Farm Collector


We drove to the engine the next morning. I slipped on my
overalls and jacket. We washed the boiler and carefully checked the
engine. An engine primed more easily on a new boiler. It would not
do to again fail. My only experience with a La Fever boiler had
been firing a sample and that was not drawing 12 breakers in
buffalo grass sod. The flame in a La Fever fire-box burned toward
the fire-box door and the draft was from the front end of the
fire-box, as in a Russell Universal, one of the most serviceable
and economical thresher boilers ever built.

We were late returning to the engine the next morning and by the
time we checked the engine, washed. filled and steamed the boiler
Mrs. Jensen called us to a well prepared dinner. The fiasco the day
before, had not adversely affected her and she remained the same
soft-spoken woman.

Soon after dinner I stepped on the foot-board. The engine was
not far from the field. Someone grabbed the wheel and we were gone.
Within a few minutes the plows were dropped and we were moving
toward the east end of that long field, turning 14 feet of
glistening buffalo grass sod to the sun. The steam pressure was
near the sizzling point and the water at normal level, when I
started and I did not intend to let the steam blow off but was too
slow, and before moving far, the valve released. The engine did not
prime, we continued to move, plowed the round without stopping and
all afternoon, stopping only for water and coal. The boiler steamed
well and the water was easily kept at the proper level. The service
man requested permission to try again when we started the last
round that afternoon and I granted it. The same thing again
happened that happened the day before. Mike Jensen said to me when
they finally made the round, ‘I know the engine is all

Mike Jensen began plowing early in the spring and plowed many
acres of buffalo grass sod before trouble developed in that engine.
The exhaust of an Advance compound was soft under a normal load.
When plowing those wallows, the furrows were at least six inches
and the exhaust sounded like a simple. The engine was powerful and
drew those plows through those wallows without slowing down. The
load was so heavy two cogs were torn from an all steel main pinion
with a 5′ face. Later, the boiler cracked under the
intermediate bracket at three cap bolts Water flowed from the
boiler in a stream.

Advance Thresher Company sent a mechanic from the engine shop
and the boiler company sent a boiler maker to determine whether the
construction of the boiler was faulty or the boiler plate
defective. That was decided before they saw the engine. Both were
strictly Company men. With them their companies made no

The boiler maker put a patch about a food long, nine inches wide
and oval in shape on the inside of the sheet of the waist of the
boiler. When the boiler steamed there was not a simmer.

The mechanic set the intermediate bracket and assembled the
engine. That wide gear was quiet and when standing upon the foot
board not a quivver could be felt. The engine was ready for the
plow. The O’Pelt had been my home for a month.

The season for plowing sod was nearly over. Mike Jensen plowed
some sod with the engine. It performed well but he was dissatisfied
with a patched boiler. Advance Thresher Company made an adjustment
and shipped him a new engine with a La Fever boiler. No fire-box
trouble ever had developed in the La Fever boiler of the old
engine, because of water, intense heat and heavy draft caused by
the heavy load. Train gears on the new engine were six inches and
bull gears were seven inches, all gearing being an inch wider than
on the old engine. No complaint ever was received on the new


  • Published on Jan 1, 1954
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