Erle P. Halliburton

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Erle P. Halliburton, 1940

Erle Palmer Halliburton (September 22, 1892, near Henning, Tennessee – October 13, 1957, in Los Angeles) was an American businessman specializing in the oil business.

Early life[edit]

Halliburton was born in Henning, Tennessee, on September 22, 1892. When Halliburton was 12 years old, his father died. At 14, Halliburton left home to support the family. As a youth, he learned how to operate heavy machinery such as a train locomotive, a steam crane and a steam shovel. Later, Halliburton was a salesman in New York.

Business career[edit]

Prior to the United States's entry into World War I, Halliburton gained exposure to shipboard engineering as a member of the United States Navy. After his honorable discharge in 1915, he headed for the oilfields of California, where he was able to apply techniques analogous to the technology with which he had worked in the Navy. His drive and his sense of innovation soon brought him into conflict with his boss, Almond Perkins. Halliburton later quipped that getting hired and getting fired by the Perkins Oil Well Cementing Company were the two best opportunities he had ever received.[1]

Halliburton and his wife, Vida C. Taber Halliburton, then moved to Duncan, Oklahoma where Halliburton invented, perfected, and patented a new method of oil well cementing. Halliburton had a few children out of wedlock. Edith Thurlo was his secretary in Duncan, Ok and gave birth to Carl after an extensive affair with Erle Palmer Halliburton. Carl is one of few extramarital children, including a young woman related to Edith, whom won a lawsuit in Los Angeles. According to one of the inscriptions on the pictured monument, Halliburton's method "isolates the various downhole zones, guards against collapse of the casing and permits control of the well during its producing life." In 1919, based on this new method, Halliburton started Duncan's New Method Oil Well Cementing Company. By 1922, the company was operating as the Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Company. On July 5, 1961, it became known as the Halliburton Company.

Halliburton also designed the aluminum suitcases which are now manufactured by Zero Halliburton.

"An Uncommon Man;" Erle P. Halliburton Monument in Memorial Park, Duncan, OK; erected – 1993

Halliburton was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1957.[2]

Further reading[edit]

  • Kenny A. Franks, The Oklahoma Petroleum Industry (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980);
  • Kenny A. Franks, Paul F. Lambert, and Carl N. Tyson, Early Oklahoma Oil: A Photographic History, 1859–1936 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1981).
  • J. Evetts Haley, Erle P. Halliburton: Genius with Cement (Duncan, Okla.: Privately printed, 1959).


  1. ^ Oklahoma Historical Society (2010). "Halliburton, Erle Palmer (1892-1957)". Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture. Archived from the original on 2011-03-25. Retrieved 2011-04-08. 
  2. ^ "Oklahoma Hall of Fame". Retrieved November 16, 2012.