A REPORT ON A TRIP TO MERRY OLD ENGLAND


| May/June 1973



Aultman-Taylor engine

Pictured is the left-side view of Aultman-Taylor engine at Streator, Illinois. Courtesy of Truman Koopman, Flanagan, Illinois 61740.

Truman Koopman

R. D. 1, Box 181, Ellwood City, Pennsylvania 16117.

I've been planning to do a report on my English trip for a long time and I guess I've just now gotten into a scribbling mood. My ambition to see England started somewhere a long time back at least in college, and last year I took a sabbatical leave from my job of teaching high school math and did some traveling. The first trip was to Iowa to that big beautiful show at Mt. Pleasant. I tried repeatedly to find someone to go along, without success, only to have 3 or 4 people say afterward, 'Oh I should have gone when you asked me'. Anyone who likes steam should make the trip soon so they will have an opportunity to return later. I guarantee they will want to, as I do.

After several trips to other points of interest here, I left for England April 4, 1972. It was the most interesting experience I have ever had. I was just a little bit nervous about going, but will never hesitate to go back now that I have been there. I had no problem whatever getting around in England. The buses and subways in London are amazingly effective and the bus lines and regular trains run all across the country and up to Scotland, which I did not see, in just one day. There are lots of trains, about 30 stations in London, and you can set your watch when they pull out. I had no language trouble in England of course, but did on the continent. The other main thing I learned was to plan ahead. I would advise anyone who has not had prior experience to take a planned tour for any part of the continent, except maybe Amsterdam where English is very much a second language. I am strictly a country boy, but found after I was home that I had lived in London, one of the worlds largest cities, for a month virtually alone and enjoyed it all.

There is just so very much to see and so many nice green parks to walk in. Museums galore of all sorts. The science museum in South Kensington, London has both models and full size originals of all sorts Steam Engines, lots of which are the very first of their type. The first was of course the huge Newcomen type atmospheric cylinder condensing engine used for pumping. Second, were Watt and Boulton Watt Engines with External condensers. They were at least as huge and cumbersome as the Newcomen type, especially since the condenser was as big as the cylinder or bigger. The pressure used on these never went above 15 pounds per sq. in. so that vacuum or condensed exhaust could almost double the effective pressure and was a real big help. Higher pressure was definitely considered very dangerous and totally unsafe by James Watt and his outfit. Maybe he had some sad experiences.

There is a model of the first Boulton-Watt installation in the London area. It was a pumping unit, walking beam of course, at a water power mill which had outgrown the supply of water to turn the wheel. They helped out by pumping water from the tail race back up to the headrace. How about that for a set-up? Anyone care to calculate the mechanical or thermal efficiency of that? Of course the main thing was, it worked.

There are only a few Horse Powered Threshing Outfits left in the Country. Pictured here is a complete Case Wooden Agitator Thresher, with a Case Woodbury-Dingee Gear Unit, a vintage of 1889. Six teams of horses and mules power this outfit annually at the Kings Show, King Farm, Kings, Illinois, sponsored by North Central Illinois Steam Power Show. This nicely restored and painted outfit is owned by George W. Hedtke of Davis Junction, III. Herman Hintzsche of DeKalb, III., who can be seen standing on the platform of the gear unit, supervises the Horse Power Threshing annually. George Hedtke can be seen sitting on top of the Agitator Thresher, checking the grain and straw separation. Harry Woodmansee of Dowling, Michigan, and John Southard of Alligan, Michigan are hand-feeding the old time thresher. In the background, 3 large steam powered threshing outfits can be seen, waiting their turn to set-up in the field for threshing, as well as 2 large gas tractor outfits. This show is held annually on an 80 acre farm. Twelve various field demonstrations are held daily during the 4 days, including evolutions of plowing with horses, mules, steam engines, and gas tractors. The 1973 show will be held August 2, 3, 4, and 5, at the King farm. Kings, III. Courtesy of Jon M. Schwartz, Sec'y, North Central Illinois Steam Power Show, Inc. Box 26, Davis Junction, Illinois 61020.