Soot in the flues

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HI! here comes the Spring issue of 1982 already--is that possible? Yes, Tis, even though it is February as the magazines hit the mails--Oh well, you know how time flies. I'll betcha you have your seed catalogs by now and have the list about made out as to what you're going to plant.

This is being written right around Christmas and I must tell you we had a wonderful Holiday Season, hope you did too. My brother, Dan Keeley was home to spend the Christmas Season with us. We hadn't seen him for 21 years and you can imagine what a wonderful reunion it was for all of us. Four of our children had been born before he left, but he had never seen our youngest, Tom, who is now 17. And then there were nieces and nephews he hadn't seen. Why do we let things like this happen? Well, I guess the answer is that is the way life goes. We were always in touch and he had planned to come home several times and something came up to prevent it, and we just could not pick up and go at any time--anyhow the important thing is that we are now reunited and I am sure it won't be very long until we'll be seeing each other again. Praise the Lord!

The first letter comes from L. W. WRIGHT, 1215 Anchors Way #237, Ventura, California 93001: 'I have enjoyed your magazine for many years, although I don't live on a farm, but have been a steam buff since I was a kid.

Mr. Herb Reese's letter in Nov.-Dec. issue of Iron Men Album brought back memories of the Best tractors. I worked two seasons between college years for California Pack. Corp. (Del Monte brand) who had many ranches in California. The years were 1926 and 1927. This ranch was near Merced, California and was 4,000 acres, mostly peaches. They had 18 Best 39s, 4 Yuba 40s, 2 Best 60s and 1 Holt 75.I drove a Best 30 for one year and a Yuba 40 one year. I only used the big rigs for subsoiling, too big to use in orchards. All burnt distillate in those days, no diesels. As Mr. Reese said, Best made a good machine. It would run nine hours a day for about seven months--some as much as ten years old.

I never had any experience with steam, but enjoy reading your magazine.'

DAN McDonald, Box 297, Cokato, Minnestoa 55321 is seeking information on small model steam engines. That's about all he asked for perhaps if there is someone out there feels he could help him, please write at above address.

Interested in a few answers to his questions, this message comes from JOHN BRUNDAGE, 4700 NT. Rd., No. 169, Tiffin, Ohio 44883: 'I would like to have any information your readers might have about a Baker steam roller No. 17781. This machine has been donated to the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellview, Ohio.

Having recently purchased a boiler and steam engine, I would like to know how the old-timers removed scale from their boilers and what they did to prevent scale. If I remove the scale from my boiler should I expect to uncover some leaks. Help a greenhorn.'

'Can you or do you have any information on a Sawyer-Massey steamer, as I would appreciate any data as I can't find any horsepower number or year of manufacture on it? If so, please write PETER D. F. WIEBE, Box 101, Grunthal, Manitoba, Canada ROA 0R0.'

A short letter from LARRY D. VAN DE MARK, 518 S. Elliot, Webb City, Missouri 64870 tells us: 'I am somewhat new to steam power, being interested in it about a year. In November of 19811 was able to buy a large weight 860-pound steam pump in very good condition. I want to restore this pump, so if any IMA reader has any information, it would be a big help. On the steam chest cover is the following: AG-6 Gardner Gov. Co. Quincy, Illinois, 7 x 4? x 6. The specifications are 48' long, 18' wide and to the top of the air chamber is 44' tall. I'll be looking for some help.'

This next lengthy and interesting letter comes from THOMAS G. DOWNING, RD. 1, Box 149A, Ell-wood City, Pennsylvania 16117: 'Just thought it was time I got pen in hand and wrote a bit for the magazine as from time to time I hear people say, 'We need more interesting articles.'

Well, this is a co-operative society folks and not a few people making up and grinding our ficticious stories. So, if you want to have something good to read, dig up the local history and antedotes and write them up and mail them in. Then, maybe others will do the same and we will all have more good reading to do.

13 HP Peerless and (?) Frick (?) thresher set near village of Chewton, Lawrence Co. PA about 1915. Last man on right is John McQuiston, Walt's brother and part owner of the outfit.

Walt McQuiston, Clarence Brunswick, John McQuiston with 18 HP Peerless and Hench & Dromgold sawmill set on Weingartner's farm off Bridge Street Extension, Wayne Township,Lawrence County, PA about 1917.

1911, 20 HP 20th Century traction engine owned by M. J. Miller on display at 1977 Farmer's and Threshermen's Jubilee at New Center-ville, PA.Courtesy of Michael J. Miller, R.D. 2, Box 181, Rockwood, Pennsylvania 15557.

# Picture 1
# Picture 2
# Picture 3

Flagman Harvey Napier and Frog Smith at Slater, 1942. (Haywire Mac's Boomers and Their Women'--Railroad magazine).

Logging train. Keri Keri Inlet, New Zealand--1920. Walt Thayer collection, Wenatchee, Washington.

As for local stuff from here, I've talked a lot with several of the old threshermen from this area, including the Dean of the Crew, Walt McQuiston. Walt was a tough old man of 87 or 88 when we first got acquainted, though I had heard his name for years. His favorite engine was the Peerless, and he had six or seven of them going to a tractor in 1932 or so. He also had at least one Frick and appreciated the advantages of that fine make, and he and brother John had a Leader which he had very little time for. He gave me several excellent photos of setups in the local area. I try to find all these I can and encourage others to save them--copy them--share them as much as possible. When they are destroyed they are lost forever. My friend, Bob Pratt of Devon, England, was very active in a local history project when he lived at Ipswich in which they borrowed and copied all sorts of local old pictures and filed them in the town library to insure their preservation for posterity. Now, if any county historical society is looking for worthwhile activities, here is one to try. It will take some money for copying and lots of digging to find the originals in dusty attics, etc., but, oh the rewards!

But back to 'Walt the Peerless.' He told me he sat one day and counted, if I recall, 56 silos he had set up a pipe to--some of them over 20 years in a row, all over these hills. I wonder what the record is? Also, one place over on Scott Ridge someone, I guess, built a barn facing the prevailing winds wrong. Anyhow, they burned three barns off one foundation with sparks and dry straw. That's a figure, maybe a record too, which I hope no one tries to top. Walt particularly liked to husk corn and fill silo. The invigoration of the warm engine in the crisp, cold fall weather could have been part of it. He once told me, 'All the fun went out with steam. With the tractor it was just work.'

Another place the thresher was to be set on a farm up in the hill off old Pittsburgh Road out in Wayne Twp. somewhere, and the direct approach was a steep, narrow, muddy lane which was surely to be trouble. So they took the better road up around to another farm and came in across a couple of fields where the sod held up okay, as it was almost all level or slighty downhill. Okay, that is till the Peerless settled her hind wheels in a wet furrow ditch and refused to come out. So they unhitched the separator and sent for the team of horses at the destination farm. Now, I don't know anything about work horses, but he described these as a black team which wouldn't normally pull the hat off your head and a driver that let them get away with it. But they were afraid of that hissing old Peerless so that they were a bit nervous. Well, he got up a full head of steam and laid out the rope blocks secured to a convenient fence row tree, and when the team arrived, they were hooked up and got the ropes taut and he said, 'Then I pulled the throttle open with one hand and the whistle cord with the other and boy did they pull. Their hind feet put mud on the smoke box door from quite a piece away, but they put the Peerless out on dry ground.' I don't know--well, yes, I probably do-- what the ASPCA would say about such behavior and I wouldn't want to be the driver of such a scared team and maybe the story was embellished a bit by time, but it was quite a scene to visualize for me. In those days the vital thing, of course, was to get the engine out and moving again, and there was no bigger tractor or any such around to send for.

In another case the local dairy farmer--well, the last survivor of such because there used to be 12 or 15 or more local farm dairies here a bouts--sent their Farquhar to a neighboring farm to fill silo so another engine wouldn't have to come from a long way off. On the way home the young driver got over too far for an oncoming team and wagon up by the cemetery and slid into a wet ditch along the road. That one took nearly two days of hard work with a stump puller to put it back on the hard road.

Well, old Walter is gone now, some 6 or 7 years ago at age 94 or 95, and so I must get some of these stories on paper to perpetuate the memory and the legend. In addition, if oil prices keep moving up we may be back to the old ways before another generation goes to their reward. Some say we have already regressed--those of us heating with wood and coal--but to me it's real progress.

A couple requests for information I'll repeat for the Soot in the Flues column. First a repeat. Can anyone tell us any of the history of a big three-tiered whistle we got out of the local steel mill carrying a tag which says 'Worcester Fire Signal'? Could it be from Worcester, Massachusetts? Or is there a town by that name in Pennsylvania or New York or wherever that built whistles?

Second, I have a little thresher I gathered up to go with our little engine and it has me stumped a bit. It has the name Ellis Champion on the tailings elevator and on the end casting of the cylinder, Ellis Keystone Agricultural Works, Pottstown, PA.' When I got it someone ruined it. Well for looks and originality I removed that presuming I would find where a slat stacker had been attached, but none shows up. Could this size and age of machine been built with no such device just leaving the straw to fall and be taken away by forks? To help with dating the machine, the numbers on it are: No. 3, machine #13590.

I will be very happy to correspond with anyone who might know the history of the machine and/or the company.'

This letter comes from MIKE KORNESKI, 13075 Hilary Path, Hastings, Minnesota 55033: 'I own a Birdsall 9-12 HP 1898 steam engine, at least, that is what a friend told me it was. It has no data on it.

There is also a Garr Scott sunk in the lake out from my house, that I am trying to raise--that is, when I get out of the hospital.

I also have a Belsaw sawmill, but intend to build a larger one and put the Birdsall on for auxiliary power. I salvage a lot of white pine saw logs cut of the Mississippi River, and they make very good lumber. Hope you can make use of my picture.'

'I am writing to you in regard to an unclassified photo in the Jan.-Feb. issue. Photo no. 6 on page 17 is a 12 HP single cylinder Frick steam engine built in 1919. The owner of this steam engine is a J. P. Smith of Fremont, Ohio. The picture was taken at the north end of the Sandusky County Fairgrounds in Fremont, Ohio. I do not know the date of picture. Mr. Smith and I are close friends. We met shortly after my grandfather bought a 16 HP double cylinder Frick steam engine in 1976. I was 11 years old at the time. I am 16 years old now and have run both my grandfather's engine Mr. Smith's engine.' writes JIM LASHA-WAY, 9231 Boyer Road, Perrysburg, Ohio 43551.

From what you wrote Jim it sounds like there might be more to find out about the engine--if so, why don't you write it up or send the further data on the above mentioned engine. Is there a story? We would be glad to hear it.

An informative and interesting letter comes from CARL LATHROP, 108 Garfield Avenue, Madison, New Jersey 07940. Carl is a consulting engineer and has sent in many contributions to our magazine. This letter elaborates on his most recent article printed in Jan.-Feb. 1982. We welcome his letter as he writes: 'Years ago in the early days of over ocean flying and while flying to South America on Pan Am I read their bulletin which said, 'Let's face it, those of us who find it necessary to travel face a certain amount of risk.' I would now like to adapt that to say, '... those of us who choose to write face the possibility of incorrect data.' Each time that I do an article for a magazine and sent if off to the editor something happens. That is, later I come across some reference that leads me to believe that I could have made a modification. Fortunately, so far, I haven't found something that makes me dead wrong. 'The Wind on Grandpa's Knob' (IMA for Jan./Feb 1982) was no exception.

In the first place I think that I dealt too lightly with that famous wind-powered generator. There were quite a number of famous engineers and scientists involved in those early experiments with commercial level wind power. But, such men as Vanevar Bush have received many accolades anyway.

Similarly, I did not go into enough detail on the historical aspect of the rotor powered ship. In fact, it was only recently that I came across a just released government publication that gave me the technical details. I thought that I would now include them in his letter to Soot in the Flues.

Around 1920 Anton Flettner consulted with the famous hydrody-namicist, Ludwig Prandtl on how to improve upon the efficiency of sailing vessels. It was from this that Flettner developed his rotor which is based on the Magnus Effect. That is, if a circular cylinder is rotated by auxiliary power while exposed to a breeze there is formed a boundary layer effect of unbalanced forces equal to nearly ten times the force of a conventional sail of the same area in the same wind.

Flettner converted the three masted brig 'BUCKAU' into a two rotor ship and renamed it 'BADEN-BADEN'. The vessel never was a great success and finally the project was abandoned. My article implies that the Savonius rotor was used. And, that was the impression that I had had up until I read the government report.

Incidentally, the flyleaf of that report had what I believe was a wonderful motto. 'Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought.' (from The Rustic Gate by Matsuo Bosho)

I feel certain that somewhere in Engine land there will be someone that is familiar with these details. Perhaps this will elicit correspondence for your column.

And, would you believe the next letter I picked up comes from FRANK J. BURRIS, 1102 Box Canyon Road, Fallbrook, California 92028. Frank has a lot of engineering experience and speaks to us also of Carl's article in Jan.-Feb. issue, adding comments and suggestions to help us better identify with this type of article. I know, to me, it is very technical and I appreciate both their writings. We applaud both these gentlemen on their literary capabilities.

'Herewith a few additional comments which you may add to Mr. Carl M. Lathrop's article on 'The Wind on Grandpa's Knob' in the Jan.-Feb. edition of IMA. Mr. Lathrop's articles are always so instructive and interesting and possibly he may see fit to expand a bit further on these energy-saving aspects.

I have followed with great interest the government's backing (with enormous outpourings of finances) of certain windmill development out here on the wind-blown deserts. It seems that immediately some 'crisis' arises, all sorts of wild ideas find rooting in some additional wing of bureaucracy. This is usually encumbered by additional political factions which involve totally inexperienced engineering (if not also management) personnel.

At hand, and it seems that such monstrosities are still being wafted across at taxpayers' expense, is a prototype model of windmill which is mounted on a 120 foot tower. Now this mill has but two 60-foot long blades about 18' wide, even down to the hub section. It would appear that any good farmhand would have been incredulous at such weak design structure; for the torsional stree combined with the direct wind loading would be formidable. This monstrosity of mill, which at that diameter, required much gearing up at the generator, proved out true to reasonable expectations and broke its vanes at the hub in the first strong breeze tryout. Now, a two, three or four bladed propeller is okay on an aircraft installation, because that is all the motor can swing to begin with.

But in the case of such windmill design, consider the loss in efficiency at the outset.* In the accompanying sketch of a two-bladed long arm mill, where the r.p.m. is comparatively slow with relation to the wind velocity, it may be readily noted that some 95% of the wind effort is LOST between only the two intercepting edges. Suppose the mill were modified to appear similar to that employed in our old farmyard, as in sketch two. This more efficiently coupled to-the-air mill would revolve at much higher r.p.m. than its toothpick design. It would require much less gearing up, and it would have much stronger (although much less needed) hub construction. It would also require less clearance by high tower design. It appears that some of these new loosely book-learned experts were afraid to start from the old farm machine; but thought it more apropos to take out after some zepplin idea. There is no indication that any lab work was performed to ascertain the most efficient and mechanically worthy design. It was simply strike out in any direction. And it does look like they 'struck out.' Sad to say, after 31 years in government engineering, such schenanigans are more the rule than the exception (I didn't do 'em!).

The above comments are my own contentions, based upon my own engineering experience. I maintain that I have had about as much work with windmills as the experts, of course.

Now I wish to offer a few suggestions with respect to Carl's treatment of induction generators. My textbook indicates that such generators can furnish power output only in the case of loads having a capacitative (leading) power factor. It is simply explained that this is because the induction motor operates with a lagging power factor of around 0.9; the load current thus lagging the line voltage by some 26 degrees electrically. In consequence were this machine to be driven in reverse fashion, that is in same direction if a polyphase motor but at an overrunning speed, the electromotive force would have to trail the current. Power factor (Cosine of the angle between voltage and current in an alternating-current circuit) is 1 or unity in a direct-current circuit. But in practically all commercial and home power demands upon the electric companies, the load is unity power factor only in the case of resistance (lighting) loads; the large remainder is due to induction motor driven machinery and thus presents a positive power factor averaging 0.8 to 0.9 percent expressed as a common factor. The angle of lag (or lead) can vary only between the limits of plus (or minus) 0 to 90 electrical degrees, resulting in limits correspondingly of power factor from minus One through Zero to plus One.

The extra amperage flowing in a power line to furnish a given load at less than unity power factor, when multiplied by the voltage, yields what is termed 'Wattless Energy.' At very low power factors of a load, it may be high enough to overload the supply lines which will consequently become overheated. To prevent this tendency in heavy loads such as steel mills, for example, the user may employ a big synchronous motor on one of the mills and by over-exciting the field winding, cause this motor to operate with a very high negative (leading) power factor to balance out the rest of the induction motors.

May I remind you again dear ones, that if parts or any objects you would be able to buy are listed in your letters, I cannot print that in the Soot in the Flues column. Items of that nature must come under classified ads--I'm sure you understand.

Thank you folks for your articles and letters you send in for our magazines and also for my columns--a medium whereby you can exchange information, ideas and share your hobby experiences in your own way. I look forward to hearing from you.

In closing might I leave you with a few thoughts? A mule makes no headway when he is kicking, neither does a man.--You teach little by what you say, but you teach most by what you are.--Busy persons are not busybodies.--It is better to know less than to know a lot that isn't so. -- There are three answers to prayer: Yes, No, Wait A While.

Love ya all.