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Walter Benona Sharp

Walter Benona Sharp (12 December 1870 - 28 November 1912) was an American businessman.[1]


Born in Tipton County, Tennessee, Sharp's mother died when he was eight and his father moved the family to Texas. By the age of twenty Sharp was operating a water well drilling company with his brother. Sharp began drilling oil wells in 1893, although his first attempt was unsuccessful due to quicksand. Later innovations by Sharp would allow drilling through these conditions in 1901. Sharp also developed the Sharp-Hughes Rock Bit to drill through hard rock.

Sharp made his fortune from the trading of leases and contracting for oil wells. He was a founder of the Moonshine Oil Company and president of Producers Oil Company, and also held an interest in the Texas Company (later Texaco). He was also co-founder of the Sharp-Hughes Tool Company, which was renamed the Hughes Tool Company on Sharp's death in 1912 after Sharp's widow Estelle sold her shares to Hughes.

Sharp had three children, Walter Bedford, Kathleen (who died in early childhood), and Dudley Crawford, who was later Secretary of the Air Force under President Eisenhower.


  1. ^ "Sharp family papers, 1868-1978 (MS 271) — Fondren Library". Rice University. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 

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