SOOT IN THE FLUES

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Hi! to my dear readers and friends I am very happy we have quite a lot of copy, good stories and information, so I'm hoping it will make you very happy and I am, for this time, not going to add anything, but to hope you are having a wonderful summer and I know there are still a lot of activities going on. Read and enjoy and be sure you read all the articles and stories and especially the last letter in the column.

And now for the article...

'I have been a subscriber to the ALBUM for over 30 years and this is my first letter. On pages 10 and 11 of the May/June issue, an article of Mr. Rixmann covers the subject of Drawbar Horsepower. As a mechanical engineer, I become incensed when others present a solution to a mathematical problem without any consideration as to the units used and how they arrived at the answer.'

Although 60 divided by 17 is 3.428, what are the units of 60 ? Answer: 88 feet x 60 sec/min x 60 min/hr x 1/5280 miles/feet =60 sec-miles/hr. 60 sec-miles/hr x 1/17.5 sec=3.428 miles/hr. Why the author solved for miles per hour is a puzzle. As stated in the article, one horsepower=33,000 lb/ft/min. Obviously the units of 12,958 are lb/miles/hr. But now the real puzzle? -375! The author calls this a 'constant factor'. Actually its units are lb-miles-HP/hr!

A simpler and more traditional solution as generally used by the profession, is 88 ft x 1/17.5 sec x 60 sec/min x 3780 lb x 1/33,000 min-HP/lb =34.56 HP. The foregoing is as important in knowing that your steam guage reads in pounds/square inch and not pounds/square foot!'

This letter came from WILLIAM H. RICHARDSON, JR., 540 Mill, Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin 53085 and I'm sure the readers that are into this kind of fractions and statistics will understand.

KEATS PULLEN III, Arm Company, P.O. Box 2255, Baltimore, Maryland 21203 sends this: 'Here is a note to let you know how much I enjoy your magazine. It is very interesting and informative.

I'm too young (35) to have seen steam at work, but it is in my blood. My grandfather had a stationary engineer's license as well as being a professor at John Hopkins University before he passed away around 1953.

I am building a Terning Case 65 in half scale. I hope to have it in steam by the steam season this year. The project has been going for two years now, but is going gangbusters right now. (I imagine by now Keats is at the steam shows.) See picture of scale Case and also scale Freelance engine built by Keats in 1981.

This writing comes from DENNIS EMERY, 4391 Stewart Road, Metamora, Michigan 48455: 'I have been a reader of IMA for many years and do enjoy it very much, especially 'Soot in the Flues', and readers who comment on interesting subjects.

I especially enjoyed a letter written by Mr. Randy Schwerin in the May /June issue regarding the reliability of the Reeves engine. Just thought I'd throw in my two cents worth also.

It is a known fact that the big 150 HP Case traction engine did have gear trouble. Now there is no doubt they were a very powerful engine. That goes almost without saying.

The Reeves factory used a combination of steel and cast to make their gearing extremely strong. Now at that particular time, Case, during the manufacturing of the 150 HP, did not make theirs as strong as the Reeves. The Case 150 gearing could not withstand the tremendous torque it does take to start a load. The gears were simply not built strong enough.

I have had the pleasure of riding on (and helping set) the '14-14' John Deere plow used at Antique Acres near Cedar Falls, Iowa, myself. I can truthfully say that their big 40 HP Reeves handled the 14 bottom like a toy being towed with a child's tractor; effortlessly, to say the least. What a joy to stand on the platform of the plow and just simply listen to the Reeves chug along. The only thing greater would be to sit up in the cab and run the engine.

We still have our 12 HP Huber, and are presently helping to restore a 20 HP as well.

Thanks for a great magazine and may God continue to bless!'

We received the following picture from AL CROPLEY, Hot Air Engine Collector, 4807 Lake Washington Blvd., S., Seattle, Washington, 98118.

Pictured at left, 20 c.c. Andy Ross Hot Air Stirling Cycle; at center, 15 c.c. Andy Ross Hot Air Sterling Cycle; and at right 35 c.c. Andy Ross Hot Air Stirling Cycle; 1 horse @ 3600 RPM.

A picture comes from ADOLPH ALLOY, Route 1, Box 958, Roshanon, Texas 77583 with this request: 'Please send me what information you may have on this engine. In the casting it has Chuse Engine Company, Mattoon7 Ill. 8. The piston is 8' and the stroke is 8'. Brass name plate has F. M. RitesPatents August 783; May 1886; June 1187; Oct. 294; Oct. 1694; Feb. 1995; May 1197; Mar. 27 00. Need to know HP, speed, boiler size, color. Any information will be very helpful. Thanks'.

Just a nice friendly letter comes from CHARLES W. SMALL WOOD, 240 S. Bostwick, Charlotte, Michigan 48813: 'We have just finished reading the March-April IMA. This brings back pleasant memories of copies during the 60's. We have Volume 21, 1966-1, 2, 3, 4, and Volume 221,2,3. The others were passed on to friends.

We were born in a lumber camp about the end of the lumber era in north central Michigan. Dad had a lumber mill and farmed a few acres for his livestock. Dad bought a 45 HP Case steam engine and a 28' separator and a Huber beaner in 1910. We were priviliged to work around the engine. In 1912 Dad turned the engineer's job over to me. We were a three-man crew-engineer, separator man, water boy. The season started the Monday after the Fourth and usually ended at Thanksgiving. There are a lot of happy memories of those days. Iron-Men helps us in our old age to re-live a long-gone time. The BEST OF EVERYTHING TO YOU!' (Thanks and the same to you).

Another letter of reminiscing comes from QUENTIN W. SHULTZ, Box 83, Griswold, Iowa 51535, and we are happy to hear from Quentin.

'I have been a subscriber since July-August 1953 and have by now filled quite a large box. In 1952, I fulfilled a childhood dream of owning my own steam engine. There were quite a few still in service around here all through the 30's, and were being abandoned one by one by the end of the decade. I had always wanted to buy one, but where would a poor farm boy ever be able to come up with fifty bucks? The W.W.II scrap drive almost eliminated them.

Then when I heard about Mt. Pleasant Old Threshers, I decided to look aroundthat was when I found this 50 HP Case in a shed, that had been in use during the scrap drive; so that was how it had escaped being cut up.

Through the years I have learned much about the care and operation of a steam threshing engine. I was fortunate in having had the opportunity to actually thresh for three days a year for sixteen years on the Eshelman Show at Grant, Iowa.

Not to sound like bragging, but I was never caught short of steam and there were whole seasons that the pop valve was never off its seat. I had many compliments from other steam men on how quiet my engine ran and how even the valve was cutting the steam. I will not go into valve setting, as that subject has been well plowed over however, there is one area that I have never read about which concerns the rocker.

A lot of old engines, very quickly evened the valve up by using the turn buckle, which made a quick job of making things sound O. K. for the moment. However, after 30 years of this, the rocker became pulled one way so far that the valve had more travel one way than the other. To remedy this, I fastened a board up behind the rocker and began to use measurements and marks and with the use of the turn buckle would make quick adjustment. Of course, the valve itself had to be brought back to compensate. The exhaust really sounded great after that.

There is one last comment, that everyone may not agree with and that is on a hard pulllike a fan absolute perfection as to sound can never be obtained. The reason beingthe rear of the cylinder has the displacement of the piston rod.'

GEORGE R. MILLIMAN, 5892 Ballard, Wolverine, Michigan 49799 brings this to all our readers: 'I must rate your July-August '87 issue as one of the best. About the poem (To Me My Farm Is -)if once more we could have this kind of farmer! From Mike Parker's letter, let's hear from those who were there and also more technical articles as to the hows and whys on rebuilding machinery.

From Russell W. Lamp's letter,. I second the idea of more info on all of the producers of steam-related items like the page 4 story of 'The Steam Engine of New York'.

For more information check the local library, historical society, museums, flea markets, book stores or steam shows.

For Alvin Gustin and his Watson Wagon, a copy of the wheelwright's shop by George Stuart would help him with his wagon project. The book details wagon construction in England from 1884-1891.

As to which engine or separator was best, there is an easy answer. From the stories that were told to us by those who were near and dear to us made lasting impressions and later on, we accepted this as fact. The simple wordson a down hill haulexplains how many were looked on as the best As to Gerald Darr's comment on the green straw stack, add to that the story by Steve Smyth on page 9 and you have more reasons why some machines were thought to be the best.

A good operator who had at his disposal a power unit that had been properly maintained with good fuel, lots of good water, all gears adjusted and a person who knew how to get the most from that unit connected to an operator set-up as Steve Smyth explainedthreshing good grain on strong straw and heavy heads that had been shocked until the grain was fully ripened and being paid by the bushel; with a good crew would do a better job than some who had equipment that people claimed was the BEST. The best was that man or machine that did a good job for YOU.

As an ex-paraprofessional in a high school auto shop, the story on page 1 was number one with me. As to anyone who had restored anything, the amount of labor that was put out by those people must be complemented by all.

Now that I have skimmed the top cream from this issue, I wish I could take care of the mills. Many words could and should be written about this time in our history. It is so important to our present and to the future, but other matters rear their heads so I will close for now.

'I have enclosed some pictures and details about each,' writes BILL KENNEDY, P.O.Box 64, Rosedale, West Vriginia 26636.

'These photos taken at the LaG range Indiana Show, which we attended last summer. Photo 1 and 2 are of my 21-75 Baker Uniflow built in 1917.

Photo 1 is the Baker barking on the Graham Sellers 6-bottom plow. On the engine is Adam and Alan Kennedy and myself. The Baker handled the plow very nicely and barked beautifully.

Photo 2 is the Baker, 21-75, on the sawmill at the LaGrange Show. It was the same crew as plowing. During the four days of the show we gave the old 21-75 a good work-out.

Photo 3 is Graham Sellers 25 HP Garr Scott eating up wheat stubble at the same show. This big old engine eats coal, wood or bird feathers as it puts its best 'paw' forward. It is just playing with the 6-bottom plow.'

Requesting your help the next writing comes from PERRY WILLIS, R.DJ3, Louisville, Ohio 44641:

'I need your help as we all do at times. I purchased a basket case of two steam engines, right and left unit. No valve gear and some parts are missing. The valve chambers have inside valve admission to the cylinders, like so (1) When valve is shifted steam enters through the center valve and goes to the openings to propel the unit.

(1) A brief description of valve chamber (2) When valve rod is in motion, steam enters the top of valve chest on cylinder. The valve is spring loaded steam, goes through center of valve to ports.

(3) The length of the frame of cylinders is 17' in length from frame of cylinder to crankshaft. I have parts for one side only. I would like to know if anyone may have a unit of the same descriptions. I think it had Stephenson link valve linkage, as I said, I don't have it as someone took the unit apart and there are no parts. The unit is 2' bore and 2' stroke. Valve travel 5/8'. It appears a flywheel was on the unit, in between the frame, in other words, center drivers

Maybe someone can help me. I ask for little in life. I share with others, some help, some don't.

Keep steaming, as in life, a warm friendship is a desire to keep living and sharing.'

From CORNELIUS F. PAULUS, Route 3, Box 79AG, Douglas, California 31533 comes this story of earlier days: 'Reading the letters from various 'oldtimers' has finally moved me to write a few lines in the same vein. I was born in 1918 on a farm in west central Wisconsin. I hardly knew anyone did anything but farm until I was about 10 years old, and by that time was well trained in milking cows, hauling manure, cutting wood, and performing the many chores that were part of life on a dairy farm at that time. Internal combustion tractors were just coming onto the scene but most farmers were not in a financial position to own one. Of course the old steam men felt that steam engines would never be replaced by these newfangled tractors that were in many cases a nightmare to get started.

My father owned a steam engine a 23-90 A.D. Baker purchased new in 1917. With it was a 36-60 Rumely separator that he took out on regular threshing runs each year. He had two brothers that were steam men also, one of them had no favorites; he would run any kind of engine, but the other was a cast in concrete Case man.

Mother had one brother who had a Minneapolis engine that he thought was the only thing, too. He was quite a musician and had the engine fitted up with a set of whistles that covered an octave and he would play various tunes of which probably the best remembered in that part of the country was 'Home, Sweet, Home' as he played it when heading for home at the end of a run.

About the time I learned to drive an automobile I also was given the job as fireman/engineer of the Baker. I learned to drive in my brothers 1917 Buick which he had bought from a farmer in 1928 for $15.00 and the car had been on blocks for yearsit had 8000 miles on the odometer. The wheels were large, it used 34 by 4 tires. It was a six cylinder touring car.

The years I am writing about were 1930-38, the years of the great Depression. In addition to that, our part of the country suffered through about 4 years of drought. One year was the worst of them. There was practically no grain that year, I can recall threshing oats that didn't come up, with 15 bushels to the acre and that was only chaff. In the better years we would usually start threshing shortly after the 4th of July. We would 'shock thresh' until around September 1st. Then we would begin stack threshing and there were years when this lasted until snow was flying.

On occasion the engine was used on a silo fillerwhen a tractor was broken down or wouldn't start or? That job for that size engine was really a breeze.

It wasn't always like that, though. I recall one Saturday we were trying to finish up at a farm and the grain was very long and heavyit had been sprinkling off and on most of the day and the stuff was getting very tough. I was burning pine stumps that had been pulled up to the area where the engine would be set, all in one piece just as they had come out of the ground. It was no easy job to cut this up to use for fuel. The engine was working quite hard and toward suppertime I had trouble holding steam and water level. By allowing the water level to creep down I was able to keep running until time for supper. I stayed with the engine and started taking on water and getting my steam up. This was no problem at all and I couldn't figure out why I was having such a hard time with the load. We finished threshing after supper and as it got dark I saw the firedoor was glowing, and I still had problems with the load. I made it through to the end and on Monday morning when I went over to clean the flues and fire up what did I find but that the exhaust pipe had worked loose in the elbow from the hard pulling I suppose, and had turned back into the flues! No wonder I had a hot firedoor!

I could go on for pages, but just one more bit of nostalgiaWe had finished up at a farm and were moving to the next one about sundown. This was on a narrow country road, just about wide enough to take the Baker's 30 inch wide drivers. I was following Dad with the tank wagon and had stopped on a bridge over a small creek to top off the water tankDad was going up a fairly steep grade about a quarter-mile ahead of me; from where I was I could look at the top of the separator and the top of the engine canopy the evening was dead quiet with the exception of the BEAUTIFUL sound of the Baker taking that grade! This happened about 50 years ago and I remember it as well as if it had been yesterday!

I joined the Navy in 1938 so Dad hired help and managed to use the outfit until 1944 when he sold the whole thing for a couple of hundred dollars for junk. It was badly needed in those days I guess. His health had failed to the point that he had no choice, although the entire last two winters before he sold it he ran the Baker on a sawmill.

My first duty station was aboard the USS Altair AD-11, a destroyer tender that had been built during WWI. The ship's service generators were turbine driven and the main engine was a Curtis turbine, but otherwise all machinery was reciprocating steam from the anchor engine to the steering engine. Refrigeration was CO2-vertical steam engines driving vertical CO2 compressors. We had two vertical Simplex (yes, Simplex) air compressors that were built in 1898. The ship had much machinery that had been salvaged off scrapped ships of earlier days.

I followed that ship with 22 more years of running shipboard machinery, then spent the last 23 running power plants, teaching plant operation and working as a power plant consultant. Now I would like to take time to build a couple of small engines for the fun of it. Now I know that I have taken enough of your time and thank you very much for hearing me out.

PAUL ARMSTRONG, HCR 2, Box 86, Hart, Texas 79045 sends this informationI'm sure many of you will appreciate it:

'Regarding your request for information on the five pictures from Montana Museum, Clemont, Nebraska, I own an 1897 Case center crank, 12 HP straw burner. I also have an 1893 Case catalogue. The engines on page 18 (May/June issue) are probably prior to 1897 because my 1897 has the 'pop off coming out of the top of the steam dome while the 1893 catalogue shows it coming out of the side of the dome as in your pictures. Also, the pictures are 'flip flopped' as the right side of your picture is actually the left side of the real engine.

I would welcome communication with anyone who might have the seat and bracket attached to the smoke box and the upright steam operated injector pump and the smoke stack.

Also find pictures in Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction Engines by Jack Norbeck, page 92. The fuel boxes are not shaped right and the engine did not come with the mechanical cylinder oiler as shown on lower right corner on page 92.

'Just a few lines of nostalgic rambling for the ALBUM,' says CHARLES P. HARTMAN, Route 1, Box 231, Rocky Comfort, Missouri 64861.

'As I have mentioned before, I grew up in the country, mostly in the steam engine era. This was a year around thing as we operated a threshing run, filled silos, shredded corn and then back to the sawmill. I am familiar with the binder, header and header's barge, and on back to the walking plow and the tongueless cultivators.

All of these things are vivid in my memory, but as I am not able to own any of these items, I must depend on the ALBUM, and the efforts of those who are able to keep this memory alive for me, and many others that I am sure share this view.

But while we are so gleefully engaged in this hobby, and all of the wonderful antiques and collectibles, we should not forget the time period in which these things took place.

It seems that this generation is inclined to look back to this time with a sense of pity, on a generation they consider to be a little less intelligent. They have a mind's picture of great grandfather working long hours, six days a week and great grandmother carrying water up the hill, cooking on a wood stove, making hominy, and lye soap in an iron kettle, and many other laborious choresall to care for, in most cases, a large family.

Then as the great granddaughter glances at the crock pot, microwave oven, dishwasher and various other labor saving devices, she looks upon their only child and this sense of pity comes to mind, how depressed and unhappy these old folks must have been!

But being a great-great grandfather, I lived in much of this time period, and perhaps I am biased, for I do not see the same picture.

True, there was lots of hard work, no TV's or stereo, but as I watch the world around me, I see people with a different frame of mind. I see in this generation so many that are greedy, selfish, interested only in selfso much depression, suicide and a multitude of other social prolemsthat it makes the earlier times seem like paradise.

As I remember there was a little depression, very few suicides, people were friendly and seemed to enjoy life more than today.

Andall was not work, while they had a different form of entertainment, they did have it; pie and box suppers, literary societieswhere they found local entertainment, and debating teams, barn dances, church socials, county fairs, etc. These were all attended with gusto and socializingyou might say that a good time was had by all, as they munched on their peanuts and popcorn.

I say we should not pity this older generationperhaps we should envy them, for they had something, and we lost it in our urge to modernize.

Only people that lived in that time period can appreciate the fact that there were many good and positive things.

And while I hold many of these fond memories and cherish them, I doubt that we can take any of them with us when we cross the river of life, but if there were to be just one item that we could take with us, I am sure it would be a shiny steam engine, so to all in Engine Land, and to the ALBUM, help the rest of us to keep these memories alive.'

(At the beginning of this letter, the writer said: 'Dear Editor, I am submitting this handwritten lettermy typewriter doesn't work, my sight is failing, and by the time this is printed, if it is, I will be 90 years oldthus my writing has not improved, so if you cannot read it, I will understand.)'

Folks, in my mind, this is a precious piece of nostalgia, and one we might all take heed to and if you are, as many of us, we do, as modern folks, miss out on a lot of these precious qualities of life. Thank you, Charles, from the bottom of my heart for such a wonderful contribution. AND truly it was not hard to readI only wish all handwriting could be so legible. God Bless You!Anna Mae) I could not find anything to better close the column with than the above!