The Best Reverse Gears


| September/October 1958



Alvordton, Ohio

We have been enjoying the articles on reverse gears for steam engines by B. B. Brown in a steam hobby magazine, and by Lucian C. Sweet a few years ago in IRON-MEN ALBUM. I have been using radial reverse gears on steam traction engines for 40 years and find them very satisfactory. It is true they have more joints or bearings to keep up, but the superior results offset all other kinds many times over.

Some reverse gears are much better than others, especially for economy and a quick admission and quick release of exhaust steam. The best are of the radial type, all of which are off springs of the Hackworth patent.:

Some of your readers may not agree with me on reverse gears, but it is a fact that no steam traction engine ever won a neconomy test at the Winnipeg, Canada Motor Contest, or any other economy run that I know of, that was not equipped with a radial gear.

I consider the Baker the best reverse gear. Other good reverse gears are the Clay as used on Reeves, Springer on Avery, Grime on Port Huron and Aultman Taylor, and Woolf on Case, Minneapolis, Huber and others. The Butterfield as used on the Nichols & Shepard rear mount is similar to the Baker, as also is Wood Brothers and Keck-Gonnerman.

The A. D. Baker Company claimed their gear had a full port opening when the piston had moved only 3/8' from either dead center on a 10' stroke engine. The Port Huron Grime gives full port opening at nine-sixteenth inch of piston travel. At 90 to 92 per cent of the stroke the exhaust is released quickly for a sharp but gentle exhaust.