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

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.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment