53 SOUTH: PATAGONIA

1 / 5
Photo 1: Aveling & Porter Royal Letters Patent 8599.
2 / 5
Photo 3: Heinrich Lanz, Manheim, Germany.
3 / 5
Photo 2: J. & H. McLaren & Co. Ltd No 1296, Leeds, England.
4 / 5
Photo 4: Feed water pump from Marshall & Sons, Company, Ltd, Gainsborough, England portable power.
5 / 5
Photo 5: MARIA, a meter gauge engine built Hanover, Germany.

108 Garfieid Avenue, Madison, New Jersey 07940

I want a ship that’s homeward bound to plough the rolling
sea, To the blessed land of Room Enough beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of
stars.

(Dr. Henry Van Dyke)

One of the many aspects of travel abroad is that feeling that
one gets when one’s footsteps are finally directed homeward.
For then it’s time to realize that the sound of children’s
voices and the call of the whirling grey gull overhead are
changeless the world around. People are people regardless of ethnic
origins and religious beliefs. And. their industrial artifacts all
have a familiar ring.

My most recent wanderings have taken me some 6,000 miles across
planet Earth to as far away as latitude 53 degrees south and across
the Strait of Magellan to Tierra del Fuego. I left home at 40 North
in a howling January snowstorm to become increasingly warm in the
southward trek towards summertime until the air grew cold again as
there was nothing between me and Antarctica but a thousand or so
miles of open ocean.

Punta Arenas, Chile, at the southern tip of mainland South
America, was for many years a major seaport on the protected waters
of the Strait until the Panama Canal was built, thus diverting
ships that had been rounding Cape Horn to reach California or the
far Pacific. Today it is a staging area for sea borne and airborne
traffic to Antarctica. It too, is the home of the Institute de la
Patagonia, founded to record and preserve the area’s rich
cultural history. Here to my wondering eyes was a collection of
turn of the century steam machinery in the Museo de Recuerdo
(Museum of Souvenirs).

The Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, was the first
European to see this land and give his name to the passage behind
Cape Horn. For the next 250 years the Spanish attempted
colonization, but it was not until the English speaking peoples
began to arrive around 1850 that agricultural development,
particularly the Welsh and their sheep, began to establish the
European presence. It is the period circa 1890 to 1920 that the
steam power now preserved in the Museo de Recuerdo entered the
scene.

The collection is entirely out of doors in a large field.
Walking through the gate I felt like the kid in the candy shop, I
didn’t know where to go first. One of the first machines to be
studied was a 10-ton Aveling & Porter compound engine built in
England. (Photo 1) This machine is a dual purpose implement in that
the roller can be exchanged for wheels to become a traction
engine.

With thousands of miles of single lane gravel roads in this part
of the world and very few paved roads, and those that are being
single lane, this British expatriate must have had its work cut out
for it.

J. & H. McLaren of Leeds, England, were represented (Photo
2) with a fine example of a portable power.

The land this far south is better suited to sheep, and some
cattle raising rather than crops such as wheat. Farther north and
in the irrigatable valleys, wheat has been a successful crop. Sheep
shearing, however, needed such machines to power the line shafts in
the shearing sheds for even today most estansias (ranches) are
isolated far beyond any electric power lines in this land
characterized by great distances.

It will be recalled that Argentina and this part of Chile was
colonized by Central Europeans from Germany. Austria and some
Swiss. Heinrich Lanz of Manheim, Germany, in 1915 shipped a large
straw burning engine (Photo 3) now preserved here. There is a
common denominator in all of these machines on display. Boiler feed
water supply was universally by axle powered pumps. None were
fitted with injectors though Henri Giffard had at this juncture
given the world that simplest of feed water devices. Messrs. Sharp,
Stewart & Company of England had obtained the patent rights by
1859. One of the better examples of this type of pump was found
high in the Andes on a farm (Photo 4) originally founded by a Swiss
family at the turn of the century near Peulla. The body of the pump
is bolted to a boss on the side of the boiler barrel with the
piston actuated by a rod driven from aneccentric on the main shaft.
It was on a portable power built by Marshall & Sons of Leeds,
England.

Of all of the Museo’s collection, MARIA (Photo 5) is my very
favorite. This little engine, built in Hanover, Germany, is typical
of many such meter gauge and two foot gauge steam locomotives built
in Germany and exported around the world. That pesky pine tree in
the background seems to be growing from the steam dome, but one can
still see the rather unique safety valve with its exposed coil
springs. She has company in the town park at Puerto Natales in
retirement from hauling coal from the nearby mines to the ship
loading piers. Here in the USA there are several that are privately
owned, such as on the Bucksgahuda & Western RR or tourist pikes
such as in Cripple Creek. Colorado.

In the background is a fine example of a steam powered over the
road truck. Among the collection was a Fordson tractor the only
representative from the USA. Since Ford extensively promoted his
tractor overseas, it is quite likely that it was a British
export.

Tis fine to see the Old World, and travel up and down
Among the famous palaces and cities of renown.

To admire the crumbling castles and the statues of the
kingsBut now I think I’ve had enough of antiquated
things.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment