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| May/June 1976



Corliss engine

Installation of the 400 HP Special Murrey Corliss engine which is now housed in the new museum building with our story writer, Pat Cross, standing in front of flywheel, to give you some conception of its size. Courtesy of Andrew J. Fischels, Antique Acres

Andrew J. Fischels

Pres., & Patty Cross, Resident Antique Acres, Inc.,Cedar Falls, Iowa

Talk about news! Talk about change! Just take a gander at the showground's of Antique Acres, Cedar Falls, Iowa.

The year of 1975 at Antique Acres' Oldtime Power Show turned out to be a very busy year for many of the members. Beginning as early as February, a 400 H.P. Murrey Special Corliss Engine was acquired and during the following thirty days or so, several trips, 80 miles south of the Acres, were necessary. First to disassemble the engine, which required about ten people, one full day, the hiring of a crane, arranging for two low-boys, one large farm truck, and several pick-ups to bring the engine to Antique Acres, four and one-half miles north of Cedar Falls, Iowa. On arrival here, it required another large crane to unload the engine parts on railroad ties, spacing these parts in such a way that they were accessible for cleaning. Then, of course, it required another full day on the part of Andrew J. Fischels, Pres. and Harold Pries, Sec.-Treas. and another trip to Whatcheer, Iowa, along with a lot of measuring to make a foundation lay-out print for the fly-wheel pit, fly-wheel outrigger bearing, main engine base, and a very accurate lay-out for anchor bolts. As soon as the weather moderated, so you could work outdoors with reasonable comfort, there was about two weeks of scraping grease and twice over with a steam gun to get all the possible grease off we could. Then a man was obtained with a portable sand-blaster and beginning at one end of the parts line-up, each piece was sand-blasted clear down to the bare cast iron and immediately sprayed with a rustoleum preservative. Then began the digging of the fly-wheel pit opening and foundation for the outrigger fly-wheel bearing. Forms were made up and the fly-wheel pit and out-rigger bearing base were poured. Next came the main engine base forms to be put in, anchor bolts located and template, and the main engine base poured. Two weeks later, the engine was mounted on the base, out-rigger bearing set, half of fly-wheel put down into pit, crank shaft installed, top half of fly-wheel put on crank shaft, and fly-wheel, both rim and hub, bolted together. Next was the setting of the base for the cylinder section and then mounting the cylinder section on the base and bolting to the engine main frame. This all required a full-time crane operator and at least a half dozen people. This was a 'big' project and they worked long, hard hours, hoping to have it ready for Showtime, August 21-24. And it was! Standing there in all its glory, turning 35 RPM's. It was powered by the Smolik Brothers' 110 Case Steam Engine and engineered by Andrew J. Fischels.

But the Acres weren't satisfied with just that. Wheels of progress were constantly turning over in their creative minds, progress for the coming year. The 75 show had barely gotten over with before they were out there working away again. This time digging out the foundation for the remainder of the 40' by 80' floor for the balance of the new building which would shelter this new show-piece and several other antique items. Along with this, steel bulk-heads from Government grain bins, donated by the Smolik Brothers of Osage, Iowa, were being processed to be used as side walls for the building. New rafters, 40' long, were purchased and spaced 8' apart with cross-rafters nailed in between. A new galvanized roof was installed and the men worked almost up to cold weather to enclose the building and make it winter-proof. Due to the engine being worn considerably, a new set of piston rings were cast and machined and put on the piston. The cylinder bore was honed to bring it back round and straight. We feel this will require about 50 H.P. less boiler capacity as we were leaking a very large amount of steam passed the piston. Other than this, the engine runs very quiet, all valving working OK.

Continuing into 1976 with this project, there are plans for a porch, about 10' by 40', attached to its Western front. Also, they hope to find a stationary boiler suitable for handling the Corliss Engine. This will be installed outside the building, steam lines will be run from engine to the boiler, and insulation around lines and evaporation cylinder will be used to conserve more steam. These guys are one determined bunch!

Another new project the Acres displayed in '75 was tractor pulls. It was decided at a business meeting that the Acres would stage tractor pulls, both during their Showtime and also a few days during the summer months. They graded up a track, 50' by 320', hauled in 170 tons of clay mixed with fine limestone, and graded and rolled this into a firm bed.