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Gemelli 10-06-06 11:35 AM

Gemelli's RHR
3 Attachment(s)
Grandpa's Ring - My 10k yellow gold ring that I inherited from my paternal grandfather.

The story I've heard is that Grandpa got it from his brother, who worked for Midwest Diamond Drilling.

The stone in it is a small (~2 mm diameter) diamond AFAIK, which fits with the back-story.

Snooper 10-06-06 01:44 PM

Re: Gemelli's RHR
I still love this ring! All the great detail and history behind it. Did you ever figure out what the engraving meant?

annie1 10-06-06 01:46 PM

Re: Gemelli's RHR
I also love this ring. There's something about it that just intrigues me...

Gemelli 10-06-06 01:49 PM

Re: Gemelli's RHR
My grandma confirmed the story, but couldn't remember any other details about it. Midwest Diamond Drilling doesn't seem to be around any more, but I should really try track down someone who worked for them. I did notice the 10k marking on the band recently.

I get lots of comments and questions on the ring. Just wish I had more uses for that cane....

Gemelli 10-06-06 01:53 PM

Re: Gemelli's RHR
WebGal: The engraving appears to be the words "MID WEST" at the top, and I can't make out the details on the rest any better than is shown in the photos... I'm guessing the globe at the bottom, with a stylized drill to the left, but I can't figure out the rest.

luvnjewelry 10-06-06 05:51 PM

Re: Gemelli's RHR
another really neat treasure to inherit. I think that is great that you are wearing it. My husband hates to wear jewelry...even his wedding band:(~Ronda

dbrown00d 08-25-08 09:44 PM

Re: Gemelli's RHR - Midwest Ring
Midwest still lives, but it was sold by the McIsaac family in the 1997. At one point, McIsaac owned a diesel engine company (for the drill rigs, Midwest Diesel in Winnipeg), a diamond bit and drilling supply company (Delro, I think), two underground drilling operations (Wescore and RM McIsaac Drilling) as well as Midwest.
They operated mostly in northern MB and SK, but ranged from coast to coast to coast, with some international jobs. At one time, only Longyear drilling, from eastern Canada, was bigger.

The ring is one of a set of "prizes" or shift bonus that driller and helper were eligible for if they drilled more footage than the shift quota. The quotas were set according to the type of ground that was being drilled and the specifics of the contract. Other prizes, given out in the 1980's included jackets (you used to be able to see 20 of them on a trip "downtown in Thompson or The Pas any one day), Sieko watches and diamond rings. Foremen were also eligible for a more solid gold ring that had a diamond set for every 10,000 accident free hours achieved by crews under their supervision. All of the prizes had a cash equivalent value, but were then taxed at the highest bracket.

The logo on the ring depicts a cartoon-ish driller with a hard hat and auger . The diamond was set to look like the lamp on the hard hat.
I think the some versions of the ring had a heraldic ribbon at the bottom with a place for the caption "Drilling the Core of the World".

The jackets given as prizes had a name enbroidered on the sleeve and were Red for Midwest, and Black for Wescore and RM McIssac. Family members could get a gold coloured jackets in the 70s.

The usual camp consisted of a foreman, a cook, and a "crew" for each drill. Bigger sites/contracts would have tractor drivers and cooks helpers. Each drill crew was made up of 2 drillers and 2 helpers or roughnecks. A driller/roughneck pair would work 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week. Yes folks, thats 84 hours a week. Some would rotate out of a longer job site after 2 months, others would only leave when a job was done, and only return when their pay cheques ran out.

The monthly cash bonuses were calculated for monthly drilled footage for each crew over a quota set at the contract time. The money was split between the crew, the foremen, the cook and any other camp workers. Generally if you could make your shift quota's you'd get your monthly cash bonus. If you were drilling enough footage to make prizes regularly, you'd get a better bonus and have some footage in the bank in case you hit bad ground, bad weather or just bad luck.

Most of the old timers have their favourite jobs, but most will be able to recount the incredible bonuses and prizes that were won while drilling for Uranium in the soft sandstone of northern Saskatchewan during the 1970s. I worked with guys that claimed to have taken bonus equivalent to a years salary in just 3 months. I know of 2 drillers that took cars as shift bonuses.

My father worked for Midwest, mostly in northern Manitoba. He did 2 stints, one in the late '50s with one of his brothers, and then again from 1969 through to 1989. The industry changed significantly during that time... lots of stories...

I worked for Midwest over a 4 year period in the mid '80s. Most of my time was spent in the area around Flin Flon, MB and Cullaton Lake, NWT. On one particularly good job, I made collected 3 of the rings shown, 5 silver watches and about 15 jackets. I was young and foolish, so all that I have left is my dad's safety ring, one of his watches and one of the watches I earned.....

I found the following link to the current incarnation.
Wally Tetlock, the GM, has worked for Midwest since the early 70's, at least.

I also found references to Midwest in the following google book, but what I reads of it is oriented on the technicalities of diamond drilling.

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