I have received my second issue of THE IRON-MEN ALBUM, I am certainly well pleased with the ALBUM and am very glad that Mr. Tom Smith of Sedalia, Mo., put me wise to it. When I sent in for it, in July, I believe, I sent my letter to Mr. Karl Kepner. I thought I should write you, the editor of the ALBUM, this time.
Steam engines have always been rather fascinating to me. I guess you would call it that. They were used for threshing and sawmills, well drilling, and silo filling in central Missouri where I was raised on a farm. I went with a rig one summer and fall. I hauled water through the summer run doing wheat and oats threshing then in the fall I fired the engine while we were threshing soybeans. This was all shock threshing and was in the summer and fall of 1928. Before that time I hauled bundles to different machines for a number of years. The rig I was with in '28 was an Avery separator and Avery under mounted engine, though we made the majority of the run using an Aultman-Taylor engine single. I don't remember the hp. of either of these engines but I know that the Avery was very large and rather a handicap to get through gates, etc., as it was 12' wide, outside of drivers. I certainly enjoyed those years through the threshing seasons with all the fun that went with the hot, dirty work. Those good threshing dinners with iced tea in the latter years will never be forgotten as far as I'm concerned.
I have been with the Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America this year over 20 years, having been a main engineer the past 10 years. We have Worthing double acting tandem cyl. nat. gas 1250 hp., 125 rpm is top speed. They are very good engines though the steam engine is still my favorite. I noticed Mr. R. L. Boyer's letter, we have the Cooper-Bessemer engines in our Auxiliary the old 4 cyl. upright, they were set here in 1930 as well as the complete line. I believe they are good engines too. I feel rather like Mr. Boyer as to growing up with the steam traction engine. I did too.
The most familiar ones to me were Reeves, Aultman-Taylor, Jumbo, Avery, and possibly Case. I always liked the looks of the Reeves best for the over mounted type, they were the double compound that is, could be used either way, I believe.
I have always intended to build a small traction type steam engine. I have been held up on it all these years, first, because I did not have the tools required for the job, and second, after I did have the tools available I was busy with building custom rifles as I did that line of work for 10 years as a hobby. Last fall I decided to start the engine. I stopped a good deal of the gus work and started drawing plans from memory of the different type steam engines that I had been familiar with. These pictures enclosed are the outcome of it. Really a good steamer, runs well, sounds and even smells like the old timers. I have had more pleasure out of it than any thing I have made as yet. I was undecided at first as to what type to make. The Avery under mounted or over mounted. I finally chose this over mounted as it was the type that most people were familiar with.
It is not a model of any previous make. I had no original plans as I mentioned, I made it from memory of different makes. The looks make me think of the Reeves, as to cab. I have a complete description enclosed. If you would like to keep these pictures, you may. If you do not care for them please return them.
This engine is made from scrap iron material, mostly, machined for the purpose used. Boiler made of ' seamless HP 6' I. D. pipe, water jackets of three-sixteenth inch steel plate as well as flue sheets and crown sheet. Back end sheet of ' steel all are welded by an experienced boiler tested welder of a local machine shop in Perryton, Texas. The boiler has 5' smoke box of slightly less than three-sixteenth inch steel, machined from, ,' seamless 6' pipe, 5-1' boiler flues 20' long rolled in, 3' dia. x 5' dome of ' steel seamless tube, fire box 13' long x 7' high x 6' wide, with removable grates and ash pan, oval shaped fire box opening 4'x3', 1'x5' draft door in to ash pan, below deck, water jackets outside of fire box 1' water space on sides 1' in front of fire box, none on back. ' steam line from center of dome to steam chest, ' exhaust steam line to smoke box and ' blow down down valve and fittings. ' hot roll stay bolts.
Cyl. cast iron, 1' bore x 2' stroke, piston steel with two cast iron rings, piston rod 3/8' steel with flange type packing gland. Valve-round exhaust to center, steel core and stem with brass sleeve in steel cylinder, driven by eccentric with spring tension plunger type holding devise, to reverse engine, pull plunger and rotate 180 degrees, for simple and less wearing parts, I used this also as I did not remember the Woolf and link type. Valve travels nine-sixteenths inch full stroke. Mair shaft 'dia. flywheel 7' dia. x 1' face wt. 6 lb. Forced feed lubricator made of brass gasoline filter used on tractor, feeds one shot of oil every 18 revolutions. Driven by valve drive from eccentric and ratcheting in it, my weight 155 lb. Smoke stack made of old wood axle wagon thimble.
Made of extra heavy material for for safety reasons, small children around a good deal. Steam cyl. is double acting, power water pump single acting, it furnishes plenty of water. Blower line to bottom of stack.
I have done away with the idler shown on the drive chain, have a condenser in the exhaust steam line and planning a new water tank of the right design, this one is made from an old Briggs & Stratton gasoline tank. The traction wheels made from pulley wheels respoked no welding on the wheels, spokes drive fit in hub, lugs riveted on rims.
This about covers it. Please excuse the mistakes I have made. I would make them again if I wrote it again so I will send this. Fly wheel machined from old pulley wheel, bronze adjustable bearings throughout. Connecting rod made of chrome steel. The whistle is chimed three-tone, I made it, pop valve and whistle valve, practically all parts were made by hand. I have lathe and drill press for power tools also power grinders, etc.
Since this picture was made I replaced both crank and wrist pins and bearings as they were too small. They are now: wrist pin 500' crank 700'. I have that trouble overcome, as I could not keep them tight on hard pulls. I have also fitted a drip lubricator on CH guide. I would certainly like to have a steam injector in 1/8' std. pipe size. Am unable to locate one as yet. Have tried all the sources I know of.