A Fourth Wasteful Engine

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Salina, Kansas

Buffalo-Pitts designed and built a new 26 hp double, rear mounted engine, with all steel gears and engine No. 10,501 was shipped to O. B. Victor, Salina, Kansas and his mortgage was recorded July 26, 1912, in Saline County, Kansas.

O. B. Victor was one of Buffalo-Pitts' fastest and most successful operators, having operated Pitts machinery, as early as, 1902. That company shipped him a wood frame Niagara separator to test in the hard Turkey wheat grown in Kansas at that time and later shipped O. B. Victor one of the first steel separators to test in the Kansas wheat fields.

Engine No. 10,501 was equipped with a Wolff type reverse gear and proved wasteful. Factory men, both lengthened and shortened the valves, but that, with any other changes which may have been made, failed to correct the other weaknesses in the engine and it proved too wasteful for Buffalo-Pitts to build for Pitts' customers.

The Reeves double, Avery undermounted and Nichols & Shepard rear-mounted double were listed in my 'Economical and Wasteful Engines' as the three most wasteful engines. Reverse gears of the Wolff type, failed to correct other weaknesses in those engines and the reverse gears on Buffalo-Pitts 26 hp engine No. 10,501, too, failed to make an economical engine of it.

Reeves & Co. sold more engines in northwestern Kansas, during the steam plow era, 1905-06-07 and 1908, than all the other companies combined, and nearly all of them were cross compounds. That company sold cross compounds because cross compounds proved, in the fields, more economical than Reeves double engines. Both engines were equipped with identical reverse gears, which leaves no argument, the economy of the cross compound over the simple resulted from the reverse gears.

The number of wasteful engines is being increased to four, with Pitts 26 hp engine No. 10,501. Had either the Avery undermounted, Nichols & Shepard rear mounted, or Buffalo-Pitts engine No. 10,501 been cross compounded with the reverse gears, with which it was equipped, would have been from 15 to 20% more economical. The Stevens cross compound, other things being equal, would have been more economical than either the Star or Avery undermounted engine. Had the services of three or four of our modern engine men been available, when Buffalo-Pitts built 26 hp double rear mounted engine No. 10,501, they no doubt, could have advised Buffalo-Pitts how to build an economical engine.

O. B. Victor, following his experience with 26 hp Buffalo-Pitts engine No. 10,501, replaced it with a 30 hp second-hand Russell tandem compound, built upon a Russell universal boiler. That fire-box burned the gases. Black smoke did not belch from the stack of that boiler. That engine was economical and powerful. A Russell tandem compound was 'Fool Proof,' so far as, the live steam flowing from the high pressure cylinder into the low was concerned, was not possible. O. B. Victor never ceased praising that engine because of its power and economy. O. B. knew and were he here, could and would tell you about the 26 hp double rear mounted engine No. 10,501 and the economy and power of the 30 Russel tandem compound with its Giddings valves and reverse gear.

O. B. Victor bought a Red River Special 36-60 fully equipped steel separator, with roller bearings, in 1926 and when he backed the old Russell into a 160'-10'-6 ply rubber belt, threshed wheat. An operator who backed a 30 hp engine into a rubber belt with those dimensions, generally was a fast operator, and O. B. Victor, in long bundle wheat, averaged more than 2,000 bushels a day through his shock run and that was good work in 1926.

O. B. Victor dropped dead in 1931, as he stood on the deck of that separator.