Soot in the flues

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We are really in the throes of Winter as this publication goes to pressand that means many of you are long past the shows and reunions, but already I can picture you with that gleam in your eye as you put forth efforts to bring a rusted piece of equipment into a thing of beauty. Remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder and while they may not be beautiful to the everyday crowd that has not been bitten by the 'steam bug' they are really precious gems to the builder or refinisher. Keep plugging and before you know it, spring will be here with the anticipated events leading into the summer attractions. And just as spring turns dead sticks of wood and plain barren ground into beautiful buds, flowers, thick grasses and woodsy plants and shady trees so will the artistic ability of many of you shine forth as you so proudly load up the machinery and head east, west, north and south to the many shows and museums and rallies and you succumb to the feeling 'Oh, all that work was really worth it,' and a joy to remember and gaze upon on into the years.

And referring to the above I just came across this What is hope? Hope is wishing for a thing to come true. Hope is wanting something so eagerly that, in spite of all the evidence that you're not going to get it, you go right on wanting it. And the remarkable thing about it is that this very act of hoping produces a kind of strength of its own. Norman Vincent Peale. (I don't know about you, but I think that fits very well into the hopes and determinations you folks have in creating beauties from the past forgotten itemsseems it just was right for me to relate this to you). Also, I just came across this writing by Frances Louise Medlin taken from the Guidepost Treasury of Hope:


'Last night a slight north wind that seemed no more than a gentle puff took the apple tree down. It's lying prone and wilted now, still heavily laden with its last mellow fruit.'

'For weeks we have known its days were numbered. Its gnarled trunk was infested with a decay that would not be controlled and yet, again this April, it delighted every passerby with the profusion of its delicate pink-white blooms, followed by apples that soon grew to the 'picking stage.'

'Over the years its spreading branches have been a veritable haven for the small boys and girls of the family, who along with their elders feasted many mornings on apple jelly for breakfast and apple pie for dinner.'

'Yes, we shall miss our apple tree with a deep and abiding poignancy, and yet, we are grateful indeed for the lessons that the life has taught us the uncomplaining bearing of one's daily load, the quiet courage of doing one's duty even under physical stress, the necessity for giving to the world all of the beauty and goodness that are ours to share.'

I read this with interest and it brought to my mind an incident that happened to us this summer. We do not have a lot of trees, but when we moved here ten years ago there was an apple tree right outside our kitchen window, and it produced beautiful fruits for a number of years, large gorgeous apples that I understand had grown this way from grafting two kinds of apples. They were green and a beautiful pink on top turning to shades of red also. Well a couple of years ago it did not bear fruit any more. My husband and our youngest son, Tom, 25, said more than once, 'We're just going to have to cut that apple tree down,' and for a couple of years I would change the subject and tell them how I loved that treeit was very misshapen, leaning far over to one side, but to me it had character and I did not want to see it go.

You know, trees have a life the same as we do, all made by our Creator and I believe the tree heard the remarks of the men hereabout. Well, one day I noticed that after several years of non-growth, miraculously, the tree put forth buds and grew in a splendid manner, the branches reaching out seemed to say 'Just look at me now,' the apples were gorgeous many of them weighing over a pound. Well, one day we had a heavy rain for a day and night and as I looked out the window, next morning, there was our beautiful apple tree, which had fallen through the rain being so heavy and leaning as it was pulled the big roots out with a few side ones to the ground, but oh my, so heavily laden with scrumptious apples. It had been a few years since I had made applesauce and apple pies, (not only because there were no apples, but due to health conditions I could not have done it.) BUT did we make use of those gorgeous fruits from our God! We gave several bushels away to our friends and I like to think that the tree after hearing it might meet its death with a saw decided to go out of this world 'in a blaze of glory' and there are many of us this winter that will share the delicious pies and applesauce from the beautiful gnarled tree. Yes, it was cut down by a saw, a hand saw and an electric saw, but not yet giving up the ghost. It will warm the hearth this year of a dear friend and send up its delightful aroma of apple tree wood. At least now, the tree was dead and not put to its demise while it still had such beauty and life. I thank you, God! I don't know if anyone else feels as I do, but I had a good feeling of it going away with such a dramatic ending. And I believe many of you folks understand what I am trying to say.

And now on to the interesting letters which come from our Iron-Men Family please keep the communications coming. Don't think you can't do it, you are the backbone of this publication. I am happy to type, edit, peruse and enjoy as I prepare your gleanings of the past.

An interesting letter and request comes from LARRY D. VAN DEMARK, 209 N. Grimes, Carl Junction, Missouri 64834. He writes: 'I stopped at a 'used equipment yard' and it was full of old mining equipment. While there, I bought a Gardner Duplex 4 1/2 x 3 x 4, boiler feed pump, serial number 24318, at a very good price.

'Also, while at the same place, I spotted and bought two small steam turbines. The only identification on the two turbines is the nameplates on the governor housing: Coppus Engineering Corporation, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. Type TF V9, Nozzle 12, HP 2.7, RPM 2900. Turbine #1 Machine No. 53T358. Turbine #2 Machine No. 53T359. The turbines are identical and have consecutive serial machine numbers.'

'The steam inlet is 3/4 inch pipe, the exhaust is a 2 inch pipe. Looking in the exhaust part, I can see two fan blades of a cup type blade.'

'I have restored two reciprocating steam engines and one Duplex boiler feed-pump. But restoring a steam turbine is something very new and a little foreign to me.'

'If anyone knows anything about the Coppus Engineering Corporation of Worcester, Massachusetts, I would certainly appreciate any information.'

'If any of the IMA readers ever worked on or restored a small steam turbine of the type I have described, please let me hear from you. Keeps the steam up!' (Please, if you can help Larry get some data off to him after all you are brothers in the same hobby, and I'm sure you all like to help each other.)'

Brian Krog, RR1, Box 124, Lake Benton, MN 56149 sends this photo of a 20 HP undermounted Avery at an early Mt. Pleasant show.

Sometime back, we received a phone call in the office, and then a note from ROBERT S. DART of 1024 A Brixton Court, Sterling, VA 22170. Robert is a teacher who works with students and model engines. His question was how one could tell the actual horsepower of an engine from which a model was made. We referred the question to Paul White at Rough and Tumble which is nearby Stemgas. Paul did some research and found a formula for projecting this information. It goes like this:

P = Pressure, Lb. squared
A = Are of Piston, In. squared
L = Length of Stroke
N = Strokes per Minute
PLAN divided by 33,000 = ind. HP.

We thought we would pass this information so that it could be used by anyone else who may have a model engine derived from an original of unknown HP. And we are indebted to Paul for his help!

BILLY M. BYRD, 369 S. Harrig Street, Madisonville, Kentucky 42431 is a regular contributor to IMA and we get personal items from Billy too. I thought I would share this with you. This was written in early November: 'How is everything up north? It's beginning to get cold down here. I have finished at Chattanooga, Tennessee for the season.' (Many of you probably know, and for those that do not, Billy works at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum for quite a few months out of the year, and he runs an engine there, which I'm sure keeps him quite happy).

'Last month the L & N Historical Society had their convention at Chattanooga and did we have a time! We had a night photo session, and I let all I could ride the engine. We had a banquet and they started showing N C & St. L, Southern, C. of Ga. L & N and TAG steam and diesel slides at 8:00 p.m. and it lasted until 3:00 a.m. I cut out at 11:00.'

'There were two L & N men on the engine and my former boss. I ran the Shepard last Sunday in a Veteran's Day Parade. 'Will run it December 2 and 9 in the Christmas Parades, then will put it to bed for the winter.'

'I've been sawing wood with the 1/2-size 65 Case, but have already put it away. I'm sending in a death notice for the Golden Roll. (See page 25.) I'm sorry it is written in longhand but don't have a typewriter and if I had one, I wouldn't know how to use it.'

'Things were hectic here for awhile. My wife had triple by-pass heart surgery September 25th, but has gotten along fabulously. We are thankful for that.'

Billy tells us, and I'm sure he would mean it for each of you, 'I hope you and yours are fine and that you have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Joyous Christmas. Take care now, because I care. All the best, Billy.' I certainly think that is a neat ending. (Received this picture of Billy and it is really good and thought you might want to see it, too).

JACK MULFORD, R.D.#1, Box 8894, Lodi, New York 14860 comments: 'I need information about the geared water-feed pump on my 65 HP 1915 Case traction engine. Are the suction valve seats pressed or screwed in? If pressed in, how are they removed? Any help in this matter will be appreciated.'

Here is a letter we all should be interested in, as it comes from one of our future steam engine men. 'My name is JOSHUA NACE, 5540 Board Road, Mt. Wolf,, Pennsylvania 17347. l am 13 years old. Since I was 7, I have been interested in steam engines. The only engine I ever had a chance to run was Harry Bechtold's 1921, 9x10 Frick, owned by the late Harvey Hoffman. Now, I would like to get the Iron-Men Album at my house. I take them to school some times and in Science I get chances to explain different things about steam engines. I am going to try to write up a story on the late Harvey Hoffman's engine.' (Great, Joshua, and we are so glad to hear from youmaybe you could inspire some of our long time IMA friends to write some more stories also. Without more articles and stories the Soot in the Flues will no longer send up that black smoke. Also, perhaps your letter will be an inspiration to a lot of fellows your age to just write in and express your views or your ambitions and stories. I know there have to be more young men your age interested in steam.)

I had a real nice 'chat' on the phone recently with ED LARSON, R.R. 1, Box 64, Milan, Kansas 67105. He was commenting on how much the articles and items put in the IMA help him and a lot of others. Ed is one of the younger steam enthusiasts at age 29, but hopefully will be a regular contributor to our Soot in the Flues, and again I hope he inspires the other men who have such a wealth of information on this fascinating hobby to get those letters rolling in to Anna Mae(I'll be glad to translate them). The following is our first letter from Ed Larson.

'I am sending you a picture of my 1920 18 HP Advance Rumely Universal steam engine #15228 which I restored this past year. I am surely thankful that Chady Atteberry exposed me to the steam bug a couple of years ago. I received a lot of help on my engines from fellows like Dale Wolff, who went on the 'engine hunt' with me, Joe Harper, who paints wonderful decals for my bunker, and Harold Ottaway, who had an Advance steam gauge and an original tool box.'

'My engine will make her first show at the big Rumely Oil Pull Expo at Pawnee, Oklahoma on May 4, 5, 6, 1990.'

'You know there are so many wonderful people in our steam hobby. But we 'younger folks' owe a great deal of gratitude to men like Harold Ottaway, Lyman Knapp, Ivan Burns and yes, the youngster of the lot, Chady Atteberry. If it weren't for these fellows going against the 'normal' thinking of society and saving these engines and tractors from the scrappers, there would be nothing left for us today except pictures in books.'

'We think we catch heck from neighbors and family members today; just think what it was like before collecting was fashionable. Not to mention the knowledge we have acquired from these fellows. I hope to repay these men some day for what they have done for me, by passing it all along to the next generation.'

'Ivan Burns and Chady Atteberry put a lot of time and effort into our steam school at Pawnee. Without their efforts, I doubt Steve Dunn, Dale Wolff or myself would ever have owned a steam engine. And at Pawnee we have more with the engines than just a 'smoker'. We have both Prony brake and drawbar horsepower testing. Also the steam games on Friday evenings. And when it comes to the steam games on Friday evenings, I think of our old friend Web Mooney of Nortonville, Kansas. Web says, 'Engineers in separator setting contest always put on a show; sometimes it's a disgusting one, but always a show.''

'Well, enough of my talk, I just wanted to thank these good friends and remind all my fellow collectors to always remember and appreciate what these men went through and did for us so we can enjoy our hobby today.

'My picture is of the 1920 18 HP Advance Rumely Universal #15228 in the belt on the Baker fan.'

'I have taken your magazine for several years and needless to say, I enjoy it very much,' writes MYRON EASTES, 7156 Twin Oaks Drive #E, Indianapolis, Indiana 46226.

'I am enclosing a picture of a little engine I bought and a small model Baker fan I made. I feel that many of your readers, who like myself, love steam but live in an apartment, or have limited space and cannot have anything bigger, would be interested in this. The engine has a single action cylinder, but bolted to the fan runs and sounds very realistic. I run it everyday that I don't work. The cigarette pack is to show its relative size.'

These pictures and letter come from RUSS ABENDROTH, Route 1, Greenville, Wisconsin 54942. He writes: 'Enclosed are two pictures. No. 1 (left) is a 40 HP Case at the Calumetville Engine Show. This was their first show. The engine belongs to Wymon Beotcher. Standing on the platform is Wymon's son, Carl. Carl invited me aboard to steer, while he ran the throttle and moved it to another spot at the show.

'Picture No. 2 (right) is of John Sell and his 1/4-scale of a 65 HP Case engine and his threshing machine. I was water boy, coal shoveler and all around engine tender to keep things going. '

This winter's project is to make a small water wagon as I had many long hauls with a small pail for water.

'Also enclosed is a small clipping from the local paper. They always have their history column of what happened in 1889, 100 YEARS AGO. The clipping reads: 'Looking BackDon Mendyke of the Post-Crescent staff Steam Threshers a Problem, from the Appleton Post, October 1889. 'Steam threshers have been playing havoc in many parts of the state this fall. Although few accidents have occurred from explosions many have resulted from sparks from smokestacks, and considerable property has in consequence been destroyed. As the fall has by no means been a dry one, it is rather difficult to give a reason why so many more fires than usual have been caused by these engines.' (Remember this was 1889).'

And now, dear friends, time to end my visit with you this time and as expected, I leave you with these: One today is better than ten tomorrows Patience surpasses learning The good you do is not lost, though you forget it False friends are worse than open enemies And here is a good thought for each of us SEND ME Dear Father, to the hopeless ones, that are in such deep need, And have no one to turn to, They need one friend to heed. Oh comfort and uphold them, And draw them close to Thee, And if there is no one to guide, Dear Lord, send me, send me. (Written by Rosina Stallman.) God bless each one of you. I love you all and would like to hear from you. Good or bad comments, let me know!