Sometime ago, we began to receive copies ofThe Veteran Farmer, or 'Die Veteran Boer' from its friendly staff. The quarterly magazine is the Journal of the Vintage Tractor and Engine Club of South Africa. The colorful 12-page Farmer is sent free to members of the Club. The subscription rates published are in South African rands (a rand is the equivalent of about 22 cents in U.S. funds). We don't know what their International rates might be, but if you're interested, contact: The Secretary, Vintage Tractor & Engine Club of South Africa, PO Box 774, Greytown 3500, Republic of South Africa.
We have quite a few letters this month, so we'll get right to them:
JERRY J. DEATON, 308 Lind Street, McMinnville, Tennessee 37110 writes: 'I've enjoyed your column and the magazine for many years now, and hope to continue doing so for many years to come. This is the first time I've written to you, but this past summer events have opened new doors for me.
'I'm a Live Steamer and have built and now run a 1' scale locomotive called the ChiShay at various meets around the country and enjoy the good people and good times.
'This past summer I was fortunate to find two stationary mill engines which were used by a local lumber company during the first half of this century. These engines had been sitting under our nose for many years, and a chance meeting with a gentle man revealed that up on this hill were some old pulleys and junk. When we took a look, to our surprise, there were these engines just waiting for someone to restore them.
'After making a deal with the company, Burroughs-Ross-Colville, who have been in business in this area for nearly a century, I and some other friends, decided to bring these engines down off the hill and put new life in them. The smaller engine looks to be in good shape for total restoration, but the larger one will need some parts to complete its new life. I've brought the smaller engine to my home and already have begun to strip it down for clean-up and whatever else it will need to get it back into running condition. The larger engine is still in the woods, but we have already been given permission to move it to the Warren County Fairgrounds and put it on static display.
'I need help from your readers so we can obtain information on the companies that made these engines, so we will have a history line. The small engine has a builder's plate which states:
THE BROWNELL Co., Manufacturers, DAYTON, OHIO USA. No. 2705, Date 8-18-03 Size 10 x 12.
'The larger engine is a dual flywheel type, 8 feet in diameter. It appears to have a 12' bore x 14' stroke. The only markings we have been able to find so far are: The Houston Stand Wood & Gamble Company, Cincinnati.
'We would be most pleased if someone has a history of these companies to let us know so we can have the history for all to know when we get these engines on exhibit for the general public.'
WILLIAM M. (MIKE) ROHRER, 12025 Steven Avenue, Smithsburg, Maryland 21783 wants to know: 'Where is all the equipment that was built by the Geiser Manufacturing Company that was in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania? I am working with the Geiser family on the history of the company, and there is one question they ask me: Is there much of the equipment left? We would like to know where it is. If we get a good response we can make this information available to other people.
'What we would like is any information on the equipment that was built by Geiser, such as steam engines, threshers, plows, gas engines, gas tractors, sawmills, anything that has the Geiser name on it. Also if you have, or know anybody who has, any books such as catalogs, documents, pictures, or information when the company was in the hands of Emerson-Brantingham from 1912 until 1925.
'When you send me information, please give me the serial number, size, class, HP, year, and a picture if you have one and advise me so that I will know I will have some information coming. Send to me at the above address, or E-Mail it to email@example.com.'
From the desk of ORMAN RAWLINGS, Vocational Instructor, Engineering Tech., 44750 60th Street West, Lancaster, California 93536-7620: 'I am a vocational instructor. In reading IMA for years, I have had a desire many times to take pen in hand, fire up the computer and reply to articles found within.
'Before I continue, a little background might make it somewhat easier for readers to receive the information passed on with a small amount of authority or understanding of the subject. I have spent the greatest portion of my life as a mechanic and teacher and restorer of classic and antique equipment. I have restored some thirty different pieces, ranging from autos, farm equipment, boats, and fire trucks, and soon I hope to do a plane.
'At present I teach full time at a vocational school; this by no means makes me an authority or expert, just a knowledgeable person. The subject I wish to comment on is found in Volume 51, of the November/December issue 1996 #2, on page 8, titled, 'Advice for Boiler Buyers.' This anonymous 'state inspector' not only speaks the truth, but is willing to help others and this places this person at the top in my books. The reason I say this is because of our adventures with our 1906 Advance 16 HP steamer. I said our because Mr. Sonny Rowlands and I spent the last three years restoring this tractor.
'We found this unit in Michigan. After countless phone calls, many letters and hours of research, we made arrangements to transfer funds and have the unit delivered to California. Remember, I said hours of research and countless phone calls. Said phone calls were made to the Michigan State Pressure Vessel (boiler) Inspectors. In talking to the inspectors who signed off on the last inspection document that we received from the owner, we felt we had a sound buy at hand.
'Upon arrival in California, the inspection started. The first thing required was to SONIC the complete boiler; this told us the remaining thickness of the 3/8 inch shell. The readings showed that over fifty percent of the lower portion (bottom) of the boiler was rusted away, from about 10 inches below the riveted joint. This showed that this unit sat for quite some time with water up to this level. The standing water also allowed large quantities of scale and rust to accumulate in the water legs. Once the scale was removed, sonic readings were again taken at each leg (corners). Again the parent materials were found to be badly deteriorated.
'The state inspectors were called in to see if the parent materials could be welded. Samples were taken and sent to be analyzed and the results were turned over to the inspectors. It was determined that the parent boiler material could be welded.
'At this point a company who holds a National Board Repair Certificate was contacted. A decision was made to remove the sections of water legs and the whole lower section of the main drum (boiler) just below the riveted section (lap-section). This allowed us to inspect the whole inside of this boiler, including the tubes, stay bolts, tube sheets and crown sheet. Our findings were not goodall the tubes required replacement. The front tube sheet and several sections in the rear lower water legs required patching.
'After several meetings with the boiler repair people and the state inspectors, we decided to continue with the work. One reason was that we had so much money tied up and we did not want to lose it all. At that time I was not quite sure that it was a sensible decision, yet I am glad we did, for we have a real reliable piece of equipment.
'So, starting with the required new materials, we rolled a new lower section, rolled and drilled a new front tube sheet and replaced all the tubes, repaired all bad spots in the water legs. Once the welding was completed and X-rayed, the whole unit had to be wrapped in heat blankets to neutralize the welds. After that more X-rays, then the approval was given for hydrostatic testing and the unit tested at 100%.
'Sonic readings were made on the plumbing, and countless pieces needed replacing. Here in California, schedule SAE 80 is required on all the plumbing. So the whole unit was completely replumbed. Valves rated at 300 lb. had to replace the 200 lb. valves that the engine was equipped with originally. A new style safety valve was installed because parts for the original could not be found. After making four new gears, welding and remachining old ones, reassembly was finally started. Of course priming and painting topped off three years' worth of work.
'I'm not sure what the daily costs of inspectors are in other states, but here in California it costs $24.00 per hour. If this unit had been inspected before purchase, I promise you it would still be in Michigan.
'This inspector who wrote the article is worth his weight in gold! I feel quite sure, if asked to inspect a steamer before purchase, he would leave no stone unturned. I thought I had done my homework correctly. Regrets? Yes, and no. No, because we have a beautiful unit that runs perfectly at designed pressure and performs like a big noisy Swiss clock. Yes, because the money we spent could have purchased a couple of interesting projects to play at, or could we? I can guarantee you that I would pay for an inspection from the state of purchase, before purchasing, for most states operate near the same level of compliance. We are lucky, for we can do our own work, except for the items requiring certified boiler works.
'Before calling for an inspector's help, I would check with the state that the steamer is operating in, to see if their rules and regulations are in compliance with the rules and regulations of my state. If they are, and the boiler passes an inspection, then an agreement can be made. We feel our expenses could have been reduced if the above procedure had been followed before our purchase. So be advised, take the time to inspect the steamer properly, check states' Pressure Vessel Standards to insure your purchase meets the standards required for steaming the unit in your state.
'THANKS, to the anonymous inspector. Too bad we did not run into you before our adventure!'
We received this letter from LARRY SCHUNKE, 9760 Yankee Street, Fredericktown, Ohio 43019: 'I thought I would send in some pictures to your fine magazine. Picture #1 is my 10 HP Frick steam engine. It was built in 1884. In the picture I have it belted up to my sawmill at home. We were sawing walnut that day and it was doing a pretty good job of it. I restored this engine about three years ago. It was quite an experience and was a lot of work but fun.
'Picture #2 is my 30 HP Case built in 1916. In this picture I was running a sawmill at Malabar Farm where our club, The Richland County Steam Threshers, hold our annual show the last full weekend in September. We have about 14 steam engines, about 75 gas tractors and over 100 small gas engines.
'Picture #3. This engine is owned by Tom Woodard of Mansfield, Ohio. It is a 16 HP Advance. In this picture he has the engine belted up to his sawmill at his home. Tom has done an excellent job in restoring this enginehe is very particular in the work he does. It has to be just perfect. He has helped me a lot in fixing my Frick steam engine and working on our show at Malabar Farm.
'Picture #4. This engine also belongs to Tom Woodard. It is a 13 HP Gaar Scott and the nicest little engine around here. It also runs very nice. It is very easy to handle and steam.
'In closing, I hope your readers enjoy these pictures. Maybe later on I will go through some pictures and send more in.'
LARRY CREED, RR 13, Box 209, Brazil, Indiana 47834 says: 'I think most readers of IMA found the article 'Advice for Boiler Buyers' a little suspicious since the author wished to be anonymous and therefore would not be held accountable as to the content of the article. The article contained no hard information and the author could have saved some paper by just stating that in his professional opinion that it might be best to buy a boiler within the state in which you reside which has a current boiler operating certificate (if your state requires it).
'Having a current boiler operating certificate is not a guarantee that you are purchasing a good boiler. I have seen several engines with current certificates that were unsafe to operate. It is a shame that boiler certificates are not reciprocal from state to state which require inspections, but I doubt that the states involved could agree on what criterion would determine when a boiler is 'safe.'
'I will cite an example which is a little different from the article but is just as relevant. Let us assume that we have bought a good boiler from state 'A' and brought it into state 'B.' There is no procedure for state 'B' inspector to approve the boiler before it is taken to state 'B'; in fact, the inspector could probably care less until it is in his jurisdiction. The 'Anonymous' boiler inspector asks for documentation, but this engine came from a state not requiring an inspection and no boiler work has been done on the engine, so there is no form of documentation. We do have a catalog which outlines boiler construction and material. The boiler has passed a hydrostatic test, ultrasonic test, the stay bolts and rivets are good, the calculations are made which show the boiler to be in safe operating condition.
'So, will our boiler receive a current operating certificate? The correct answer is maybe, and in certain states, the odds are good that it will be treated as an 'illegal alien' and allowed just enough steam pressure to move itself and no more.
'The 'Anonymous' article referred to welds and since when does it matter if a 'good' weld is one year old or ten years olddo they have a shelf life?
'The price of a new A.S.M.E. safety valve or the cost to have the valve calibrated and sealed is such a small percentage of the cost of an engine that I think most steam engine buyers can afford to take care of that expense
'I do think that some boiler inspectors are very knowledgeable and competent in their work. The adage that 'a little knowledge is a dangerous thing' applies to boiler inspectors who think it is their job to put up roadblocks and stumbling blocks to people wishing to operate antique boilers.'
We have this letter from RANDY E. SCHWERIN, 3040 160th Street, Sumner, Iowa 50674: 'As I've often preached before, we all have the responsibility to our fine little magazine to contribute and thus enhance it. Therefore, in keeping with my own words, I've enclosed a photo of an engine from my collection.
'Some of the readers may recognize it and some may not. Now I must confess, this isn't a steam engine. However, it is 'external combustion,' therefore I thought it worthy of a spot in the Album.
'It is a 10' bore Ericsson hot-air pumping engine, built in 1902 by the Rider Ericsson Engine Company of New York, New York. I bought it in 1981 from Mr. John Powers of South Harpswell, Maine.
'It has been sitting in the back of my shop since it was brought home and painted in 1981. This past fall I took the time to pull it out and put a fire in it and it took off and ran like a champ! The 10' size had a pumping capacity, according to the 1906 catalog, of 1000 gallons of water per hour at 50' of head pressure, and burned five pounds anthracite coal per hour.
'The following paragraph was taken from the catalog for the readers' interest: 'Any gardener or ordinary domestic can operate these engines, and no licensed or experienced engineer is required. They will run a day of ten hours with no more fuel than would be required to get up steam in a boiler, and they can be used when steam or any other device would be objectionable or impossible. All parts of the pump and engines can be examined and cleaned without difficulty, and fire can be replenished without stopping the engine, which is absolutely safe, having no valves, steam, exhaust or noise.''
'Also shown (above) is a sectional view of the engine from the same catalog. This particular engine is equipped with a gas burning furnace.
'Hot-air engines performed various jobs in the era of steam during the turn of the century and they are a rather obscure part of our hobby that I happen to enjoy.
'Keep up the fine work on IMA.Spring is just around the corner!'
And we do hope that Spring really IS just around the corner! We're happy about the increased number of letters and stories we're receiving and hope this trend will continue! Drop us a line!
Steamcerely, Linda and Gail