Steam Engineer School at Pawnee

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R.R. 13, Box 209 Brazil, Indiana 47834

On March 2nd and 3rd, 1996, a two day steam school was held at
Pawnee, Oklahoma. The school stresses the Oklahoma Steam Threshing
and Gas Engine Association’s commitment to the steam hobby, and
also to their old and new engineers.

Joe Graziana of Wood River, Illinois, and I felt fortunate to
attend the school, and we both felt we gained knowledge from this
group of ‘Western engineers.’

Chady Atteberry covered topics of general operating practices
and nomenclature, using various makes of engines as examples. Steve
Dunn discussed the safety features in a steam boiler and stressed
the need to periodically change the fusible, or soft plug, in the
boiler, as the buildup of scale on the top of the fusible plug will
prevent it from doing its job as a safety device.

Joe Graziana of Wood River, Illinois, instructed the class on
steam governor operation and troubleshooting. That’s a brand
new Pickering governor and its box in the middle of the table.

Joe Graziana put on a steam governor ‘clinic’ using a
Pickering governor as an example. Joe discussed the function of all
of the governor parts, explained how to check the governor on the
engine by throwing off the belt and spinning the governor from the
belt pulley; if it does not spin freely or binds, this indicates
the governor may need work. Joe showed how to disassemble a
governor and check the clearance between the valve and the seats.
At the end of each session, Joe got the attention of each attendee
by showing them what a brand new IV2′ Pickering governor looked
like in the box, along with factory wrenches to adjust the ball
ranger speed control. Joe presented the governor class on both
Saturday and Sunday.

Ivan Burns presented a very interesting class on steam valves
and balanced valve gears, discussing the merits and drawbacks of
several makes.

Paul Marten’s session included examples of fittings and
plumbing that were suitable for steam plumbing. Paul recommended
that all piping going into the boiler be at least schedule 80
strength. Paul built a teaching aid that showed the correct stages
of rolling and beading flues. He stressed that flues should be
beaded on both the firebox and smoke box ends, as each flue can act
as a boiler through stay, holding the flue sheets solidly against
the steam boiler pressure.

I ‘d like to thank Kenneth Kelly for the opportunity to view
his fine collection of Case steam engines and for hosting the first
day of steam school.

The Oklahoma Steam Threshing & Gas Association’s Steam
School has come a long way from its beginning in 1984 with only two
attendees, to the thirty-plus attendees in 1996. Anyone interested
in the operation of steam boilers and engines should try to attend
the school. You will not leave with a diploma, but you will get
something even more valuable knowledge!

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