control of Barber Machinery Co. Ltd. in 1952 and sold control of it in 1964. Barber Machinery was sold to Bralorne Resources in 1971. Earl was the founding shareholder of Jarco Ltd., T.G. Eastland Testers Ltd. and Dreco Energy Services Ltd. He was chairman of the board of Dreco until he passed away.


Career Summary:

  • 1940 Moved to Alberta to run Barber Machinery Co. Ltd. in Longview.
  • 1952 Bought control of Barber Machinery Co. Ltd.
  • 1960-1973 Partner - T.G. Eastland Testers Ltd.
  • 1970-1977 Partner - Jarco Ltd.
  • 1972-1977 Chairman - Dreco Energy Services Ltd.
  • 1973-1977 Chairman - Griffith Oil Tool Ltd.


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