225 B Bucyrus Steam Shovel


| September/October 1983



225 B Bycyrus steam shovel

The picture of a 225 B Bycyrus steam shovel owned by the Harmon Creek Coal Co. near Hopedale, Ohio was taken in 1930. Pictured left to right: Henry Holly (engineer), Preach Manbeck, Charley Parks, Chester Rapp, Eugene Thomas, Harry Mattern, Tom 'Foxie' Ryder, John Stevens, Eddie Crawford, Sam Busby (craneman), Ralph Fenner, Bill Dwalt, Wayne Gottschall, Lloyd Busby, Dick Birney, Clarence Mitchell, Fred Tipton, George Blake, Lee Dunlap and Matthew Lorenz, superitnendent. (Only two or three of the men pictured are still living.)

The 225 B was one of the 'giant' steam shovels in the 1930's sporting a 6 cubic yard bucket. It would be a 'dwarf' alongside of the 105 cubic yard Silver Spade or the 130 cubic yard Gem which are electric shovels built by Bucyrus Erie that operate in Eastern Ohio.

The 225 B used one large boiler that sat across the rear of the shovel to provide steam to power the hoist, crowd and swing engines. Two men operated the machine. The operator or engineer who took care of swinging the machine and hoisting the bucket and the craneman who operated the 'stick' or dipper handle in and out and also dumped the bucket. They had to be very good friends and very cooperative to coordinate together the process of maneuvering the bucket from 'high wall' to 'spoil'. Henry Holly was the engineer and Sam Busby was the craneman.

Note the large crew that was needed for the whole operation. Many men were required to lay and maintain the track that the shovel traveled on. The track had to be laid 'solid' as possible (someone messed up for the shovel is buried) and as level as possible for there were no lugs on the wheels. Sand was used to gain traction. At the time the 225 B was built there were no hydraulic jacks to level the shovel. Bucyrus' competition held the patent for leveling jacks. Ties and plank were used under the track to get as level as possible. Then a bolster was pinned to the under frame in the center with a large screw on each end that was 'hand tightened' before starting to dig and 'hand loosened' before propelling took care of the unevenness of the rail bed.

Another big job was laying and maintaining a water supply, especially in winter due to freezing weather.

Note the absence of a bulldozer. The company had only one International but it wasn't used much. Manual labor, horses, and slip scraper were used to dig out the shovel.