| November/December 1961

  • 7/16 and 1/2 boiler steel tested to 500 lb

  • A 16-50 simple single Nichols and Shepard
    Fay A. White as Engineer of a 16-50 simple single Nichols and Shepard, threshing in Van Buren Co., Michigan. I believe the threshing rig was owned by Clyde Burgett. Picture taken in the early 1920's and was given to me by my father - one of the few Ni

  • 7/16 and 1/2 boiler steel tested to 500 lb
  • A 16-50 simple single Nichols and Shepard

1738 108th Ave., R.R.1, Ostego, Michigan

The photo of the free lance model shows my two grandsons as engineers. Gordon Gilmore is in the foreground at the throttle, ably assisted by his cousin, Michael Johnson. The other photo is my father engineering a 16-50 simple single, Nichols and Shepard threshing in the early 1920's. Both engine and engineer have long been gone, though their influence still survive, having prompted the building of the aforementioned model and affecting the leisure hours, not only of myself, but my son and grandson's as well.

I experienced the transformation from boy to man (in growth at least) in the decade of the 20's; so I have no stories of my own experiences of threshing, or sawmilling as business venture.

It required my spare time (some not so spare) over a period of three years to build this engine. Boiler constructed of 7/16' and 1/2' boiler steel tested to 500 lb. cold water pressure. Can safely carry up to 200 lb. steam pressure but use from 130 to 150 lbs. - cylinder, piston, cross-head guide and connecting rod were cast and machined by Tom Donaldson of Otsego. We reworked the steam ports and valve and made the link reverse gear. A ' Judson Governor was furnished by John Spaman. The bore 2'x3' stroke gives plenty of belt and traction power. Presently we are building a separator, which we hope to finish soon. My grandson, Gordon Gilmore, in foreground and Michael Johnson, another grandson, is the Engineer.

From a rather limited experience with steam engines, I became convinced, and still hold these convictions, that nothing else can equal their simplicity, power or economy; the many steam engines still in use like Mr. Blaker's fine Port Huron, present ample proof of their durability. I believe that much of the so called progress, in this field at least, was motivated by greed rather than need. I enjoyed reading the results of the 1960 Montpelier test runs; though it's my belief that hp ratings and loads being equal no one should expect a simple engine to out perform a compound regardless of type of valve gear. I have run engines equipped with Marsh, Stephens on link and Wolff Gears and in their proper conditions they performed equally well.

I like to think a little 12 hp Advance could out pull them all - at least it talked as if it could. A 16-50 double Nichols & Shepard, was 'hooked up' a notch occasionally when threshing, but never on the big blizzard silo filler. I recall now a Silo filling for which the farmer furnished us dry wood fuel, though the stack was equipped with cinder catcher and spark screen, nevertheless before we had run ten minutes, the barn roof had a dozen small fires. My father threw the belt and moving the engine around the barn, quickly put out the fires with water from a hose attached to the blow-off valve.

Angelina Clark
8/6/2009 2:02:35 PM

Article written by Eldon White re: 1738 108th Avenue, Otsego, MI - I live at this address. Thought your article was very interesting. The old Railroad tracks are still behind my home but they no longer use them. The Clark's


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