Spalding's Corner: Looking for Clues to Mystery Steam Engine

This mystery steam engine, a return-flue design, should be relatively easy to identify.


| July 2005



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Correctly identifying the "mystery" engine featured every issue in Spalding's Corner has become something of a test of knowledge for some of you. Case in point: Bob Carlson of Haddam, Conn., who's been trying to get his answer in first for the past few issues, but keeps finding himself squeezed out by another reader who sneaks in before him. As the first person to correctly identify the mystery engine featured in the May/June 2005 issue, Bob's definitely proof of the old adage, "Third time's a charm."

Noting the engine's signature flywheel and firebox as clues to its identity, Bob identified the engine as a product of the Northwest Thresher Co., Stillwater, Minn. The featured engine was produced in 1887 when the company called them the "Stillwater," in homage, we assume, to Northwest Thresher's home city. Later engines were called New Giants.

Thomas Stebritz, Algona, Iowa, provided more information, noting the engine's combined gear and chain drive, and three-point friction clutch. According to Thomas, the spokes were cast into the driver rims and the bull gears were internal cog-type.

Congratulations, Bob, your free copy of Prof. P.F. Rose's Steam Engine Guide is on its way. You've certainly earned it!

This month's mystery engine comes, as usual, courtesy of John Spalding, 112 Carriage Place, Hendersonville, TN 37035 (genesis645@aol.com). The identity of this month's mystery engine, a return-flue design, should prove a little less elusive.

As ever, the first person to correctly identify the engine, by mail, gets a free copy of Prof. P.F. Rose's Steam Engine Guide. Good steaming.