Steam Boats

| March/April 1957

Semple Engine Company, 11 Danfield Road, Saint Louis 17, Missouri

YOU WROTE ME THIS SUMMER about an article and photographs on my steamboat engine that might possibly be used in THE IRON-MEN ALBUM MAGAZINE. I was in Lovell, Maine, at that time, where tests were being conducted, and was unable to secure the prints you wanted. I have made a set of them here and also am including pictures I took up there of the new engine in the boat.

I have been interested in steam power as a hobby for many years and have a three ton steam tractor which I built and use, practically, also a % ton steam roller. I have several other pieces of steam powered equipment besides.

Boating has been quite a hobby of mine also for many years and the combination of steam power and boating seemed an ideal combination.

About twenty years ago I concocted my first steamer. It was pretty crude and poor, and was scrapped after two seasons. It was about that time that I built a unit and it has operated successfully for fifteen years. This consisted of a 30 square foot horizontal fire tube boiler with forced draft created by an engine driven blower in the stack. The water was taken from the lake through a small Marsh pump and a ?' Penberthy injector. The operating pressure was 150 lbs. The engine was originally built as a two cylinder 4x4 simple with eccentric reverse. It was found to be too much for the boiler so the forward cylinder was bushed to 2' and I made the engine compound. This was more efficient and more successful in its operation.

During all this time I had been talking with various steam fans and boat owners, and it seemed to me that there would be a market for a small inexpensive power unit for boats, as nobody anywhere in this country seemed to build one commercially.