How To Manage A Traction Engine

| November/December 1997

Don Bodine of 110 N. Daisy Lane, Danville, Illinois 61834 sent us a copy of this chapter from a 1903 book, Farm Engines and How To Run Them, the Young Engineer's Guide. Don wrote:

'I found this book very useful. I thought you might want to publish part or all of it. 'How To Set A Simple Valve' could be the most useful part of the chapter. It might help some of us young guys with our steam engines.'

How To Manage A Traction Engine

A traction engine is usually the simplest kind of an engine made. If it were not, it would require a highly expert engineer to run it, and this would be too costly for a farmer or thresher man contractor. Therefore the builders of traction engines make them of the fewest possible parts, and in the most durable and simple style. Still, even the simplest engine requires a certain amount of brains to manage it properly, especially if you are to get the maximum of work out of it at the lowest cost.

If the engine is in perfect order, about all you have to do is to see that all bearings are properly lubricated, and that the automatic oiler is in good working condition. But as soon as an engine has been used for a certain time, there will be wear, which will appear first in the journals, boxes and valve, and it is the first duty of a good engineer to adjust these. To adjust them accurately requires skill; and it is the possession of that skill that goes to make a real engineer.

Your first attention will probably be required for the cross head and crank boxes or brasses. The crank box and pin will probably wear first; but both the cross head and crank boxes are so nearly alike that what is said of one will apply to the other.