Hampstead, North Carolina 28448
Just as little James Watt, inventor of the steam engine, during
early childhood used to play with his mother’s teakettle making
the lid rise and fall by plugging the spout and imagining there was
a giant in the kettle, so Brooks Jones of Hampstead, North
Carolina, used to do likewise. Jones has experienced empathy over
steam since the age of three. At that early age his parents could
hardly keep him out of the railroad yards: he was so eager to watch
steam locomotives at work. Jones asserts that he identifies himself
with steam and thus experiences a pronounced sensation of dynamic
‘I was fond of steam at the age of three’, he recalls.
Now 64, he vividly remembers riding in steam powered trains from
Fort Edward to Whitehall, New York. ‘When I was about three
years of age my parents could hardly keep me out of the railroad
yards whenever we went to Whitehall to visit my
His Tozer steam engine was built by the John Willis Company in
Columbia, South Carolina. It was first used by a maiden lady who
began farming in 1910 and worked with it most of her lifetime.
Jones purchased the tozer engine from its second owner, a man in
Anderson South Carolina Engins of its kind were used to thresh oats
or wheat, saw firewood or run peanut threshing machines.
The Tozer is now run at only 40 pounds of steam pressure for the
sake of safety. Originally it ran with 190 p.s.i. and was rated at
about 20 h.p.
The Tozer is very quiet. Jones frequently surprises interested
spectators by having them turn their backs on the engine. He then
starts the engine and runs it slowly. He asks them whether it is
running and they say ‘no’. Whereupon he asks them to turn
around and they are amazed to see it running.
Jones has a 1922 Lidgerwood steam hoist. Sometimes these are
called skidders. They were used to lift heavy loads on construction
jobs and also to pull logs and trees out of the woods.
Another valuable possession he has is a 1922 Stanley touring
car. This car has a Derr water tube boiler and a gun type atomizing
burner. The Derr boiler is very much like the famous Babcock and
Wilcox boiler. He has owned this steamer since April 1935. From
late 1933 to April, 1935 he owned a 1918 Stanley Steamer.