A Fistful of Yuan: Vulcan in China, 1981-3

Readers of the series Vulcan: The Offshore Experience may recall that Vulcan Iron Works’ years offshore were described as “the experience of a lifetime.” If there is one experience that stands out as making it that way, it was without a doubt Vulcan’s sale of two large offshore pile hammers to the entity that is now the China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC,) the first in 1981 and the second two years later.

Vulcan is frequently remembered as an old company with an old technology. But Vulcan was an innovator in some ways, as its patent list will attest. An exporting company from the earliest years of making pile drivers, Vulcan was the first American company in its industry to establish commercial relations of any kind with either the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union, and both of them when these countries were “opening up” after years of being closed.

This series can be accessed as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Road to Beijing
  3. Beijing, Week 1 (1981)
  4. On Tour in China
  5. Beijing, Week 2 (1981)
  6. An Oil Show, an Inspection Trip and an Engineering Contact (1982)
  7. Starting Up, At Last
  8. For a Few Yuan More… (1983)
  9. The Last Field Service Trip
  10. Epilogue

Also included in this portion of the site is the following:

We trust that this series is informative and welcome your comments.

The Forbidden City, Beijing, taken from the Beijing Hotel during our first visit in 1981.

Originally posted October 2007. Revised September 2010. Revised and moved to WordPress June 2017.


17 thoughts on “A Fistful of Yuan: Vulcan in China, 1981-3

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