CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM


| November/December 1971



909 Naperville Road, Wheaton, Illinois 60187

When reading the July-August 1971 issue of The Iron-Men Album Magazine, page 14, article 'Let's Keep 'Em Puffing' by Merlin Elrod, I felt compelled, being an engineer, to comment on the article, in that there are some parts of it which are not correct. I say this more in the interest of the younger generations which may read it and in the interest of correct engineering, and trust it will be taken as 'constructive criticism.'

To give you a little of my background, I started working on steam traction engines in 1916, finished two years of Agricultural Engineering College in 1921, studied mechanical engineering by Correspondence School to become a Registered Professional Engineer in four States, and have been a consulting engineer since 1930 principally on steam power plants. I am 72 years old.

My interest in steam traction engines is a part of my hobby, plus steam locomotives; both from a mechanical history standpoint. So far it has been interesting.

Now on to the items mentioned in above article that do not agree with present day engineering practice.

(1)   a new fire built on only one side of the grate would not raise steam very quickly due to the amount of cold air passing through the other side. A kindling wood fire with a small amount of coal thereon over the entire grate is a much better starting and steaming fire. When the grate has incandescent coals on the whole grate, then the alternate side to side firing is good to reduce smoke and get quicker steaming. This respondent never heard of a 'thermo cap' but appreciates the blower help to quicker steaming.