Pennsylvania steam collectors' organizations have launched an effort to provide for the continued safe operation of antique boilers for exhibition purposes.
The move deserves national attention, for it deals with a subject of increasing importance to collectors and their organizations as the engines grow older and interest broadens in events at which the engines are shown.
Impetus was given by the Rough and Tumble Engineers Historical Association of Kinzers, Pa., which issued invitations to all organizations in the state which are listed in the 1983 Stemgas show directory, to meet at Kinzers.
Guy Stauffer, R&T president, opened the meeting, on May 21. The next session will be held Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. at the R&T headquarters. Lunch will be served at noon to those attending.
If you want to be at the meeting, and are not on the mailing list compiled to date, get in touch with Hope Emerich, secretary, R&T, Box 9, Kinzers, Pa. 17535.
In a mailing to organizations on June 12, it was stated: 'The problems all groups have encountered revolve around inspection and repair of such boilers. Specifically, there is a at present no code of standards for either inspection or in spectable repairs to such boilers. In addition, state boiler in specters have had no training in what to look for when inspecting an antique boiler.'
At the meeting, the group was told that Connecticut is working on revision of its code. New Hampshire and Minnesota have antique boilers written into their codes. North Dakota's code has a portion on steam traction engines and miniature boilers.
A set of seven suggestions was developed, for discussion among clubs. A protective association is envisioned, to refine standards and promote acceptance by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The suggestions include these:
1. Get the boiler code rewritten to include specifically exhibition engines, antique boilers and miniatures; study what is being done in other states.
2. Develop specific guidelines for repair of antique boilers, emphasizing safety.
3. Develop a training program and encourage young people to learn how to operate the engines safely; provide for practical testing of all operators.
4. Develop inspection guidelines, with hydrostatic testing on a regular schedule, checks for gauge accuracy, and provision for emergency addition of water if the injector fails.
5. Provide for reciprocity with bordering states on boiler inspection; possibly seek 5-day permits for out-of-state boilers coming in for shows.
6. Provide for state inspector knowledgeable on antique boilers, and/or train inspectors who will have the knowledge.
7. Check with the Hartford Company on inspection and insurance, and on securing favorable group rates.
The problems addressed at this first meeting are real and pressing, not only in Pennsylvania but on other states as well. If you have opinions in this, send them to Antique Boiler Forum, c/o IMA, Box 328, Lancaster, Pa. 17603. We'll publish as much as we can from the response, and pass the information along to R&T and the clubs associated in the effort.