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
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.