SOOT IN THE FLUES


| July/August 1999



Soot in the flues

Here in eastern Pennsylvania, it has been a lovely spring, and we are in the season of auctions and swap meets. At this time of year, our readers move outside with their engines, and often we notice a drop off in the number of letters we receive for this column. So, we offer a few words of encouragement here, to send us your letters and pictures, especially as you are out and about at the many events that you find in our annual directory!

And now we move right on to our letters:

A frequent and welcome contributor, DR. ROBERT T. RHODE, 4745 Glenway Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45238-4537 writes, 'I enjoyed reading Edwin Bredemeier's letter in the March/April issue of the Album. I'd like to add a few details to what he ably presented. According to books published for those who ran farm steam engines, there is an ideal placement of the threshing machine. For the sake of an example, say that the grain is delivered on the thresher's right side and say that the feeder end of the thresher is pointed west with the wind stacker toward the east. It would be good, then, for the wind to move from southwest to northeast. In fact, it would be even better if the wind moved from west southwest to east northeast. When the threshing machine and the wind are in such an arrangement, three goals are accomplished: (1) the wind does not carry sparks from the smokestack to the straw stack but delivers sparks off to one side of the straw stack; (2) dust and chaff from the vicinity of the thresher's cylinder do not drift into the grain; and, (3) if strong enough, the wind improves the draft through the fire in the firebox.

'Thresher men also must consider the wind's effect on the belt. When wind gusts are powerful, it's best to cross the belt in such a way that the wind strikes the slack portion of the belt first, pushing that section against the taut portion of the belt where the two sections cross. In this way, the slack section will not blow sideways and cause the belt to begin to come off the flywheel or the pulley. It's true that the crossing of the belt also permits a bit more of it to come into contact with the flywheel and the pulley, thus helping to keep the belt in place.

'An agricultural engine is said to run 'over' when the top of the flywheel runs away from the engine's cylinder. On most engines where the crankshaft is in front of an imaginary vertical line drawn through the rear axle, the engine runs 'over' while the traction wheels are moving the steamer forward. On most engines where the crankshaft is behind an imaginary vertical line drawn through the rear axle, the engine runs 'over' while the traction wheels are moving the steamer in reverse. Engines are said to run 'under' when the top of the flywheel runs toward the engine's cylinder. Most farm engines run 'under' when belted with a crossed belt to a threshing machine. Running 'under' is said to be easier on the crosshead and guides because the thrust on the crosshead is downward and the guides are well supported underneath.

'Thanks again to Ed!'