R.R. 13, Box 209 Brazil, Indiana 47834
On March 2nd and 3rd, 1996, a two day steam school was held at Pawnee, Oklahoma. The school stresses the Oklahoma Steam Threshing and Gas Engine Association's commitment to the steam hobby, and also to their old and new engineers.
Joe Graziana of Wood River, Illinois, and I felt fortunate to attend the school, and we both felt we gained knowledge from this group of 'Western engineers.'
Chady Atteberry covered topics of general operating practices and nomenclature, using various makes of engines as examples. Steve Dunn discussed the safety features in a steam boiler and stressed the need to periodically change the fusible, or soft plug, in the boiler, as the buildup of scale on the top of the fusible plug will prevent it from doing its job as a safety device.
Joe Graziana of Wood River, Illinois, instructed the class on steam governor operation and troubleshooting. That's a brand new Pickering governor and its box in the middle of the table.
Joe Graziana put on a steam governor 'clinic' using a Pickering governor as an example. Joe discussed the function of all of the governor parts, explained how to check the governor on the engine by throwing off the belt and spinning the governor from the belt pulley; if it does not spin freely or binds, this indicates the governor may need work. Joe showed how to disassemble a governor and check the clearance between the valve and the seats. At the end of each session, Joe got the attention of each attendee by showing them what a brand new IV2' Pickering governor looked like in the box, along with factory wrenches to adjust the ball ranger speed control. Joe presented the governor class on both Saturday and Sunday.
Ivan Burns presented a very interesting class on steam valves and balanced valve gears, discussing the merits and drawbacks of several makes.
Paul Marten's session included examples of fittings and plumbing that were suitable for steam plumbing. Paul recommended that all piping going into the boiler be at least schedule 80 strength. Paul built a teaching aid that showed the correct stages of rolling and beading flues. He stressed that flues should be beaded on both the firebox and smoke box ends, as each flue can act as a boiler through stay, holding the flue sheets solidly against the steam boiler pressure.
I 'd like to thank Kenneth Kelly for the opportunity to view his fine collection of Case steam engines and for hosting the first day of steam school.
The Oklahoma Steam Threshing & Gas Association's Steam School has come a long way from its beginning in 1984 with only two attendees, to the thirty-plus attendees in 1996. Anyone interested in the operation of steam boilers and engines should try to attend the school. You will not leave with a diploma, but you will get something even more valuable knowledge!