Undermounted Engines

810 So. 14th St.,Burlington, Iowa 52601

As I have been trying to find out who came out first with the
undermounted engine, Star or Avery, I sent for a copy of the book
‘Cornelius Aultman’ by Lorin E. Bixler. But unfortunately,
it does not throw any light on the subject. Perhaps the
Stebritz’s of Algonia, Iowa can.

Mr. Bixler says the last Star engines were built in 1905. L. C.
Mazilly of Starks, Louisiana claims that Avery bought the patent
rights from the Aultman Company to build undermounted engines.

Now, as I was at the State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa the fall of
1906; there was a 16 H.P. undermounted Star engine there along with
a top mounted Star and the American Separator. The double cylinder
Huber was with one cylinder vertical, the other horizontal. I saw
my first Hart-Parr tractor there along with a Hart-Parr portable.
The Hart-Parr smoked at times more than the steam engines, but the
agent (well, it could have been Hart himself or Parr, I don’t
know) said the operator didn’t have it adjusted right. The
steam engineers were quite show-offs. They would take off the
governor belts and see how fast they could go. I have seen this at
some of the shows today, of course I don’t like it, for
safety’s sake. These were new engines at the fair. Somehow the
return flue Avery would throw the most cinders; we would all take
cover when he raced around. I will say that the 13 H.P. Reeves and
the undermounted Star were the smoothest running engines there with
their governor belts off.

I also saw my first airplane there. History says it appeared in
1910, but I saw it in 1906 and it could fly; it looked like a big
cigar in the air. I was told by some old engineers that when Case
set up their incline they invited other engines to climb it. The
undermounted Star, the Reeves, and the double cylinder climbed it
with ease. Now don’t think the Huber would turn over backwards
as the rear axle is far back on the boiler like a rear mounted
engine. With the front tank full of water they will climb steep
creek banks that a lot of other engines can’t. I had two of
them and I know what they will do. Well, it does take longer to
fire up a Huber with cold water.

Back to the undermounted again. We do know that J. B. of Avery
stopped Stevens from building undermounted engines. I don’t
think this did him any good to have the only undermounted engine
since competition could have sold more engines for him. All good
things are copied which would have given him better advertising. My
favorite engines are the double cylinder Reeves and the Avery
undermounted. I will say that the engineer does make a difference
in the amount of coal burned by any engine. Once I replaced a Huber
with a Reeves in the middle of my run and there was no complaining
about the coal burned. I don’t believe any farmer ever noticed
the difference and the Huber is a very economical engine. I had a
run once beside a Twenty-Two undermounted Star pulling a 32 x 54
Avery and the farmers sure complained about the coal they burned,
but they never hired an engineer; just got some cheap John to run
the engine.

Every intelligent engineer knows that a double cylinder engine
will take a little more coal and water than a single cylinder
engine, but I think the easy handling and steadier power off-sets
the extra amount of coal and water the double cylinder engine
takes. We had two advance tandem compounds here, one Fourteen and a
new Twenty-one. A quarter of a mile away they sounded like a one
cylinder Mogul. One fellow was a good engineer and I wondered why
he didn’t set the valves on the Fourteen. He said they were
right. The Twenty-one couldn’t keep up steam (blamed the coal).
My dad bought the coal he couldn’t usecheap. I used it in the
Huber without any trouble.

After all these years I believe Marcus Lenard has told me in his
letters to the Iron-Men Album what was the matter with these
engines. The packing between the cylinders didn’t leak outside
but leaked inside. Both engines pulled 32 x 52 separators. The
Twenty-one was replaced by the 20 H.P. Rumely. It fired good and
was very economical. The Fourteen was replaced by an 18 H.P.
Aultman Taylor. It was a nice running engine, but the boiler gave

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