1996Best Show Yet for Connecticut Antique Machinery Association

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Skinner engine. Greene engine across the aisle, and below.
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Western Pennsylvania oil field pump house and exhibit.
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Asa Beckwith with blacksmith exhibit.
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Rebuilt 3' gauge Plymouth locomotive with John Dendelin in cab.
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Paul Kolbe at the sawmill engine.
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Vice President sent to us by Robert, Hungerford 47 Clinton
Avenue Westport, Connecticut 06880

The main event of the year was the running of the Skinner
Universal Uniflow engine. The Uniflow is the ultimate in steam
valve construction and the most efficient of steam engines. The
Uniflow valve design means the steam enters not just one side of
the piston and then the other, but both sides at once! How can the
engine run, you say? The trick is an imbalance in the pressure. A
little more on one side so the piston travels toward one end, and
then runs into the lesser pressure at the other end, rather than no
pressure, and uses compression to slow the inertia and help to push
the piston back when the valve changes direction and the piston
reaches the end of travel. After the valve changes the steam
pressure, the piston is pushed back, according to the high speed
design. The flywheel has a governor balance system on it that
regulates the eccentrics, and consequently the steam inlet, faster
than the main valve can take effect. This is required to maintain
the generating speed.

This engine was originally in the Rocky Hill, Connecticut,
Veteran’s Hospital and was an auxiliary generator. It was
donated to CAMA two years ago and we have spent a great deal of
time on it, from getting it disassembled and ready for trucking, to
the first running of the engine in Kent, which was on the first day
of the ’96 show! (phew!) How momentous an occasion! This was
the moment we got all steamed up about! The crowd stood watching as
the final adjustments were completed and the steam valve was
opened. The engine ran for the first time at CAMA. Bob Hungerford
was the key to operation and I think he did a great job of
organizing it and making it come together so well. ‘We ran it
at slow speed to see if things were right, and we heard a thud in
the connecting rod bearing. After some more adjustments we tried
again. The floor still shook a little, but we gained on it and
finally got the knocks out. When we were sure, the covers were put
on and the engineers gradually opened the throttle to full blast
and the engine only went about 100 rpm, the maximum boiler output,
but a fraction of the 225 rpm normal operating speed. Then they
shut it down and congratulated each other, for the engine had run
and the whole project had come to a wonderful close. Now all that
is needed is to shine it up and make it generate once again, maybe
next year.

The other engines in the Industrial Hall include the Tiffany and
Pickett engine, which is another large engine like the Skinner, but
instead of a generator, this one drove an entire factory with
lineshafts and belts. The engine is based on the designs of Noble
T. Green and is more efficient than others before it. This engine
with a 12 foot diameter flywheel, had the inertia to power all the
machines in the factory, and it only ran at 150 rpm. Due to the
size of the flywheel, the speed up of the lineshaft was a multiple
of the diameter and it might have turned six hundred to one
thousand rpm.

The newest addition to CAMA is the Oil Field Pump Engine
Building. This building was put up in late summer, and the engines
were in and on display before the show. What an accomplishment!
When Ray DeZara starts a project, he carries it through and
finishes it quickly! Quite an asset to the Association, I might
add. The engines in the barn are single cylinder hot tube and spark
ignition. The first engine next to the side door is a big red Oil
City Boiler works engine built in 1905 and has a 9 inch bore and 16
inch stroke, which is 300 cubic inches. It also has a really neat
governor on it called a pendulum governor. This is simply a weight
fastened to the exhaust pushrod that opens the exhaust valve only
below a certain speed. This one is four stroke and water cooled.
However, when engines of this type were in operation, they pumped
crude oil and used some of it for cooling. By pumping it through
the jacket that surrounds the cylinder and running off the natural
gas that is on top of the oil in the well, it made for an efficient
setup. Now these run on propane, which has a lot more BTUs than
natural gas and so while starting the engines they tend to flood
easily, but have more power. The second is a 1906 Oil Well Supply
Simplex engine, which is very similar to the first, and has a
centrifugal governor and dual ignition. The third big engine was
built by Pattin Brothers before 1910 and is two stroke and hot tube
ignition. It was used for drilling and is 15 HP. Flywheels are four
to five feet in diameter on all of them, and they did not have a
throttle, but were hit and miss.

The hot tube, made from nickel, is different from spark
ignition. It is similar to a glow plug, but not quite. The tube is
heated by a burner that surrounds it. To start the engine, you heat
the tube until it glows red hot, then you turn on gas to the intake
and crank the engine. The compression stroke pushes the gas into
the head and the tube, which being red hot fires the charge of gas
and drives the piston back. Getting the tube and the head hot
enough is the key to easy starts, especially in cold weather!
Timing of the engine is accomplished by changing the length of the
tube, shorter tube fires later. The two stroke engines can backfire
through the porting in the cylinder. If the gas leaks by the
piston, it builds up behind it and could fire the wrong way. These
were really an attraction and definitely benefited the event. There
are more engines in the future to be installed in this building and
I hope to write about these as well.

Ray also had two large single cylinder engines running outside
at the show. The sheer size of these engines is fascinating,
hearing and seeing them run is the whole experience! The flywheels
are five to six feet in diameter and the twelve inch piston in a
big cylinder really belts out the power and the sound! What an
exhibit to be seen! This represents many hours and in fact, weeks
of work to make this come together behind the scenes and we thank
all involved for making it happen at CAMA.

The newest thing on the railroad is the renovated Plymouth
locomotive. The Plymouth was badly in need of repair and sat around
until a new old-stock Hercules diesel engine was found by John
Daudelin. He took an interest in the project and completed it by
putting in the engine and redoing the rest to make a fully
operational locomotive to operate on the new track. Now this
machine can really pull! While we are waiting for the steam
locomotives to be restored, we can use what we have to great
advantage. The eight-ton Plymouth engine was originally designed as
a switch engine to change cars and freight from different tracks
and trains. Today we use it for pulling the dump cars with crushed
stone for the new track and for its original use, switching cars.
The track is really progressing fast and getting closer to our goal
of making it to the lower parking lot for rides.

On the tractor side, another new and running piece is a 1930 Bay
City 10-20 McCormick swing shovel. This was hauled out of the trees
(literally) by Ray DeZara and brought to the grounds for
restoration two years ago for Roger Nelson. Ray and Roger have
worked on it steadily since, tackling one thing after the other
until it was ready. I was involved in most of its progress and was
thrilled to see the old rusty piece of iron change into a working
piece of equipment! Work started with taking everything off and
cleaning and restoring each piece to working condition. The tracks
came off, the engine came out, and boom came off. Then restoration
began. Connecting the boom and the bucket sliding arm was easier
than anticipated, though the brake adjustments and figuring out how
the cables were supposed to hook up was a little more challenging.
The problem was getting the drums to turn and the brakes to grab or
release when we needed them to, but those are the breaks! After a
bit of working in, they became easier to move and turn. The brakes
wore in to where the whole machine worked as it should and it was a
sight to see come together! It was very rewarding when Roger drove
it off the blocks under its own power for the first time in thirty
years!

All the effort and work by all involved really paid off to make
a good contribution to the association and a usable Bay City
shovel. Thanks everyone! Demonstrating those days when shovels like
that were new is what we at CAMA do, allowing you to see the past
in the present.

One of the bigger items on display was a 10-ton Buffalo
Springfield roller. Karcher Reynolds worked on the engine with
Trevor Marshall to restore it. The valves were ground and new
piston rings were installed. Now the engine runs well and has its
old power back. I have been restoring the clutch assembly, which
has proved to be a big job. The old clutch only partially worked,
meaning it went backwards just fine, however, forward was stuck.
Dudley Diebold found another roller with a good clutch, which I
managed to acquire and move with the help of several people,
including the trucker! Now I am working on making one good one out
of two and will be fully operational by next year. This has also
been a big undertaking or perhaps overtaking, but I like the
challenge of restoring old tractors and this roller has been no
less interesting. Meanwhile the project is rolling on and I know it
will be of great use on the grounds as well as a piece of
history.

While we are on the subject of big tractors, I think the steam
tractors are a big draw. This year we had the 1910 New Huber
running and chuffing along. These are so big that the driver cannot
see much of what is in front, so to avoid problems, they are driven
backwards to facilitate visibility and safety while moving at the
show. The main thing is safety here, and it must always be
practiced by all.

The steam tractors are most impressive, not just for their size,
but because only one cylinder is used to move a 14 ton machine
quietly and efficiently; well, as quietly as the big gears and
drive train will allow. The piercing steam whistle is the loudest
thing there, audible over just about everything else in the whole
area. The Huber’s boiler is quite big, and in fact the whole
tractor is built around it. This tractor is unique at CAMA, because
it has a return flue path. This means that the heat from the
firebox goes all the way to the front to the smokebox, and then
turns around and goes back through the top half of the boiler to
heat the water more, before leaving through the stack, mounted
above the firebox in front of the driver. This differs from the
locomotive style, where the smoke and heat go from the firebox
through the boiler to the smokebox only once to exit out the front
stack. The difference is the amount of heat the boiler can produce,
and the amount of wood you have to burn to keep it hot. Naturally,
the single pass boiler will be less efficient and require more wood
to keep it going than the return path boiler. One reason we find
the show so interesting every year is the diverse nature of the
machinery on display and the fact that it actually works and
runs!

The other 14 ton tractor we have is the Fairbanks-Morse
two-cylinder gasoline tractor. This behemoth is something else
indeed when you see it and witness its motion and lumbering
quality. It’s something you would rather give a lot of room! In
front of the driver are the giant rocker arms and valve springs
right there out in the open. The heads are giant too, about 10
inches in diameter and its huge wheels stand seven feet high and
two feet wide! This is a monster! Yet, it really doesn’t make
that much noise, kind of a big chuffing sound, although
occasionally if the timing isn’t right, it will backfire and
that’s loud. The big steel wheels on it, rolling along like the
steam tractor’s, put the roof way above the crowd and make an
impressive spectacle. This big black bug bleeds black smoke when
it’s under load of driving and pulling itself along. It came
from Canada and it is one of two known to run.

The shingle mill is always a good sight and demonstration for
how they used to be made. The sawdust flying around and the
piercing sound of the saw took you back to a time when that was the
way of building. You made it yourself, if you wanted it done, and
you took pride in your work. Quite a different story now, and
that’s why coming here once a year and seeing what it was like
to be in the world of your great grandfather, what he did for a
living and how he might have done it, is so interesting. These old
machines may be way out of date now and not be of much use by
comparison, but that’s all they had! If you wanted a shingle,
this is how it was made, and if you wanted your backyard leveled,
you had a shovel like the Bay City come in and dig the dirt, and a
solid tire Mack truck to haul it. This is the goal of our
association, to educate the public and preserve the past, so our
children can see what machines were like more than 60 years
ago.

This is the fun and thrill of a show like this, the sound of the
steam and the engines and tractors and the people, creating a whole
atmosphere that can only be felt here.

The food! The best soup in the northwest corner of the state is
made fresh with the steam heated soup kettle, a 50 gallon cauldron
of fantastic concoction that is so good you won’t want to eat
any other. The cook of this fine recipe is Nonie Diebold, who
really knows how to make good food and should be formally thanked
for her generous contribution to the show and to CAMA.

The Kent Lions Club and the Tired Iron Engine Club are much
appreciated in their efforts making this a traditional event and
not just hockey-puck-and-tube-steak-fast food. You could get roast
beef and bacon-egg and cheese sandwiches that were of good quality
and taste.

Overall I think the show went very well. I know I have said
that, but I mean it. This year we went to a lot of trouble to make
things as good as we could get them for all the people involved and
the public coming to see the grounds during the show. The newest,
but not the prettiest utility vehicle, is our International
forklift, which I have taken to and was the real reason behind the
group’s ability to accomplish as much as we did in a short
time. We could not have done much of it as easily, or at all,
without it. We don’t know how we got along without it before.
It has been a real back-saver for everyone!

The buildings are the last thing to talk about, but not the
least. They represent a lot of work, especially for the school! The
Cream Hill Agricultural School started out in Cornwall (of course
on Cream Hill) in the early 1800s. This building has now been moved
to the CAMA grounds and has been restored as a museum to the past
and show the environment in which the students learned. It was an
agricultural school and they learned about modern plants and new
farming techniques. That’s where the tie is to our Association,
antique machinery, and the origins date back to that time when the
school was in operation and the farming community of Cornwall grew
up. It now really adds a lot to the grounds’ overall layout, in
the architecture and beauty of the federal style building. The
classroom is the main exhibit area and to see this room is to go
back in time about a hundred years to when it was in use. It takes
you back to when the world was different, and is part of the
history that lead to the agricultural developments of the
present.

The Diebold Agricultural Hall is an exhibit in itself, being so
large inside. The tractors it holds are even more impressive. The
show is not necessarily the best time to see the barn, because
it’s just about emptied of its tractors, all of which are
outstanding in their field. However, when they are all assembled in
the barn the rest of the year, they are impressive to see, all
lined up and looking their best (relatively speaking). Though they
aren’t actually running as they are during the show, they offer
a glimpse into the past of farming and agricultural tools of
yesteryear.

The spring plowing event is fast becoming a tractor show of its
own for plowing fans and you can see the tractors in action as they
originally plowed (and got stuck) in the field. The spring event is
usually the end of April or beginning of May.

I would like to thank all those who came to, and participated
in, the fall show this year and I hope you will come again next
year rain or shine on September 27-28, 1997. The show is in Kent,
Connecticut, one mile north of the village on Route 7. For more
information, contact Bob Hungerford at 203-227-1697 or Josh
Reynolds 860-868-0283.

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