Kitten Reports on Kitten

| March/April 1983

Jerry Kitten, of Slaton, Texas, who is a 'triple great nephew' of steam engine business founder Florens Kitten, is digging into the past and coming up with a lot of information about Kitten engines.

For one thing, he has a copy of the patent papers issued to Florens dated August 20, 1889, for 'new and useful improvements to steam-boilers'. Kitten stated:

'My invention relates to an improvement in steam-boilers; and the objects of my invention are to place inside the fire-box a fire shield formed of a plate or water-bars, so as to compel the products of combustion to pass from the grate-bars in the rear end of the fire-box forward toward the front end of the boiler, and then upward and back under the crown-sheet and forward through the flues; to secure the crown-sheet of the boiler, made of a single piece, to the fuel-head at its rear edge and to the top of the front wall of the fire-box at its front one, and to construct a boiler which will generate a greater quantity of steam in a certain time and with a certain quantity of fuel than other furnaces of the same size.'

He asserted that the boiler was 'especially adapted for traction-engines' but also 'suitable for any and all places where a boiler is needed'.

Jerry has sent us pictures and information, showing that the earliest Kitten boiler had the exhaust in front, with no steam dome; the second one had exhaust in back, no steam dome, and half-canopy, and the third had a steam dome with exhaust in back. He also sent a copy of a photo showing a portable engine next to Florens' house, with a steam dome.

Jerry understands that some company 'filed' against Florens for making a reverse flue, 'but as it turned out Florens had the patent!' He has sent along the directions for setting the slide for the Kitten, as sent out by the factory. It follows: