3215 S. Meridian Street Indianapolis, Indiana 46217-3231
This was the first time that the Pawnee Steam School, an annual event on March 27 & 28, was held outside of Oklahoma. After a lengthy discussion, Mr. Chady Atteberry, an initial founder, had an idea that just maybe a larger attendance would be possible if the school was taken to areas where large steam shows prevail. Then, to really attract steam owners and operators, and to inspire the young people to participate, we would have to give proper instruction in all of the elements of maintaining, operating, repairing and safety that are needed.
With this thought in mind we just might help insure the preservation of the steam hobby, as well as the engines, for future generations to operate and enjoy and carry on the legacy that we leave to them. This can only happen when and if we pass on the experiences and knowledge of factual information to them. We cannot do enough to encourage, train and praise their dedication in this endeavor.
At the close of the Pawnee School for 1999, it was announced that the school for the year 2000 would be at Rushville, Indiana, with the Pioneer Engineers Club hosting the event.
When Mr. Atteberry opened the school on Saturday morning, he related to us his life experiences, and spoke of the equipment he and his father owned and operated in Oklahoma and Kansas in his early years in the wheat belt. He recalled the depression, threshing, and the dust bowl, which we older folks remember, and it makes us realize from which we came and the progress in agriculture in the last 75 years. Only we can relate to the difficult struggle just to survive during the times preceding World War II.
Chady got into the 'meat and potatoes' on boiler safety with a cutaway boiler showing the different plates/sheets with damaged surfaces, or what to inspect when purchasing an engine, as most of the critical areas can be very difficult to see. Instruction in proper boiler terminology was given so each scholar knew the correct parts.
Mr. Atteberry gave instruction on proper belting practices and having the correct people helping. (Re: Direction the engine is running can affect how you guide the belt.) He also gave knowledge on handling your engine safely, especially in crowds and parades. NOTE: If you see Chady, be sure to ask him about the engine (Case) buried some 80 years in a remote area out west, and banked fire with petrified wood.
The Boonville Club provided lunch at a very reasonable cost on Saturday. The facility at Boonville was very nice for holding the school. They can be proud of their endeavor as hosts and we thank them for their participation, it cannot be stressed enough.
Every class presenter/professor provided adequate printed handout materials, so the students had factual knowledge to refer to and read upon returning home. It is with this thought that we believe everyone returned home more knowledgeable than when they first came through the doors.
This year we had visitors from 15 states and the province of British Columbia, Canada, totaling close to 200 and with 194 engines registered that they own and operate.
Back to the school: Different experienced individuals conducted classes of 1? to 2? hours. Topics covered, in addition to Chady's, were steam gauge repair, calibration, drilling holes in glass, etc. We discussed correct steam plumbing, pipe fittings for pressure being run, valves, checks, nipples and pipe schedule 80 vs. 40, safety valves, and what is required to meet the various state boiler safety regulations.
There was a class on steam injectors, their problems and troubles, do's and don'ts, as well as using the correct pipe sizes on the suction and delivery sides. Damaged parts were passed around for all to see, so that they do not repeat these mistakes, but recognize the problems and correct the situations.
We had a full day on Saturday and it was impossible to cover all of the classes that were planned, so it was necessary to start Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. with the thought that we just might get done by noon so everyone from a long way from home could get a reasonable start and not be delayed arriving home, as some had to work early Monday.
Sunday's first class was on repairing and adjusting governors, using Waters and Pickering as examples, as well as worn parts, troubles, use of Ball Ranger speed regulating device, adjusting valve rod on makes without the Ball Ranger. This was needed so everyone could understand how the engine speed, rpm's are controlled, or, if you have a lagging governor.
They were also instructed on how to use the formula on finding driven pulley speed vs. drive pulley used when used with bevel gears, or a jack-shaft to get desired results. This is needed so as not to over speed the governor and overcome the parabolic action of the fly balls as they vary the action on the balanced valve of the governor.
Mr. Chady Atteberry at the mike, with Mr. Mace Archer, of Winfield, Kansas, far left, and Mr. Joe Graziana, Wood River, Illinois. See injectors and steam gauges in foreground.
As we continue, the next thing was an instruction in babbitting bearings in cages (Re: two halves of the crosshead end of a connecting rod). Using and making your own Dammit, heating the babbitt properly, testing for correct heat, removing scum (impurities), fluxing the babbitt (reconstituting of metal properties in the babbitt when they separate due to overheating, as babbitt contains copper, antimony, some lead), varies with the grade of the babbitt metal. We were shown how to prepare by cleaning, tinning, damming, and use of material in place of actual shaft, preventing bonding of babbitt to shafts, how to pour and hand-scrape the parts to finished size.
In conjunction with the babbitting class, there was instruction on ultra sound, sonic inspection of boilers, (electronic). We were shown the critical areas of different manufacturers. These trouble areas vary and are very helpful in determining the reliability of your own boiler. This helps you inspect your own so as to find these trouble spots. This was followed by a presentation of removed parts and pieces from boilers under repair by B&B Steam Restoration Inc. (Bob Gold), Greensburg, Indiana. These portions were from crown sheets, mud ring knuckle corners, and fire door sheets, rings, eroded by oxidation due to getting poor and periodic boiler washes. Also you could actually see the boiler cancer of eroding boiler plate below the water line caused by not using an oxygen scavenger or effective water treatment. A formula was given so prescribed chemicals can be obtained to treat 1,000 gallons of feed-water to kill the oxygen, passivate the interior boiler plate and have the pH at a good level. We all suggest cleaning out all ash, soot from the tubes, smokebox, firebox, pressure wash, then drain the boiler. Remove all hand-hole plates, do a COMPLETE boiler wash, in warm weather, and let it get good and dry, then you use a crankcase oil in the firebox and smokebox. DON'T get oil in the boiler of any kind. After the oil drains out, put the boiler away in a good building, let the boiler breathe by keeping all hand-hole plates open and the firebox door and smokebox open.
After the ultra sound class followed using the correct oils and grease to lubricate your steam engine correctly. Research was done on various steam cylinder oils as to compounds available today from companies, or in production today. It was instructed that you need the proper tallow (animal fat) percentage in your oil to get good lubrication of the engine according to operating steam pressure.
We would surely miss a highlight of this school, which is based on friendship and fellowship and the love affair with steam, if we did not elaborate on the humor bestowed by each instructor of the various classes, which kept everyone's attention focused upon the material at hand and a relaxed atmosphere. This humor contained snake oil, asafetida bags, lumbago ointment, and on the more serious side of life, testimony revealing what is treatment today for discovering prostate cancer Stage II. PSA test (early discovery), ultra sound, biopsy of tumor, chemotherapy/hormone, radiation, volume study, then if all okay to this point, radium seed implants. (Hope for success.)
We had two large TV's, about 46' with a TV camera focused on each professor and beamed to the huge TV screens for viewing during class instruction. A public address system and microphone for the instructors was helpful in reaching the audience clearly. Many thanks to the providers. These huge TV's were used after classes to view videotapes of some steam shows of the past reunions. They ran late into Saturday night as everyone surely enjoyed viewing the programs, and reliving memories.
The highlight of Saturday's events were the Recognition Awards given annually by Mr. Joe B. Graziana of Wood River, Illinois, that kept the good humor rolling along. These awards are bestowed on deserving individuals for their recognizable needs/deeds, past stupid mistakes, that just happen to surface at the most opportunistic of times due to Joe's memory and to be revealed to all and shared at this event. A real enjoyment was had by all. (Priceless!) Thanks Joe.