34 Grove Street, Geneva, New York 14456.
Dear Mrs. Branyan
I have taken both of your magazines for years and enjoy them both. I had the pleasure of knowing the late Rev. Ritzman and sold him a lot of literature when he used to visit the 'pageant of steam' at Canadaigua, N.Y. I always look at the want ads first in your magazines to see if I have anything anybody wants. Then I read the rest of the magazine from cover to cover.
The reason for this letter. I purchased some literature on the Westinghouse Co., Schenectady, N.Y. a few days ago and found some information that might be of interest to owners of old Westinghouse steam engines. I am enclosing a copy of each item. If you think it would be of interest to the readers of 'The Iron Men Album' I will give you permission to print it. The directions for setting valves on 12,15 and 18 HP engines are for the Westinghouse steam engines.
In 1896 the 12-HP traction engine sold for $1,350; the 15-HP sold for $1,500; the 18-HP sold for $1,600 'delivered on the cars at Schenectady, N.Y.' 'Freight must always be payed by purchasers' so says the price list.
I also have a list of HP and engine number and names of owners of steam engines shipped in the following states: Missoui, Nebraska, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Arizona, Montana and Kansas. Only date is on one that says 'Shipped from factory 7-12-1899. Also have a list of thresher numbers and their owners. Westinghouse made steam engines from 4 HP to 18 HP as well as grain and bean threshers, circular saw mills, and miscellaneous articles.
Measure from top of channel bar frame to the center of pin through valve crosshead, then throw link down measure from same point on channel frame to center of pin through eccentric rod and link. This measurement should be ' less than first measurement. If it does not come to this point then loosen the turn buckle on reach rod to lifting shaft and adjust until the eccentric rod pin shows the right height: then raise link and test the same way, only center of lower rod pin should be ' higher than first measurement. After this is correct loosen all set screws in eccentric on shaft except the one on governor belt pulley. Then with link down revolve crank shaft over, first using a tram 13' from point to point. On engine frame will be found a center punch mark, also one on crank wheel, then with the tram get the direct center, now insert a thin piece of sheet iron through the snifter valve opening into the port at the point shown on blueprint at A. If it will not enter, turn crank over to the opposite center, tram and test on other end of valve. If gauge will not enter at this point then there is no steam lead. You will then loosen set screw in eccentric and revolve eccentric ahead until you can feel the gauge enter between edge of port and end of valve; now tighten set screw again, test opposite end of valve again after returning crank to first position. After equalizing load on both ends of valve by this means then throw link up and proceed as at first, excepting that crank is to be revolved under. After testing for lead and obtaining the proper setting the next move is to lock the eccentric, each with the set screw inside eccentric. Remove the set screw in governor belt pulley and if it is found that the hole in shaft does not 'fair' with hole in governor belt pulley then the positions of eccentrics should be marked on both shaft and eccentric, shaft removed the hole pluged with a piece of iron or soft steel dressed down round. Then place eccentrics bringing them back to marked set ting, tighten set screws as before and then drill a new hole in shaft with drill the exact size of it on the end of set screw, then force screw down hard. Run over the settings again to see that all is correct and that nothing has been misplaced. If the lead is right the other functions of the valve will be right. It is advisable to occasionally run over the valve setting beginning with the first setting of the link.
The proper way to determine whether your valve is correct or not is in the first place, place your engine on the dead center either forward or backward and then throw your reverse lever to the extreme forward notch in the quadrant and measure the distance between the link block and the bottom of the link, then bring the reverse lever back to the rear notch of quadrant and see if the distance is the same between the link block and the top of the link. If this proves not to be the same you can adjust this by the reverse lever reach rod which has a turn buckle right opposite the cylinder for this purpose. After you have adjusted this link so that it raises the same distance that it lowers then mark the position of your valve in the steam chest with the reverse lever either to the forward or backward notch, and then throw the reverse lever clear over either one way or the other and see where your valve stops. In the movement of the reverse lever the valve will move but as you bring the reverse lever clear from the back to the forward notch or vice versa the valve will stop at the same place that it started from. If it does not do this then your eccentrics are in the wrong position on the main shaft and they will have to be moved until you get the results as described below.
After you get your eccentrics set so that your valve moves the same distance as described above then the only thing that remains to do is to equalize the lead of the valve by lengthening or shortening the valve rod. To determine this you take the relief valves out of the steam chest and you will find what we call the lead between the inside port of the steam chest and the inside of the valve. When the eccentrics are properly set there should be just lead enough between this port and the edge of the valve to insert the end of a pin or the point of a knife blade. You can examine this on the front end of the steam chest as your engine is on the front center, then turn your engine to the back center and examine the lead on the back port; if not the same adjust your valve rod until the distance is equal on both ends. If you follow these instructions you will have no trouble getting your valve properly set.
If you do not understand just how to find the exact center of your engine you will find a center punch mark on each side of the disc wheel and also one on the frame of the engine. These marks require a 13-inch tram. If you haven't anything of that kind you can take a piece of wire and bend a point on each end so that each point is exactly 13 inches apart and place one end of this in the mark on the engine frame and turn your disc wheel until the mark on that catches the other point and you will then have the exact center.
The proper way for the first setting of the valve is to place your engine on the dead center, either forward or backward, and then throw your reverse lever to the extreme forward notch in the quadrant and then see how far your link raises in the link block; then bring the reverse lever back to the rear notch of quadrant and notice if the link drops down in the link block as far as it raises when reverse lever is in the forward notch. If it does not do so then adjust reach rod with the right and left turn buckle until the link comes down to the same direction from the top of the link block as it does from the bottom of the link block when the reverse lever is in the forward notch. When you get this properly adjusted you will find that the center of the link is exactly in the center of the link block when the reverse lever is on the center. Then while your engine is still on the dead center throw your reverse lever either to the extreme forward or backward notch, take the relief valve out of your steam sheet and mark the position of your valve; then bring your reverse lever clear over from either the forward or backward notch and note where your valve stops; in the movement of your reverse lever from the forward to the backward notch your valve will move but if your eccentrics are right on the shaft it will come back and stop at the same place where it started from when you get your reverse lever clear over. If it does not do this your eccentrics are not quite right on the main shaft and you will have to loosen up the set screws in the eccentrics and move these just a trifle one way or the other until you get the results as described above.
After you get this part properly adjusted and while your engine is on the front center you will then want to look for the lead of your valve between the end of the valve and the front part of the steam chest on the front end through the hole in the steam chest where the relief valve has been taken out. If there is either too much or not any lead you can then lengthen or shorten your valve rod until there is just lead enough between the valve and the edge of the port to slip in a thin narrow piece of tin or the point of a knife blade. Remember that your reverse lever wants to be either clear forward or clear back while you are making this setting; then turn your engine over on to the back center and go through the same operation on the back ports and if your eccentrics are just right on the shaft and when you get your valve properly adjusted you will find there is just lead enough on each end to insert this piece of tin or knife point as described above.
If you do not understand how to get the exact center of your engine, will say that you will find a center punch mark on either side of the disc wheel and also one on the frame of the engine. These marks require a 13-inch tram. If you haven't anything of this kind you can take a piece of wire and bend a point on each end so that each point is exactly 13 inches apart. Place one end of this on the mark on the engine frame and turn your disc wheel until the mark on that comes in contact with the other point and you will then have the exact center.
Before letting the shell of the boiler down see that the flangers are smooth and clean, then slip in boiler bolts about every fourth or fifth hole in the lower flange, lay the packing around on the inside of these bolts and tie it to each bolt with a string; then cut the packing of the proper length so that both ends fit nicely together and have it just long enough so that it lays out full against all of the bolts; then put in one of the lead plugs in the center core to hold the two ends together and wrap the joint with the tape that comes along for this purpose. After the ends are fastened together the strings can then be cut and the bolts removed and the shell of the boiler let down to within about an inch of the lower flange or so there is just room enough to start the bolts through; then go around and put in all of the bolts drawing them packing out against each one and after the bolts are all in there is then no chance for the packing to get out of place, and the shell can then come down on to the packing and the bolts be tightened up. These bolts should be tightened up as tight as they can while the boiler is cold; then put on enough fittings so you can fill up the boiler and steam it up before putting the wheels, cab or other parts back to their place. As soon as the boiler gets good and hot then commence tightening the bolts again turning each one a little at a time and keep going around and around the boiler until you have them as tight as they can be drawn. At the same time tighten up the nuts on top in the same manner as you tighten the lower joint bolts; then after the engine has cooled down go over the bolts again and give them another tightening and you will have a joint that will hold. Of course the top flange for the upper packing must also be clean and then packing put to place before the shell is let down and both the upper and lower packings should be leaded good both on top and bottom with red or white lead.