Homer Carmical

Howard Camp

Content Tools

R. R. 3, Box 311 Findlay, Ohio

I believe I was about 13 years old when these two pictures were taken. As I remember, Father had filled the boiler with water and had put in a fire to guard against freezing, in preparation of doing some custom fire wood buzzing. He then had gone to town to do their Saturday afternoon shopping. I had fired and watched the water some previous to this for him, so I thought it would be fun to fire farther, get up steam and run it to the woods and return which I did. All went well, until I had gotten this far and the right rear wheel broke through the top frozen layer of ground. I was then very much worried as to what Father would say if it was still there when he returned home; although I had been along with him when he would get in similar trouble and would sometimes lay the rail pieces or stove wood in front or behind the wheels, such as would be required for him.

At about the age of ten, my mother had gotten me a 3 x 4 glass plate camera and developing kit for a Christmas present. I had become quite interested in it and away I went back to the house and got the camera and took the first picture. I do not know how long it was before I was able to take the second one, but I do remember how glad I was when the engine was back at the barn when Father returned home. When he did arrive, instead of scolding me, he commended me for being able to get it out without any assistance.

Later, in my 15th year, I ran this engine with the hired man running the clover huller to hull 796 bu. of recleaned second crop red clover seed and the following season on the grain thresher, a 36 x 60 Huber. The last engine I fired for Father was an 18 HP Peerless which was a very nice running engine and easy to fire. A picture of this one was in the May 1964 Engineers & Engines Magazine.

The Mrs. and myself are now living on 80 A. of the same farm, although in a newer set of buildings.


Courtesy of Howard Camp, 18 West Washington Street, Newnan, Georgia 30205

Meet Homer Carmical, age 84, started working in a boiler factory around 1900. He used some of the first air hammers in the shop. Then he started going out on the road to work on stand pipes, which were 25-foot boilers stood on end 100 feet high. In 1910 he built the first million gallon stand pipe in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was one of the first to have air and hammers. They used locomotive steam air compressors and upright boilers, but they had so much trouble with the air tools that most of the rivets were driven by hand and snapped so as to form the round head.

The inside scaffold was a floating platform and the leaks could be tended to as they went along. It did not take Homer long to get up new ways to build tanks after he became the boss. He soon became known by all in the tank business for his best ways of rigging and doing jobs quicker and safer than any of the rest. In his 50 years of working with dozens of companies, no one was ever killed on his job. Very few erectors can make this statement.

He once rebuilt a boiler in a coal camp and used a stump to flange the pieces sent out by the shop. The old-timers also depended on the old natural stop leak (horse manure). If it did not fill up the crack, it would soon rust it tight.