Farm Collector

‘H.P.’ STARTED IN COAL MINES

By Staff

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.

Best wishes,

C. A. HARSCH, E 8713 Frederick  Spokane 6, Washington

  • Published on Jan 1, 1957
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