Route 1, Norwich, Ohio 43767
Approximately five years ago I heard of this engine in Canada, the engine with the broken gear. More about the broken gear later. Little did I realize at the time that I would someday own this engine.
In the summer of 1974 an ad appeared in the I.M.A. A 25 HP Gaar-Scott engine was for sale owned by Ken Scott, Glen Ewan, Saskatchewan, Canada. In corresponding with Mr. Scott, I learned this was the engine with the broken differential gear. Anyhow, I decided to go to Canada to look at this engine. That was where I made a mistake or I thought I did. You guessed it. I came home the owner of engine #15899.
In October of 1974 the engine arrived at its new home in Norwich, Ohio. I started in on the restoration. It had more things wrong with it than were right. Worst of all, it had been robbed of about every small part that belonged to it. No plumbing, stack, bearing caps, eccentric caps or connecting rod brasses; all were gone. I got the boiler, wheels and the gears, such as they were.
I have a G - S 25 double No. 16327 which I used to make parts for the #15899. This really helped. The pattern shop started making patterns. As soon as I would get a few patterns, it was then a trip to the foundry and then to the machine shop. Then those parts were put on. I then waited for more parts to be finished. And so it went, very slow and not much progress the first year.
I got the stack parts all on it, the front smoke box door and ring, and then the main bearing caps. Next, I poured the new crankshaft bearings, put on the new crank brasses and then put the valve linkage all back together. The governor was rebuilt and the new flues installed. This engine had been a straw burner, so I had all new grates, hangers, fire door, etc. to put on it.
Everything was taking shape pretty well except the broken differential gear. It seems that sometime in the past somebody had attempted to tow this engine. Since they could not pull it, they decided to use a sledge on the differential gear. How many years ago or how long this engine had set, would be anybody's guess. I know the birds had made a hatchery out of the boiler. It was completely filled with hay, feathers and everything else birds use for nesting material. That was a job to get that out. It isn't completely clean yet.
After much thought and discussion it was decided to take the good differential side gear and pinion off the #16327, 25 HP double, which shows very little wear, and head for the foundry. The head molder thought they could pour the new gear off the original without making a pattern, which was quite a saving. This they did and the new gear came out just like the original. This was the last big hurdle or obstacle in the restoration. I felt that now the job was almost complete. I had a little machine work to do on the new gear and some fitting to do. It all went together and fits tighter than the original did, I expect. I poured new babbitt in the counter shaft bearings and built up the left hand pinion and recut it so it is like a new gear too. Every bearing that could be poured or rebuilt and every pin or key has either been built up or replaced.
Finally, with a new paint job, new tanks, new bunkers and a new canopy and all the other new parts, the big day arrived. On Saturday, October 23,1976, we had a steam-up at our farm. Herb Beckemeyer of Champaign, Illinois, had the honor of being the first one to fire and pull the throttle on old #15899 which had been silent for all these many years. No one knows for certain how long. It has some 'bugs' in it, but to have come so far and to have had so much done to it, it really performed beautifully. Now to get it completely ready for the 1977 steam show circuit!
I want to take this opportunity to thank the following people who helped me in this big job:
The Carl Weidman Pattern Shop, Orrville, Ohio
The White Foundry, Hillsboro, Ohio
W. E. Arnett, Haviland, Kansas
Ralph Melby, Dalton, Minnesota
Jack Burrows, High River, Alberta, Canada
The Slabe Tool Company, Cambridge, Ohio
William Fisher, New Concord, Ohio
The Muskingum Tool and Die Company, Norwich, Ohio
The Eureka Machine Company, Sugarcreek, Ohio
John Holp Sr., John Holp, Jr, EdMattis, Lewisburg, Ohio
Lee Watts, South Zanesville, Ohio
Floyd Brudevold, Valley City, North Dakota
Herb Beckemeyer, Champaign, Illinois
Ewart Deering, Vancouver, British Columbia
Brock's Welding Service, Zanesville, Ohio
John Griffeth, Carrollton, Ohio
Helen (wife) and Martha (daughter)
Richey. Buddy - family border collie who camped in the shade of the engine lending support but no real help!