In 1933, the oil fields in Kilgore, Texas were booming. Like many others, Houston native, B.J. Woolley, saw the opportunity to make his mark and his fortune. With only $100 in his pocket, he packed his tools and his dreams into a 1927 Chevy truck and headed to Kilgore to establish his first machine shop. Eighty years and three generations later, Woolley Tool, Inc. is still going strong.
Before leaving home, B.J. proposed to his Houston sweetheart and promised her that if the company made a profit in its first month, he would return to marry her. A man of his word, B.J. kept his promise, and it wasn’t long before the newlyweds made their home next to the family business.
Despite tough times for the young company during World War II, B.J.’s entrepreneurial spirit again saw an opportunity, and he adapted the company to take advantage of defense contracts. He and his brother, Kenneth, formed Woolley Brothers Manufacturing and won a million-dollar bid for a 90-day government production assignment.
The brothers exhausted every financial and production resource available, but as the contract neared its end, they still needed to produce 21,000,000 parts. Like Plato, B.J. found that “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and his solution was to invent a new piece of equipment to speed up their production. Part scrap metal and part junk, the new machine turned out 160 parts per minute. The order was successfully filled in a matter of weeks, and B.J. proudly said that his invention “never made a bad part.” The company went on to complete several other governmental contracts, but B.J. always retained his love of petroleum downhole engineering and tool building.
When the demand for oil began to increase once again, B.J. saw another opportunity to expand his business. It wasn’t long before he took his son, Dan, under his wing into the family business. Father and son could often be seen working together.
From 1933 to present, Woolley Tool, Inc. has been known as an innovative company and industry leader. Always improving and developing equipment, tools, and procedures which increase safety, efficiency, and cost effectiveness for their customers. One such example is the “original Woolley casing back-off method” of manufacturing tongs, slips, elevators, and Woolley FJ-60 Flush-Joint casing liners.
Under the leadership of Acting President, J. Woolley, the family-owned and operated business is active in virtually every oil play in the United States, including Eagleford Shale, Permian Basin, Hainsvilles Shale, and Balken Shale and often takes on operations that other tool companies are unable to handle. Woolley Tools, Inc. continues to expand its staff, resources, and facilities to provide customized service and top-of-the-line equipment to its clients. In 2012, the company opened its newest facility in Pleasanton, Texas, to accommodate and serve the growth at Eagleford Shale.
Woolley Tools, Inc. plans to continue its “family approach” to doing business and carry on the legacy and traditions of founder B.J. Woolley by adapting the company to meet the needs and demands of its customers, in East Texas and across the country, with the latest technologies and comprehensive service with integrity.