Box 128 Utica, Ohio 43080
The Ashcraft Steam Engine Testing Fan was designed and built by
Ashcraft Machine & Supply, Inc., Newark, Ohio, to fulfill a
need that was prevalent at the steam shows in the Ohio region.
Because of the lack of grain to thresh and other equipment for the
engines to run, the fan provided an intermittent load or otherwise
make the engine talk; then ease off the load and let the engine
coast, such as a saw mill or a thresher when a wet sheaf or tow
sheaves are thrown in crosswise.
The fan is designed around the so called ‘Baker Fan’ but
is completely housed in with the fan exhaust going straight up from
the top and a hinged lid provided to cover the opening when not in
The mechanism that opens and closes the shutters on each side of
the housing are actuated through a hydraulic box so the length of
time the load is on the engine can be easily changed without
stopping or shifting any belts. If a small engine such as a
one-third or half scale model wants to run on the fan and turns the
fan say 350 rpm., the ratio of the shutters can be changed to the
same opening and closing per minute as a large engine turning the
fan 800 rpm. It is also equipped with two sizes of pulleys, one on
each end of the shaft, to accommodate all sizes of engines with
different sizes of band wheels.
The fan was originally designed to carry its own wheels for
transportation as a trailer, but time for the first season was
limited, so it was fastened to a flat bed truck. With the truck
brakes set and wheels chocked, this solved a problem of fastening
the fan to a tree or post then staking it down to hold the side
draft; therefore the wheels were never completed. Furthermore, the
gross weight of the fan when completed was a little heavy to tow as
the scale weight was 2460 lbs. as you see in the picture.
Mr. O. W. Nickols of Pickerington, Ohio 43147, R.F.D. has taken
over the fan for the Ohio and Canadian Shows along with his 17 hp.
Sawyer Massey which makes a very fine pair and puts on a real