The Story Of 10541

3/16 inch radius

Content Tools

Box 146, Mt. Royal, New Jersey 08061

From the history I have been able to gather, this machine rolled the streets of Reading, Pennsylvania and was owned by its streets department. I cannot ascertain whether they purchased it new, but it seems that they owned it until the late 50's. Later it came into the hands of a well known steam bug, 'COLEY,' who, in the early 60's sold it to another well known Kinser member, the late Mr. Webber Gaunt.

The last time I saw it run was in 1964 at the Mullica Hill Fireman's Carnival; after which it was driven back into the Gaunt yard. There it sat untouched until a couple of years ago.

During this time Mr. Gaunt, his son, George and myself, had become involved with the construction of an elevated 3/4 and 1 ins. scale model steam railroad, so that any attempt to refurbish No. 10541 was the last thing we wanted to tackle. Mr. Gaunt was always saying that he wished the old machine was serviceable, but the trouble is, once one is a steam enthusiast, one never has enough pairs of hands nor enough hours in the day; especially if one has a daily job.

In 1971 George's father passed away and I think that it was with knowing that Pop always wanted his roller restored, inspired us to make a start in 72. Looking over a machine that has been subjected to the prevailing winds for a few years unattended makes one say, 'well, where do we make a start?' My first observations were to remove the lagging from the boiler, as here maybe a great asset to coal economy, but a great destructor of the outer shell. Asbestos is a very good absorbant of moisture and with the cleating on the outside, it seldom ever gets a chance to dry out unless steam is raised. A constantly steamed boiler, of course, would not have this problem.

With the boiler now stripped it was decided to fill it with water and try a test, although something seemed to tell us that our efforts would be in vain. With the pump rigged, we pumped up to 75 lbs. and then Psssh!, away went one tube, and then another and so on until we found about five that leaked. If tubes were going to leak this way, we knew that the others were not far behind, so right there we decided that nothing short of a complete retube job would be the order. The next question was, how is the shell and would it be safe to operate even if we did retube?

After much contemplation, we decided to remove the boiler completely, put it in the trailer behind the 'Corn-binder, Scout' and haul it to Kinsers. There we could have the professional advise of the R & T 'Boiler-Buster,' Everett Young, who would I felt, tackle the job of retubing. The top tube ends were burned out and the boiler was state inspected with recommendation that the pressure be dropped from the original 120 lbs to 85 lbs. Would 85 be enough to run her; everybody seemed to think so, so the retubing was left to Everett.

In the meantime R & T had purchased the old Avery which was in sad need of boiler work. This took all of Everett's spare time which caused our boiler to take a back seat. A year went by and we were still no farther towards raising steam, so after going to the R & T Spring Meet '74, we made another decision. Lets join the modern clan of busybodies, lets be 'Do It Yourselfers.' After all, we had retubed a small job with 20-2 ins. tubes and I had worked on British Naval boilers. We loaded the old kettle back onto the trailer and on the way home we told ourselves that at least we had jumped the most important hurdle, although it had taken a year and a half to do it, the boiler, once retubed, would be good for service.

Where do we now purchase 1-1/2 diameter 12 SWG boiler tube and at what cost, was the next question. After 2 or 3 weeks of inquiries, a friend of ours who is employed by a company that uses all types of tubing company that uses all types of tubing, informed us that he could the tubing delivered to the plant. Here to our amazement, we found out just how much 360 ft. of such tube really weighs.

During this time we removed all the old tubes by burning off the flares and driving them out with a bar. Quite a job though if you drop one off the end of your bar before your pal at the other end can put in his bar and juggle it over to the 2 inch plug hole.

It is hard to believe that so much scale can accumulate inside a boiler. After turning the shell over with the front end loader, we banged all round the inside of the fire-box and the outside of the shell and although we did not weigh it, I estimated that at least 50 lbs. of junk came out. Some of the pieces had to be broken up to get them through the tube holes. Further washing inside with the hose made it all look like new.

For the retubing job, we laid the boiler endways on some logs as this seemed to be the best operating position for the tube banging. We had no air tools so everything had to be done by the old 'Armstrong' method, and with the summer days now upon us, I was glad that George's wife, Phylis, always kept the ice tea handy. We found that the fire-box sheet holes were a tight fit with the top ones loose. After we had put in a couple of tubes, we could see the reason for this. It obviously was to stop the tube from turning while we cranked on the roller. We made up a driving bar of 1-1/2 diameter about 3 ft. long and turned the end back for a 1/2 diameter or so, so it would fit inside the tube ends. Now the tubes could be driven in without any distortion, as the roller we had been loaned would barely fit into the ends as it was. Where a tight situation occurred, we remedied this by welding an old No. 4 Morse taper shank onto another piece of bar and driving this in. The roller then worked beautifully.

Rolling tubes was the easy part, but flaring them was something else. We had also been loaned a beading hand tool, but this on its own was found to be a tiresome process. Putting the grey matter in the old noggin to work we devised two more bars, and by taking two 3/8 inch tool bits, we conceived the following. On the end of one bit I ground an angle of approximately 45 degrees, and the other to about a 3/16 inch radius. Both were welded to the bars in the following manner:

and were an easy fit in the tube bore. By driving first with the 45 degree tool and twisting it with every hammer hit, a nice flare was obtained. Bringing the other tool into action in the same way, the complete bead was formed. Both bars had also been made long enough to protrude out of the bottom of the fire-box. One of us leaned inside and turned the bar while the other did the sledge swinging, changing over certainly, after doing a row or two.

For anyone attempting a job such as this I would like to pass on the following hints. Do not cut the tubes with a tube cutter as this puts quite a burr on the inner edge which would have to be filed off. We used a small power hacksaw, and if we found that it did not cut exactly square we trued it in the lathe. Square ends are a must and leave no more than 1/8 to 3/16 inches sticking out the tube sheet. Our boiler has 120 tubes and being relatively close we had to be careful that upon flaring one, it did not roll over onto the neighboring one. Keep also plenty of grease on the roller and the taper drift.

In my little library I have a book printed in 1898 called 'Maxims and Instructions for Boiler Rooms' by a N. Hawkins. On page 111 are printed the results of tests carried out by a Mr. Richards under the supervision of Chief Engineer Stock U.S.N. The results were as follows: The tubes were 3 ins. diameter and .109 thick expanded into a 3/8 inch sheet by the Dudgeon tube roller. At a stress of 5,000 lbs. they were drawn from the sheet. Experimenting again, the tubes projected through the sheets only 3/16 in. and were beaded. The force now applied without any yield was 18,500 lbs. which in easy arithmetic is over 3-1/2 times greater. This proves I think, that beading, though a browbeating job, (by hand anyway), is well worth the effort.

On completion of the tubes, all holes were plugged except two small ones for the pressure gauge and the water pump connection. All hand holes were fitted with new joints and screwed in place except the one nearest the top which was left until last; this being used to fill the boiler with the garden hose. The first time we pumped up the pressure we had tube leaks, hand hole leaks and plug hole leaks. The hand holes and plugs were easy to fix, but for the leaky tube ends it meant cranking again with the dudgeon roller. We still did not stop them completely at the first attempt but by leaving everything for a week, a little rust took place and the small weeps took care of themselves. Finally it was pumped up to 200 lbs. and left during our vacation, where, after nearly three weeks 30 lbs. still remained on the clock. 

During the time the boiler had lain at R & T we had gone to work removing the water tank and the top coal tray. The bottom of the latter was completely rotted away and had to have a new piece of sheet iron welded and bolted in place. The water tank front was like a sprinkler with a million little holes in it. This section George burned right out and replaced it with a new one by arc weld. As with the boiler, much rust had to be chipped out from inside and then the surfaces were silver painted.

There were many things that needed rebuilding and one I thought I would never get was the lubricator. This is a two feed Manzel. Water had found its way inside and during some bleak winter it had frozen up and cracked the pump body. Brazing this up and then picking up the threads again in the lathe was a little fun, but finally the plug screwed in as it should.

A few years ago I can remember all the auto manufacturers blowing their horns about power steering. Well Buffalo-Springfield was way ahead of them, so perhaps a brief description of the unit might prove interesting.

The main casting is kind of oval shaped with a boss protruding out on one side about a third the way up. This is where the drive shaft comes out that contains the drive sprocket and an out rigger bearing. One end plate is removable and has no crank bearing at all. Inside, set at 45 degrees are two double acting oscillating cylinders on a disc crank with about a 3 inch stroke. Trunnions are cast to each side of the cylinder which allows it to swing back and forth, there being respective brass bushed holes in both ends of the main casting. The direction is controlled by a rotary valve built into the end of the case opposite to the chain drive. Its function makes the steam side exhaust and visa versa when the control lever is actuated. The cylinder valve motion is carried out by the movement or oscillation of the cylinder as the crank causes it to swing back and forth. The whole action is very simple really and if one looks at one of those little kiddies steam engines that could be bought for a dollar and a half, a few years ago, the exact same principle will be found. Instead of there being holes in the port faces though, larger engines use slots so that steam may enter the cylinder and leave much faster.

Drive is taken from a sprocket via a heavy chain, to another sprocket on the worm cross shaft. Ratio being about 2 to 1. The worm naturally engages with a large quadrant attached to the front pivot shaft.

I can remember George telling me that a lot of trouble had been experienced with the steering on previous occasions, so off came the engine and all the port faces were cut in the lathe. Some of them were well eroded leaving the steam to go any where it wished. On the solid end of the casing are two adjusting screws and nuts; this allows the cylinders to be adjusted up on to the valve faces after the engine gets hot.

Our first attempt at raising steam was not very successful as neither of the injectors would gurgle, the blowdown pipe leaked badly and steer we could not. Having to haul on the hand wheel with steam on the power unit meant that something was hanging up somewhere that had to be freed. 

Taking two large jacks, we raised up the end of the machine so that the steering roll was clear of the ground; yet, with no weight on it, it still took the pair of us to pull the handwheel around. It appeared that the front pivot was rusted up and although some grease had been pumped in the top fitting, it was not going to do much good. Freeing it was accomplished eventually by drilling another lubrication hole lower down, screwing in a grease zerk, and pumping in penetrating oil with the grease gun.

The second steam-up was more encouraging, as now we had no boiler leak and the injectors now worked. The main idea of this steam-up was to try and free the steering, so by jogging the power unit back and forth for many many times and also keeping pressure on the grease gun, it finally worked loose. Another thing I did was make the main engine drive gear easy to remove as all the gearing is fitted with no clutch. To move the engine previously meant moving the whole machine. Now we can watch the rods going back and forth without having to go anywhere.

At R & T Enschinarama we had approached a fellow director, Amos Stauffer regarding the transportation from Mullica Hill to Kinzers. He informed us that he would have to have the actual weight as he was limited to 8 tons. Fortunately for us, below Georges property lies the old potato house with a large scale that was once part of the old railroad that came into Mullica Hill. The ground slopes down about 5 ft. in 40 where the only access lies to the scale, with the exception of going around via the main street, and I don't think the local constabulary would favor that. For moving we used a piece of 2 inch pipe with both ends flattened out and drilled a 5/8 inch hole for a bolt. One end was bolted to the draw bar of the Case front end loader and the other to the draw bar that is actually the front of the roller. With the steering in the front, it was fairly easy for me to guide while George nudged it downhill.

At first thought it might be asked, 'why not steam it down?', but for this the boiler would have to be full of water and so would the tanks. If the tank was only half full, calculation of the number of gallons would be easy but for the boiler, that would be something else. Well we got it onto the scale with no bother and the weight as we had almost figured, was 6-1/2 ton. Towing the old girl back was a little rough in one place. Half way up the hill was a ditch and we thought that the little crawler would never make it, but luckily all went well.

This chore did not take any where near the, time we thought it would. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and the clocks had been put back an hour, so why not have a steam-up was our thoughts. Everything went well and now George's lawns and driveways are the only ones around here for many miles that have been, may I say, very well steam-rolled. This is a very tricky machine to drive for what looks the front is really the rear. Getting used to the direction one has to go in relation to the direction one has to pull the lever, takes quite a little concentration, besides having to work the throttle at the same time. I know that we shall have to play with it much more before we will feel confident enough to drive it through a Kinzer engine parade.

Kinzers will be the old girls home from now on, as there she will find several of her own kind with whom to converse. If a steam-roller has any sentimentality, she ought to feel happy, for she will be back close to the area where she first started her life. Perhaps I should not say her, for on each side of the coal tray is a brass nameplate that reads 'JOHN O' GAUNT.'