The Pawnee Oklancma STEAM SCHOOL At Boonville, Indiana, on March 27 and 28,1999

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Mr. Chady Atteberry at the podium with his slide show presentation, and a portion of the class.

3215 S. Meridian Street Indianapolis, Indiana 46217-3231

This was the first time that the Pawnee Steam School, an annual
event on March 27 & 28, was held outside of Oklahoma. After a
lengthy discussion, Mr. Chady Atteberry, an initial founder, had an
idea that just maybe a larger attendance would be possible if the
school was taken to areas where large steam shows prevail. Then, to
really attract steam owners and operators, and to inspire the young
people to participate, we would have to give proper instruction in
all of the elements of maintaining, operating, repairing and safety
that are needed.

With this thought in mind we just might help insure the
preservation of the steam hobby, as well as the engines, for future
generations to operate and enjoy and carry on the legacy that we
leave to them. This can only happen when and if we pass on the
experiences and knowledge of factual information to them. We cannot
do enough to encourage, train and praise their dedication in this

At the close of the Pawnee School for 1999, it was announced
that the school for the year 2000 would be at Rushville, Indiana,
with the Pioneer Engineers Club hosting the event.

When Mr. Atteberry opened the school on Saturday morning, he
related to us his life experiences, and spoke of the equipment he
and his father owned and operated in Oklahoma and Kansas in his
early years in the wheat belt. He recalled the depression,
threshing, and the dust bowl, which we older folks remember, and it
makes us realize from which we came and the progress in agriculture
in the last 75 years. Only we can relate to the difficult struggle
just to survive during the times preceding World War II.

Chady got into the ‘meat and potatoes’ on boiler safety
with a cutaway boiler showing the different plates/sheets with
damaged surfaces, or what to inspect when purchasing an engine, as
most of the critical areas can be very difficult to see.
Instruction in proper boiler terminology was given so each scholar
knew the correct parts.

Mr. Atteberry gave instruction on proper belting practices and
having the correct people helping. (Re: Direction the engine is
running can affect how you guide the belt.) He also gave knowledge
on handling your engine safely, especially in crowds and parades.
NOTE: If you see Chady, be sure to ask him about the engine (Case)
buried some 80 years in a remote area out west, and banked fire
with petrified wood.

The Boonville Club provided lunch at a very reasonable cost on
Saturday. The facility at Boonville was very nice for holding the
school. They can be proud of their endeavor as hosts and we thank
them for their participation, it cannot be stressed enough.

Every class presenter/professor provided adequate printed
handout materials, so the students had factual knowledge to refer
to and read upon returning home. It is with this thought that we
believe everyone returned home more knowledgeable than when they
first came through the doors.

This year we had visitors from 15 states and the province of
British Columbia, Canada, totaling close to 200 and with 194
engines registered that they own and operate.

Back to the school: Different experienced individuals conducted
classes of 1? to 2? hours. Topics covered, in addition to
Chady’s, were steam gauge repair, calibration, drilling holes
in glass, etc. We discussed correct steam plumbing, pipe fittings
for pressure being run, valves, checks, nipples and pipe schedule
80 vs. 40, safety valves, and what is required to meet the various
state boiler safety regulations.

There was a class on steam injectors, their problems and
troubles, do’s and don’ts, as well as using the correct
pipe sizes on the suction and delivery sides. Damaged parts were
passed around for all to see, so that they do not repeat these
mistakes, but recognize the problems and correct the

We had a full day on Saturday and it was impossible to cover all
of the classes that were planned, so it was necessary to start
Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. with the thought that we just might get
done by noon so everyone from a long way from home could get a
reasonable start and not be delayed arriving home, as some had to
work early Monday.

Sunday’s first class was on repairing and adjusting
governors, using Waters and Pickering as examples, as well as worn
parts, troubles, use of Ball Ranger speed regulating device,
adjusting valve rod on makes without the Ball Ranger. This was
needed so everyone could understand how the engine speed, rpm’s
are controlled, or, if you have a lagging governor.

They were also instructed on how to use the formula on finding
driven pulley speed vs. drive pulley used when used with bevel
gears, or a jack-shaft to get desired results. This is needed so as
not to over speed the governor and overcome the parabolic action of
the fly balls as they vary the action on the balanced valve of the

Mr. Chady Atteberry at the mike, with Mr. Mace Archer, of
Winfield, Kansas, far left, and Mr. Joe Graziana, Wood River,
Illinois. See injectors and steam gauges in foreground.

As we continue, the next thing was an instruction in babbitting
bearings in cages (Re: two halves of the crosshead end of a
connecting rod). Using and making your own Dammit, heating the
babbitt properly, testing for correct heat, removing scum
(impurities), fluxing the babbitt (reconstituting of metal
properties in the babbitt when they separate due to overheating, as
babbitt contains copper, antimony, some lead), varies with the
grade of the babbitt metal. We were shown how to prepare by
cleaning, tinning, damming, and use of material in place of actual
shaft, preventing bonding of babbitt to shafts, how to pour and
hand-scrape the parts to finished size.

In conjunction with the babbitting class, there was instruction
on ultra sound, sonic inspection of boilers, (electronic). We were
shown the critical areas of different manufacturers. These trouble
areas vary and are very helpful in determining the reliability of
your own boiler. This helps you inspect your own so as to find
these trouble spots. This was followed by a presentation of removed
parts and pieces from boilers under repair by B&B Steam
Restoration Inc. (Bob Gold), Greensburg, Indiana. These portions
were from crown sheets, mud ring knuckle corners, and fire door
sheets, rings, eroded by oxidation due to getting poor and periodic
boiler washes. Also you could actually see the boiler cancer of
eroding boiler plate below the water line caused by not using an
oxygen scavenger or effective water treatment. A formula was given
so prescribed chemicals can be obtained to treat 1,000 gallons of
feed-water to kill the oxygen, passivate the interior boiler plate
and have the pH at a good level. We all suggest cleaning out all
ash, soot from the tubes, smokebox, firebox, pressure wash, then
drain the boiler. Remove all hand-hole plates, do a COMPLETE boiler
wash, in warm weather, and let it get good and dry, then you use a
crankcase oil in the firebox and smokebox. DON’T get oil in the
boiler of any kind. After the oil drains out, put the boiler away
in a good building, let the boiler breathe by keeping all hand-hole
plates open and the firebox door and smokebox open.

After the ultra sound class followed using the correct oils and
grease to lubricate your steam engine correctly. Research was done
on various steam cylinder oils as to compounds available today from
companies, or in production today. It was instructed that you need
the proper tallow (animal fat) percentage in your oil to get good
lubrication of the engine according to operating steam

We would surely miss a highlight of this school, which is based
on friendship and fellowship and the love affair with steam, if we
did not elaborate on the humor bestowed by each instructor of the
various classes, which kept everyone’s attention focused upon
the material at hand and a relaxed atmosphere. This humor contained
snake oil, asafetida bags, lumbago ointment, and on the more
serious side of life, testimony revealing what is treatment today
for discovering prostate cancer Stage II. PSA test (early
discovery), ultra sound, biopsy of tumor, chemotherapy/hormone,
radiation, volume study, then if all okay to this point, radium
seed implants. (Hope for success.)

We had two large TV’s, about 46′ with a TV camera
focused on each professor and beamed to the huge TV screens for
viewing during class instruction. A public address system and
microphone for the instructors was helpful in reaching the audience
clearly. Many thanks to the providers. These huge TV’s were
used after classes to view videotapes of some steam shows of the
past reunions. They ran late into Saturday night as everyone surely
enjoyed viewing the programs, and reliving memories.

The highlight of Saturday’s events were the Recognition
Awards given annually by Mr. Joe B. Graziana of Wood River,
Illinois, that kept the good humor rolling along. These awards are
bestowed on deserving individuals for their recognizable
needs/deeds, past stupid mistakes, that just happen to surface at
the most opportunistic of times due to Joe’s memory and to be
revealed to all and shared at this event. A real enjoyment was had
by all. (Priceless!) Thanks Joe.

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