It Works!


| November/December 1999



2009 N. 35th Terrace St. Joseph, Missouri 64506

This is a story about an old time steam engine remedy that I had heard about several times but had never been around a situation where it had been used.

We were firing the scale H. A. Poe steam traction engine, trying to get enough steam to unload the engine from the trailer. This was the first show of the year and the weather was fine. We had a good fire and about 100 lb. of steam. My grandson, Michael, decided it was time to add some water to the boiler. 1 cautioned him to check all valves and verified the steam pressure. This injector needs about 70 lb. of steam to inject water, so we had some leeway.

All of a sudden steam was coming from the firebox, steam was coming from the injector discharge, and steam was coming out of the reserve water tank. It seemed like there was steam everywhere. Not dangerous, but certainly not good. An attempt was made to shut the steam off. The main valve to the engine was closed. The master valve to the injector was closed, but we still had uncontrolled steam. By this time the water level was going fast! The only thing to do was to pull the full box of fire. This was accomplished without any uncontrolled fire.

The water level was low, but with the fire pulled, we felt there wouldn't be any further damage.

First assessments were that we had lost the soft plug in the firebox. We let the engine cool off overnight and the next morning we dropped the water and the soft plug was removed. Much to our surprise it was good!