FREE LANCE ENGINE

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Adam D. Viellieux
Adam D. Viellieux with his free lance engine, and his youngest boy, Paul, behind him. Courtesy of Adam D. Viellieux, Route 1, Box 187-B, Somerset, Wisconsin 54025.

Route 1, Box 187-B,Somerset, Wisconsin 54025.

Enclosed is a picture of an engine I’ve just completed. It
is a 3′ scale. Not modeled after any engine. It is strictly
free lance job. I have fabricated most of the parts, except for the
cylinder and steam chest, governor, con rod, forward and reverse
lever, and steering wheel. It works just great and has plenty of
power. The tubing for the boiler was a little shorter than it
should have been, so to make up for lost steaming and heating area,
I have 16 water tubes inside of the fire box. Does that ever make
it steam fast and easy! In fact, I have to keep the draft almost
closed all the time.

I ride on a trailer with my feet on the platform with two
children behind me.

We had 14 children, but only 6 left at home now. I have one boy
that’s quite interested in steam engines, and I hope he keeps
it up so he can ‘take over’ some day.

I also build small, free lance engines just for the pleasure of
it. The only model I ever built was a walking beam engine. Also a
little hit-and-miss engine (gas). To round things out, I also made
a hot air engine.

My Dad, Wm. A. Viellieux, was a well-driller, part blacksmith,
mechanic, and what-have-you. We had a small blacksmith shop on the
farm where I was raised. We had a line shaft that ran several
machines. I more or less cut my teeth on model ‘T’ Fords.
When I was 12 or 14 Dad bought an old sawmill and rebuilt it with
all new wood. Then he got an 18 H. P. Case steam engine to run it.
After I got to be about 17 or so, Dad had me run the engine. Then I
was in my glory. One day, while leaning on the steering wheel
watching the sawing, I heard a new sound of steam leaking from
somewhere. I wondered what was leaking now, and began to look for
the trouble. When I walked around to the side where the water glass
was, my heart came up in my throat. The glass was cracked in a
straight line from top to bottom towards the boiler, and steam was
hissing out in a thin sheet through the crack. What scared me was
the fact that I realized that at any second that glass could
shatter and I would have a face full of glass. It didn’t take
me long to shut those valves! When I told Dad about it, he just
laughed and came over and showed me how to put in another glass. My
Dad never got excited in any emergency always calm and easy going.
He had an uncle by the name of Mr. Leo Jerry, who was a crackerjack
of an engineer, and in the Fall, about late 1900’s, they would
go to North Dakota, and each take an engine and separator and go
threshing around the area until freeze-up. I guess that about sums
up my brush with steam. I attend the local steam shows and enjoy
them very much. I also enjoy reading Iron Man and seeing what other
fellows are doing.

I am 56 years old and hope to see a lot more steam shows
yet.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment