Soot in the flues

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Hi, Dear Friends! Here comes the Spring issue already yes, already, although we are in the mid-winter season. That's the way it is with magazines, we have to be way ahead in issues to be on time with events and related subjects. Actually I bet many of you are not yet finished with the products for the coming shows and reunions. I'll bet many of you still have a lot of tinkering to do on that engine or hobby-related art, whether it be an engine, or perhaps some of the other crafts that are worked on all winter to appear on the beautifully decorated tables, or as the bigger engines go, on the grounds. Well, you still have some time so keep on the beam and get that beauty ready for the shows and wonderful get-together-times with your friends and hobbyists. And remember to send me all the stories about your hobby. Before I get into the letters of communication, pause a moment and read this little thought provoker:

THE WAY Not for one single day
Can I discern my way
But this I surely know-
Who gives the day
Will show the way
So I securely go.

John Oxenham

I think that is a pretty good thought to ponder, especially when we get depressed. And now, on to the letters.

KEITH W. MAUZY, R.R. 1, Box 145, Middletown, Indiana 47356 tells us: 'Seeing a picture of the Star steam engine on the back of a return envelope prompts me to let you know that I have a 12 HP C. Aultman Star Engine, No. 4196. This engine was bought new in 1892. I have owned it since 1949.

I pretty well know the history of this engine with all the owners which I may get a story together sometime. (Please do, Keith, that would make a nice article. I'll be looking for it.)

We have a letter from ARLEN G. OLSON, P.O. Box 118, Plenty, Saskatchewan, Canada SOL 2R0. (Welcome Arlen and glad you wrote).

'This is the first time I have ever written to your column and I hope some of your readers can help me. I have been interested in steamers for some time now and am particularly interested in valve and reverse gear. I am fairly familiar with the more common types with well known names such as Woolf, Grimes, Springer and Reeves radial-type valve gear, Russell shifting eccentric, the Stevenson link reverse, etc. Awhile ago, though, I was reading in Jack Norbeck's Encyclopedia of Steam Traction Engines and discovered two names I have never heard of, the Miller and Arnold reverse gears. Could anyone out there explain how both the Miller and Arnold reverse gear worked on simple single-cylinder engines? If anyone can, you can drop me a line, or better yet, write an article about it.

Also, I would like to know how the Baker reverse worked. I have diagrams of the cylinder and valve assembly but no idea how the reverse itself works (the part back on the crankshaft). It seemed to be highly rated and used on railroad locomotives a lot. There also seems to be a lot of controversy as to which kind was the best (giving nearly equal cut-off on both the back and the return stroke in both forward and reverse motion). I have heard it said that the Reeves performed this as nearly perfect as humanly possible, but I would like to hear the opinions of experienced engineers now. Could make for good discussion. Which one is best or were they equal? On merits or even power and economy?

I have been taking your magazine for nearly two years now and enjoy it very much, particularly this column. Any information will be greatly appreciated! (Sounds like a fairly new member for our family of IMA. Do hope you can help him).

'Grandfather's Bird sell engine and clover huller, fed by hand straw carrier. I think this picture was taken in South Solon, in the fall of the year; the men have coats on and the leaves are painted on the trees. He was a great old man to hull clover all winter.'

THOMAS STEBRITZ, 1516 E. Commercial St., Algona, Iowa 50511 sends this letter to the family of IMA: 'Gene Drummond had an interesting letter in the last issue of the Iron Men Album. I personally stumbled on the so-called formula he speaks of back in the early fifties. I owned a 1919 65 HP Case from 1949 to 1980 and the serial number was missing, the system was approximate as I found out.

E.C. McMillan of Kansas stopped through here one late fall in mid-fifties on the way to Racine, Wisconsin. He took along the boiler number from my 65 Case (No. 23433). I wrote to the Case Company in 1950, but they wouldn't help me other than send me a copy of the boiler scratch sheet.

Well, 'Big Mac' rattled a few dishes so to speak and they accommodated him my Case 65 was numbered 34592, built in 1919.

It has been my experience that at least on the engines with the long smoke box, the serial number was steel stamped on the smoke box near the brass plate. On my engine the figures were visible yet, but illegible. Some boilers had these figures rusted off.

I wondered how many Case owners know that the side crank engines had the date that they were built stamped onto the cylinder, however this practice was discontinued after 1913 with the new style engines, my 65 had no such stamping.

I can't agree with Mr. Drummond about cobbling up an older Case to pass it off for a newer model, it's not possible, too much difference, however the last 60 Case and 75 Case both sported steel smokestacks put on by the company.

Apparently, we have quite a number of Case fans who don't seem to know that the 60 Case and 75 Case were to be discontinued after 1913. My late father told me all about this years ago, but it's borne out in the book of numbers.

The new line of Case engines followed the design of the 80 Case which was first built in 1911. The contractors bunkers were smaller and had the draw-bar underneath, and the wheels, shafting and gearing were all heavier and stronger than on the old line of engines.

The 60 Case was not built in 1914, 1915, 1916. Some 75 Case engines were built in 1914, none in 1915. They made a good comeback in 1916 and 1917 and forty 75 Case engines were built in 1922. There were about 200 Case engines built in 1917 and 1919 and then the 60 Case again got the axe forever.

The 60 Case and the 36'x58' thresher was considered the most popular Case rig. Well in 1914 the Case Company tried to push the 65 Case paired with the 36'x58' thresher. Steam plowing was fast disappearing about then and thresher-men couldn't see spending about five to seven hundred dollars for an engine with plow gears to pull a thresher down the road.

The coming of the tractors for plowing ironically gave the 60 and 75 Case a reprieve from an early grave.

That was an interesting account about the so-called one-of-a-kind Case engine, that Mr. Thomas Lee wrote in the Sept./Oct. IMA.

I know where there is a 20 HP trunk compound, center crank Case built in 18%, No. 6559 that has similar wheels and smokestack. The wheels are equipped with the 'Moore' grouter and the smokestack is equipped with a spark arrester and was made entirely of cast iron.

The last center crank engine and the first side crank engines apparently had the new style clutch developed on them at the same time, and the center crank had a new style six spoke clutch wheel.

I wonder how many Case experts know that the company experimented with the upside down Woolff gear on the center crank Case.

A man named George W. Morris was somehow associated with the Case Company in the late 1890's into the 1900's, and the Case Company built some big engines for him and he later built some machinery at Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Another photo from Harlyn Hoppcs (see preceding page). 'I would think this picture was taken around 1900 in Landers Co. Looks like my Uncle Frank Eyler on the Russell engine. The machine belonged to my grandfather, Landers Eyler, who passed away in 1938.

My late father told me that he saw some drawings of various new machines that were patented back around 1900, in some publications, and one drawing was of the side crank spring mounted Case steamer, patented by George W. Morris who assigned the patent to the Case Company. It is quite possible that George Morris could have designed the mystery engine also.

The caption with the drawing of the side crank made no mention of the name Case.

'Big Mac' McMillan of Kansas in 1956 wrote a very comprehensive article about the legendary 150 Case road locomotive. It was printed in Engineers & Engines. According to his research at the factory with the help of some Case people, eleven Case boilers were built, three tractions were built, one was not recovered, but apparently the other two were shipped back to the factory and scrapped and the boilers were sold as skid boilers, which was the likely fate of the eight remaining boilers. The Case Company put serial numbers on skid boilers.

You say that this is old news, well now for the proof. My 1917 original Case repair book for the side crank engines lists a complete line of repairs for the first side crank engine built.

It mentions the 150 Case but the only repairs are listed for the boiler proper, nothing else, and the description is 150 H. Skid. So there you have it; the Case Company speculated that the first side crank spring mounted engine was still around in 1917, but they knew the 150 Case engines weren't because they had no repairs listed for them. How can someone argue with this?

The Case was a homely engine, however, too bad it didn't get a chance to redeem itself.

To some people, Case could do no wrong, yet they are quite willing to believe that six more lemons were built like the first three 150 Case. Big Mac's research could find no evidence that the gearing was redesigned, and that says it all.

Our Case expert from Canada made some inconsistent remarks about the first Case 32 HP, about the design of the two-speed being similar to that of the 150 Case and he remarked that after several engines were built, the single speed was adopted and the two-speed was dropped.

The Case Company built a two-speed in a new design and apparently were satisfied with its performance because they listed it as optional equipment in 1909 yet on the 32 HP.

My late father fed me a lot of valuable information about the steam engine as I grew up. He was that one in a hundred persons that really liked all steamers, not because they were current. I have quite a few numbers of engines he knew of up to 90 years ago.'

Here is a chance for someone to help out a fellow enthusiast as BOB SORRENSEN, JR., 255 West Laurel Road, Bellingham, Washington 98226 writes: 'I am writing to obtain information on a boiler that I own. The boiler is a vertical fire tube 48' in diameter having 140, seven foot two inch tubes. The tubes are expended and beaded, the stay bolts taped, riveted and drilled. The shell firebox top and bottom tube sheets and all external brackets are electric welded.

The construction company that I acquired this from I assume had purchased it from some government surplus agency. The boiler is still coated inside as well as outside with Cosmoline. Stamped above the firebox door in ' block letters is the following:

Anyone who is aware of the meaning of this, I would appreciate the information. The pressure rating, date and builder I am aware of and only those.'

This letter came: 'To Iron Men Album Subscribers thought they might be interested. I was just old enough to be 'the Hired Man'.

'8 or 12 HP Frick belonging to Mr. Harry Baker and Sons. Doing a threshing job for Col. Hewitt on the Hill Farm at Freeport, PA about 1920.

Engine backwards to keep sparks off barn roof and lessen fire hazards. If the picture were larger you could see George Baker feeding the thresher. The thresher was a 22 x 36 Clark Williams wind stacker. Is that a Ford or a Chevy truck? I don't remember. Thresher was on right side of barn floor. Would say that it would be quite a job to back that next load of sheaves into the barn on the left side. That's the next load parked in front of the engine. Truck was the water wagon.

I remember a remark by one of the Baker boys, Kenny, I think, that the 8 HP Frick didn't have quite enough power for the job. The 12 HP did.' This letter was signed: The Hired Man, 41 N. Charlotte St., Johnstown, PA 15900.

This letter comes from BLAKE MALKAMAKI, 10839 Girdled Road, Painesville, Ohio: 'I would like to know if anyone has any information or suggestions on building a dynamometer or prony brake for deter-mining horsepower.

'I was considering using a hydraulic pump for the load. A belt pulley would be attached to the pump shaft. The load could be adjusted using a globe valve installed parallel to a relief valve. The oil would then go through a cooler of some kind, then to a tank. The pump, with an arm attached, would be allowed to rotate on bearings. The end of the arm would be rested on a scale. By measuring the weight applied to the scale, the length of the arm, and the rpm of the pump, the horsepower of an engine should be determined.

'Using the formula:

HP=2 pie nPr

Pie = 3.14159; n = r.p.m.; P = lbs. force on scale; r = radius or length of arm in feet.

'I don't know what type or size pump to use. What size pulley? Piping arrangements? Pressure to run? R.P.M. range? Length of arm or scale? Oil volume and cooling? Is this idea even feasible?

'I would like to make this whole unit portable, so that it could be taken to shows and used to determine the horsepower of any size traction engine, or even small tractors or gas engines.' (So there you are, fellow gas buffs, see what help you can be to your buddy.)

1900 German hot air engine made by Joseph Fast, part of a collection of 6 German and 24 other makes of hot air engines owned by Al Cropley, 4807 Lake Washington Blvd. S., Seattle, WA 98118.

Word comes from TED ESTY, whose letter appeared in the January/-February 1989 column. Ted was pleased with the response he got in regard to his questions about steam generating systems. He has recently changed his address, and apologizes to those trying to reach him at his former location. His new address and phone number are: Ted Esty, HC #1, Box 278, Posey, California 93260; 805-536-8203.

In closing I'd like to print this small poem might cheer you up and maybe you could pass that cheer on.


For feelings come and feelings go, And feelings are deceiving; My warrant is the Word of God Nought else is worth believing. I'll trust in God's unchanging Word Till soul and body sever For, though all things shall pass away, His Word shall stand forever.

And that's something to hold on to, folks. And here's a teaser: Don't criticize your wife's judgement see who she married! Have a wonderful season, folks, and keep in touch. Love you!