Puget Sound Antique Tractor & Machinery Association Show LYNDEN, WASHINGTON 1996

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Carl Nelson running drill grinder at Puget Sound Antique Tractor and Machinery Association meet last August.
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Anacortes Museums Steam and Gas Engine Show. Francis A. Orr with his brother-in-law Jim Gramlich on the replica wood splitter.
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1617 32nd Street Anacortes, Washington 98221

Francis A. Orr with large and small ‘gong’ whistles.
These whistles are cast iron and were made by the Sinker-Davis Co.
of Indianapolis, Indiana.

The fire is out and the boiler blown down. I still have to brush
the tubes and clean out the firebox on my 80 HP vertical boiler.
The grass is long and green and the scars made by iron and rubber
wheels, steel tracks, skids and thousands of feet have about all
disappeared along with those drips of oil and condensate that show
up under old tractors, steam and gas engines. It is very quiet with
a few bird songs, tire sounds of vehicles passing on the road and
the sigh of the wind in the trees. That strong smell can be
recognized as liquid manure being sprayed onto the fields. Around
Lynden, Washington, it is known as ‘the smell of money.’ In
all, the scene is quite different from what you would have seen
from 31 July to 3 August during the 25th annual show of the Puget
Sound Antique Tractor & Machinery Association.

Dave Mulholland’s vertical boiler and engine. Boiler came
from Doc Sheeley, Gulfport, Miss., in 1968, and was in Francis
Orr’s steamboat in Pensacola, Florida. He traded it to Al Giles
who used it to steam the planks for ‘Echo’ and then sold it
to Dave. In 1995 it was retubed and inspected under Washington
state boiler code. Engine is approximately 6×8 and came from an
Alaska cannery running right up to 1986.

A number of years ago the PSAT & M Association was given all
of the old machinery from Buzzard Iron Works in Bellingham. This
was a beautiful old metal working shop with a Soule Steam Feed
engine powering their line shaft and two steam hammers (worn out
tires from steam locomotives were used for forging steel) beating
out hooks, rings, slings etc. for the logging and marine industries
of the area. In the past I have run the large floor drill and the
shaper from the collection, but it was basically just a ‘place
it and run it’ thing. Noticing the slow deterioration of this
machinery 1 felt that this trend had to stop. I was able to enlist
the aid of Carl Nelson, an Anacortes, Washington, neighbor and
newcomer to the hobby, and in club member Gordon Sullivan’s
shop, we restored a large drill grinder. To run the grinder, we
also got some paint on my 7’x7′ vertical, side crank, Orr
& Sembower (no relation) steam engine. Eighteen feet of belt
came from our reliable supplier Marine Supply & Hardware of
Anacortes. If they don’t have what you need, you don’t need

Always slightly behind schedule, the trial run came on July 31,
the first day of the show. Happily, it all worked and we were in
business. And I do mean business, as Carl and I felt that it is one
thing to have a display, but it is entirely better to do something
with a display, so we put out the word for members to bring in
their large diameter drills and we would sharpen them.

Francis Orr with 7′ x 9′ Erie horizontal center crank.
This engine came out of the Anacortes, Washington, steam laundry.
First time in steam in over forty years.

Boiler on left is an ex-steam donkey boiler owned by Bob
Sorenson and used by the Puget Sound Antique Tractor &
Machinery Association to run their 22′ x 48′ Nordberg
Corliss and three other stationary engines. The boiler on the right
is an 80 HP vertical fire tube, owned by Francis Orrit steams his
collection of stationary engines.

The grinder itself is a pedestal grinder. The nameplate reads:
Yankee Drill Grinder, Govel Hanchett Company, Wilmarth & Marmon
Division, Big Rapids, Michigan USA. Pat. June 21, 1921. It was sold
by the Perine Machinery Company of Seattle. Facing the grinder the
left wheel is a narrow rounded wheel for thinning the drill points.
The right wheel is a cup wheel with all of the goodies to hold the

Many of you have probably tried to hand sharpen a drill at some
time or another. Trying to maintain the necessary angles and
clearances can be quite a chore if you are not a professional
machinist doing it every day. And, as the drills get bigger, so do
the problems. Many of us have one or two drill sharpeners. The
little Black & Decker rigs will sharpen up to
3/8 ”while the small swivel
sharpeners sold by Sears, General and other suppliers will do up to
.’ While this covers the majority of our drilling, there is
always that occasional time where we need bigger holes.

As the size of the drill increases so do drill costs so many of
us get our drills at auctions, antique stores, friends, garage
sales, or wherever including the broken or short drills from
machine shops. This usually means that they are not in good shape
to start with. Carl and I would put a witness mark on both drill
flutes just to see what we had. Ideally this witness mark should be
on the cutting edge but we found that for a majority of drills,
this mark fell back of the cutting edge. Also, one flute would be
longer than the other which would cause the drill to cut an
oversize hole. We had one drill that had been leaned on so hard it
had caused the metal on the circumference to start to melt. At
show’s end Carl and I felt that we had done a real civic
service putting some 35 to 40 old drills back into good condition.
Back to the show:

It was a wonderful thing to see LeRoy and Janet Mietzner, from
the Northwest Steam Society, drive onto the grounds with their
beautiful steamboat BUG. Parked beside the big Nordberg Corliss
engine, LeRoy spent a lot of time explaining the boat to visitors
who could compare the two 13/8 ‘cylinders
of BUG with the 22’ cylinder of the Corliss and wonder at the
wide diversity of the steam hobby.

Dave Mulholland and Francis Orr. Boiler came from Orr s
steamboat ‘Dorothy,’ engine from ‘Alaska
Packer’s’ Naknek Cannery, retired in 1986 (it works). Dave
Mullholland at age 73 still goes north to Alaska every year to fish
salmon in the Bering Sea. Dave put the boiler and engine together
on a display cart.

BUG was not the only steamboat on the grounds. I owe a great
debt of gratitude to Scott Anderson who came over and fired my big
80 HP vertical boiler so that I could run my engines. In the
meantime, Scott’s wife was stuck in the flea market selling
their little Putt Putt steam boats. Remember those from your
childhood? Scott bought a large chime whistle and he was very
pleased with the results when we put it on my boiler to see what it
would sound like.

While the PSAT & M Association show is your typical
threshing bee there were other steam boaters from the Northwest
Steam Society who stopped to say hello. A show like this is a great
place to make new friends and visit with old ones. I always try to
have breakfast on the grounds on Friday and this year I spotted a
couple in the chow line that I knew. Unbeknownst to me, John and
Lou Ann Peternell had come out here, all the way from Albany,
Minnesota, to attend our show at Lynden. Next year I hope more of
you will attend the 26th presentation of the Puget Sound Antique
Tractor & Machinery Association. The show will run from July 30
to August 2, 1997.

On a closing note, as interesting as I think our drill grinding
display was, in my mind, the most interesting item on the grounds
was a two cylinder, horizontal gas engine built by a man whose name
I do not know. Starting with a 5′ diameter flywheel from an air
compressor, the rest of the engine was all fabricated. The bores
were 6′ if not bigger. The engine was started with a Briggs
& Stratton slack/tight belted to a shaft with a friction drive
to the bottom of the flywheel. Since the friction was in constant
contact with the flywheel the other end of this shaft drove the
water pump. It was a well proportioned engine that ran like a top.
Earlier we compared LeRoy Mietzner’s BUG to the big Nordberg
Corliss. Now here is another comparison and the thing to remember
is that no matter what the size, no engine, no boat, no tractor, no
locomotive, no whatever, will ever be built or restored without
determination, planning, constant work and the ability to overcome
those moments of despair when nothing seems to go right.

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