SOOT IN THE FLUES

Merlin Portable Steam Engine

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Hi Folks! Hope you have enjoyed the 1989 steam engine season and all the fun that goes with it the shows, the folks, the wonderful friendships and perhaps some new knowledge you have attained. Keep steamin' and in keeping with the Thanks giving and Christmas seasons, I would like to tell the following story written by Loren Young, taken from The Guideposts Christmas Treasury it is called 'That Ageless Magic' enjoy and perhaps it will make you think of some of the little deeds you might have had part in, and that wonderful feeling of reward:

One recent Christmas I was visiting my parents who live in a mining community in West Virginia. Times were bad; many of the mines had been shut down. As I walked down to the main part of the town to pick up a few last-minute things, I noticed a lame man seated on the cold sidewalk. He had a small tin cup which he held up, hopefully, but few people noticed him, or if they did, they didn't let on.

I could see that one leg was missing. Not an unusual sight in a mining community, but a heartbreaking sight especially on Christmas Eve.

I started toward him reaching into my pocket. In front of me, a young couple stopped near the lame man. The husband, obviously a miner, and his wife were talking in half whispers.

'Please, please,' she was saying. He grimaced, unsure.

'We have our Christmas for us and the kids in these bags,' she pleaded. 'Let's do it, please.' The young husband looked down at his wife. Slowly, a smile came over his face and he agreed.

'But we'll have to walk home 'cause I just saved enough for bus fare.'

Reaching into her husband's pocket, she pulled out an old black change purse. Then she walked slowly to the lame man and turned the purse upside down. Coins rattled noisily into the old man's cup, 'I'm wishing you a Merry Christmas,' she whispered.

Gratefully, the lame man reached out to shake her hand, then her husband's. There was an exchange of small talk before the couple left.

I watched them walk down the street. As they passed the bus station, the husband made a playful start in that direction. Laughing, his wife pulled him back. They were broke and would have to walk home. But I could tell by the bounce in their steps that it would not be a long walk. When they lightened their purse, they had also lightened their hearts, and the joy that comes from giving had worked its ageless magic once again.

And now, on to the delightful, informative letters from Our Iron-Men Family:

Here is someone who needs help from the IMA Family. KARL J. HEILMAN, 43 Briarcliff, St. Louis, Missouri 63124 writes: 'We are writing a history of the Heilmans and the different manufacturing companies they built. We are looking for anyone who owns any of the following Heilman built equipment: Heilman (Evansville, Indiana) steam traction engines, steam road roller, sawmills, water wagons, portable steam engines; Heilman built threshers.

'They also built Kratz & Heilman cast iron stoves and plows. William Heilman and James Urie formed Heilman-Urie Plow Company that became Heilman Plow Company and in 1898 changed the name again to the well-known Vulcan Plow Company.

'Any photos of any of the above and any history or stories about it or its origins would be appreciated. Please contact me at the above address. Thank you.'

DON POTTER, 13324 Balfour, Huntington Woods, Michigan 48070 sends us this communication: 'Iron Men Album Magazine is one publication I read cover to cover. You gals and Gerald do a nice job.'

Don continues, 'I'm the third generation of my family to have threshed with steam power. We also used steam on our sawmill and other tasks.

'I remember and/or operated these steamers we had: 13 HP Peerless it had spring mounts and wooden spoke wheels; 16 HP Peerless I cut my teeth on and an 18 HP Gaar Scott.

'I've written your publication previously about the Gaar Scott and a Port Huron I helped to restore and operate occasionally at Henry Ford's Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan.

'I'd like to put in my two cents on the physics of steam injector water feed. The steam admitted to the injector and condensed by the incoming water creates a low pressure column through the boiler; this with the hydraulic principle of a larger area concentrated on a smaller, generates the force (analogical to pushing the head of a thumb tack) to flow water against the boiler pressure. The reduced pressure to 'pull' water to the injector occurs from the venture effect of the steam following past the injector inlet.

1880 Merlin Portable Steam Engine: This brass jacketed 18 HP portable steam engine made a trans-Atlantic crossing around 1930 from France to the United States. The engine was on display at the Ford Museum for over 50 years. The engine is presently on loan to the Owls Head Transportation Museum, Owls Head, Maine from a private collection. Anyone with information on Merlin engines is encouraged to contact the museum at P.O. Box 277, Owls Head, Maine 04854.

'The port in the boiler for injector steam source is usually near the top of the main section of the boiler, not from the steam dome. This acts as an automatic disruption of the injector operation to prevent over-filling, i.e. when water level reaches the injector steam port, the injector principle cannot continue with water substituted for steam. The injector breaks.

'Your magazine is perfect to 'lobby' for a commemorative postage stamp to the contribution of steam power to agriculture and industry. Let's promote a steam traction engine image.'

One of our English subscribers sent us a copy of the Rushmoor Steam and Vintage Show catalog, another English show. We were amused by the cover, which is reproduced here for our readers' pleasure.

GEORGE L. SCHULTZ, 216 West Rio Street, Rio, Wisconsin 53960 reminds us of 'way back when' as he writes: 'I want to renew my subscription as I have been a continuous subscriber ever since the magazine was called The Farm Album Magazine.

'I have an envelope with government postage stamp for one cent with a postmark, Enola, Pa. October 7, 11:30 a.m. 1950. Across the bottom of the envelope there is a picture of a steam engine, separator, team and water wagon.

'In the September/October 1950 issue, page 2, there is a notation that with this issue, the name is changing and the subscription price for this issue is advertised as $1.50 per year. Edited and Published by Elmer Ritz-man; Associate, Catherine Ritzman; printed by The Juniata Globe, Thompson town, Pa. I have enjoyed your magazine through the years and still do enjoy it.' (Well, I guess that is like the expression 'Back in the good old days'. Thank you for sharing that, George, and I'll bet there are still quite a few who were subscribers to the first magazine Anna Mae.)

'I have an A. B. Farquhar steam traction engine, Model K, 50 HP. I have overhauled this engine and would like to paint and stripe it, like it came from the factory. Could you help me in any way? I would appreciate it.'

This letter came from ARTHUR F. HARKER, 300 Bella Street, Holidaysburg, Pennsylvania 16648. If you can help him with any of the information he is seeking, please write him.

An informative letter came from DOUG AND RUTH SELLERS, 1102 Peach, Abilene, Texas 79602. Doug states: 'In answer to R. J. Dand's request for Case 22' thresher information here are some specifications for Case 22'x 36' steel threshers:

1.  Trucks wheels 30' diameter x 5' face axle 3'.
2.  Cylinder22' long x 22' diameter 57 hardened steel teeth with annealed shanks. Cylinder speed = 1075 rpm.
3.  Concaves = same as cylinder teeth. Three two-row concaves and two open hearth annealed blanks. Adjustable front and back. Adjustable spring steel finger grate back of concaves.
4.  Straw rackwood with five risers. Separating surface = 44.67 sq. ft. Width = 36'. Throw = 3'. Speed = 230 vibrations per minute. Throw of main crank = 7'.
5.  Counterbalance grain pan. Throw = 2 3/8'. Speed - 230 vibrations per minute.
6. Cleaning shoe. Under-blast fan - 24 5/8' diameter. 6 blades. Speed = 468 rpm. Adjustable chaffer with adjustable extension.
7.  Wheelbase = 120'.
8. Length. Thresher only = 12' 8'. With feeder and windstacker = 23' 5'.
9. Extreme width = 74'.
10.  Width between rear posts = 36'.
11.  Height to top of deck = 77 7/8'. Height to top of tailings elevator = 98%'.

So long from dry West Texas.'

Two pictures taken by Jack D.Hilton,26045 Rotunda Drive, Carmel, CA 93923,at the 1988 Cumbria Steam Gathering held in Flookburgh, England.

'I just received IMA and am enjoying reading it, as every issue,' comments JOE B. DILL, Lascassas, Tennessee 37085. 'I have been writing notes on my note pad to get more answers from IMA readers on subjects that I know little about. As mentioned in previous letters to your column, I grew up in the later 1930's and we young fellows in those days were looking at the latest tractors from IHC, John Deere, Allis Chalmers and Ford. We thought the steamers we saw were 'old stuff' and didn't bother to take a close look at them.

'In referring to Steam Talk, as in engine mountingwhat is side mount or center mount and rear mounting of an engine?

'I noticed scale weight in May-June issue 1987, referring to HP testsWhat is scale weight?

'Now to boiler construction How is a lap seam boiler made compared to a butt strap boiler? What is the difference? I assume that the butt strap is best and used on later models of steamers.

'Now, I may answer a question mentioned in September/October IMA issue, 1985, about a linkage from outside end of rear axle to a bar across rear of the steamer. I am assuming that the linkage was attached so as to brace the rear axle and keep it from bending under heavy loads, such as pulling all those wagons loaded with river gravel. I notice in the picture lam referring to, on page 12, that the Port Huron engine is pulling four wagons.

'I have seen (in a magazine or steam book) a sketch illustrating a draw bar that had linkages to outside ends of the rear axle, evidently for added support for rear wheels having stub axles. Steam Men, am I right?

'I noticed in Soot in the Flues column, a letter by Jim Byrd, Breeze, Florida that our Tennessee-Kentucky Thresherman's Reunion Show at Adams, Tennessee may not allow any engine under steam. Some Tennessee official has decided that the engines are too old to be safe in a crowd. It is for certain that no operator would run an engine that was not safe, inspected and in good condition, and the required lowered pressure makes old engines as safe or safer than the cars or tractors we operate. Steam engine operators drive them, or operate them from a position near the boiler, proving their confidence in their engines, regardless of engine age. I am repeating and confirming Mr. Byrd's statement.

'I'm going to add a bit. I am for safety of steam engines in crowds and we have laws for boiler inspection etc. that have provided that safety. Now, we need laws that would require a complainer to prove his theory before engine steam is eliminated and nobody would have the old steam show fun any more.

Officials who are complaining or whoever is complaining should pay all costs of proving their complaint is fact before steam in shows is stopped, and the epidemic goes all over the country.

'The Team Walking Horse industry was all but stopped in 1988 because of a complainer. He said hoof pads were hurting horses, and finally proved not too much. The tax loss from shows until September 1988 were large as stated in local papers, as well as loss of jobs and entertainment. This complaint about steam engines under steam in crowds seems to be similar.

1920 George White steamer owned by Dan LePine of Lennoxville, Quebec. This was the star of the 1988 Americana Auto Steam & Gas Engine Expo held annually in Fleurimont, Quebec in August.

'I think that it's time we contact our legislators in Washington about passing laws that require complain-ers to prove their complaint to be fact with their own money before they can dictate any regulations on how experienced steam men operate their engines; or how Walking Horse trainers and owners care for their horses.

'I contacted our U.S. Senators and Representatives on the horse thing and I suppose it did some good. At least, they know how I feel on that subject; also horse owners and trainers appreciated my concern for their horse industry.

'Now, I want to refer to Mr. Ed. Strack's, Phoenix, Arizona, letter about tobacco. First thing I heard about tobacco was that it took 13 months plus three or four years to grow a crop of it. I am like Mr. Strack; how do they make it mild? Upper leaves are strong!! As a kid I rolled a cigar, after instructions from my old friend, Wallace Walker, about 1938.

'I was 13 and hauling hay to the best of my memory, and after a shower I lit up my cigar away from the hay field. I started to get sick (as might be expected) and became sicker. I put my cigar on top of a fence post and then I lay down. I felt better in a few minutes and got up in sitting position felt o.k. I looked at the cigar on top of the fence post and I got sick again! I lay down again I felt better every time I lay down. Then I would just look at the cigar on the fence post and get sick again. I quit looking at that cigar and felt o.k. I have never figured out that cigar on the fence post it had power over me that day.

'As Mr. Strack, I don't know how tobacco people take the excess strength out of tobacco. One time I had a cigar that was too strong and I couldn't smoke it. I put it on a table outside of the shop and forgot it for several days. Meanwhile it rained on it. When it was dried out, I noticed it and lit it and it was mild. Moisture may take excess strength out of tobacco.

'I enjoy IMA and Soot in the Flues.'

And those Dear Folks, are the communications for this issue and in parting, I will leave some thoughts to ponder The truest end of life is to know that life never ends. How much we admire the wisdom of those who come to us for advice. Fear and faith cannot keep house together. When one enters, the other departs. God has given us two ears, two eyes, and one tongue, to the end that we should hear and see more than we speak. One with God is a majority. The greatest ABILITY is DEPENDABILITY. -And that IMA friends, brings the end of this year as we look forward into the new 1990.What challenges are ahead? What obligations will be fulfilled? What will be our mission? To think and care only for ourselves, or try and spread the word and love of God.I can just say I hope you will enjoy the wonderful seasons coming up and by the way it surely is nice to know such a greet group of people as the IMA gang