It is the writer’s honest opinion, that a general
description and dissemination of information regarding repairs that
can lie made on traction engine boilers, would result in fewer
engines reaching the scrap yard, and if only one engine can be
saved, the writer will feel amply repaid for his efforts.
An outline of the laws covering Permissible repairs to traction
engine boilers is beyond the scope of this paper, as some states
have complete jurisdiction, some exempt them when used purely for
agricultural purposes and still other states have boiler laws of
any kind. It is well to bear in mind that those states having
boiler laws have adopted a Code formulated by the American Society
of Mechanical Engineers. This Code was founded on good sound
engineering principles and is the basis of all stationary boiler
design and repair at the present time. Most thresher companies
adopted this code in 1918 as the basis
Steam Engine Joe Rynda of Montgomery, Minn., towing his 18 hp
Avery Undermounted No. 3190 built in 1905, home with his 65 Case.
That is a journey we all would have enjoyed. Courtesy of L. I.
Bjorneberg, New Ulm, Minnesota.
of their boiler design and boilers so constructed are stamped
with the code symbol, working pressure, date of manufacture, and
registration number. This stamping is usually found on the
crown of the rear boiler head, and forms a very important
consideration when parchasing an engine for use in a Code
We need only to read through the pages of the old thresher
magazine to appreciate the trials and tribulations encountered in
repairing and operating the traction engine boilers in the days
when welding and gas cutting were unknown arts. When all patches
had to be applied with rivets and patch bolts, rivets had to be
driven by haul, holes had to be drilled with hand operated ratchet
drills, and all caulking and chippins of seams was a slow process
perform d by hand. In present day boiler practice, air tools are
used for drilling holes, driving rivets, and for caulking seams.
Gas is used for cutting out rivets and defective metal. The
electric arc is used for welding in patches and building up of
sheets thinned by corrosion. All of this work must be performed by
skilled mechanics equipped with the proper tools and material. An
inexperienced welder is no bargain and can, in a very short time,
ruin a boiler which could otherwise have been satisfactorily
repaired. Good boiler makers, like old threshermen, are becoming
very scarce. We find the railroad shops about the best source for
boiler makers and quite after, a man can be hired to work after
hours or on weekends, and most all of these men have the ‘know
how’ and experience to complete a very satisfactory repair.
An article on retubing boilers will follow in our next
Mr. Hardy Lindblad has a Case Lindblad engine that is worth
seeing. We had the pleasure of running it. He is the only man we
know of who found a use for the peep hole in the Case boilers. He
has promised us pictures and if they come you will be surprised as
Steam engine rally at Horsmonden, June 23rd, 1951,. In the
foreground, 1901 steam automobile being put through its paces. Note
solid rubber tires and tiller steering. And in the background a
road haulage engine by Charles Burrell and Sons of Thetford,
Norfolk, England. Courtesy of R. G. Pratt.
Mr. C. W. Lambert’s rally at Horsmonden, Kent, England, on
June 23rd, 1951. Mr. Wicks of Pembury, is leading the procession
with 3-1/2 ton singlocylinder steam tractor by Tacker and Son of
Andover, followed by the ‘LIFU’ steam car of Mr.
Nightingale and after that a 6 hp Marshall traction origins. These
were in turn followed by other engines and it is the tail of the
procession that Mr. Wicks is trying to make as long as possible.
Moving pictures were taken and except for the weather, better
pictures could have been procured. All voted this meeting a great
success, it being the only meeting of its kind held anywhere in the
British Isles. Courtesy R. G. Pratt.