Farm Collector

GOSSIP FROM THE BACK SHOP

Route 1, Box 1015, Yucaipa, California

I always enjoyed accompanying Mel or Manfred, his able foundry
and machine assistant, on any short jaunt into the surrounding
country in response to some distress call. Even if I could be of no
direct assistance in diagnosing troubles or making repairs; for I
could at least learn something of interest in connection with such
events. Not quite like one of the elderly Swedish neighbors who
once asked Mel to show him how to fix something so that the next
time anything went wrong he would know what to do.

It was upon one of these occasions that I found myself sitting
on the left side of one of Rankin’s nice little side-sprung
buggy transports while Manfred kept a fine span of bay trotters
headed out to Harry Wilson’s place with a layout of plumbing
tools and a small collection of odd pieces of piping and valves.
Rankin’s livery barn was just across the street from Mel’s
shop and could always be depended upon to furnish the best of
transportation when needed for any unexpected emergency.

When we drove up alongside Harry’s 60 horsepower Case that
had just been put back into service after a bit of summer overhaul
and modification, his first words were, ‘Well, I sure hope that
you brought along enough pipe and valves to get me going again this
afternoon. Take a look at my left side.’ After a glance as
directed, Manfred let out an earlyday wolf whistle as he observed
that the feed water heater was split from stem to stem. The cause
was made more evident when Harry revealed that he had taken
advantage of a fine opportunity to install the more efficient
geared pump from a 65’er in lieu of the Marsh pump as
originally equipped. But it appeared that he had overlooked one
little item.

Then Harry continued, ‘Some Rookie wanted a pail of warm
water to wash up in just before dinner. Instead of shutting off the
tap and drain line, he shut off my globe just behind the boiler
check. Then all heck broke loose, but I can’t see why.’
‘Hmm,’ said Manfred. ‘Well, if you are going to use
this geared pump you had better play it plumb safe and leave all
cut off to your boiler and pump checks. This is not only a
‘Case’ of positive displacement, but one in which something
just had to give.’

‘I never had any trouble like that before with the old
pump,’ replied Harry. ‘No,’ returned Manfred, ‘but
with the old pump you could not get over 30 percent above boiler
pressure in your delivery line because that was all the difference
you had between steam end and water end pistons, and there was no
momentum to worry about. Now, here you have a 10 to 2 ratio on your
engine and pump piston diameters, plus about 3 to 1 on your back
gearing, which gives you about-well, let’s see,’ he
continued as he drew a pencil out of his bib pocket and began
making a few figures in the dust on the side of the old girl’s
bunker.

‘Gee whiz,’ exclaimed Harry when Manfred came up with a
round figure of some 7000 psi. ‘Yes,’Harry assured himself
as Manfred went into a bit more detail. Then Manfred went on,
‘When you start squaring diameters to get those force ratios
you don’t need any more of that momentum in the flywheel to
start raising cain. So you had better either take that globe valve
off the check line or else put in a relief valve. Otherwise you
might also loose your pump the next time somebody pulls a stunt
like this.’

In another thirty minutes a bypass feed line had been installed
around the ruptured heater, and we left this scene with
Manfred’s suggestion that the heater be brought in for a new
shell at the first opportunity. ‘Yes sir,’ Manfred called
upon parting, ‘something just had to give.’

  • Published on May 1, 1963
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