The Scovill Engines

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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