Farm Collector

Jacob Price: 1895

Last issue, we reprinted the first four pages
of the 1895 Jacob Price Field Locomotive catalog, graciously
supplied by steam enthusiast and regular contributor John Davidson,
Bristol, Wis.

This issue we pick up with page 5 and run through page 9 of the
catalog. This second section of the catalog contains a great deal
of detailed specification, with particular focus on the Price
engine’s vertical water-tube boiler, which, the catalog states, “…
as far as known is the first application of one to a traction
engine.”

Two sizes of engines are detailed, a 40 HP and an 80 HP. The 40
HP was advertised for “plowing, freighting, running threshing
machines, etc.,” while the 80 HP was advertised for “plowing,
freighting, logging and running stationary machinery.” The catalog
claimed the 40 HP could – theoretically – pull 21 12-inch plows,
but noted the machine was designed to pull only six. The catalog
further claimed the 40 HP could pull a 20-ton load on roads not
exceeding a grade of 300 feet to the mile. The 80 HP was claimed to
be capable of pulling 30-to-40 tons under the same conditions.

The 40 HP engine had a 7-inch bore and a 7-inch stroke, and used
a Porter-Allen link reversing gear. The 80 HP had an 8-inch bore
and an 8-inch stroke, and while the reversing gear is not
discussed, it’s assumed the 80 HP was also equipped with a
Porter-Allen link reversing gear. The 40 HP had a listed weight of
5-1/2 tons while the 80 HP had a listed weight of 10 tons.

“The strength of the gearing in this engine would
probably be considered excessive, being four or five times as great
as in the common traction engine.”

Both the 40 HP and 80 HP engines were equipped with twin
injectors and locomotive-style pop-off valves. A friction clutch is
listed for the 40 HP, but, curiously, not for the 80 HP.
Interestingly, the catalog states that use of the friction clutch,
“except under certain circumstances, is not advised.” The catalog
clarifies this by noting that “the activity and power of the engine
is considered, by the manufacturer, to be much greater when it is
used as a stiff-geared machine than when it is thrown into gear
with the friction clutch.”

In common with many catalogs of the period, the commentary is
ripe with self-congratulatory statements. Consider this statement
about Price gearing: “The strength of the gearing in this engine
would probably be considered excessive, being four or five times as
great as in the common traction engine. But it is not employed
altogether for strength but for durability; for experience, at
plowing, shows that it is heavy pressure on cog work that destroys
it, and not grit or sand.”

Next issue we’ll pick up with page 10 of the Jacob Price Field
Locomotive catalog.

Special thanks to John Davidson, 8250 200th Ave.,
Bristol, WI 53104, for generously supplying his original 1895 Jacob
Price catalog so we could share it with our readers.

  • Published on Jan 1, 2005
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