Route 3,Sterling, Illinois 61081
I am concerned, I have seen no comments or letters on the
hysteria on so called air pollution, nor: have seen any partitions
circulated for the protection and preservation of our American way
of life and heritage as concerns our steam shows. Looks as though
they are on the way out and fast, especially in some states. Next
comes the big law, then we will have both state and federal laws to
I believe that only a very few people will be able to afford the
expense of converting their engines to an approved gas or oil fired
Unless something can be done to help our cause people will lose
interest, museums will be filled to overflowing, very few will be
able to see the old steamers in real operation. Possibly many will
find their way to the junk pile.
Even now there are elements at work trying to stop some shows.
For instance during a local show someone called the state division
of boiler inspection and told them we were operating engines
without inspection. This of course was not true as all engines were
inspected and passed with all credentials displayed. So! that did
not work. Wonder what they will try next?
This is not going to be so much fun when they start slapping
injunctions on automobile racing and banning non-essential pleasure
trips by automobile. No more bonfires. Trash, brush and other
debris will have to be hauled to an approved community incinerator
on which a fee will have to be paid. This is because an approved
incinerator will be so expensive that the average citizen cannot
afford to privately own one.
Friends, it is not the smoke that is causing pollution, but
carbon monoxide is the real killer. Smoke can be gotten rid of but
the carbon monoxide still remains. You can’t see, smell or
taste it but it is still there and will be as long as we have
internal combustion by explosion. When any two or more elements
combine there must be a by-product as it is a law of nature, you
can’t get something for nothing.
In our town there are still several steam locomotives in use as
switchers and there has been several complaints, but what they
don’t realize is that one diesel locomotive passing through
pushes more carbon monoxide in the air than a whole yard full of
steam engines. It’s the smoke that worries them.
I lived through an era when all industry, homes and factories,
burned coal and I never heard of anyone being poisoned by carbon
monoxide from the smoke. What would happen if they had to go back
to that period.
Is there an answer to the carbon monoxide problem? I think there
is. The modern steam powered automobile and steam power plants in
farm tractors. I have read articles where it is claimed changing to
steam autos would eliminate 80 to 85% of pollution, but because of
the great impact the change would have on the petroleum industry
plus the many, many, less parts required; the auto industry would
hesitate to retool. Among some of the excuses that have come up is
that the public is not ready to accept it. The public should not
only accept the change but demand it. In fact, the public has not
been too well informed. The modern version of the steam auto is a
far cry from the old steam car of yesteryear, especially the lately
developed Freon version which operates from external expansion as
steam and has a sealed system and can run many miles without any
addition using the Freon over and over.
It seems as though the contenders are frightened by what they
can see, such as smoke and dust; not the lurking killer, carbon
monoxide, they cannot see.
I would like to relate a little incident which was just a little
amusing. At a local steam show a man and his son came up on the
deck of my engine and asked me to explain the operation of the
engine, which I immediately started to do; but with handkerchief in
hand, he kept wiping and saying, ‘Son do I have any specks of
soot on my face?’ He was so busy wiping and worrying I
don’t think he heard a word I said.
I would be pleased to see articles in the good old Album
concerning this matter and what is being done, if anything, to keep
our shows alive.
This is one man’s opinion and I do not intend to enter into
any controversy in this matter, however, any legitimate letters
concerning the effect on the future of our hobby and shows will be
Friends, pause one moment and think! remembering that without
fuel the steam goes down fast.