The Scovill Engines

| May/June 1992

Reprinted from Connecticut Antique Machinery Newsletter Fall 1991, No. 19, sent to us of 47 Clinton Avenue, Westport, Connecticut 06880.

At a large university, a group of teachers were discussing the qualities necessary to make a good mathematician. The consensus tended towards fast, flashy, thinking, until a very accomplished professor put things back into perspective. 'It's the plodders who make out,' he said. CAMA work crews have demonstrated the truth of this viewpoint over the past few years. The progress responsible for new buildings and improved grounds did not come about through work parties held now and then. Rather, such things came from steady efforts over a period of time.

But our crews have also demonstrated the expertise necessary to dismantle and move large pieces of machinery to our grounds in Kent. The latest acquisitions include three pieces of equipment from the old Scovill plant in Waterbury, Connecticut. It all started on Tuesday, June 4, with Bob Current, Dick Greene, Bob Hungerford, Paul Kolby, and John Stauffer arriving at the plant a little after noon. The first piece to be moved was an upright steam engine connected to a General Electric direct-current generator used to power an overhead electric crane.

The engine proved heavier than expected. Our crew could lift the generator end with Johnson bars, but the steam end required jacks. Finally, getting it up on rollers, they brought the complete set off of its foundations and down the length of the turbine room. It would have been a straight shot out except for a motor-generator set which constricted the width of the alley. But by raising our unit up 10 inches, and riding one side down an oiled steel plate on top of a concrete step, the crew was able to slip by and then lower everything back down to the floor and go out to the door. They then went back for the second piece, a single cylinder, horizontal steam engine and the vacuum pump that it powered. After loosening the set, they moved it out to another door, using its flywheels running on planks.

By then, it was 7 o'clock in the evening, and Dave Kenecht arrived with Elmer Sega in Dave's rollback. At this time, the crew decided to take only one piece back to Kent since it would have been too much for Dave's truck with both pieces. They moved the vacuum pump up to an upper parking lot and then went down to load the generator set onto the truck. By dark, the crew was on their way to Kent, and after an uneventful trip, the set was unloaded in the middle of the Industrial Hall. Finally, home by midnight, everyone was in bedafter washing away layers of grime and dirt from thes

Later on in June, our crew went back, and this time with the help of Jack Kochiss, they removed a horizontal slide-valve engine built by Laidlow, Dunn, and Gordon of Cincinnati, Ohio. This unit is a cross-compound pumping engine with a six-foot flywheel. The day was another long one, but work was made easier with a fork-lift truck loaned by the owners of the building. Dave Kenecht again volunteered his rollback truck and Dudley Diebold finished the job by hauling away the flywheel-crankshaft assembly along with a spare set of flywheels for another piece of machinery (which we may set up on a concrete pedestal at the entrance of our grounds). Moving this equipment took lots of help and talent in many areas, along with hard work. Some of these engines were on display at our Fall Festival, held September 29, and the G.E. motor-generator and the vacuum-pump set was ready for operation.


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