Semple Engine Company, 11 Danfield Road, Saint Louis 17,
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
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 4×4 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.
I had some extra time last winter and set to work to design and
build a pilot model that would be extremely rugged and well built
but keeping the utmost in simplicity for ease of operation and to
keep the cost down.
The new outfit was installed in the S. S. City of Lovell early
this summer and tests went on and only a very few minor
modifications had to be made to the engine. The boiler steamed and
operated perfectly. The first production run of ten units was then
complete and I expect to continue advertising to a much greater
extent this winter and increase my manufacturing facilities as
Advantages are in the simplicity of operation, its silence and
its very low fuel consumption.
(Mr. Semple has a very informative folder on his engine and
boiler. We suggest you send for it if you are interested)