Soot in the flues

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We are most appreciative that our readers are continuing to write in to our Soot in the Flues column. This time we hear from some of our mainstay contributors, as well as from some seeking help for the first time. This is a tribute to the fine job Anna Mae did for so many years, encouraging the sharing of information and assistance among our family of subscribers.

Our first letter comes from DICK HEAVEN, 155 W. Cross Street, Box 36, Clarksville, Michigan 48815, who writes: 'It's with regret that we have to write this, but we know that Anna Mae is in a better place with no pain and no worries. We sure miss her bits of wisdom, questions and faith in God that would shine through her articles. Many years ago she came with her boss, Reverend Ritzman, to National Threshers Association, and I believe Reverend had her running an engine with help. I guess it's up to us to keep the Soot in the Flues going in her memory. We appreciate her dedication and for a job well done.

'We went to Ypsilanti and picked up David and son Tom, and went to N.T.A. and it rained. It was so muddy on the grounds and we had such big plans.

'In July we went to Mason, Michigan, to the show there and camped, but on Saturday we returned to Lake Odessa for Depot Day. We are in the process of restoring the old 1888 Pere Marquette depot for a museum. It takes work and money. In August we had the Clarksville Steam and Gas Association Show on the 19th, 20th and 21st, our 5th year. We had more of everything engines, tractors, and people.

'Labor Day weekend we took the trailer and went to Milton, Ontario, to Steam Era. It was fun to watch their threshing contest.

'We also took time out to go to the Van Buren Fly wheelers. All in all, we had a pretty good summer.

'Now I am trying to figure out where my summer's wages went!'

MAURICE L. HOOKS, 7490 Woodridge Lane N.W., Bremerton, Washington 98311 sent us this: 'I read with interest the letter from Mr. Lamb and Mr. Rhode in the January/February '95 issue and would like to make a comment or two on the subject of boiler certification and seam strength.

'I would be the first to agree with Mr. Lamb and Mr. Rhode that the states, in their effort to protect the public, occasionally write into law codes which are over restrictive, unnecessary or impractical when it comes to the certification and operation of boilers.

'There are numerous reasons for this, most being based in the lack of technical competence of the authority and the growing political pressure to protect us all from ourselves at no risk to the government. Unfortunately, when inappropriate laws are enacted, they are much harder to correct than if the job had been done competently to begin with.

'As one who has had several years experience in (and responsibility for) the design, fabrication, testing and operation of pressure vessels of all sorts, it is my opinion that the certification and operation of boilers (any boiler) should be based on the following factors:

1. The design strength of the boiler.

2. The condition of the boiler and its effect on the strength.

3. The condition and operational reliability of the safety appliances.

'This varies somewhat from what was presented by the authors, however it is presented from my view of what the boiler code should be based upon. The 'condition of the engineer' is certainly a factor in operation and may be considered as a basis for a state licensing program, however, it is not a limiting condition of the certification process for a boiler which may be operated by numerous 'engineers.' It's the certification program that is restricting the operation of traction engines and older boilers, not the qualifications of their operators.

'The authors discussed at length the relative merits of lap seam joints with those of the butt strap configuration. They also implied that there are many misleading 'facts' and 'laws' concerning the relative strength of the two joints. Unfortunately those misleading 'facts' and laws' abound on both sides of the fence. It remains, however, an engineering reality (I'll not use 'fact') that given two joints of the same material, dimensions and patterns, the butt strap joint will be more than twice as strong as the lap seam joint. This is due to the inherent design of the butt strap joint which has twice the plate surface area in contact and under friction (clamping) force of the rivets as does the lap seam. The butt strap joint also has twice the area of rivet shear. With all other factors equal, this alone makes the butt strap joint twice as strong. Incidentally, it's this clamping force, caused by the rivets, coupled with caulking, which seals the joint, not boiler pressure pushing outward.

'The authors are correct in that the internal pressure does tend to 'unroll' the plate of the cylinder. This causes the forces (stresses) within the boiler shell to be tangential rather than radial, in other words in line with the 'hoop' of the shell, not pushing outwards across the shell. At the joint, these forces are trying to pull the joint apart in line with the hoop, not outwards across the joint. Try to keep a piece of paper in a roll by holding the edges together, the forces are in line with the paper, not across it.

'The reason the butt strap joint is greater than twice as strong (all other things being equal) is that the lap seam joint tends to twist as it is being pulled apart by the hoop forces. This twisting lessens the clamping friction and causes a combination of stresses (shear and tensile) in the rivet resulting in the lap seam joint having weaknesses not found in the butt strap joint.

'To answer Mr. Lamb's and Mr. Rhode's question: 'Which is better: the lap seam or the butt strap?' I would have to state, unequivocally, that the lap seam joint, as proven theoretically and empirically, is an inherently weaker design. Having said that, it should in no way be interpreted as meaning that a boiler with a lap seam joint should not be certified and operated. Quite the contrary, given that an operating pressure (not necessarily the manufacturer's operating pressure) can be determined from the specific boiler design as mitigated by the actual condition of the boiler, and given that approved, functional safety appliances are installed, practically any boiler could be (should be) certified and operated. Whether or not that certified operating pressure is sufficient to power a thrasher or saw mill would depend solely on the actual design and condition of the boiler, not myths and superstitions as to its strength (past or present).

'I fear that I have thrown a shovel or two of soot back into the flues. Unfortunately I believe it is necessary because, if we are to get reasonable codes passed for the operation of our engines, we must approach the authorities with technically correct and sound engineering arguments, not reactionary, sometimes mythical rhetoric, the latter being what the authorities are all too often using to justify their positions. Thank you for your time and consideration.'

William Balisky's 1922 photo includes among neighbors and friends, his Uncles George and Nick Balisky, his Aunt Stacia and his cousin.

This comes from WILLIAM BALISKY, 34524 York Avenue, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada V2S 2W9: 'I really miss your magazine as I grew up with steam engines and I have many stories to tell or write which I always wanted to do.

'I always placed your magazine as one big Christian family and it is very heart-warming to belong or whatever you may call it. (I call it a family of old steam engine love.) I lost my loving wife last April 10. We came home from church, had dinner together, and her last words she said, 'I'm awfully tired, you wake me up to help you with the dishes.' I also lay on the sofa and I seemed restless, and about half an hour later I went to wake her up but that was the biggest shock of my life-she was gone!

'We had another year to go to make it 60 years together! I was so depressed and in shock that only now I'm getting to feel like myself. I'll be 83 years old next March 3rd.

'By the way, my father and his brothers all homesteaded in Dodgen, North Dakota, which they have changed to Butte, North Dakota. My dad, his father and his brothers lived there from 1902 to 1912 when they all moved to Grande Prairie Alberta, Canada .'

LARRY G. CREED, R.R. #13, Box 209, Brazil, Indiana 47834 writes: 'I have been a reader and subscriber of your magazine for several years. I have also contributed articles in the past and have recently submitted material to be printed. I would like to recommend some ideas for your consideration.

'First of all I think you need to keep a version of the Anna Mae column in order that readers can write in with information, opinions, and etc. One of my ideas is to reprint some of the old articles which are interesting because of the information contained or article content. I think one reprint article per issue would enhance the magazine.

'My other idea would be to devote space in each issue to old steam pictures. I remember old issues where a full page spread was used for a steam engine farm scene photograph. I found these pictures to be particularly interesting.

'Like most steam people I want to see interesting steam articles.

'I am a supervisor at a large electric utility in the state of Indiana so I am well acquainted with meeting deadlines.'

As you can see, Larry, we're continuing Soot in the Flues, and we're always open to suggestions like yours. We recently purchased a large collection of old steam postcards we'll be using in coming issues, and we will certainly consider reprinting some articles from the early days of IMA. Anyone have a fovorite he'd like to suggest? Let us know!

From A. LOREN LINDSAY, R.R. 2, Box 128B, N. Mankato, Minnesota 56003 we hear this: 'While reading a lumberman's magazine I ran across this article which is an excerpt from an old issue of IMA:

'Frank E. Jefferson of Minnesota was one who ran a successful saw mill. In 1916 he had about 12,000 feet of logs to saw when he discovered that the mill where he planned to have them cut into lumber had raised its price from $5.50 to $6.50 per thousand. This prompted him to purchase a No. 1 American Mill with a 48' saw at the cost of $212. Heretofore he had not operated a mill, but had worked some about one in his youth.

'Jefferson carefully read the instructions that came with the mill he had purchased in Minneapolis and set about his work. He recalled that 'I sawed only two logs the first day and spoiled half of the first one. The next day went better and I sawed 2,000 feet of lumber and sawed it well.' He employed two men to help him at a $1.00 a day and board. Besides sawing for 8 hours per day these men helped him with chores. In six 8-hour days they sawed the 12,000 feet of lumber at an estimated cost of $76.32. He figured his outlay would have been $134.00 had he taken his logs to the nearby mill. Not only did he believe that he saved money, but that he made money. Neighbors brought logs for him to saw at a fee he did not disclose.'

'I am still operating this American #1 friction drive mill at its original site. (See photo) One of the hired men mentioned in the article was my father. He worked there as a hired man, eventually renting the farm from Frank Jefferson, and later purchasing the farm and the mill from the Jeffersons in 1947. He continued operating the mill through the years, then I purchased the farm from my father in 1965. The mill was powered with an 8-16 Avery until 923, when Jefferson purchased a 15-27 Heider, which ran the mill much better. I still have the 15-27 Heider, which is in good running condition today.

'My wife Betty and I are members of LeSueur County Pioneer Power and Stearns County Pioneer Club of Albany, Minnesota. We attend several shows during the year and help in each sawmill.'

Elwood Dewhurst writes, 'The owners only showed up at parade time and I was the operating slave as you might guess! Anderson engine family, New Rockford, ND, 1978.'

ELWOOD D. DEWHURST, 712 N. Front Street, Crookston, Minnesota 56716-1252 writes: 'I hope you will put this article in the archives as I have no idea how old that tractor was and it is probably, by now, melted down. This all happened when I lived in Saskatchewan. I am sorry I did not have more time to tend this picture but there must be someone out there who knows as much as I do about the Buffalo Pitts tractor such as the 4-cylinder 40-70 model with cross ways engine.

'I seem to remember now that there was a 12-bottom Avery power lift plow at the home, but the tractor was far away from home, which seems to tell me they must have been threshing when the engine went to pot, then the threshing machine probably was taken away.

'This old tractor was the backing to home base of our school yard baseball field, and as I think of it now (I am just 86 now, so don't expect too much of me anymore) that could have been the reason why we had cut threads on our baseball all the time.'

PAUL RENO, 3254 Kansas Street, Oakland, California 94602 sends this: 'Looking at the picture of the engine on page 23 of the January/February issue I have never seen that picture or a picture of an engine with that kind of a smoke stack cone. But it is a Daniel Best, 45 HP as it is too short to be the 110 HP, as the water tank can't be seen up front and it also has 8' x 3' WT wheels. It is not a Remington or a McLaughlin 60 HP and from the square firebox door, the straw pile and pitch fork at rear, I would say it is being fired with straw. I never read in the Best Catalog about any of their engines made to fire with straw. Sure hope someone can positively identify it.'

(We took a closer look at this picture with a magnifying lens in the office, and we do seem to see wood stored at the rear of the engine.)

'I took a trip the month of August to Irricana, Alberta, Show and the North Battleford Saskatchewan Show in Canada, and I highly recommend attending their shows. Tom Kemperling had a real good J.I. Case Heritage Show and North Brattleford has a nice year-round museum to spend a day. Also in October I took in the Paso Robles Pioneer Day Parade. They have a lot of machinery on parade, and the Gas Up at Pioneer Park, Paso Robles, California. I helped with the afternoon threshing and hay baling display. It was a good show.'

JOE B. DILL, 7931 Lascassas Pike, Lascassas, Tennessee 37085 wrote this: 'Soot in the Flues is still answering questions for me. First I'd like to express my sympathy to the family of Anna Mae on her passing last year. We, who enjoy Soot in the Flues, will miss her arrangement of the column.

'As usual I received an answer to my questions in the September/October issue about how Mr. Hardy added a super heater to a 60 Case steam engine, as described in an article in IMA May/June 1987.

'MR. MORRIS BLOMGREN, 10139 Blomgren, Siren, Wisconsin 54872, who now owns the 60 Case with the super heater, wrote me and sent pictures of the 60 Case with the attachment that answered my question. Mr. Blomgren's description of the super heater and pictures will better describe the super heater than I can describe it.

'I will, as Mr. Blomgren suggested, enclose his letter to me with 5 the pictures so that IMA readers can i enjoy reading about the super heater. 'Thank you, Mr. Blomgren, for answering my question.'

McLaughlin 60 HP 1903 or 1905. Only five were known to have been built and they worked logging around Mt. Shasta, California. Located at Internmountain Fairgrounds, McArthur, California, 1943.

22 HP Advance owned by Dick Wiley family, Arroyo Grande, CA. Crew: Ernie Purlich, Carson Wiley and Paul Reno.

This is the letter:

'Mr. Dill, Well, I don't know you but I saw you were interested in the super heater in the September/October 1994 IMA. In summer I don't get to read the magazines but comes winter I read them. I didn't look it up, but I suppose maybe you mean the super heater in the 60 HP Case engine that I have now. At the time I was sawing yo yo's for Hardy Lindblad. He has passed away and I have the engine now. He built these super heaters himself. There is one in the engine now and also one more he built which is not in anything.--I just have it lying here. I never heard of anyone else who built them or used them. Someone told me they used to have them in railroad engines. I don't know. But it was a water saver. We could run the sawmill for two six-hour days on 450 gallons of water, whereas Minneapolis would use 800 gallons in six hours.

'It takes the steam from the dome into that hole on the side of the Case engine and then this heater is made with coils going around in the top of the fireboxes back out to the cylinder rather than from the dome to the cylinder. So the steam comes 100 percent dry to the cylinder. No moisture.

'I hope you can make out what I am trying to say. I used to be pretty good with words years ago but I have forgotten.

'This one picture shows the side of the engine where the tubes go. The other one is that other one I have not in an engine. There is one like it in the engine. Hardy Lindblad made all that stuff. I own it now.'

CHARLES SINDELAR, S47 W23200 Lawnsdale Road, Waukesha, Wisconsin 53186 writes: 'Over the years I have talked to a number of people who have had difficulties obtaining steam cylinder oil. Many always have doubts as to its quality, and of considerable importance is the percentage of tallow that it contains. The attached spec sheet shows the two types of steam cylinder oil that is sold by Citgo. Even if it is not carried in stock by your local dealer, it should be no problem for any Citgo distributor to get some for you. You will likely have to order in five gallon lots which should not be a problem if you use your engine very much.

'You will note that the 400-5 contains 5% tallow, and that 680-7 contains 7% tallow. I have used both types and believe that they are both satisfactory. Our local distribution keeps both types in stock and sells them regularly for worm gear lubes. I am apparently his only customer with a steam cylinder.' (See product sheet below.)

CITGOLUBRICANTSProduct InformationCITGO CYLINDER OILS DESCRIPTION: CITGO Cylinder Oils are compounded lubricants designed primarily for specific use in steam cylinders, gas compressor cylinders, and worm gear drives QUALITIES: Grade 680-7 is formulated with steam-refined cylinder stocks. Grade 400-5 contains high viscosity index, solvent-refined bright stock. Both grades are compounded with a high grade animal fatty oil for improved metal adhesion. Because of their fat content, these oils provide excellent lubrication even when in contact with steam of low to medium pressure and of wet to saturated quality. APPLICATIONS: CITGO Cylinder Oils are recommended for the lubrication of steam cylinders over a wide range of operating conditions and steam quality. Both grades are widely used as lubricants for gas compressors having separate cylinder lubrication. They are especially recommended where wet conditions exist in these cylinders. Because of their compounding, both grades may be utilized in certain types of worm gear drives. Grade 400-5 falls into the category of AGMA 7 compounded lubricant for worm gear service. Grade 680-7 may be used where AGMA 8 compounded lubricant is required.

Pounds Per Gallon
Flash Point. °F (°1C), Min.
Viscosity, cSt at 40° C
Viscosity, cSt at 100° F
Viscosity, SUS at 100° F
Viscosity, SUS at 210°F
Viscosity Index
Pour Point. 'F (C)
Color, ASTM D 1500
Saponification No.
Fatty Oil, %
AGMA Grade
ISO VG No. 27.1
500 (288)
345 - 440
20 (-7)
7 Comp.
- 22.1
500 (260)
612 - 742
35 (+2)
Dk. Green
8 Comp.

Note: (1) Results are typical unless ranges or limits are shown.

And this is also from CHARLES SINDELAR, S47 W23200 Lawnsdale Road, Waukesha, Wisconsin 53186: 'Hope springs eternal, life goes on, and may the spirit of Anna Mae remain with us all forever.

'Regarding boiler construction types and their relative strengths and safety, I don't profess to be an expert on much of anything and I am just as sure that I am not alone in trying to separate the true experts from the 'wanna bees.' As I see it, even if it is true that a butt strap seam is twice as as strong as a lap joint, the real fact of the matter is that both types are plenty strong enough. It just does not matter if you have a lap joint with three rows of rivets or a butt strap with six. Neither joint will fail at the maximum intended working pressure by shearing the rivets.

'I own a 1907, 9 HP Case #18630. I believe this is the only 9 Case in existence with a triple riveted lap seam. It sports a 26 inch waist just like all the Case 9s, 12s, 36s and early small barreled 40s. During this same time period, Case was building its big 12x12, 32 HP engine with a 38 inch waisted barrel. This also sported a triple riveted lap seam. The 9s operated at a maximum intended working pressure of 130 psi, and the 32 HP engines were set for 160 psi. Their 150 road locomotive for that same year had a waist of 42 inches and sported a triple riveted lap seam and also operated at 160 psi. You may be saying, 'So what?' Well, I'd wager a whole pile of fresh buffalo chips that not any of those boilers ever failed by shearing the rivets in the longitudinal seam while at their intended maximum working pressure. The fact is that the shearing strength of these rivets will hold several times their working pressure. I think it is pretty darned immaterial whether the rivets in a triple riveted lap would shear at an estimated 500 psi vs. whether a quadruple riveted butt strap would shear the rivets at 1000 psi. So what? Since our boilers will never attain those pressures, why does it matter if one is twice as strong (if in fact it really is)?

'Anyway, many of the old timers insist that an old boiler will not explode at intended working pressure, and we all have old boilers, don't we? Keep the crown sheet covered and don't exceed the intended maximum working pressure.

'Regarding joint safety, there is a lot more involved than merely shearing strength. Obviously cracks in the sheet would be a major factor. IF there indeed are cracks, I'd say, 'don't fire it at any pressure!'

'The boiler inspection division of the state of Minnesota has a table showing the following

Joint Efficiencies:

Single riveted lap


Double riveted lap


Triple riveted lap


Triple riveted butt strap


Quadruple riveted butt strap


'Since a modern made boiler sports a welded seam, I'd be interested in seeing how the boiler inspection boys in Minnesota rate the joint efficiency of a welded seam. Maybe someone could respond to that in this column. Also listed on this same page from the state of Minnesota is, Factor of Safety butt strap = 6, lap seam = 7. Maybe someone from Minnesota can explain that to us also.

'Regardless of all this, I am going to take a firm stand by agreeing with all those in the old school who believe it is a darned sight safer to stand next to a lap seam boiler in good shape than to be next to a butt strap boiler in poor shape. Until next time!'

From GARY YAEGER, 146 Reiner Lane, Whitefish, Montana 59937 we received this note: 'It came as a deep sadness to me when I learned of the passing of Anna Mae. I finally got up the courage to inflict your readers with my limited knowledge of steam, as it is hard for a 'youngster' to expose himself to the very knowledgeable of this subject who have made a living with steam. I've devoted an immense part of my life to my favorite hobby but I've never had to feed my family with one like my dad did.

'Anna Mae had a way of coaxing stories from us all. I may have upset some of your readers once in a while, but after she presented it in such a professional manner, it made me want to produce more material and I think it affected your other writers the same way. What a sad loss for all of us involved in steam. Would you please pass my condolence on to her family for me? Thank you. I'll be sending you another steam article someday. I know you will all endeavor to continue publishing the best engine publication in the business.'

(Thanks, Gary, for the kind words about Anna Mae and her gentle way of coaxing readers to write. You'll be happy go know her family receives IMA and will read what you've written.)

This request comes from WADE B. FAIREY, Executive Director of York County Historical Commission, Rt. 1, Brattonsville Road, McConnells, South Carolina 29726. 'I am writing to request your help in finding a mid-19th century steam engine to operate a cotton gin. This equipment has long been lost to our area and we are deeply in need of one to help interpret local history to the thousands of students annually visiting Historic Brattonsville.

'We have an 1840s gin and the timber frame house for it. What we do not have is the engine or belts. Our knowledge of even what we need to make our operation accurate is also lacking. Could you please forward my request to someone in your organization who is knowledgeable and helpful?

'Our utmost appreciation would be forthcoming for any help in making our gin operation complete.'

(We hope printing this request in Soot in the Flues will draw a response for this group in need of technical assistance.)

This letter came to us from ERLYN IVERSON, 7019 40 St. SW, Byron, Minnesota 55920: 'In reference to 'Otto's Russell' page 8, of the September/October, 1994 issue of IMA, I'll pass on the information I have on Russell engines.

'This question and answer letter was sent to Mr. Lucius C. Sweet, in Alden, Minnesota, January 30, 1920. It was from Russell and Company of Massillon, Ohio:

'Dear Sir, We are in receipt of your favor of the 26th inst., in which you ask several questions which we will answer seriatim:

'1) What year did you adopt the link-motion, and what year did you discontinue its use?

'We adopted the link-motion in 1878. Of course, it was an old device then, and we discontinued its use in 1883.

'2) What year did you first put the Marsh gear on the Russell engine, and how long did you continue to use it after Mr. Giddings brot out the shifting eccentric gear?

'We first put on the Marsh gear in 1882 and used it until 1887.

'3) What year did you first use the Giddings reverse, and when did you first use the Giddings double ported valve in preference to the slide or 'D' valve?

'We first used this reverse in 1884, while the double ported valve we commenced using in 1883.

'4) Can you please tell me what year the Russell engine first came out with friction clutch, as I know it was the first traction engine so equipped?

'1883 was the first year that we applied the friction clutch to the traction engine.

'5) Can you tell me if the Russell engine was the first traction engine to be fitted with a shifting eccentric reverse gear, and if not, what engine was the first?

'So far as we know, we were the first to apply this kind of reverse to traction engines.'

ERLYN sent additional Russell information to us, including an illustration from a company catalogue, which was accompanied by this text:

The Russell Ring-Balanced Valve

The Russell ring-balanced valve is without exception the best slide valve that is made. It is used on all our engines.

Its advantages are: its double ports, by which a port opening just double the travel of the valve is given; one-eighth inch of travel giving two one-eighth inch openings, admitting a double quantity of steam to the cylinder with a given travel. This gives, as a natural result, a very close approximation to boiler pressure, and maintains this pressure, with slight variation, up to the point of cut-off. This double ported feature also gives a large surplus of wearing surface to the face of the valve, which insures great durability. It takes steam from underneath and has a circular portion cut out in the back of sufficient area to load the valve just enough to keep it from leaving its seat. This valve has no steam in the chest. The ring 'C' makes a steam tight joint that prevents any passage of steam from the valve into the chest. It is noiseless in its action, because no matter what the load or pressure, there is no disturbance or tendency to leave its seat, unless water should be carried over, when the extreme compression of this condition would cause the valve to leave its seat (against the tension of spring D) sufficiently to relieve the water pressure without any accident to either the piston or cylinder.

This valve possesses the essential features of self-adjustment for either water, wear or position, and the fact that the replaning or rescraping of any of these valves is a matter of extremely rare occurrence, is an eloquent testimonial to the balanced equilibrium feature of this valve.

(Accompanying chart appears above.)

Also included in ERLYN IVERSON's package were these instructions from an unidentified source.

Directions for Putting Engine on Dead Center

1. Take up all lost motion in the cross head, connecting rod, crank pin, and main bearings.

2. Turn the engine a little above or a little below center. The crank will be at, say, A, in the figure.

3. Make a punch mark on the engine frame at any convenient point as at B, then with a tram like the one shown in the figure, one end of which is held at B, mark C on the rim of the flywheel, crank or disc.

4. Now make a punch mark on the cross head and another at some convenient place on the guides, as D and E, and set a pair of dividers with points in these two marks.

5. Next turn the engine past center until the cross head comes to the same position as before, and the points of the dividers will exactly fit into the two marks D and E. The crank is now on the other side of center just exactly as far as it was past center in the opposite direction.

6. With the end of the tram in position B, make another mark F, on the rim of the flywheel. Now find by careful measurement, a point on the wheel G exactly midway between C and F. If the engine is now turned until the points of the tram just fit into the marks B and G, the engine will be on dead center. The other dead center should now be found by an exactly similar process.

Directions for Setting a Plain Slide Valve

1. See that the set screw in the eccentric is set tightly; then turn the engine flywheel completely around, and observe if the valve uncovers one port as much as it does the other. If not, adjust the valve on its stem until it does.

2. Put the engine on dead center by means of the trams; then turn the eccentric in the direction the engine is to run until it shows the correct amount of lead about one thirty second of an inch on the side nearest the piston.

3. Secure the eccentric in this position and place the engine on the other dead center and see if the lead is the same.

4. If the lead is not the same, correct one-half of the error by moving the valve on its stem and the other half by moving the eccentric. The valve will now be correctly set.

5. If the measurements in item No. 1 were accurately made, the correction noted in item No. 4 will not be necessary.

6. If no rocker arm, or a direct rocker arm intervenes, the correct position of the eccentric is about 120 degrees ahead of the crank. If there is an indirect rocker arm the eccentric will be about 60 degrees behind the crank.

A final submission was also made by ERLYN of a page from an old book identified only as 'The Thresher's Guide,' from a chapter entitled Lubricants and Lubricators:

'An oil suitable for steam engine cylinders is generally unsuited to gas engines. Steam cylinder oil is what is known as a compounded oil and is made by mixing either an animal or a vegetable oil with a mineral oil. The compound thus partakes of the nature of both. A pure mineral oil will not form an emulsion with water and hence will not adhere to a moist surface. For this reason it is useless for steam cylinders. It has, however, a high flash point which the animal oils do not possess. The compound of the two forms an oil that possesses the characteristics of both and makes a very much better lubricant than either alone.

A cylinder oil when adapted to the pressure carried will atomize or break up into a very fine spray (not a vapor) when caught in the current of steam and becomes intimately mixed with it, thus finding its way to every part that the steam reaches and producing perfect lubrication.

If oil of too low a flash point is used it will be decomposed by the steam forming a gas and its power of lubrication is completely lost. On the other hand, a very heavy oil of too high flash test may not be even atomized, in which case it simply flows down along the inside of the steam pipe and forms a pool in the steam chest. Here again lubrication is a failure. In case a rather heavy oil is used and difficulty is experienced in getting good lubrication it is well to take off the steam chest cover and observe if there is oil in the bottom of the chest. If there is, it is evidence that the oil is too heavy and a change should be made to one somewhat lighter.

ERLYN adds his own comments to the advice above: 'Want a steam cylinder oil that works, mix one pint tallow to a gallon of 60DW Mobil oil. Put in a little STP if you want. When you mix tallow and oil heat up oil some and put in tallow which has to be rendered and put in hot. Mix it good.'

As you know, we're now heading into fine spring weather, and engines will be emerging from barns and sheds.

You'll be heading onto the road for swap meets and auctions.

Well, don't forget to write to Soot in the Flues and let us know what is on your mind and where you're going. And send us pictures and share things you come across in your reading that you think others will enjoy.