We take the following story from The Tampa Sunday Tribune of
October 6th, 1957, without permission. We also have a note from Mr.
Smith which we include Elmer.
‘Just received a copy of your valuable magazine through the
courtesy of the Frick Company and wish to say I like it very much.
In fact so well do I like it that here is my first years
‘The old Erie engine pictured and the Casey-Hedges H.R.T.
boiler are the sole source of power for Parker Lumber Company’s
saw mill at Maitland, Florida. The engine is some eighty years old
according to the company but it is still in good condition. The
Mill is a No. 2 Frick with five head-block carriage and small twin
‘The Casey-Hedges does not show any age whatever and is a
free steamer on green pine saw-dust.’
E. A. (FROG) SMITH 260 Poe Street, Fort Myers, Florida
STEAM POWER RELIABLE
‘Frog’ smith is persistently piling up evidence in his
argument that steam power is superior to the Diesel interior
combustion motor. This week he presents a clincher, telling of a
steam engine said to be 80 years old which is still operating
efficiently (Tribune Editor)
‘A few days back I stopped off at a sawmill to get a whiff
of fresh sawdust smell, and the owner told me that his
100-horsepower Diesel had been running for three years without
giving any trouble to speak of and bid fair to outlast a steamer. I
smiled at that.
‘Like any old-time steam disciple, I wonder how they can
figure that a Diesel can outlast a steam engine, when there are so
many more of them in the junk yards. And so far very few steam
engines have actually been worn out. Usually they wore the job
‘As for the 100-horsepower Diesel, pulling a sawmill three
years without trouble, the steam engine in the picture is only a
40-horsepower Erie. But it is still running at Maitland, Fla., in
the mill of the Parker Lumber Company.
‘Said to be 80 years young, I know it is well over 50
because of its type.
‘Like the 100-horsepower Diesel, it has never given any
serious trouble during the present owner’s lifetime, pulling
bigger mill and cutting more lumber than the 100-horsepower
‘NOT ONLY TO DO any work but even to run, a Diesel must
operate at a high-piston pressure.
‘I once happened to drop in at a grist mill, the owner of
which also operated a small box making outfit. That morning he was
working alone and whistling. There was no fireman at all and the
steam gauge stood at 20 pounds, but the 15-horsepower Erie engine
was still rocking along with enough power to pull the small rip
‘The owner saw me look at the steam gauge and grinned. He
walked over and cut the steam off the old-time Hancock inspirator,
which was still shoving water into the boiler at 20 pounds
pressure. Then he ave her a good dose of sawdust and the steam
began to climb.
‘DURING World War II I walked into the boiler room of a big
Florida laundry and a young engineer showed me a big new James
Leffel boiler and said that they were a new make, and not too many
were out as yet. Oh, yeah, to that!
‘The little one-man box and grist mill was using a James
Leffel boiler so old that much of the front end was burned and
rusted away. As for the smokestack, it was all there but rusted,
bent, had holes in it and leaned in every direction.
‘Possibly it is out of service by now as that was in 1909.
But unless it has been wrecked or burned, the little engine may
still be around.
‘THEN, AS NOW, most all sawmill men ‘had their
preference in steam engines but I never heard a kick on the
performance of an Erie.
‘When the Erie engine Company began making high speed
engines with non-releasing Corlis valves for direct connection to
generators, they were the last word in beauty and efficiency.
‘I know, because I was running an Erie Ball when I married
40 years ago, and in being petted that Erie Ball engine was second
only to my wife.’