| November/December 1964

Courtesy of Mr. E. A. (Frog) Smith, 219 Hubbard St., North Fort Myers, Florida

I am not trying to stock an issue, but rather explain something you might be interested in.

Mr. J. C. Cobb's letter and picture in the May-June, 1963 issue, of the old English sugar mill engine at Port Orange, Florida was most interesting, as I have visited the place. This old mill was burned and partially destroyed by Seminole Indians in 1836, later rebuilt and ran until after the Civil War.

The old boiler, possibly 36' diameter and 30' long, is made of three-eighth plate with cast iron heads riveted in. There were no tubes in this type of boiler, more widely known in this section as a 'gut' boiler. Another such boiler, except that it has steel heads, is still in her furnace at the old David Yulee sugar mill at Homosassa Springs, on the west coast of Florida.

Though more complete and could be made to run again, the engine at Homosassa Springs mill is not so old as the engine at Port Orange. It is a box frame job while the Port Orange engine was made in sections, even to its flywheel which is riveted together.

However, one point stands out in the construction of the engine at Port Orange. Directly above the cross-head assembly is a water box in the exhaust line. There the hot condensation in the exhaust steam is, or was rather, trapped and fed back into the boiler by one of the twin cross-head pumps. The other pump fed the boiler. The utilization of hot water condensed from exhaust steam is still widely practiced to this day. And a must on steamships plying salt water.


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