Don't Blow Your Stack!

The Game of Identifying Engines


| November/December 1995



Key To Smokestack

735 Riddle Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45220

An old time engineer once told my dad, 'Show me a drive wheel, and I can tell you the make of the engine!' Just as no two driver wheels are the same, engines' smokestacks assume shapes as distinctive as fingerprints. The person who quips, 'If you've seen one stack, you've seen 'em all,' has failed to develop an appreciation for differences, some subtle, others obvious. True enough, certain smokestacks can be classified according to common traits. In general, stacks may be: (a) cylindrical, (b) conical, (c) funnel shaped, (d) topped with one or more rings, (e) capped like a toadstool, (f) surmounted by broad plates or flared areas, usually to support a spark arrester, or (g) designed from a combination of these elements. Commonalities notwithstanding, every stack stands apart from all others. Similarly diverse, the bases which hold up the stacks may be tall, short, square, round, or you name it! Like snow flakes, smokestacks differ, each from each. This fact attests to the creativity of the builders!

For steam enthusiasts, the merest glimpse of a smokestack ordinarily suffices to identify the make of a traction engine. When it comes to knowing a North American engine by its chimney, how do you stack up? Here is your opportunity to find out. The fifty smokestacks depicted in the accompanying illustration have been drawn from photographs and cuts of engines. See how many you can identify by matching the drawings with the engines listed alphabetically below. The correct answers appear on page 19 in this issue. A word of caution while the shapes of the stacks are accurate, the comparative sizes of smokestacks may vary somewhat from the true and should not be used as a means of identification.

The Engines from Which To Choose:

A. W. Stevens 1906 22 HP
Advance 1898 20 HP
Advance-Rumely 1917 18 HP
American-Abell 1902 12 HP
American-Abell 1911 32 HP
Aultman Star 1905 14 HP
Aultman-Taylor 1909 25 HP
Aultman-Taylor 1912 20 HP
Avery 1911 18 HP
Baker 1911 20 HP
Baker 1925 21 HP
Best 1902 110 HP
Birdsall 1914 18 HP
Buffalo-Pitts 1900 16 HP
Case 1906 25 HP
Case 1917 50 HP
Colean 1905 18 HP
D. June Champion 1898 12 HP
Farquhar 1903 20 HP
Frick 1921 60 HP
Gaar-Scott 1910 25 HP
Geiser Peerless 1914 40 HP
Geiser Peerless 1916 40 HP
George White 1916 28 HP
Greyhound 1922 18 HP
Harrison Jumbo 1912 20 HP
Heilman late model 20 HP
Huber 1905 21 HP
Illinois 1920 25 HP
John Goodison 1909 20 HP
Keck-Gonnerman 1926 22 HP
Kitten 1925 24 HP
Lang & Button 1909 12 HP
Leader 1906 20 HP
Minneapolis 1916 20 HP
Nichols-Shepard 1908 20 HP
Northwest 1907 16 HP
O. S. Kelly 1902 15 HP
Port Huron 1909 24 HP
Reeves 1901 13 HP
Reeves 1911 13 HP
Robert Bell 1923 25 HP
Robinson 1900 15 HP
Robinson 1906 18 HP
Rumely 1914 16 HP
Russell 1920 25 HP
Sawyer-Massey 1913 25 HP
Waterloo 1892 16 HP
Westinghouse 1898 10 HP
Wood Brothers 1915 18 HP

Key To Smokestack Identification: