The Story Of 10541


| September/October 1976



3/16 inch radius

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?