I really hate to come crying on your shoulder so soon, but here
it is January 15th (1955) and I am still looking for my issue of
the IRON-MEN ALBUM for Jan.-Feb. I am getting anxious and of
course, beginning to think it has been lost in the mail. I know
some of the fellows have had their Jan.-Feb. issue for some time.
That is the reason I am writing and having hopes of you sending
another copy if you have extras available. If you do send me
another issue and I do receve the one that I feel sure you have
mailed, I will give the extra issue to some one who is interested
in steam and will try to get another sub. on your list. I think I
added two names in the last month, however, they do not live in
this part of the country.
I went to Alva, Oklahoma last Sunday and saw Mr. Roscoe
Elliott’s steam engine. I believe he mentioned that he had sent
you a picture of it. It is a small one -however, it is large enough
to ride on. Mounted on rubber tired wheels and using a twin
cylinder Locomobile engine. He fires it with Butane and it is
really nice. He didn’t have it fired up when I was there though
I would really liked to have seen it run. My little engine that I
sent you a couple of pictures of a good while ago, really works
swell. I have the boiler insulated and a real nice job on it. I
have also made a new, more appropriate water tank and some other
improvements on it. I also have made up a valve reverse gear
consisting of two gears and a single eccentric that is as efficient
as the Wolf or some other types but on a small engine where one is
trying to stay away from all the wear by excessive moving parts,
this type is, 1 believe, hard to beat. I might some time send you a
drawing of it if you would care to show it in the hobby section of
the ALBUM. You might let me know if you care to have one as to how
best to draw it so as to show up good after protographing it.
Mr. Elliott had a lot of swell photos that he had taken at Mt.
Pleasant, Iowa last September. I really enjoyed looking at them. I
want to be at one of the ‘Get-Togethers’ this year if at
all possible and I would love 1o take my little engine along as
that is what makes a good show-to have plenty there. My engine is
not modeled after any certain make but I believe it would prove
interesting as it is quite like the general principal of the old
threshing engines were. I get a big kick out of it and am sure will
always enjoy running it. I am thinking of building another of
larger size so as to ride it but I am still dreaming. Ha!
I want to compliment you and your wife on the fine magazine -THE
IRON-MEN ALBUM. I think it is really tops and I am sure as time
goes on it will be the largest. I wouldn’t be at all surprised
if it doesn’t turn out to be a monthly before too long, even
though the cost would probably be slightly higher, it will be well
worth it I am sure. Please do not feel that this is another guy
with a line he is handing out as it is not. I mean every word that
I have said, in congratulations.
I may be sticking my neck out but I am going to enclose some
‘Causes Why a Small Boiler will Not Heat’, just for the
fellows who are planning or have built one and are having troubles
with it. You know, there are lots of fellows 30 years or more old
who have never seen one of the old ‘timer’s in operation,
know nothing about firing one or not very much pertaining to steam
engines but still they are interested and would like to have
information and experience. If you think this worthwhile to pass
along you may go ahead as you feel.
I certainly want to wish you and yours a very prosperous New
Year with lots of good material for the ALBUM and I hope to see it
grow in size too.
BURL F. BOHLING, Gray, Oklahoma
Firing a Small Boiler-Some Reasons For Not Heating, Low Steam
Pressure Etc. From Actual Experience
1. Not enough draft through the fire box-add extension to smoke
stack 6′ and up, stack or smoke box clogged. Low water level.
Always start with plenty of water in boiler so as to have enough to
last till steam pressure is high enough to operate pump or
injector. However, if hand water pump is used, they can be relied
upon for additional water supply.
2. Dirty flues; clean before each firing, also some times it is
necessary to clean again after firing up due to sweating inside of
boiler and collecting of soot, causing sticky deposit and causing
insulation effect, more noticeable in cold weather. Also can be
caused by some fuels such as oil. Wood will do it too in cold
weather -Watch for this condition.
3. Fire box door left open too long causing cold air to flow
over fire. Leave fire box door shut. Do not make draft through fire
box door. Stir fire frequently before blower starts due to small
space and poor draft the fuel will tend to char because of the
oxygen being burned out. After blower starts this cause usually
ceases as the steam pressure comes up and blower action is greater
the fire will get hotter as the draft is pulled up through the
4. Do not have too great an opening below the grates for the
draft. This will cause a back-lash and really a hindrance at times.
Always have the draft coming in below the grates though, so as to
not have cold air traveling in above the fire.
5. Down draft; caused by air currents being deflected by a
building or some obstruction. Fire up in the open as far as
possible to avoid this condition.
6. Water leaking from flues or some pin hole, or blower carrying
water over and running back to fire box. Have drain hole in bottom
of smoke box and KEEP OPEN. If flues or pin hole leaks let steam
pressure go down and add some cinnamon through filler plug in
boiler-NOT through pump or injector as this will clog jets and
7. Too small of flues; when very small flues are used two or
more larger flues should be fitted for draft purposes.
These causes are more from experiences found when using solid
fuels such as coal or wood.