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I want a ship that's homeward bound to plough the rolling sea, To the blessed land of Room Enough beyond the ocean bars, Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.
(Dr. Henry Van Dyke)
One of the many aspects of travel abroad is that feeling that one gets when one's footsteps are finally directed homeward. For then it's time to realize that the sound of children's voices and the call of the whirling grey gull overhead are changeless the world around. People are people regardless of ethnic origins and religious beliefs. And. their industrial artifacts all have a familiar ring.
My most recent wanderings have taken me some 6,000 miles across planet Earth to as far away as latitude 53 degrees south and across the Strait of Magellan to Tierra del Fuego. I left home at 40 North in a howling January snowstorm to become increasingly warm in the southward trek towards summertime until the air grew cold again as there was nothing between me and Antarctica but a thousand or so miles of open ocean.
Punta Arenas, Chile, at the southern tip of mainland South America, was for many years a major seaport on the protected waters of the Strait until the Panama Canal was built, thus diverting ships that had been rounding Cape Horn to reach California or the far Pacific. Today it is a staging area for sea borne and airborne traffic to Antarctica. It too, is the home of the Institute de la Patagonia, founded to record and preserve the area's rich cultural history. Here to my wondering eyes was a collection of turn of the century steam machinery in the Museo de Recuerdo (Museum of Souvenirs).
The Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, was the first European to see this land and give his name to the passage behind Cape Horn. For the next 250 years the Spanish attempted colonization, but it was not until the English speaking peoples began to arrive around 1850 that agricultural development, particularly the Welsh and their sheep, began to establish the European presence. It is the period circa 1890 to 1920 that the steam power now preserved in the Museo de Recuerdo entered the scene.
The collection is entirely out of doors in a large field. Walking through the gate I felt like the kid in the candy shop, I didn't know where to go first. One of the first machines to be studied was a 10-ton Aveling & Porter compound engine built in England. (Photo 1) This machine is a dual purpose implement in that the roller can be exchanged for wheels to become a traction engine.
With thousands of miles of single lane gravel roads in this part of the world and very few paved roads, and those that are being single lane, this British expatriate must have had its work cut out for it.
J. & H. McLaren of Leeds, England, were represented (Photo 2) with a fine example of a portable power.
The land this far south is better suited to sheep, and some cattle raising rather than crops such as wheat. Farther north and in the irrigatable valleys, wheat has been a successful crop. Sheep shearing, however, needed such machines to power the line shafts in the shearing sheds for even today most estansias (ranches) are isolated far beyond any electric power lines in this land characterized by great distances.
It will be recalled that Argentina and this part of Chile was colonized by Central Europeans from Germany. Austria and some Swiss. Heinrich Lanz of Manheim, Germany, in 1915 shipped a large straw burning engine (Photo 3) now preserved here. There is a common denominator in all of these machines on display. Boiler feed water supply was universally by axle powered pumps. None were fitted with injectors though Henri Giffard had at this juncture given the world that simplest of feed water devices. Messrs. Sharp, Stewart & Company of England had obtained the patent rights by 1859. One of the better examples of this type of pump was found high in the Andes on a farm (Photo 4) originally founded by a Swiss family at the turn of the century near Peulla. The body of the pump is bolted to a boss on the side of the boiler barrel with the piston actuated by a rod driven from aneccentric on the main shaft. It was on a portable power built by Marshall & Sons of Leeds, England.
Of all of the Museo's collection, MARIA (Photo 5) is my very favorite. This little engine, built in Hanover, Germany, is typical of many such meter gauge and two foot gauge steam locomotives built in Germany and exported around the world. That pesky pine tree in the background seems to be growing from the steam dome, but one can still see the rather unique safety valve with its exposed coil springs. She has company in the town park at Puerto Natales in retirement from hauling coal from the nearby mines to the ship loading piers. Here in the USA there are several that are privately owned, such as on the Bucksgahuda & Western RR or tourist pikes such as in Cripple Creek. Colorado.
In the background is a fine example of a steam powered over the road truck. Among the collection was a Fordson tractor the only representative from the USA. Since Ford extensively promoted his tractor overseas, it is quite likely that it was a British export.
'Tis fine to see the Old World, and travel up and down Among the famous palaces and cities of renown.
To admire the crumbling castles and the statues of the kingsBut now I think I've had enough of antiquated things.