Young People’s Page

Torque Power Live Steam Models Hyatts town, Box 144-D R. F.D.,
Ijamsville, Maryland 21754

Hi There Young Engineers:

At the time I am writing this most people are just starting to
get ready for the shows this summer. As for myself, I have just
about finished a ton freelance steam tractor. The first show I will
be going to is the Early American Steam Engine Society Show at
Stewartstown, Pennsylvania. From there, I’ll attend the
Shenandoah Valley Show at Berryville, Virginia, The Eastern Shore
Threshermen’s Show near Federalsburg, Maryland, The Rough and
Tumble Show at Kinzer, Pennsylvania, The Mason-Dixon Show at West
minister, Maryland, The Maryland Steam Historical Society Show at
Upperco, Maryland and as many more as possible. I hope that all of
you Young Engineers out there will try to attend as many shows as
you can. If you come to any of the ones I am at stop by and see me
and we will talk a little steam. This also goes for all of you
young-at-heart steam engineers, too.

By the way, all of you who get the Iron-Men Album should
encourage any would be steam engineers, who are coming to the shows
for the first time, to subscribe to the Iron-Men Album as it is the
only way for a newcomer to know what is going on, particularly the
young people. Tell them that we have a young peoples page now and
that the hobby is for the young people as well as the older people.
The first show that I ever went to was at Berryville, Virginia
where my father and I met a man who told us to get a copy of the
Iron-Men Album so we could learn about the hobby as we were
newcomers then.

I receive a great deal of mail, more than I can find time to
answer. I like to hear from as many of you who are good enough to
write to me. Please do not feel bad if you don’t get an answer
right away. I’ve got about 200 letters right now that need to
be answered so you can see the fix I am in. If you have written and
have not received an answer, write again.

Many of the letters I get are from people who just want to say
how they feel about the hobby. I sometimes use their thoughts about
the hobby in my articles. Other people want information about
foundry work, how to design valves for engines, boiler inspection
and care. So, I have decided to write some articles on these
subjects. The most interesting is that of the valve design.

I read several books on this but got nowhere in understanding
how to design a valve for any engine I would want to build. So, I
studied the valves of two engines that I have. I discovered that
there was a direct relationship between the eccentric travel and
the valve ports sizes and spacing which could be easily worked out
with simple equations. I found an equation that, by taking the
steam chest size, would give the eccentric travel for the largest
possible valve for that engine.

I failed Algebra in school so any equation that I work out has
to be simple. But even then, many people would have trouble working
out a valve. You have to have an understanding of the function of
the valve which is dependent on the dimensions of the valve. 1
decided that the best thing to do with an article on valve design
was to give a brief rundown on the valve design and function. Then
I would have a chart showing the dimensions of all parts of the
valve for certain-size engines, starting with valves for model
engines on up to 5 hp. engines. This chart would be of more help to
you than all I could write about valve design. I had several
visitors this winter and they are as follows:

Mr. George Viar of Alexandria, Virginia who owns a size model
steam tractor and will have it at the Berryville, Virginia

Mr. Michael Oswalt of Indianapolis, Indiana and Mr. Ralph
Delwiler of Williamsburg, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Jim Showers of Clarksburg, West Virginia. Jim owns a 20 hp.
Case portable engine that looks like the brother to J. I. Case No.
1. Jim will be moving to Maryland with his bride and, of course,
his steam engine. We hope to see Jim and his wife running their
engine at the shows sometime in the future.

Mr. R. Miller of Rockville, Maryland and my good friend Mr.
Charles Hope of Arlington, Virginia. Mr. Hope came not only to see
me but to take a tour through my father’s guitar factory. Mr.
Hope plays the guitar and at one time was with a group. While Mr.
Hope was here, he told me that the Eastern Shore Show was adding
four new engines, three Frick and one twin cylinder Nichols and
Shepherd engine. Of course, these engines are owned by members of
the club and not by the club itself which is the best way.

The Eastern Shore Club is the most forward looking club around,
as they support young people working in the club. It’s too bad
that many clubs are not taking more interest in their youth. I
guess they are too busy preserving steam engines rather than
perpetuating steam engineers. But, at least, the Eastern Shore Show
will be with us long after the others have died out. I received
this letter which reads as follows:

Dear Mr. Jones: April 19, 1970

I would like to commend you for your efforts concerning the
‘Young People’s Page’. We must realize the importance
of our age group in the hobby and work for the continuation of it.
I have always been afraid to say anything bad about the museums
because it might be considered here say and I might be shot and
quartered. I agree with the comments made concerning the loss of
steam equipment  the palaces where these noble remnants of
days past sit unused and rusting. The museums do serve a purpose
even to our hobby. Some people who would never see such a machine
do get that opportunity. But, I, too, have stood admiring a tractor
in a museum trying to imagine what it would look like while
running, only to have some gawking ignoramus, who clearly has never
seen such a machine in action, come along and make some crude
statement about it. I have stood and argued the point with them but
I meet with no success because the only convincing argument is the
live demonstration of the force of steam something which most of us
young people cannot do due to the lack of equipment. The day that
our hobby degenerates to a lot of unused, interestingly shaped
pieces of cold metal it will no longer be a hobby, but if all the
steamers end up in museums this is what we are in for. (These
comments obviously do not apply to those museums which do use our
machines on the museum grounds.) It is also worth noting that once
a museum gets its hands on a piece of equipment it never lets

In spite of the attempts being made to ‘youthify’ our
hobby, I still see a dangerous situation at hand because it is
still a hobby which is dying, literally along with its supporters.
(Not that I have anything against older people who have the money
to invest in the machinery I hope to be one of these myself

I have given some thought to the problem of an older enthusiast
making arrangements to sell, for a reasonable sum, his collection
only to have his young benefactor sell, them for a high price, into
a museum or to a rich collector. Your suggestion, Mr. Jones, that
agreements be worked out on paper to the effect that the equipment
can never be sold for more than a certain price is a good solution
one which deserves more than passing consideration.

In conclusion it is necessary for those who are interested in
the continuation of our hobby to provide the equipment and set up
lasting agreements which will insure the perpetuation of an
important part of our heritage. Most of us young ‘steam
fiends’ are not well ‘fixed’ financially and do need
the support of those who now own what someday will be the last
vestiges of a way of life.

‘Good Steaming’ Dick Friedeman 2603 Forest Great Bend,
Kansas 67530

I would like to add to this letter by saying that museums are
fine places where old useless relics of historical value should be
preserved. But as I see it, the steam engine is very useful as it
gives many people a great deal of enjoyment to just run one for the
fun of it. So the steam engine is no longer a useless relic. The
existence of our hobby proves this.

There are museums that have hundreds of antique cars on display
but because of this many people who would love to own one to fix up
and run will never have the chance. As what fun is there at just
looking at a motionless pile of nuts and bolts.

My antique car friends have told me that the antique cars are
hard to find and when you do the price is out of this world. The
larger number of cars taken out of circulation by these huge
museums has not helped any. I hope this never happens to the steam
engine and other related items of interest. Well, I hope all of you
will try to make it to your local steam shows this summer and have
a lot of fun.

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