Farm Collector

Working with an A.D. Baker Uniflow Engine

608 Winchester Drive Douglas, Georgia 31535

The pictures were taken in the summer of 1933, as I recall. They were made by my oldest sister (now 90 years old), with a Kodak box camera. The machinery is my father’s 25-90 A. D. Baker Uniflow engine, serial number unknown. He purchased the engine used, about the year 1919, when he also purchased a 36-60 Rumely threshing machine which is not visible in the picture because of the bundle wagon. The engine is about a 1912-13 production, as nearly as I can tell from the picture, the stack and other features. In the picture, the man standing on the right, with his back to the camera is my father. Beyond the belt is our old manure spreader. The threshing was at our home place, we were blowing the straw into the barn. I no longer can identify the men on the bundle wagons or at the sacker. I recall the day the picture was made. It was good weather, the grain was dry and fairly good, the wood was no problem. I was to turn 15 in a month or so and am the one on the engine. The one standing at the rear of the engine was our very good friend, Mr. Amados LeTendre. Note that he had been hauling wood from our stove wood pile using the coaster wagon. The horses are ours. I spent quite a number of years driving them. Babe is the white one, Pet is the bay on the other side. The building in the picture is the hen house, which we built shortly after we moved to the farm. Through the belt in front of the engine is the “necessary” house. On the left is the clothesline post. Times were hard. That is the reason for the 55 gallon drum on the right side of the engine. The tank had rusted out and we could not afford to do anything else about it. The engine was sort of a special one the drivers were 32 inches wide. The engine also had the older throttle valve, which was operated with a sort of cam arrangement on the throttle lever, and the lever was horizontal. Maybe some of the readers can date the engine from some of this info. I started firing the engine when I was 12 or 13. I had hauled water for a year or so before that. Dad loved the thresher, and left the engine to me most of the time, after he knew I was okay. I cannot ever remember having any problem with the engine. It had been given a good work-over about 1929 or 1930. New crankpin, new crankshaft bearings after truing up the shaft, new crosshead brass and pin, etc., just a general working over. I have been around a lot of boilers since those days this engine fired with ease. The only time I ever had a problem was when threshing some damp grain one evening, as it was growing dark. I could not keep steam and the engine was working very hard. We stopped for supper just in time to keep me from having to shut down on low water. In minutes the safety was lifting. It turned out that the engine was working hard enough that the exhaust pipe turned backward into the flues and I had no draft! At no other time did I have any difficulty holding steam pressure right up against the popping pressure of 150 pounds. That was set by the boiler inspector when someone sagged the crown sheet before Dad bought the engine. Even at 150 psi the engine could handle that 36-60 like it was playing with it. It would really have been a dream at 180 psi.

  • Published on May 1, 2001
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