WESTERN ONTARIO STEAM CLUB PROJECT

Engine

Charles A. Keberly

Content Tools

9162 Hartel, Livonia, Michigan 48150

This was the scene looking through the opening in the roof as workmen get the engine ready to be lifted out of the engine house. Photo by Charles A. Keberly, 9162 Hartel, Livonia, Michigan 48150.

The huge flywheel is lowered onto the float. In the background is the wood shavings sawdust separator.

The Western Ontario Steam Threshers have been busy since early spring restoring a 100 HP stationary steam engine that was donated to the club. Exact age of the engine is unknown, but the builder's plate is stamped: The Jerome Wheelock System, patented May 25, 1886 and Feb. 10, 1980. It was built by the Goldie and McCulloch Company Ltd., of Galt, Ontario and is numbered 1142.

The engine was donated by the Belton Lumber Company, Ltd., of Sarnia, Ontario. They originally donated the engine to the Optimist Club of Sarnia but the Optimist Club decided to give the engine to the Western Ontario Steam Threshers.

Although the engine changed ownership, it was yet to be removed from the building where it was originally installed nearly a century ago. Getting the engine out of the building was handled as a club project this past April. Many non-members also volunteered their time and equipment. A large portion of the engine house roof was removed to get the engine out of the building. Even then the size of the engine did not allow removing it from the building in one piece. The flywheel, which measures almost 12 feet in diameter, was separated from the engine and then it was hoisted out through the roof opening with a large crane. Next came the main body of the engine which also was lifted out through the roof opening.

Exactly when the engine was installed is unknown; however, company records are being searched for history of the engine. Tom Belton, president of Belton Lumber, said that the engine was already in use when his company took over operation of the lumber business in 1912. Mr. Belton said the engine supplied power for 25 different machines through a 200-foot line shaft located in the basement. Wood shavings and sawdust fueled the engine. A separator on the roof of the building sorted the sawdust from the shavings so that either material could be burned. Once the desired fuel was selected, it was fed to the engine through a chute connected to the roof-mounted separator. The engine was last used in the mid 1950s when electrical power was installed.

After the engine was removed from the building it was hauled to the home of Bill Jackson, club secretary, of Wyoming, Ontario where the engine is to be restored.

It is hoped that restoration will be completed in time for the Western Ontario Steam Threshers' 23rd Annual Reunion which will be held in Brig den on August 15, 16, and 17, 1980.