The Injector and Hi Troubles

| November/December 1978

  • Traction engines
    Our show was a real good one this year despite very hot weather as we had the biggest show ever, both in equipment and displays and in the crowd attending. Our grounds were full and we could not park any more on the grounds. Enclosed are two pictures take
    Verne W. Kindschi

  • Traction engines

106 South Elm Street, Newkirk, Oklahoma 74647

A very interesting and informative article appeared recently in The Iron Men Album by Mr. H. S. Fox, in which he gives an excellent description of the injector and explains the technical principles of its operation.

In this little piece I will try to tell something of the troubles that can be encountered in the use of these handy and useful devices. The advice I will try to give is not for the old timers who used to make their living running steam engines, as most of them perhaps know more about injectors than I do; but unfortunately not many of these men are around any more, and maybe I can help some of the younger people who are restoring old engines and building models.

My experience began in the year 1906 when I was 12 years old firing an old Garr-Scott traction engine in a sawmill operated by my father and my uncle; and when I retired a few years ago, I owned a sawmill that was driven by a Skinner steam engine with cylinder-dia. 14', stroke 15'. The boiler was 5' diameter, 23' long, and carried 200 lbs. pressure. Water was supplied to the boiler by a steam pump that worked through an exhaust heater. However, I strongly advise against pumping cold water into a boiler. It will cause leaking flues and sometimes worse damage, so I always had a couple of injectors to use when the engine was shut down with no steam in the heater.

During the years from 1906 to 1966,I had to do with a good many injectors, and maybe some of the younger folks will be helped in getting these very useful but sometimes ornery devices to behave.

Now back to the old Gaar-Scott. It was equipped with a Hancock Inspector. A Penberthy was in the junk box that the former owner said was worn out, but few people knew anything about repairing injectors in those days, so it probably needed a new delivery jet that could have been bought for about $1.75. The Hancock Inspirator was never furnished as original equipment on a traction engine. The Hancock is a 'Double Tube,' sometimes called 'Positive Type,' and while they possess some advantages over the 'Automatic single tube' such as the Penberthy, U. S. and others for stationary boilers, they are not suitable for traction engines. The reason is that with a double tube injector the overflow valve is closed by hand when it is working to the boiler, and in case a traction engine moving on a rough road gives it a severe jolt or if the intake hose or supply pipe in the tank is momentarily exposed, the inspirator will 'kick off,' and since the overflow valve cannot open, steam will be blowing into the tank. So if the operator does not notice it immediately, he will have a tank full of hot water and low water in the boiler. With the Penberthy, U. S. or other good automatics, if the water intake is exposed or the engine gets a severe jolt, the overflow will open for a few seconds and then restart to work automatically. For this reason the 'automatics' such as the Penberthy and U. S. were developed. When I was firing the old Gaar-Scott, we were not moving on the road so the old inspirator didn't get any jolts, but the steam supply pipe was tapped into the main steam line to the engine. A hard pull in a big log would often cause it to kick off. Taking steam from the main steam line is not a good practice. Any injector will perform better if it has its own steam line.


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