STEAM- But definitely


| March/April 1964



Steam Electric Power Plant

Courtesy of Russ Johnson, 187 Alder crest Rd., Toronto 14, Out., Canada. P2819A: Display Renovated Steam Engine These three operators from Ontario Hydro's huge Lake view steam electric power plant were among those who repaired this 50 year old steam engin

Russ Johnson

Box 14, Veyo, Utah

The writer positively knows that a steam automobile can be built that will go fifty miles per gallon of cheap fuel oil or coal tars or the like and have thrilling acceleration and the other advantages of steam. The boilers, engines, burners and gadgets have been developed. They only need application to give steam fans the thrills they crave.

The photographs of old traction engines powered by steam are very interesting. I am familiar with some of them, having sawed sacks in the Palouse and Umatilla County, Oregon. They bring back memories. They were remarkable pieces of mechanical ingenuity, but they all had one common defect in that they were woefully inefficient thermally. Now, many people associate this defect with steam and consider it a characteristic of steam, but this need not be the case. Steam can be made even more efficient than explosion engines because of the low exhaust temperatures and the correspondingly high mean-effective-pressures. Steam was so good people tolerated the low thermal efficiently and the manufactures sold so many of them they were under no pressure to make them better.

Engineers with mistaken educational training persuaded the tractor manufacturers to convert to internal combustion, and we also think the gasoline manufacturers had some thing to do with it. But manufacturers have a way of keenly following the demand trend, and if you people who buy tractors demand better steam tractors you will likely get them.

There are many reasons why the world will continue to use steam. It will surprise many to learn that much more than 50% of the power of the world is generated by steam. Steam has not been supplanted, as many believe. The explosion engine has only made inroads in the matter of automobiles and trucks and there are sound reasons why these vehicles must return to steam. The world can not supply sufficient petroleum to keep up the mad pace of the explosion engine automobiles. The world CAN supply steam automobiles burning coal, coal tars, wood, sawdust, alcohol, nut hulls or what-have you.

With better burners, more efficient engines and boilers, the steam car and truck will VASTLY surpass the best Detroit can offer, and they have about reached the zenith of the explosion engined Car. Gas turbines are just TALK. They haven't a chance to compete with steam with an IN-FORMED public, and with sufficient support of steam to bring the new steam cars off the drawing boards.