Iron Strike in Africa

Unknown steam engine

#1: Tete, Mozambique, unknown steam engine.

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1764 South River Road Autryville, North Carolina 28318

Additional photos by Billy Cox , 5609 Birch Road Fayetteville, North Carolina 28304

Yea, verily, we go off to Mozambique, Africa, once again. Once again iron collectors find time in an exceptionally busy schedule to hunt for, photograph, and recover some old iron treasures. Our travels in Mozambique pretty much covered the country's length and breadth. A quick look on a world globe shows that Mozambique is about 200 miles wide by 1600 miles long. It is located just north of the Republic of South Africa (also visited, with no luck) on the African east coast bordering the Indian Ocean. Enough geography!

Billy managed to get to Tete, Mozambique, which is on the northwestern border with Zambia. He found numerous steam traction engines and other steam powered devices. Photos 1 and 2 are of an unknown steam engine which had apparently been in use for the accompanying lift equipment. He was unsure if the crane was a stand-alone item or used for old bridging as a drawbridge mechanism.

Photographs 3 and 4 are of a Marshall's No. 6490-1910 Patent Firebox, Marshall Sons and Company, Ltd., Cainsborough, England. Obviously, it is a steam unit which was portable. It is located in front of a church in Tete. As with most mechanical items, parts have been stripped to repair other machinery.

Replacement parts, then as now, are either unavailable or expensive even for what we would consider minor parts. Everything is recycled and used. Mechanics in Mozambique are among the most ingenious and creative, being able to repair anything with next to nothing.

On the way to the South African border zone, I found a dump filled with iron engines, tractors, and irrigation pumps. This area is infested with bandits and is generally referred to as 'No Man's Land.' Mozambique is building a modern multilane highway to replace this treacherous road and it should be operational in the next year.

Located in the metropolis of Maputo I tracked down another steam traction engine in reasonable condition. It is fairly complete, with brass whistle, serial tag, and builder's plate still intact. It is a John Fowler and Co., Serial #11071, Model AA2, steam traction engine. The boiler is #20284, dated 1907, tested at 180 p.s.i. (see photos 5-10.)

The owner has it on display. It has a copy of advertisements written in Portuguese in a framed cabinet. It basically says that the engine was built for African requirements in 1907. John Fowler and Sons had been producing farm equipment since 1850 and started steam engine production in 1860. The AA2 produces 16 HP from its compound engine with 80 BHP developed at the wheels. I must admit that steam engines are a bit 'greek' to me and my Portuguese is not all encompassing, so if my translation makes no sense, I apologize.

Finally, on the 20th of October 1998, 1 arrived home from a rather long and wearisome flight. With me was the Deutz 5 HP Diesel engine I wrote about in GEM December

1997. It is now in my garage undergoing restoration. I would like to hear from anyone with information on this engine. Hopefully, we can see an other article on its new life.