| September/October 1954

  • 17HP Minneapolis Compound Engine
    17hp.Minneapolis compound engine and a 36x58 Minneapolis Separator. Mr. Blank on the engine and the picturewasmadein1904. Courtesy of R. H. Blank, Walcott, Iowa.
    R. H. Blank

  • 17HP Minneapolis Compound Engine

Salina, Kansas

In 1898, I unloaded and operated a new 20 hp. double Reeves, a wasteful engine, at Danville, Kansas, and as I drove it into the yard I saw, near a shed, a rear mounted double Ritchie & Dyer with a broken crank shaft and the engine whipped to pieces. Reeves & Co., built independent stackers in the late 80's and early 90's. That Company bought Ritchie and Dyer and developed Reeves double and cross compound engines. Nearly all plow engines sold by Reeves & Co., were cross compounds because of the economy of the cross compound over the double. Reeves cross compounds earned enviable reputations as plow engines and wherever prairie grass sod was plowed, Reeves cross compounds plowed it. Reeves & Co., if there was any cream in the steam plow business, got it. Trouble was reported with crankshafts in Reeves engines. Neither Ritchie & Dyer nor Reeves engines were built with center bearings on crankshafts. The sight of the Ritchie & Dyer, whipped to pieces, remained with me and my reason for suggesting center bearings on crankshafts of cross compound engines.

Advance Thresher Co., built more than 13,000 engines, thousands of separators and much other equipment from 1884 until 1912 and so successfully managed its business, the newly organized Rumely Co., paid 282 for Advance Thresher Company stock. It is not probable, with such a record of achievements, that company was influenced by suggestions and the new engine would have been what it was, without the suggestions.

Advance Thresher Co., built a cross compound rear mounted engine, with live axle, center bearing on crankshaft, intermediate gear keyed to a shaft with babbitted bearings, improved Woolf reverse gear and without a clutch.

I sold 40 hp. cross compound engine No. 11,140--the sample at the Kansas City Branch. It was a coal burner boiler with jacket, cab and full water and coal equipment,-- a proud appearing engine. The boiler contained seventy 2x100' flues. Drive wheels were built up, with flat spokes, 30' rims and 78' high,-- a high wheel but a foot too low. The crankshaft was 4?' in diameter, counter shaft 53/8 and rear axle 5?. The high pressure cylinder was 9x13' and the low 13x13'.

In the 1890's I operated 10 hp. Nichols & Shepard engine No. 3,381 in Lyon County, Iowa. The main bearings were brass with quarter box adjustment, sensitive to adjustment and if too tight would heat, expand and kill the engine almost instantly. We were threshing south of Rock Rapids. The night was clear and moonlight. The next morning was clear and frosty. We had threshed but a few minutes, before I went to the crank wheel side of the engine. The edge of the crank wheel was covered with brass cuttings and oil. The main bearing had been doped with powdered emery. The bearings did not expand and kill the engine, as when too tight. We removed the crankshaft and cleaned it and the bearings but it was necessary to take it down the second time. Crops were large and rigs numerous. A highly rated engine man was operating an engine that day across the field. In 62 years I have not convinced myself he did not dope that engine. The little engine soon again was faithfully doing its duty and did for many years.


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