STEAM AT STONELICK


| March/April 1968


(The article 'Steam at Stonelick' is about the collection of steam engines by my father-in-law, Mr. Clarence Ragland. The man in the various pictures is Mr. Ragland.)

Driving east of Cincinnati, Ohio, along U.S. Route 50 you'll find nestled in the Little Miami River valley a small community called 'Stonelick'. Here Clarence Ragland operates a large grain farm. But his real love is for the smoke, grime, and noise of his steam engines.

Love for steam engines goes back to Mr. Ragland's childhood. At that time everything was done by steam. Threshing and silo filling were especially exciting to him and his brother. He recalls how they would think of every way possible to get on or close to the steam engine. On one occasion, at the age of seven, Mr. Ragland became a hero. This is the way he tells the story.

'I was on the engine and the engineer had gone up to the silo cutter to grease it. Something broke and was tearing up the machine. Somehow I got the engine stopped. I thought I was a big hero then.'

Additional steam interest grew in Mr. Ragland's heart as a child. While playing around the long switch of the N and W railroad, located on the home farm, he and his brother used to talk to the engineers. Somehow they were able to convince some to let them ride from one end of the switch to the other. The mile walk back didn't seem long at all.

Today in a museum-like farm shop one finds sixteen steam engines and an assortment of pumps, motors, generators, locomotive headlamps, bells and whistles. One of the most useful is a 5' x 5' horizontal steam engine coupled to a 5 kilowatt A.C. Generator. The power generated can be used to run shop machines such as the lathe, shaper, milling machine, and drills. This 5' x 5' engine was secured, as most were, from the junk yard. It was covered with water in the big 1937 Ohio River flood. The engine today doesn't look like it was in such bad condition that Mr. Ragland had to shape patterns and cast parts to rebuild it.






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