Farm Collector


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?

  • Published on Jul 1, 1954
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