ESPECIALLY THE HISTORIES
Evidently other correspondence got lost from the article below and we are at a loss to know who sent this informative material to us. Whoever it was we hope they get a blessing from finding it here. The Editor.
TO THOSE TRACTOR-Minded folks who have wondered how and why the term 'horse power' had so much hoisting out of a hole in the ground to its definition, the following from 'The Steam-Engine' in Jan. 20, 1838 issue of THE PENNY MAGAZINE may be an answer:
'In the year 1811, several of the proprietors of mines in Cornwall, suspecting that some of their engines might not be doing a duty adequate to their consumption of fuel, came to a determination to establish a uniform method of testing the performance of their engines. For this purpose a counter was attached to each engine to register the number of strokes of the piston. All of the engines were put under the superintendence of Messrs. Thomas and John Lean, engineers; and the different proprietors of the mines, as well as their directing engineers, respectively pledged themselves to give every facility and assistance in their power for the attainment of so desirable an end. Messrs. Lean were directed to publish a monthly report of the performance of each engine, specifying the name of the mine, the size of the cylinder, the load upon the engine, the length of the stroke, the number of pump lifts, the depth of the lift, the diameter of the pumps, the time worked, the consumption of coals, the load on the pump, and, finally, the duty of the engine, or the number of pounds lifted one foot high by a bushel of coals. The publication of these monthly reports commenced in August, 1811, and have been regularly continued to the present time.
'The favorable effect which these reports have produced upon the vigilance of the several engineers, and the emulation they have excited, both among engine makers and those to whom the working of the machines are interested, are rendered conspicuous in the improvement which has gradually taken place in the performance of the engines, up to the present time. In a report published in December, 1826, the highest duty was that of an engine at Wheal Hope mine in Cornwall. By the consumption of one bushel of coals, this engine raised 46,838,246 pounds a foot high, or, in round numbers, forty-seven millions of pounds.'
I have been a reader of the ALBUM for some time and enjoy all the articles, especially the histories of the old machine companies, also the section on old gas tractors. The new, the modern and, the latest we will always have with us, but the old time gas and oil tractors are fast becoming extinct and I think they deserve a place in the ALBUM along with the steamer.
We have in our collection both gas and steam. I like them all but to me the 30-60 Oil Pull is queen of the fleet. I would like to tell you of a couple of my experiences had in connection with old engines. Once, while watching a thresher work, I tossed a cap into the blower to see how it would come out. I used the fireman's cap for the experiment and as I expected him to make a dive for me, I was all set to make it a race, but no, he just laughed it off, friendly as could be. Two days later when I was fooling around up near the engine he took me and tossed me bodily into the water tank. When I crawled out, I knew I had learned a lesson I would remember for a long time.
A few years later while in my teens, I decided I wanted to see the world so I rolled up a few belongings in a couple blankets, wheeled out my trusted bike and took off destination the Pacific Coast. At this time we were living in northern Minnesota quite close to the Canadian border and soon I was in Canada, westward bound. I soon found out I had taken a very poor route, especially for a bicycle. Stopping at some town, I bought a railroad ticket for as far west as my money would buy and so it was that I landed about the middle of Saskatchewan, nearly broke, but the railroad carried my bike for free. Back on my bike again the first day was not too bad, but I was fast learning that traveling was no bed of roses. At the end of the second day I was both tired and hungry and in truth I was on the lone prairie, worst of all it looked like rain. Pedaling on a little farther I came upon a huge old steamer and separator parked right near the road. As I had a genuine need for shelter I decided that I would hole-up there for the night. Even then I liked engines so I looked the thing over and noted it did not have a canopy but a large firebox, and quite clean too, as fireboxes go. Then I thought of looking for shelter in the separator but the blower door was padlocked shut. The rain was now coming down, so I grabbed a couple bundles from close at hand and headed for the engine firebox. Many experiences I have had with the old time tractor but believe me that is one I will never forget. Some 20 years later I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time and I remembered the washed-up kid on the Sask prairie.
I know several old time engine collectors in Washington State, also had the good fortune of meeting Mr. Potter of Saskatoon while he was visiting here in Spokane last summer and believe it or not he helped me find my Case 50 right here in my own state. Just when I was ready to give up the search he pushed me on and I found it. As I write this the thought comes to me, if enough of your subscribers would take the time to write the TV program 'You Asked For It.' We might be rewarded by seeing some iron beauty perform for us on TV.
C. A. HARSCH, E 8713 Frederick Spokane 6, Washington