MINIATURE STEAM ENGINES AND BOILERS U. P. Rembold, left, and D. H. McKee, right, both of Rices Landing stand behind their miniature display models of steam engines and boilers they have made in the last few months. Everything except the steam and water gauges were made by hand.
RICES LANDING Two Kices Landing hobbyists with immeasurable patience, have constructed model replicas of three different steam power engines and two steam boilers.
The two retired craftsmen are U. P. (Slim) Rembold, mayor of Rices Landing, and D. H. (Don) McKee, an expert gardener.
They began their hobby some six months ago having visited a 'steam engine show' at Hickory earlier.
They completed their first 'horizontal engine' after two and a half months of cutting, soldering, clamping, wiring and polishing.
Combining their last names, they have formed the Remkee works, a small private concern., Mr. Rembold contributed the first three letters of his last name and Mr. McKee added the last three letters of his last namehence, they formed Remkee.
In a short time, they have made five various pieces of steam equipment three steam engines, a horizontal, a vertical and a walking-beam type, along with a fire-tube and a water-tube boiler.
Practically all parts of the machinery are handmade, including the safety pop-off valves, pistons, screws, bolts, armatures, etc. The only items on the machinery not handmade are the steam gauges.
The history of the steam power dates back to the Second Century prior to the birth of Christ, when Nero of Alexandria Contrived a steam motor. The use of steam for pumping water dates back to the 1700's.
The Newcomen engine completed in 1705 was the first know., use of a cylinder and piston action.
Then in 1718, Henry Brighton invented a self-acting machine. The valves consisted of a series of tappets operated by the large beam of the engine.
The actual foundation for the modern steam engine was laid by James Watt in 1769.
He discovered how to transfer steam from one vessel to another for condensation, making use of the pressure greater than atmospheric. He also constructed the double-acting steam engine and later, the steam engine indicator.
Watt was actually the first individual to realize the advantages that resulted from using steam expansively, although it was never applied to an actual engine until 1804 by Wolfe.
Rembold and McKee's walking-beam miniature model was used in a much larger scale on the early steam locomotives.
For example, during 1829 and 1830, while the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the Atlantic rail lines were operating, the engine was the 'ultimate' in fast travel.
Also, the early time steam boats used a walking-beam type of engine. The 'John Fitch' was the very first to use such a machine 1790 and also the 'Clermont' later on.
One of the later steam engines using this same type of engine was England's 'Scotia' of the Cunard Lines. Its weight was 3,610 tons and it was 379 feet long. The two cylinders were 100 and 144 inches respectively. The paddle wheels were 40 feet in diameter and could achieve a speed of 14.4 knots. Thus, the engines being so large, the boat moved slower.
The horizontal model steam engine made by the two hobbyists has a 1-inch bore and a 1-inch stroke, produces three-quarter horsepower and 60 pounds of steam capacity, and is a replica of an improved model that was later used on locomotives in the middle of the 19th century.
It also could be wound up to 600 r.p.m.s a minute.
The piston through linkage was connected directly to the driving wheels and was also the power available for steel mills, lumber yards, feed mills, traction engines and river tow boats.
The Remkee vertical model engine is similar to the horizontal engine in that the same equipment is used. It was used for power in places where there was limited floor space. A few examples included steam shovels, cranes, generators on boats, etc. The miniature model has a one-inch bore and stroke.
Also, in their workshop, which is situated in the basement of Mr. Rembold, is a hot - air - operated engine and a scaled-down model of the Stirling Cycle engine that was recently donated by Pennsylvania State University to the Smithsonian Institute as an antique.
The particular engine that was on the State campus was virtually ignored until the Smithsonian Institute learned of its exhistence and later hailed it as a rare find.
It is powered by a hand - stoked fire under the end of the vertical cylinder. The hot air drives the piston and power was transmitted by a crank mechanism.
The 'antique' is over six feet tall and weighs a ton.
Rembold and McKee's model weighs less than a few pounds and is also less than a foot high, and is capable of producing power energy.
Their display also consists of two steam boilers, which have been constructed to operate all the above mentioned engines.
One boiler is of a fire - tube variety, while the other is a water tube type. Both are equipped with necessary water gauges, pressure gauges and safety pop - off valves and burners for bottled gas operation.
The other detailed parts include two high pressure plunger pumps used to supply water for the boilers one driven by the vertical steam engine and the other driven by the horizontal engine. The later engine mentioned is also used to drive a generator for display lighting purposes within the workshop.
Also in their possession are four toy variety steam engines used some 60 years ago. With a few minor repairs, they are now in operation, as is another some 30 years old and two modern electrically heated toy steam engines.
Both are members of the Tri-State Historical Steam Engine Association, Inc., with headquarters in Charleroi.
Both were assisted by Gregg E. Waters, of Rices Landing, R. D. 1, while building their 'fire-tube' boiler.
Both are gardeners, having large produce gardens near their home.
Rembold, besides being mayor of Rices Landing, is engaged in small electrical work, such as winding motors for local residents and smaller repairs.
He was formerly employed at Crucible as head of coal preparation and retired when Crucible discontinued operations in 1961. He was also employed at Nemacolin for several years.
McKee is also a former Crucible coal worker, having served as master mechanic up until his retirement in 1957.
He stated that his prime interest was in raising gardens and he has won several prizes for his produce.