BOILER EXPLOSION STORY

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Courtesy of H. W. Klotz, 5399 Georgetown St., East Canton 30, Ohio This picture, taken in 1924 at Stork County, Ohio, shows a 16 HP Russell and a 28 x 46 N. S. Separator. S. J. Klotz is standing, H. E. Klotz is operating the engine and I am on top of the
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Courtesy of H. W. Klotz, 5399 Georgetown. St., East Canton 30, Ohio Here is a picture of S. J. Klotz sawing at Stork County in 1952 with a Knight Saw Mill. Back of him is Charles Sloat and old time Sawyer from Wayne Co., Ohio.
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Courtesy of Dorothy Clem, Manassas, Virginia Danny Freeman, 3810 Old Mt. Vernon Road, Alexandria, Virginia, age 17, is the youngest engineer of the Shenandoah Valley Steam Engine Association at Berryville, Virginia and is operating the T T Peerless engine
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Courtesy of Leo Clark, 105 Harvey St., Washington, Illinois Mr. Art Erickson of R. D. # 1, Pontiac, Illinois had a new boiler made for his Avery under mounted. He cut the old boiler open as you see in this picture. He then mounted it and had it on display

908 Chestnut, Grand Forks, North Dakota

This is not a very pleasant story to read, but after reading in
the Album about a boiler explosion that happened on the 27th of
Feb., 1882, I would like to tell you about a boiler explosion that
took place on October 20, 1884.

This boiler, built by the Ames Engine Works, was a Michner dry
bottom, as it was called by inspectors and boiler men. It had been
condemned, but the owner decided to steam it up and finish his
threshing for fall as he only had a few stacks of grain left. This
explosion happened about 80 rods north of a little village known at
that time as Edna.

My uncle had been at Edna and was on his way home. He had a yoke
of oxen and wagon and was some 30 or 40 rods away when the
explosion happened. He hurried his oxen along as fast as he could
and met the fireman some 15 rods from where the engine stood. He
offered to take him back to the village, but he said ‘no’.
He told him to stay there and help. He walked to the village,
holding his in-sides with his hands, and was taken to a doctor. He
was cut open near his waistline.

Uncle drove on to the place and the first thing that met his
eyes was his young brother-in-law, only 19 years of age, and
another young man. Both dead near their grain wagons. The engineer
was lying some distance from where the engine had been standing. He
was torn apart almost to his throat, but his heart was still
beating. My uncle then went to the threshing machine and there lay
the band cutter beneath the foot board on which he had been
standing. He, too, was dead. Lying face down on the grain stack was
the feeder. The back of his head had been cut away and as he went
flying, his brain fell out and was lying on the foot board on which
he had been standing, absolutely intact except it was flattened
some. Uncle went and got the brother-in-law’s father and the
body was taken to his home in Uncle’s wagon with the oxen.

In 1907 I had a chance to look at a Gaar Scott boiler that blew
up several years before. It was a Gaar Scott return flue and all
the insides were blown out. The main flue and flue sheets looked
like they had been torn out, not a rivet had been moved.

In 1914 I had a chance to look at a Minnesota Chief built at
Stillwater, Minnesota. It had two patches on the left side near the
front end. They were about the size of a man’s hand and were in
good shape. The main flue and the flues were blown out and the flue
sheets just torn out but the main shell was absolutely intact. This
explosion killed one man.

In 1916 I saw a Gaar Scott return flue that blew up some years
before and that, like the others, had gone the same way. Everything
inside: main flue, flues and flue sheets were blown out but the
main shell was intact. The flue sheets were torn out but no rivets
were pulled out or loosened in any of these boilers.

In 1914 I met an old man who had been an inspector in Minnesota
for several years. Some like the Ames, Nichols & Shepard,
Cooper, Aultman & Taylor and Minnesota Chief. He told me a
story about a man that owned a Minnesota Chief and wanted more
pressure. The inspector told him that his boiler would not stand
more pressure, but the man said to put the pressure on and he would
be responsible. The inspector said he put the pressure on and the
flue caved in. The boiler had to be sent back to the factory and a
new main flue put in. He said that some people think because the
pressure is on the outside of the flue that it will stand more
pressure, but he said in all his experiences he has found this was
just the opposite.

I have written this hoping that it may be of some help to those
who own return boilers. It would be an awful thing if one of those
boilers should give away at one of our reunions with hundreds of
people standing around. I earnestly hope such a thing will never
happen.

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