| March/April 1968

New Rockford, North Dakota 58356

I found the Jan.-Feb. '68 Album even more interesting than usual, partly because of three different articles in it:- 'STAY BOLTS'; 'BOILER EXPLOSIONS' and 'STILL GOING STRONG'.

Mr. Camp is very fortunate to have had the opportunity to observe and work with such competent boiler repairmen as he describes. He asks about boiler pressures. My 1907-08 and 1911-12 Advance catalogs gives this information:- 'All our boilers up to the 30 HP size are built to carry 150 lbs. pressure and our 30, 35 and 40 HP carry 160 pounds'. How about 100 lbs. for a show engine Howard?

I cannot fully agree with Mr. Earl's statement about the danger in using old boilers. I am sure he does not want to give the impression that we can safely ignore real weaknesses in a boiler. I consider any fairly large area of real thin plate in a boiler as dangerous. Probably 99% of the time these places would leak before giving away, but let's not depend on that. I do not believe anybody can say for sure just what combination of conditions can bring on an explosion in either an old or new boiler. And I regard low water and a hot fire very dangerous regardless if water is injected or not. In regard to dangerous weakness, I would say a place where several stay bolts in an area together where the plate is too thin for a strong connection to the stay bolts is dangerous. Mr. Earl's description of the explosion of the 16 HP Nichols and Shepard describes just such a condition. A thin area along the bottom of the barrel of the boiler can be bad, also look for trouble at the grate line of the firebox and of course the crown sheet. Check all pipe nipples that screw into the boiler and also check the height of the bottom of the gauge glass in relation to the crown-sheet. Some engines have the glass so low that when the water just shows in the glass the crown sheet has very little water over it. If you fine such a condition slip a thin sleeve an inch or so long over the bottom of the glass and keep the water level above this point.

After so many opinions about what a poor valve gear the Marsh is, it was interesting to me to read Mr. Rorvig's defense of the Advance engines. When I was a kid and very interested in threshing engines, straw-burners probably out-numbered the coal-burners ten to one in the area that I knew. And the Advance was usually considered one of the best when the straw was not the best. For steady all day work like threshing I think the combination of the side-mounted tandem compound, 26 or 35 HP with the straw-burner boiler, the Marsh valve gear and the steam pipe running thru the smoke-box and the stack added up to a very good threshing engine. The weight was well divided between the drivers and the front wheels. The flywheel was easy to reach for belting up. The levers and steering wheel well located and the second platform above the straw stuffer put the engineer up in good position for visibility while on the move. Of any single cylinder engines that I have handled I will take the Advance, they just do not seem to have 'dead centers'. I had better sign-off before I convince some of the fellows that they should sell their engines and buy an Advance. Let me add that I like almost all steam engines.


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