| July/August 1954

Cordova, Illinois

The Nov.-Dec. issue reminds me of my father's steam push binder which cut a 141/2 foot swath. It had a small engine to operate the binder. To start, at the beginning of that saga; my father bought an old 14 hp. Huber (I believe). He used this to pull a plow with 5 eleven inch bottoms that he built and we still have. The Huber was a poor steamer so he took it all apart and rebuilt it with a 'V' shaped steel 'I' beam frame and mounted a vertical porcupine water tube boiler just above the rear axle. After the addition of another engine to make it a double, and a very large super heater coil this tractor really began to perform and pulled his gang plow and seeded small grains all in one operation quite efficiently.

His next project was to acquire 2 seven foot McCormick binders and make a 141/2 foot one out of them. This with the grain wheels, bull wheel and platform formed the front axle of the tractor after the regular axle was removed. The small engine on the binder was fed from the main boiler via a jointed pipe. He used this outfit several seasons. Water and coal were hauled by a steam wagon made from a Toledo Steam Car and the water was pumped by another small engine with a porcupine boiler. I have pictures of all this plus a plowing scene with a Gaar Scott pulling the same plow. Also pictures of his handsome mill and engine room which also used a porcupine boiler of rectangular form similar to the one I am now running my steam launch 'Ruth' with. The steam launch is a 28 ft. 10 oar Navy cutter with a 21 hp. Navy Cross Compound engine. It starts with furnace oil and in 5 or 10 minutes then runs on old crankcase oil. Bill Willock of Syasset, N. Y., has seen this boat before I had it launched.

I still have the two engines mounted on the 'V' frame and the Huber boiler. Also have the band sawmill with the steam Neill engine and the small water pumping engine. A 30 hp. Stanley that has been changed to balance valve and changed to Joy valve gear. It was our dad's mountain wagon. I have an idea about how to make a 'V' type Scotch yoke engine using all ball bearings. It would be suitable for high speeds and readily adaptable for automotive or marine use. Do you think it would pay some small machine shop to make such an engine?


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