| September/October 1967

Ralston, Iowa 51459

Orin G. Seavers of Ypsilanta, Mich, and many other old timers often have their heartstrings torn when witnessing the excessive strains put on some of the old engines to make a feature at a show. Some engines are not in good repair and in case they should be operated by an inexperienced operator, could cause a 'Boobo' to a show and cause someone to do engine repair. However, some engines manufactured around 1920 have little service to their record and had good care. This combined with an engineer who knows the business and that engine is in proper repair, is leaving little to chance.

BALANCING ENGINE ON TEETER. This is very entertaining and a good feature for the show but good ENGINEERS in this business check the amount of play in gearing. They check for loose brackets, defective gearing and ill fitting keys which, can cause trouble fast. The gearing is subject to violent reversal of power and load which is far more destructive then when strain is in one direction. A sawmill bears this out. If a key is a little loose and not secured by other means, the carriage stops and he may find the key in the sawpit. Men that know the business did not start on the high teeter but used a low block under the center until they got the feel of handling the engine. They gradually work up to the high center block and when that block is about 14 inches in height, it is wonderful to have good reverse gear and throttle. (Also helps if your name happens to be something like 'Lugten') Those who want to master this performance, love their engine and with the good of the show in mind, keep your engine away from the high teeter. If you should lose control and get front wheels over the back end of the teeter, the weight of your drivers will slap the back end up to break off steam pipes causing big fog. Someone must hook on to get you off that teeter. You may feel rather cheap and someone will not know better than to kid you about it. The Irishman said 'Small boats keep close to shore' THE HIGH RAMP. Here a good throttle that works good every time and dry-planking is a must. The reverse gear is handy to start up the ramp and is handy for starting drivers to start rolling back to the incline and then that reverse must be placed in forward motion NOW and then it is all up to the throttle and the ENGINEER at the throttle. You will not be bothered getting off of center but would have to be a mighty tight engine that would not roll back in a hurry with no steam in the steam chest. Might be mentioned that the tight pin in addition to the clutch would be excellent idea. Also, buy a good bulldog pipe and plenty of terbaccer. Also good idea would be to hang around a certain gentleman from Dowling, Mich, but keep out of his territory.

The question may arise in some minds, how come a engineer who is just a spectator at a show knows so much about the high ramp and never been on one? Is he talking or writing just from his cap or something under that cap? Many enginemen have pulled a heavy separator up a steep hill and for some reason, got low on steam, just left the throttle partly open with reverse lever in forward motion and after blowing up steam, crawl on up that hill and the safety valve let loose and maybe a toot on the whistle at top of the hill. This brings to mind that a big whistle is a bit of help after you have performed properly, otherwise you won't need it but the spectators might blow their whistles. A double cylinder engine handled nice on a steep hill. By keeping hand on wide open throttle so to not forget, some of them would start to moving when steam pressure was high enough. Herein was an element of danger if you forgot about the open throttle. In the early days of coal mining in the eastern part of Iowa, the engineer was too low on steam to start the cage moving up the shaft and headed for the boiler room to raise up the steam but HE FORGOT TO CLOSE THE THROTTLE! The pit foreman tried to help out by pulling off the car so as to lighten the load. The old engine started to roll, the cage started up the shaft and after the final rites were observed, a new pit foreman took over.

So if you have not got the idea, to sum up, don't get your face red and break up a good engine.


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