CENTRAL NORTH DAKOTA STEAM THRESHERS, INC.

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.

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