The Story Of 10541

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View of engine, valve gear and drive train. The small gear on the engine crankshaft is the one that is removable so engine may be run on its own.
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All complete and ready for Kinzers. Steering engine can be dearly seen with chain drive to the worm shaft. Buffalo Springfield No. 10541.

Box 146, Mt. Royal, New Jersey 08061

From the history I have been able to gather, this machine rolled
the streets of Reading, Pennsylvania and was owned by its streets
department. I cannot ascertain whether they purchased it new, but
it seems that they owned it until the late 50’s. Later it came
into the hands of a well known steam bug, ‘COLEY,’ who, in
the early 60’s sold it to another well known Kinser member, the
late Mr. Webber Gaunt.

The last time I saw it run was in 1964 at the Mullica Hill
Fireman’s Carnival; after which it was driven back into the
Gaunt yard. There it sat untouched until a couple of years ago.

During this time Mr. Gaunt, his son, George and myself, had
become involved with the construction of an elevated 3/4 and 1 ins.
scale model steam railroad, so that any attempt to refurbish No.
10541 was the last thing we wanted to tackle. Mr. Gaunt was always
saying that he wished the old machine was serviceable, but the
trouble is, once one is a steam enthusiast, one never has enough
pairs of hands nor enough hours in the day; especially if one has a
daily job.

In 1971 George’s father passed away and I think that it was
with knowing that Pop always wanted his roller restored, inspired
us to make a start in 72. Looking over a machine that has been
subjected to the prevailing winds for a few years unattended makes
one say, ‘well, where do we make a start?’ My first
observations were to remove the lagging from the boiler, as here
maybe a great asset to coal economy, but a great destructor of the
outer shell. Asbestos is a very good absorbant of moisture and with
the cleating on the outside, it seldom ever gets a chance to dry
out unless steam is raised. A constantly steamed boiler, of course,
would not have this problem.

With the boiler now stripped it was decided to fill it with
water and try a test, although something seemed to tell us that our
efforts would be in vain. With the pump rigged, we pumped up to 75
lbs. and then Psssh!, away went one tube, and then another and so
on until we found about five that leaked. If tubes were going to
leak this way, we knew that the others were not far behind, so
right there we decided that nothing short of a complete retube job
would be the order. The next question was, how is the shell and
would it be safe to operate even if we did retube?

After much contemplation, we decided to remove the boiler
completely, put it in the trailer behind the ‘Corn-binder,
Scout’ and haul it to Kinsers. There we could have the
professional advise of the R & T ‘Boiler-Buster,’
Everett Young, who would I felt, tackle the job of retubing. The
top tube ends were burned out and the boiler was state inspected
with recommendation that the pressure be dropped from the original
120 lbs to 85 lbs. Would 85 be enough to run her; everybody seemed
to think so, so the retubing was left to Everett.

In the meantime R & T had purchased the old Avery which was
in sad need of boiler work. This took all of Everett’s spare
time which caused our boiler to take a back seat. A year went by
and we were still no farther towards raising steam, so after going
to the R & T Spring Meet ’74, we made another decision.
Lets join the modern clan of busybodies, lets be ‘Do It
Yourselfers.’ After all, we had retubed a small job with 20-2
ins. tubes and I had worked on British Naval boilers. We loaded the
old kettle back onto the trailer and on the way home we told
ourselves that at least we had jumped the most important hurdle,
although it had taken a year and a half to do it, the boiler, once
retubed, would be good for service.

Where do we now purchase 1-1/2 diameter 12 SWG boiler tube and
at what cost, was the next question. After 2 or 3 weeks of
inquiries, a friend of ours who is employed by a company that uses
all types of tubing company that uses all types of tubing, informed
us that he could the tubing delivered to the plant. Here to our
amazement, we found out just how much 360 ft. of such tube really

During this time we removed all the old tubes by burning off the
flares and driving them out with a bar. Quite a job though if you
drop one off the end of your bar before your pal at the other end
can put in his bar and juggle it over to the 2 inch plug hole.

It is hard to believe that so much scale can accumulate inside a
boiler. After turning the shell over with the front end loader, we
banged all round the inside of the fire-box and the outside of the
shell and although we did not weigh it, I estimated that at least
50 lbs. of junk came out. Some of the pieces had to be broken up to
get them through the tube holes. Further washing inside with the
hose made it all look like new.

For the retubing job, we laid the boiler endways on some logs as
this seemed to be the best operating position for the tube banging.
We had no air tools so everything had to be done by the old
‘Armstrong’ method, and with the summer days now upon us, I
was glad that George’s wife, Phylis, always kept the ice tea
handy. We found that the fire-box sheet holes were a tight fit with
the top ones loose. After we had put in a couple of tubes, we could
see the reason for this. It obviously was to stop the tube from
turning while we cranked on the roller. We made up a driving bar of
1-1/2 diameter about 3 ft. long and turned the end back for a 1/2
diameter or so, so it would fit inside the tube ends. Now the tubes
could be driven in without any distortion, as the roller we had
been loaned would barely fit into the ends as it was. Where a tight
situation occurred, we remedied this by welding an old No. 4 Morse
taper shank onto another piece of bar and driving this in. The
roller then worked beautifully.

Rolling tubes was the easy part, but flaring them was something
else. We had also been loaned a beading hand tool, but this on its
own was found to be a tiresome process. Putting the grey matter in
the old noggin to work we devised two more bars, and by taking two
3/8 inch tool bits, we conceived the following. On the end of one
bit I ground an angle of approximately 45 degrees, and the other to
about a 3/16 inch radius. Both were welded to the bars in the
following manner:

and were an easy fit in the tube bore. By driving first with the
45 degree tool and twisting it with every hammer hit, a nice flare
was obtained. Bringing the other tool into action in the same way,
the complete bead was formed. Both bars had also been made long
enough to protrude out of the bottom of the fire-box. One of us
leaned inside and turned the bar while the other did the sledge
swinging, changing over certainly, after doing a row or two.

For anyone attempting a job such as this I would like to pass on
the following hints. Do not cut the tubes with a tube cutter as
this puts quite a burr on the inner edge which would have to be
filed off. We used a small power hacksaw, and if we found that it
did not cut exactly square we trued it in the lathe. Square ends
are a must and leave no more than 1/8 to 3/16 inches sticking out
the tube sheet. Our boiler has 120 tubes and being relatively close
we had to be careful that upon flaring one, it did not roll over
onto the neighboring one. Keep also plenty of grease on the roller
and the taper drift.

In my little library I have a book printed in 1898 called
‘Maxims and Instructions for Boiler Rooms’ by a N. Hawkins.
On page 111 are printed the results of tests carried out by a Mr.
Richards under the supervision of Chief Engineer Stock U.S.N. The
results were as follows: The tubes were 3 ins. diameter and .109
thick expanded into a 3/8 inch sheet by the Dudgeon tube roller. At
a stress of 5,000 lbs. they were drawn from the sheet.
Experimenting again, the tubes projected through the sheets only
3/16 in. and were beaded. The force now applied without any yield
was 18,500 lbs. which in easy arithmetic is over 3-1/2 times
greater. This proves I think, that beading, though a browbeating
job, (by hand anyway), is well worth the effort.

On completion of the tubes, all holes were plugged except two
small ones for the pressure gauge and the water pump connection.
All hand holes were fitted with new joints and screwed in place
except the one nearest the top which was left until last; this
being used to fill the boiler with the garden hose. The first time
we pumped up the pressure we had tube leaks, hand hole leaks and
plug hole leaks. The hand holes and plugs were easy to fix, but for
the leaky tube ends it meant cranking again with the dudgeon
roller. We still did not stop them completely at the first attempt
but by leaving everything for a week, a little rust took place and
the small weeps took care of themselves. Finally it was pumped up
to 200 lbs. and left during our vacation, where, after nearly three
weeks 30 lbs. still remained on the clock. 

During the time the boiler had lain at R & T we had gone to
work removing the water tank and the top coal tray. The bottom of
the latter was completely rotted away and had to have a new piece
of sheet iron welded and bolted in place. The water tank front was
like a sprinkler with a million little holes in it. This section
George burned right out and replaced it with a new one by arc weld.
As with the boiler, much rust had to be chipped out from inside and
then the surfaces were silver painted.

There were many things that needed rebuilding and one I thought
I would never get was the lubricator. This is a two feed Manzel.
Water had found its way inside and during some bleak winter it had
frozen up and cracked the pump body. Brazing this up and then
picking up the threads again in the lathe was a little fun, but
finally the plug screwed in as it should.

A few years ago I can remember all the auto manufacturers
blowing their horns about power steering. Well Buffalo-Springfield
was way ahead of them, so perhaps a brief description of the unit
might prove interesting.

The main casting is kind of oval shaped with a boss protruding
out on one side about a third the way up. This is where the drive
shaft comes out that contains the drive sprocket and an out rigger
bearing. One end plate is removable and has no crank bearing at
all. Inside, set at 45 degrees are two double acting oscillating
cylinders on a disc crank with about a 3 inch stroke. Trunnions are
cast to each side of the cylinder which allows it to swing back and
forth, there being respective brass bushed holes in both ends of
the main casting. The direction is controlled by a rotary valve
built into the end of the case opposite to the chain drive. Its
function makes the steam side exhaust and visa versa when the
control lever is actuated. The cylinder valve motion is carried out
by the movement or oscillation of the cylinder as the crank causes
it to swing back and forth. The whole action is very simple really
and if one looks at one of those little kiddies steam engines that
could be bought for a dollar and a half, a few years ago, the exact
same principle will be found. Instead of there being holes in the
port faces though, larger engines use slots so that steam may enter
the cylinder and leave much faster.

Drive is taken from a sprocket via a heavy chain, to another
sprocket on the worm cross shaft. Ratio being about 2 to 1. The
worm naturally engages with a large quadrant attached to the front
pivot shaft.

I can remember George telling me that a lot of trouble had been
experienced with the steering on previous occasions, so off came
the engine and all the port faces were cut in the lathe. Some of
them were well eroded leaving the steam to go any where it wished.
On the solid end of the casing are two adjusting screws and nuts;
this allows the cylinders to be adjusted up on to the valve faces
after the engine gets hot.

Our first attempt at raising steam was not very successful as
neither of the injectors would gurgle, the blowdown pipe leaked
badly and steer we could not. Having to haul on the hand wheel with
steam on the power unit meant that something was hanging up
somewhere that had to be freed. 

Taking two large jacks, we raised up the end of the machine so
that the steering roll was clear of the ground; yet, with no weight
on it, it still took the pair of us to pull the handwheel around.
It appeared that the front pivot was rusted up and although some
grease had been pumped in the top fitting, it was not going to do
much good. Freeing it was accomplished eventually by drilling
another lubrication hole lower down, screwing in a grease zerk, and
pumping in penetrating oil with the grease gun.

The second steam-up was more encouraging, as now we had no
boiler leak and the injectors now worked. The main idea of this
steam-up was to try and free the steering, so by jogging the power
unit back and forth for many many times and also keeping pressure
on the grease gun, it finally worked loose. Another thing I did was
make the main engine drive gear easy to remove as all the gearing
is fitted with no clutch. To move the engine previously meant
moving the whole machine. Now we can watch the rods going back and
forth without having to go anywhere.

At R & T Enschinarama we had approached a fellow director,
Amos Stauffer regarding the transportation from Mullica Hill to
Kinzers. He informed us that he would have to have the actual
weight as he was limited to 8 tons. Fortunately for us, below
Georges property lies the old potato house with a large scale that
was once part of the old railroad that came into Mullica Hill. The
ground slopes down about 5 ft. in 40 where the only access lies to
the scale, with the exception of going around via the main street,
and I don’t think the local constabulary would favor that. For
moving we used a piece of 2 inch pipe with both ends flattened out
and drilled a 5/8 inch hole for a bolt. One end was bolted to the
draw bar of the Case front end loader and the other to the draw bar
that is actually the front of the roller. With the steering in the
front, it was fairly easy for me to guide while George nudged it

At first thought it might be asked, ‘why not steam it
down?’, but for this the boiler would have to be full of water
and so would the tanks. If the tank was only half full, calculation
of the number of gallons would be easy but for the boiler, that
would be something else. Well we got it onto the scale with no
bother and the weight as we had almost figured, was 6-1/2 ton.
Towing the old girl back was a little rough in one place. Half way
up the hill was a ditch and we thought that the little crawler
would never make it, but luckily all went well.

This chore did not take any where near the, time we thought it
would. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and the clocks had been
put back an hour, so why not have a steam-up was our thoughts.
Everything went well and now George’s lawns and driveways are
the only ones around here for many miles that have been, may I say,
very well steam-rolled. This is a very tricky machine to drive for
what looks the front is really the rear. Getting used to the
direction one has to go in relation to the direction one has to
pull the lever, takes quite a little concentration, besides having
to work the throttle at the same time. I know that we shall have to
play with it much more before we will feel confident enough to
drive it through a Kinzer engine parade.

Kinzers will be the old girls home from now on, as there she
will find several of her own kind with whom to converse. If a
steam-roller has any sentimentality, she ought to feel happy, for
she will be back close to the area where she first started her
life. Perhaps I should not say her, for on each side of the coal
tray is a brass nameplate that reads ‘JOHN O’

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