When Arthur Dutch Drury's Engine Blew Up

| November/December 1986

1765 Hoover Pike Nicholasville, KY 40356.

Water becomes steam at 212 degrees F. at atmospheric pressure, or possibly I should say at sea level pressure. One pint of water, if boiled away, will produce 200 gallons of steam. If water and steam are confined in a sealed container or boiler, and heat is applied, it will exert pressure not only on the container or boiler but on the surface of the water also, thereby causing the boiling point to rise above 212 degrees F. The higher the pressure, the higher the boiling point is raised.

If the closed vessel or boiler ruptures and the pressure is reduced dramatically, the water will flash into steam immediately! This continues until a new equilibrium is reached between the liquid and the vapor. This is the reason for the awesome power displayed in a boiler explosion.

In the fall of 1946, in the month of November, I was hauling water to the school at Wilmore, Kentucky. On my way to the school with my load of water, I noticed my friend, Dutch, steaming tobacco plant beds by the side of the road with his 45 HP Case engine.

I was using an 80 HP Case engine on a sawmill and for steaming tobacco beds at that time. I had been around steam engines since I was big enough to go along and open the gates. My father and his two brothers had operated two steam threshing rigs along with clover hulling, saw milling and tobacco bed steaming.

So naturally, on the way back, after unloading the water, I stopped the truck and got over the fence to smell the steam, steam cylinder oil and smoke, and chat a few minutes with my friend, Dutch.


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