Boiler Explosion

article image
Stuart Breese
This is a Siebring steam boiler manufactured by Siebring Manufacturing Company, George, Iowa, about 15 years ago. I rigged this outfit by mounting 2 model engines on it. The one with the large flywheel was made by a Peter Christiansen, a blacksmith at Cat

Route 2, Box 64A, Topeka, Ind. 46571

On Wednesday afternoon, February 22, 1882, the 20-Horse-Power
engine owned and used by Henry Troyer and George Stutzman, at their
saw-mill, on the farm of David Helmuth near Carlisle, Ohio,
exploded killing five men. (So stated the Iron-Valley Reporter
Extra, of Canal Dover, Ohio, dated Monday, February 27, 1882.)

Those killed were: George Stutzman, Leonard Hershberger, Michael
Immel, and Andrew Beechy, and Elias Beechy, the latter two were
sons of Benjamin Beechy. George Stutzman, the engineer, was thrown
about 175 feet. His left leg was blown off at the knee and a piece
from the knee eight inches toward the hip was blown off, and the
hip was torn loose. The body was naked except for the right boot
and the lower part of a pantaloon leg. His right arm was broken
between the hand and elbow the left arm torn off at the shoulder,
as clean and smooth as though cut with a knife; it was broken above
and below the elbow. He had burst open and part of his internal
organs were out of him. Elias Beechy, age 16, was thrown 60 feet
and scalded some but not disfigured and no bones were broken.
Nearly all of his clothes were stripped from his body. Andrew
Beechy, age 20, was blown 360 feet, and those who saw him said he
was 70 or 80 feet in the air. He landed in a plowed field and his
body bounced 20 feet. His leg was torn off above the knee and
thrown 100 feet up a slope. His face had been considerably
disfigured. Leonard J. Hershberger, almost 18 years of age, was
picked up 168 feet from the engine. The top of his head was blown
off, from the eyebrows up. The skull was picked up half way between
the body and the engine. There were no bones broken. The body of
Michael Immel, 57 years of age, was found nearly stripped. There
was a hole knocked in his head, his abdomen was torn open and his
bowles were scattered about; the right leg was broken close to the
knee and his neck was broken. Michael Stutzman had one leg smashed.
The leg was amputated the next day between the ankle and the knee.
His whole face had been scalded by the steam and being thrown on
the saw dust made it look as though it was covered by one large
brown scab. He could partly open one eye, and knew and conversed
with his acquaintances.

On the fatal day, after dinner, Andrew Beechy and his brother
came over from their home a mile away to roll in some logs for
their father. Michael Immel came down from his home for the same
purpose. The explosion left pieces of iron, lumber, and clothing
scattered about. In the mill yard were lying hats, boots, mittens,
suspenders, pieces of shirts, pants, coats, boiler iron, castings,
flues and the like. One piece of the iron had been thrown over the
house of David Helmuth and had buried itself in the ground. One end
of the boiler with the flues sticking in it flew almost directly
toward the house, mashing down a rail fence and a big gate. The
boiler had fifty-five flues, thirty-three of which were still in
the flue head. A large piece whizzed within three or four feet of
Henry Troyer, while two pieces of boiler and the body of George
Stutzman were whirled right over his head.

Winter has its advantage: No lawn to mow, no garden to take care
of; nights are as warm or as cool as you care to make them, and it
is so dark you can get to as early as you wish.’

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