STORIES FROM STEAM MEN

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Here is a picture of a model steam engine at the Rollag Reunion, Sept. 30 th to October 2nd, 1955.
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Here is a picture of my model Advance Rumely engine made entirely with the aid of the Farm Album pictures. It works well and is certainly a nice little bit of 'America.' The headlight is an oil burner and is complete.
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This picture of a 16 HP Peerless engine, No. 10640, owned by A. G. Henry, Fayetteville, Pa. was taken Sept. 12, 1958 at the Maryland Reunion, Upperco, Maryland.
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In parts of the country threshing the grain out of stacks the so called Wing Carrier feeders were in common use some years back. This is a Nichols & Shepard separator with a Garden City wing carrier feeder.
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Here is a picture of a showman's traction engine made by Charles Burrell & Son, Thetford, Norfolk, England. This is a cross compound engine. Cylinders are arranged something like the compound reeves engine. The engine is shown driving the round about at a

18 W. Wash. St., Newnan, Ga.

My earliest memories of steam go back to where a Watertown
Portable blew up about 1882. The fireman was getting a drink of
water on the other side of the Ginn house so no one was injured. He
had just said the day before, ‘I’ll fire her or burst
her’.

Some of the next ones I guess the first time I ever saw a real
hot fire was when an old loco engineer would let the town kids ride
with him while he was switching out cars.

The bark of steam engines could be heard all over the place
pulling sawmills, running plainers, cotton ginns and the smoke from
the large plants boiled out of the high stacks and only the
machinery could be heard as most places used large Corliss
engines.

This was a country of lumber, cotton, and cotton mills, and it
is said we used 14 cars of coal a day in our little of 6000 before
the electricity came.

My old friend Lew Steadman told me that he and his fireman
decided to keep up steam one night when it would always go down, 4
boilers, 1 Corliss engine with a 75 psi back pressure so as to run
the paper mill with exhaust. he had learned to dust the shovel off
while firing from a railroad friend fireman, Lew took 2 boilers and
his fireman took 2 and they began to throw the coal and each time
hit the door with a loaded shovel causing the coal to form a dust
and burn before it came down to the grates. Things looked good for
a while as they had her popping off most of the time so they looked
at each other and decided this was the way to fire until the town
chief tapped him on the shoulder and invited him to look at the 130
ft. steel smoke stack outside. She was red hot half way up and
people from everywhere were waiting to see the show of it falling
down.

We kids never liked a large engine as they never had a bark on
the exhaust like the small ones so we always gave the small places
our hanging around business.

Ole Beeler Brown tells one about the saw miller having to wait
for steam every day until a tramp fireman came along. The first
thing he did was to spend a long time cleaning up in the tubes and
boxes. Pretty soon he had her popping off so much and hard that the
boss told him to slow up a little as he was afraid of this tramp
and the boiler blowing up. The tramp answered back in contempt,
‘It is only a little branch water and green slabs so don’t
worry about it.’

No one ever forgot to go to dinner as about 10 different
whistles would blow for 12 o’clock and some times the blower
would talk to his wife or friend miles away by giving it a extra
toot or two. This always called for a visit to the big office to
explain the accidental monkey business.

Then there were the steam professors, fellows who were always
fingering on more power or RPM or how to save water and fuel or
working on a drawing board trying to decide if the Corliss engine
was making the proper card on the expansion curve.

Uncle Lee tells how he went to this large cotton mill and they
had extra firemen trying to keep up steam and they were burning
coal like nobody’s business. Uncle spent 2 weeks and 3 Sundays
taking cards and setting valves on the 1500 HP Corliss Cooper cross
over compound condensing engine.

Uncle was a young man and had been an old German’s protege
for years here at a large textile plant so he was at home around a
worn out engine.

The mill started up an extra shift about the time uncle had
everything ready to make the test by weighing the coal that was
burned. After testing for a week everyone decided they were burning
over a railroad car of coal a week less per week and were using 10%
to 20% more horse power because of running the other shift in one
of the departments. Unk thought this ought to be worth a dollar a
week raise to himself but the office crowd didn’t think so so
he packed up his tools and found another job in a nice plant
without any trouble. In a month or so the mill engine was beginning
to use more fuel so the management paid pretty dear for the dollar
a week saving on the labor.

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