Box 14, Veyo, Utah
Dr. Shefer paraphrases General McArthur to say, 'the place of the steam engine and country doctor just fades away,' but we feel to disagree with him. The country doctor did render some service and couldn't do the harm the MD's with the shots and wonder drugs are doing. As for steam, whenever it gets pushed a bit by competition it usually makes a few improvements and does a comeback.
Witness the motor ships. One need not have a very long memory to recall when it was predicted the diesel engine would drive steam from the water ways of the world. For a time it seemed this prediction would materialize, but soon the steam marine builders upped the pressure and the temperature and soon had the business back.
Steam is such an amazing and versatile power that it has withstood amazing abuse. Witness the Stanley Steamer. Two Maine violinists who made a living manufacturing photographic dry plates placed a two cylinder slide valve steam engine and an extremely crude fire tube boiler wrapped with piano wire on an automobile and made a huge success.
The flat-plate slide valve steam engine is the least efficient of all known steam engines, yet they used it and still made a success. They could have used a uniflow engine or a piston valve, or a poppet valve, or some other form of MUCH better engine.
This illustrates eloquently the superiority of steam. Their burners were monstrosities and they were so wasteful of water that the car seldom made more than sixty miles without the necessity for refilling the large water tank, but the performance was so phenomenal that people were willing to put up with the burners and water troughs and other defects in order to enjoy the amazing performance of the steam car. If such a poorly engineered device could make good, what would a well designed modern steamer do?
In central station practice we have the Rankine, the Reheating, the Regenerative, and the Reheating-Regenerative, and the so called Super-pressure steam cycles. The Rankine is the least efficient of them all, yet it is the only cycle yet attempted on a steam vehicle. More than 20 years ago I applied for patents on a Reheating steam automobile and the like. Abner Doble is now trying to build a reheating steam power plant for Yellow Coach and Firestone is reportedly also playing with steam.