STEAM PLANS IN EUROPE


| November/December 1972



1916 Compound Engine

1916 Compound Engine, 16 NHP. John Fowler, Leeds, England. Courtesy of R. F. Somerville, 12498-232 Street, Mapleridge, Haney, B. C. CANADA.

R. F. Somerville

Haney, B. C. CANADA

Steam plowing in Canada and the United States was always of the direct traction type with plows anywhere from 4 bottoms up to 14 inch bottoms, and the biggest engine plow is owned by the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon. This is a 20, 14 inch bottom plow and is used with a 32115 HP compound Reeves steam tractor.

In Europe all steam plowing was done by the cable system; that is, two steam plow engines with winding drum under the boiler, one engine on one end of the field and the other engine on the opposite end. The plow is known as a balance plow or turn wrest. It looks like a big carpenter's square sitting on the ground with one end up in the air. The end that sits on the ground has the mould boards plowing to the right, and the end up in the air has the mould-board plowing the furrow to the left, so when one end is up the other is down plowing. All the furrows lay one way. They start at one end of the field and finish at the other. There are no open furrows.

One engine pulls the plow across the field, while the other engine moves up the width of the plow. Then the driver fires up and takes in water, and the other pulls the plow back and forth, at a speed of about four miles per hour.

A system like this takes four men to operate it; two engine drivers, a plowman that sits on the plow and steers it, and a coal and water tender man, as these engines burn coal.

Where these outfits are used in Argentina or other parts of the world, they burn straw.