Soot in the Flues

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Well, once again, we have quite a few letters this issue, and a lot of really great pictures, so we'll go right to the first one:

'I hope to see these pictures in the magazine,' writes LAWRENCE FULLINGTON JR, 323 9th Avenue West, Palmetto, Florida 34221-5023.

'I spent the 1950 season on the D & C Lines, City of Cleveland III, a large side-wheeler making overnight trips between Detroit and Buffalo. Leaving Detroit at 5.00 p.m. and arriving in Buffalo at 7:00 a.m. Then, turning around departure at 5:00 p.m. and arriving at Detroit at 7:00 a.m. The power plant was a 10,000 HP triple expansion. The wheels had articulated paddles. The area of the crankshaft and connecting rods was glassed-in for viewing either port or starboard. To give you some idea of the size of the operation, we carried 250 maids and stewards to service all the passengers. I haven't mentioned that I was a musician in the small band on board.

'The lowest deck at gangway level was set up to ferry automobiles sometimes three abreast in a big circle around the center. One trip East we carried a large group of club members going to a meet near Buffalo, among which was a Stanley Steamera steamer carrying a Steamer! Using the boat was a favorite way to break up a long auto trip going East or West a smooth ride, pleasant meal, dancing, and an early start the next morning.

'I now have my own Steamer, a 1923 Stanley. A Mr. Ellison had acquired the car about 1958 in very poor condition. The four door body was gone, also the fenders, running boards, headlights, front bumper and hood. Through the Steam Car Club and other sources, he was able to get those items. A friend in the club made a new boiler and burner system a marine type water tube fired by an oil burner-jet type using surplus 24 volt aircraft motors to turn the oil pump feeding the jet. The household burner system was designed to direct-couple to a 110 volt AC motor @ 1750 rpm. It turned out that my aircraft motor only needed eight volts to work.

Courtesy of Lawrence Fullington Jr.

Port Huron Outfit. 'Longfellow' traction and 'Rusher' thresher. My maternal grandparents (right to left) Eva Everett Smith and Willis D. Smith, and other relatives are in the picture. The photo was taken at the farm, two miles east of Kent City, Michigan, probably around 1904 or 1905.

The motor is mounted crosswise below the condenser. Driver's side shaft has the points and condenser mounted to control the spark coil to ignite the flame. The other end has the squirrel cage fan for the blast tube and just beyond is the oil pump/filter which feeds the oil-jets three in a triangle instead of household single. In 1958 old car tires were not as available as at present, so four 600x21 Dunlops were imported. Well, now Mr. Ellison had the makings of a working car and no place to sit! Duplicating the original four-door sedan was out of the question, so he decided on a two-passenger runabout. After a cardboard template passed his inspection, he built the hardwood frame and put the steel on it. The original type hood gave him the correct cowl start. The original gauge board was mounted inside and folding frame arms used for the new safety glass windshield. The oil fuel tank was mounted crosswise just behind the two seats, runabout style, and gravity feed down front to the burner. A small trunk is at the extreme rear leaving access to service the oil for the Stanley crankcase. The individual seat bottoms lift out, exposing the original steam oil tank and the original top pressure cut off diaphragm. Power is fed to the burner motor through a starter solenoid. Power to the solenoid is through a normally closed micro switch coupled to the pressure diaphragm. At 600 lbs. the diaphragm pops, micro switch opens, solenoid drops out and burner cuts off. For minimum loss, fairly large power cables are used to reach the burner, perhaps arc welding supply. As air pressure is not needed, as in the original Stanley system, the dual air gauge on the high side is connect to the burner oil pump and should read 100 lbs. plus for proper jet action.

'I purchased the car from the estate in 1988. Perhaps some of these ideas could be used in steam boats.'

'Thanks for printing the article I wrote about the Chickentown Gas & Steam Show in your January/February 1997 issue,' writes DAVID E. WEIMER, 630 Chickentown Road, Somerset, Pennsylvania 15501. 'Also I am sending along for Iron Men Album readers' enjoyment these pictures.

'Picture #1 is a 1917 Frick 18 HP, beautifully painted and operated by Joe Thrash.

'Picture #2, a 1918 Peerless 50 HP, with its engineer Roger Rayman.

'Both these engines are owned by Jay Fisher and Jay Hemminger and can be seen each year at the Chickentown Gas & Steam Show in May and the New Centerville Farmers & Threshermens Jubilee in September.'

'My name is ROY SWEITZER, c/o BJ Services Company, PO Box 3211, 5th Floor, AI-Mana Bldg., Doha, Qatar. I'm formerly of Pontiac, Illinois. From the 1950s through the early 1970s, I was 'that kid' around the Central States Thresher-mans' Reunion. I eventually restored a 20 HP Keck-Gonnerman double simple engine, and became an officer of the Reunion in the early 1970s. I sold my engine to the late, wonderful, Mr. Fred Schneider, after accepting an overseas assignment with an oil field engineering company, in 1974.

'After twenty-three years overseas, I'm now Country Manager for BJ Services Company in the Arabian Gulf country of Qatar. Though I still have family and friends in the Pontiac area, Payson, Arizona, is now our home when we return to the USA on our annual thirty-day leaves. With a retirement coming in the not-too-distant future, I have been renewing contacts with steam friends, both in the Pontiac area and further a field. Sadly, many of the good men I knew, who made time for a boy who really wanted to learn about steam, are gone now. Time moves on. On the other hand, I am greatly encouraged to see that the next generation of steam men has kept the Pontiac Show vigorously alive, and that the engine I restored so long ago is still owned by Fred's nephew and is being shown.

'When Qatar was finally connected to the internet, in November 1996, I immediately started searching for you, but was not successful until 1 got out old copies of the Iron Men Album, and put Stemgas on search. What a long ways we've come from Rev. Ritzman's little booth and trailer that used to make all the shows when I was a boy!

'I really haven't had much luck with steam traction engines overseas. There are many English and (I think) a few American engines in Australia (keep in mind that eighteen of my years as an expatriate were spent in Southeast Asia). Most of the time I spent in Australia was in the wrong type of locale for steam, i.e., Stuart's Stony Desert or offshore drilling rigs.

'The most interesting steam experiences I've had outside the USA were: touring rail yards and shops in Indonesia, during the last year steam was in regular use on the rails; tiny steam railway engines used to pull cut sugar cane out of plantation fields in Java; and a thirty-three hour train ride through wintertime in China, in 1983, behind a sparkling new steam locomotive.'

(We appreciated hearing from Roy, who is certainly far from home at present. His communication came in a fairly new way, via the Internet. Our 'e-mail' address, for those of you who send and receive such messages, is This is a fairly reliable way to get a message to IMA, and usually you'll get a quick response, though if the volume picks up, we may slow down!)

PETE DOWNS, 16940 Lutz Road, Stewartstown, Pennsylvania 17363 writes: 'I am 38 years old and am an avid steam enthusiast. I enjoy every issue that comes out and can't wait until the next issue comes out. I am enclosing some pictures of long ago. The two Peerless engines #1 and #2, the Huber #3 were taken somewhere in southern York County, Pennsylvania. According to my late grandmother, Edna Amber-man, they were taken when she was a little girl. She was born in 1912. If anyone could give me any information as to who or where the locations might be, please contact me.

'I do not own an engine yet, but all good things take time. My grandparents would always take me to engine shows when I was five or six. I was always scared of the big engines with their whistles and pop off valves. But that soon changed and I couldn't get enough of the engine shows. Now I go whenever I can, near or far. 1 have been to many different shows and plan to attend many more. It's such a great thing to meet and make new friends at shows near and far. It's so great to meet the Old Timers and sit down and listen to their thrashing stories of the past. I recall the show in New Haven, Indiana, where I met a gentleman and we exchanged stories for many hours that day. I think that is one of the best things of going to shows.

'There are many good shows around and I encourage folks to go to new shows that they have never been to before, for one can benefit many ways by meeting new people, exchanging stories and information, and seeing rare pieces of equipment one has never seen before.

'Also I must give credit to Mr. Robert C. Montgomery of Clarion County, Pennsylvania. As I grew up we would visit Robert periodically. He saw that I had a real interest and liking for steam engines and old equipment. He taught me a lot about engines as I was growing up. Picture #4 was his Peerless Q model 10 HP, with me and Robert sitting on the water tanks.

'I must also mention Mr. Dan Gehman of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He is a member of Rough and Rumble Engineers of Kinzers, Pennsylvania. I thank Dan for his time and effort to explain and teach anyone who will listen about steam engines, and also for his time spent at R & T.

'Picture #5 is a 50 HP Peerless engine that belonged to the late Ray J. Urey of Stewartstown, Pennsylvania. I believe that Mr. Troy Pawson of Michigan now owns it. I also want to thank the folks at IMA for such a good job of publishing this magazine. I hope everyone enjoys another safe and rewarding show season!'

MIKE CURTIS, Box 42, Brooklyn Street, Eaton, New York 13334 writes: 'After reading Gary Yaeger's article in the September/October 1996 issue of IMA, for probably the second or third time, I felt it was time for me to write again and send along some pictures for all you steam enthusiasts to enjoy.

'Just think that in January of 1995 I didn't know a thing about this company Wood, Taber & Morse, formerly the A.N. Wood & Company here in Eaton, Madison County, New York.

'I spent many hours researching libraries around central New York looking for pictures and contacting ancestors and friends about this unknown [to me] company. I do have to give a special thanks to Ken Morse for letting me borrow and reprint some of his pictures, as well as Steve Davis for a picture of an engine that A. N. Wood & Company made in 1856. Three years after Allen Nell-son Wood started his business adventure.

'By the way, I will be bringing Steve's S. W. Wood traction engine, a portable S. W. Wood, and Tom Curtis's 50 HP Case traction engine, as well as Joe Perry's collection of gas tractors to Eaton this coming July. Look for our ad in the 1997 Steam and Gas Show Directory.

This will probably be the first time in 50-100 years that a steam engine has been back in Eaton. It will be an exciting day for all, so, please stop in if you can make it. Now, for my pictures and a poster that I put together. I gave this poster to every teacher in my high school and elementary school. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did collecting them:

'Picture # 1 is of an ad that was given to me by Steve Davis. I assume that this is a smaller engine made in 1856 by A. N. Wood & Co., after you look at picture ad #2 of an engine also made in 1856.

'Picture # 3 is of an A. N. Wood engine made in 1858. It won the first premium at the New York State Fair that year.