Dairyland Driftings

| September/October 1961

  • Engine built in 1891
    Engine built in 1891 by C. P. Pritchett, Frankford, picture taken in 1898. Alva is two years old and Dale, on engine, is four. (A very interesting picture -and to think that steam had captured the hearts of the people then -Elmer.)

  • Engine built in 1891

Using smoke-stacks as clues to find steam power, one can get fooled very easy since many operators use boilers to kiln-dry lumber. At Good man, Wisconsin, the Veneer Mill use an Ingersoll-Rand 10x11 to run an air compressor while idly setting by is a partly dismantled 300 hp Filer Stowell engine 18x30. Stayed over night in Norway, Michigan, thence over to Iron Mountain to see that Cornish pump engine. That's a la-la-la-loosa for sure. A compound vertical 50x100x120 inch stroke. Flywheel 40 feet in diameter. Peculiar was this engine in that the cylinders are vertical but the crank disc horizontal by means of a rocker arm deal hooked up to the pump combination. This item worth driving many miles to see. Iron Mountain also claims the world's highest ski jump.

Near said town we met a string of iron ore cars pulled by 5 diesel units, in lieu of the old steamer. I got thinking - Could the upkeep on 5 units justify their merits? Was reading the other day in our local paper a summary of Wisconsin Conservation Department Fire Report of 1960. 1245 fires occurred, burned 6,061 acres and estimated damage of $38,052. Railroads were leading cause of fires, 29.3% of the total. Evidently the internal combustion engine did not minimize this hazard.

At Ishpeming, Michigan, the furniture factory is still using a pair of Skinner Universal Uniflow Corliss engines to generate electricity. They are a pair of Honeys indeed, 21x21, 480 hp each at 150 lbs. pressure. Had a very nice visit with the engineer RUSSELL C. AHO, 148 Salisbury St. These engines were installed in '47 and are apt to run a long time yet.

One objective of this trip was to see the 4 cylinder Nordberg Corliss hoist engine in the abandoned Quincy copper mine just up the hill from Hancock. I stood in awe and amazement - the largest man-made power unit I've seen or ever hope to see. It was simply majestic, magnificent, massive - brother I mean BIG. I first learned of this masterpiece thru CLARENCE and DOT LANG from Detroit who came thru here on a visit several years ago. I do hope it can be preserved as a token to the mining industry at the turn of the century.

Was told the Hass and Ontonagan Pulp and Paper Company at Ontonagan still use steam power in the form of Turbine engines. We didn't stop in but noted a retired Baldwin 2-6-2 locomotive in the yards.

Going off the main drag, we really found steam power. The Conner Lumber Co., west of Wakefield, are using a Nordberg-Hi-Efficiency Poppit engine 22x32, 400 hp to drive an Allis Chalmers generator. In the same room is a 28x52 Nordberg Corliss, 1000 hp to operate the entire mill which was running two shifts at that time. Interesting too, was the electric eye arrangement for keeping the skidway full of logs, almost entirely automatic.


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