Mechanical Powers for the Farm or Workshop

| September/October 1998

  • Portable steam engine
    Frick & Co.'s portable steam engine.

  • Portable steam engine

Reprint from American Agriculturist, July 1875

It is an accepted principle in the use of powers that one should never employ a man when he can use a horse, and never use a horse when the work can be done by either wind, water, or steam. For farm or rural labor the three powers last named may be very extensively applied with profit. Wind and water are only applicable for stationary purposes. They are employed through the medium of machines, cheap in their construction and their use, and in many places can be made available where steam might be objectionable. But steam may be applied everywhere, and in many cases may with advantage displace the cheaper powers of wind and water. It is a portable power, and in this lies its greatest usefulness to the farmer. With a steam-engine he can pump water and force it to any part of the farm for irrigation or for his stock; he can thrash at the barn or in the field, or at his neighbor's fields and barn; he can saw fuel or lumber at home or in the woods; he can press hay, and gin, or pack cotton, or grind his own or his neighbor's feed, and do whatever work may be desired at home or away from it, and thus make it profitable for himself and convenient for his neighbors. The saving of time in doing his own work will make it possible for him to spare time to do work for others who may wish to hire his engine, and thus the benefits of steam-power be very largely extended. We have heretofore described various styles of mechanical powers, windmills, water-wheels, and steam-engines; and now illustrate a portable farm engine made by Frick & Company, of Waynesboro, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, which has an excellent reputation. It is known as the Eclipse Portable Agricultural Steam Engine, and is specially manufactured for farm use. It is mounted on a suitable truck furnished with springs, where the boiler rests upon the axle, so that it may be moved over rough roads with safety. It is simple, safe, light, and effective, either as a stationary or portable engine. The smokestack is hinged, for the double purpose that it be out of the way when storing the engine under shelter, and to avoid the shaking of the long perpendicular cylinder during transportation. It has also a spark-arrester, so that even straw when placed on the top of it will not ignite. The same safety exists below at the ash-pan, which is provided with a close-fitting door, which can be closed if found advisable. It received the first prize medal over all other competitors at the Cincinnati Industrial Exposition of 1874, which is a valuable recommendation. In choosing an engine for any purpose, the special points to be considered are simplicity, safety, strength, and durability, but when an engine is chosen for farm use, safety from fire by sparks or ashes is one of the most important considerations. To be able to use an engine near the barn or a straw stack, or in a field in which there are dry, inflammable stubble and shocks of grain, is often very desirable, and this Eclipse steam engine here described is intended for these very purposes.

... The special points to be considered are simplicity, safety, strength and durability...


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