| January/February 1999

'This is an Avery. The Avery's are impressive. The cylinders are underneath the boiler instead of over it. This makes the boiler really high, and that's probably why the Avery's look so huge. The cylinders were placed underneath the boiler and close to the ground to make it easier to mount the belts for operating implements and more convenient for repairs. This apparently was a mixed blessing. Being close to the ground, the moving parts were exposed to more dirt, and this may have contributed to wear. Unlike most engines, the Avery has two cylinders, and this gives it a distinctive, 'smoother' sound.

'I saw a half-scale Avery once. It was cute. It is also the only half-scale traction engine I ever saw doing useful work. It was operating a sawmill and having no trouble doing so.

'Something else they do at steam shows to work the engines is threshing. Sorry I can't identify either the engine or the thresher in this picture.

'I was wondering why they always put such a great distance between the engine and the implement. A shorter distance would require a shorter belt. And why do they always put a half-twist in the belt? It's not to reverse the direction of rotation, because the engine will run either way. A couple of helpful readers sent some explanation. The door to the firebox is usually positioned upwind to improve the draft to the fire. This puts the thresher downwind, which increases the possibility of creating a fire in the straw from sparks from the engine flue. Putting a lot of distance, and hence a long belt, between the engine and the thresher mitigates this problem. Additionally, the increased weight of a longer belt reduces slippage. The long belt can also smooth out transients in the engine speed so they don't get to the implement; however, steam engines run quite smoothly, so this is more important for later gas-powered tractors like the two cylinder John Deere. The twist just helps keep the belt on the pulleys.

photos by Mark Corson:an 8 HP Gaar Scott, 1864 10 HP Gaar, 1870 10 HP Gaar, 8 HP portable, 1870 portable, and an 1865 8 HP portable.

'Our show dates this year are June 5 and 6 for the Swap Meet, August 14 and 15 for our annual show.'