Part 2 out of 2
are going to be an engineer be a neat one, keep your engine clean and
keep yourself clean. You say you can't do that; but you can at least
keep yourself respectable. You will most certainly keep your engine
looking as though it had an engineer. Keep a good bunch of waste handy,
and when it is necessary to wipe your hands use the waste and not your
overalls, and when you go in to a nice dinner the cook will not say
after you go out, "Look here where that dirty engineer sat." Now boys,
these are things worth heeding. I have actually known threshing crews
to lose good customers simply because of their dirty clothes. The women
kicked and they had a right to kick. But to return to hard grease and
suitable cups for same.
In attaching these grease cups on boxes not previously arranged for
them, it would be well for you to know how to do it properly. You will
remove the journal, take a gouge and cut a clean groove across the box,
starting in at one corner, about I/8 of an inch from the point of box
and cut diagonally across coming out at the opposite corner on the other
end of box. Then start at the opposite corner and run through as
before, crossing the first groove in the center of box. Groove both
halves of box the same, being careful not to cut out at either end, as
this will allow the grease to escape from box and cause unnecessary
waste. The chimming or packing in box should be cut so as to touch the
journal at both ends of box, but not in the center or between these two
points. So, when the top box is brought down tight, this will form
another reservoir for the grease. If the box is not tapped directly in
the center for cup, it will be necessary to cut other grooves from where
it is tapped into the grooves already made. A box prepared in his way
will require but little attention if you use good grease.
A HOT BOX
You will sometimes get a hot box. What is the best remedy? Well, I
might name you a dozen, and if I did you would most likely never have
one on hand when it was wanted. So will only give you one, and that is
white lead and oil, and I want you to provide yourself with a can of
this useful article. And should a journal or box get hot on your hands
and refuse to cool with the usual methods, remove the cup, and after
mixing a portion of the lead with oil, put a heavy coat of it on the
journal, put back the cup and your journal will cool off very quickly.
Be careful to keep all grit or dust out of your can of lead. Look after
this part of it yourself. It is your business.
PART SEVEN ________
Before taking up the handling of a Traction Engine, we want to tell you
of a number of things you are likely to do which you ought not to do.
Don't open the throttle too quickly, or you may throw the drive belt
off, and are also more apt to raise the water and start priming.
Don't attempt to start the engine with the cylinder cocks closed, but
make it a habit to open them when you stop; this will always insure your
cylinder being free from water on starting.
Don't talk too much while on duty.
Don't pull the ashes out of ash pan unless you have a bucket of water
Don't start the pump when you know you have low water.
Don't let it get low.
Don't let your engine get dirty.
Don't say you can't keep it clean.
Don't leave your engine at night till you have covered it up.
Don't let the exhaust nozzle lime up, and don't allow lime to collect
where the water enters the boiler, or you may split a heater pipe or
knock the top off of a check valve.
Don't leave your engine in cold weather without first draining all
Don't disconnect your engine with a leaky throttle.
Don't allow the steam to vary more than I0 or I5 pounds while at work.
Don't allow anyone to fool with your engine.
Don't try any foolish experiments on your engine.
Don't run an old boiler without first having it thoroughly tested.
Don't stop when descending a steep grade.
Don't pull through a stockyard without first closing the damper tight.
Don't pull onto a strange bridge without first examining it.
Don't run any risk on a bad bridge.
A TRACTION ENGINE ON THE ROAD
You may know all about an engine. You may be able to build one, and yet
run a traction in the ditch the first jump.
It is a fact that some men never can become good operators of a traction
engine, and I can't give you the reason why any more than you can tell
why one man can handle a pair of horses better than another man who has
had the same advantages. And yet if you do ditch your engine a few
times, don't conclude that you can never handle a traction.
If you are going to run a traction engine I would advise you to use your
best efforts to become an expert at it. For the expert will hook up to
his load and get out of the neighborhood while the awkward fellow is
getting his engine around ready to hook up.
The expert will line up to the separator the first time, while the other
fellow will back and twist around for half an hour, and then not have a
Now don't make the fatal mistake of thinking that the fellow is an
expert who jumps up on his engine and jerks the throttle open and yanks
it around backward and forward, reversing with a snap, and makes it
stand-up on its hind wheels.
If you want to be an expert you must begin with the throttle, therein
lies the secret of the real expert. He feels the power of his engine
through the throttle. He opens it just enough to do what he wants it to
do. He therefore has complete control of his engine. The fellow who
backs his engine up to the separator with an open throttle and must
reverse it to keep from running into and breaking something, is running
his engine on his muscle and is entitled to small pay.
The expert brings his engine back under full control, and stops it
exactly where he wants it. He handles his engine with his head and
should be paid accordingly. He never makes a false move, loses no time,
breaks nothing, makes no unnecessary noise, does not get the water all
stirred up in the boiler, hooks up and moves out in the same quiet
manner, and the onlookers think he could pull two such loads, and say he
has a great engine, while the engineer of muscle would back up and jerk
his engine around a half dozen times before he could make the coupling,
then with a jerk and a snort he yanks the separator out of the holes,
and the onlookers think he has about all he can pull.
Now these are facts, and they cannot be put too strong, and if you are
going to depend on your muscle to run your engine, don't ask any more
money than you would get at any other day labor.
You are not expected to become an expert all at once. Three things are
essential to be able to handle a traction engine as it should be
First, a thorough knowledge of the throttle. I don't mean that you
should simply know how to pull it open and shut it. Any boy can do that.
But I mean that you should be a good judge of the amount of power it
will require to do what you may wish to do, and then give it the amount
of throttle that it will require and no more. To illustrate this I will
give an instance.
An expert was called a long distance to see an engine that the operator
said would not pull its load over the hills he had to travel.
The first pull he had to make after the expert arrived was up the worst
hill he had. When he approached the grade he threw off the governor
belt, opened the throttle as wide as he could get it, and made a run for
the hill. The result was, that he lifted the water and choked the
engine down before he was half way up. He stepped off with the remark,
"That is the way the thing does." The expert then locked the hind wheels
of the separator with a timber, and without raising the pressure a
pound, pulled it over the hill. He gave it just throttle enough to pull
the load, and made no effort to hurry ii, and still had power to spare.
A locomotive engineer makes a run for a hill in order that the momentum
of his train will help carry him over. It is not so with a traction and
its load; the momentum that you get don't push very hard.
The engineer who don't know how to throttle his engine never knows what
it will do, and therefore has but little confidence in it; while the
engineer who has a thorough knowledge of the throttle and uses it,
always has power to spare and has perfect confidence in his engine. He
knows exactly what he can do and what he cannot do.
The second thing for you to know is to get onto the tricks of the steer
wheel. This will come to you naturally, and it is not necessary for me
to spend much time on it. All new beginners make the mistakes of turning
the wheel too often. Remember this-that every extra turn to the right
requires two turns to the left, and every extra turn to the left
requires two more to the right; especially is this the care if your
engine is fast on the road.
The third thing for you to learn, is to keep your eyes on the front
wheels of your engine, and not be looking back to see if your load in
In making a difficult turn you will find it very much to your advantage
to go slow, as it gives you much better control of your front wheels,
and it is not a bad plan for a beginner to continue to go slow till he
has perfect confidence in his ability to handle the steer wheel as it
may keep you out of some bad scrapes.
How about getting into a hole? Well, you are not interested half as
much in knowing how to get into a hole as You are in knowing how to get
out. An engineer never shows the stuff he is made of to such good
advantage as when he gets into a hole; and he is sure to get there, for
one of the traits of a traction engine is its natural ability to find a
soft place in the ground.
Head work will get you out of a bad place quicker than all the steam you
can get in your boiler. Never allow the drivers to turn without doing
some good. If you are in a hole, and you are able to turn your wheels,
you are not stuck; but don't allow your wheels to slip, it only lets you
in deeper. If your wheels can't get a footing, you want to give them
something to hold to. Most smart engineers will tell you that the best
thing is a heavy chain. That is true. So are gold dollars the best
things to buy bread with, but you have not always got the gold dollars,
neither have you always got the chain. Old hay or straw is a good
thing; old rails or timber of any kind. The engineer with a head spends
more time trying to give his wheels a hold than he does trying to pull
out, while the one without a head spends more time trying to pull out
than he does trying to secure a footing, and the result is, that the
first fellow generally gets out the first attempt, while the other
fellow is lucky if he gets out the first half day.
If you have one wheel perfectly secure, don't spoil it by starting your
engine till you have the other just as secure.
If you get into a place where your engine is unable to turn its wheels,
then your are stuck, and the only thing for you to do is to lighten your
load or dig out. But under all circumstances your engine should be
given the benefit of your judgment.
All traction engines to be practical must of a necessity, be reversible.
To accomplish this, the link with the double eccentric is the one most
generally used, although various other devices are used with more or
less success. As they all accomplish the same purpose it is not
necessary for us to discuss the merits or demerits of either.
The main object is to enable the operator to run his engine either
backward or forward at will, but the link is also a great cause of
economy, as it enables the engineer to use the steam more or less
expansively, as he may use more or less power, and, especially is this
true, while the engine is on the road, as the power required may vary in
going a short distance, anywhere from nothing in going down hill, to the
full power of your engine in going up.
By using steam expansively, we mean the cutting off of the steam from
the cylinder, when the piston has traveled a certain part of its stroke.
The earlier in the stroke this is accomplished the more benefit you get
of the expansive force of the steam.
The reverse on traction engines is usually arranged to cut off at I/4,
I/2 or 3/4. To illustrate what is meant by "cutting off" at I/4, I/2 or
3/4, we will suppose the engine has a I2 inch stroke. The piston begins
its stroke at the end of cylinder, and is driven by live steam through
an open port, 3 inches or one quarter of the stroke, when the port is
closed by the valve shutting the steam from the cylinder, and the piston
is driven the remaining 9 inches of its stroke by the expansive force of
the steam. By cutting off at I/2 we mean that the piston is driven half
its stroke or 6 inches by live steam, and by the expansion of the steam
the remaining 6 inches; by 3/4 we mean that live steam is used 9 inches
before cutting off, and expansively the remaining 3 inches of stroke.
Here is something for you to remember: "The earlier in the stroke you
cut off the greater the economy, but less the power; the later you cut
off the less the economy and greater the power."
Suppose we go into this a little farther. If you are carrying I00
pounds pressure and cut off at I/4, you can readily see the economy of
fuel and water, for the steam is only allowed to enter the cylinder
during I/4 of its stroke; but by reason of this, you only get an average
pressure on the piston head of 59 pounds throughout the stroke. But if
this is sufficient to do the work, why not take advantage of it and
thereby save your fuel and water? Now, with the same pressure as before,
and cutting off at I/2, you have an average pressure on piston head of
84 pounds, a loss of 50 per cent in economy and a gain of 42 per cent in
power. Cutting of at 3/4 gives you an average pressure of 96 pounds
throughout the stroke. A loss on cutting off at I/4 of 75 per cent in
economy, and a gain of nearly 63 per cent in power. This shows that the
most available point at which to work steam expansively is at I/4, as
the percentage of increase of power does not equal the percentage of
loss in economy. The nearer you bring the reverse lever to center of
quadrant, the earlier will the valve cut the steam and the less will be
the average pressure, while the farther away from the center the later
in the stroke will the valve cut the steam, and the greater the average
pressure, and, consequently, the greater the power. We have seen
engineers drop the reverse back in the last notch in order to make a
hard pull, and were unable to tell why they did so.
Now, as far as doing the work is concerned, it is not absolutely
necessary that you know this; but if you do know it, you are more likely
to profit by it and thereby get the best results out of your engine.
And as this is our object, we want you to know it, and be benefitted by
the knowledge. Suppose you are on the road with your engine and load,
and you have a stretch of nice road. You are carrying a good head of
steam and running with lever back in the corner or lower notch. Now
your engine will travel along its regular speed, and say you run a mile
this way and fire twice in making it. You now ought to be able to turn
around and go back on the same road with one fire by simply hooking the
lever up as short as it will allow to do the work. Your engine will
make the same time with half the fuel and water, simply because you
utilize the expansive force of the steam instead of using the live steam
from boiler. A great many good engines are condemned and said to use
too much fuel, and all because the engineer takes no pains to utilize
the steam to the best advantage.
I have already advised you to carry a "high pressure;" by a high
pressure I mean any where from I00 to I25 lbs. I have done this
expecting you to use the steam expansively whenever possible, and the
expansive force of steam increases very rapidly after you have reached
70 lbs. Steam at 80 lbs. used expansively will do nine times the work
of steam at 25 lbs. Note the difference. Pressure 3 I-5 times greater.
Work performed, 9 times greater. I give you these facts trusting that
you will take advantage of them, and if your engine at I00 or I00 lbs.
will do your work cutting off at I/4, don't allow it to cut off at I/2.
If cutting off at I/2 will do the work, don't allow it to cut off at
3/4, and the result will be that you will do the work with the least
possible amount of fuel, and no one will have any reason to find fault
with you or your engine.
Now we have given you the three points which are absolutely necessary to
the successful handling of a traction engine, We went through it with
you when running as a stationary; then we gave you the pointers-to be
observed when running as a traction or road engine. We have also given
you hints on economy, and if you do not already know too much to follow
our advice, you can go into the field with an engine and have no fears
as to the results.
How about bad bridges?
Well, a bad bridge is a bad thing, and you cannot be too careful. When
you have questionable bridges to cross over, you should provide yourself
with good hard-wood planks. If you can have them sawed to order have
them 3 inches in the center and tapering to 2 inches at the ends. You
should have two of these about 16 feet long, and two 2x12 planks about 8
feet long. The short ones for culverts, and for helping with the longer
ones in crossing longer bridges.
An engine should never be allowed to drop from a set of planks down onto
the floor of bridge. This is why I advocate four planks. Don't
hesitate to use the plank. You had better plank a dozen bridges that
don't need it than to attempt to cross one that does need it. You will
also find it very convenient to carry at least 50 feet of good heavy
rope. Don't attempt to pull across a doubtful bridge with the separator
or tank hooked directly to the engine. It is dangerous. Here is where
you want the rope. An engine should be run across a bad bridge very
slowly and carefully, and not allowed to jerk. In extreme cases it is
better to run across by hand; don't do this but once; get after the road
An engineer wants a sufficient amount of "sand," but he don't want it in
the road. However, you will find it there and it is the meanest road
you will have to travel. A bad sand road requires considerable sleight
of hand on the part of the engineer if he wishes to pull much of a load
through it. You will find it to your advantage to keep your engine as
straight as possible, as you are not so liable to start one wheel to
slipping any sooner than the other. Never attempt to "wiggle" through a
sand bar, and don't try to hurry through; be satisfied with going slow,
just so you are going. An engine will stand a certain speed through
sand, and the moment you attempt to increase that speed, you break its
footing, and then you are gone. In a case of this kind, a few bundles
of hay is about the best thing you can use under your drivers in order
to get started again. But don't loose your temper; it won't help the
Now no doubt the reader wonders why I have said nothing about compound
engines. Well in the first place, it is not necessary to assist you in
your work, and if you can handle the single cylinder engine, you can
handle the compound.
The question as to the advantage of a compound engine is, or would be an
interesting one if we cared to discuss it.
The compound traction engine has come into use within the past few
years, and I am inclined to think more for sort of a novelty or talking
point rather than to produce a better engine. There is no question but
that there is a great advantage in the compound engine, for stationary
and marine engines.
In a compound engine the steam first enters the small or high pressure
cylinder and is then exhausted into the large or low pressure cylinder,
where the expansive force is all obtained.
Two cylinders are used because we can get better results from high
pressure in the use of two cylinders of different areas than by using
but one cylinder, or simple engine.
That there is a gain in a high pressure, can be shown very easily:
For instance, 100 pounds of coal will raise a certain amount of water
from 60 degrees, to 5 pounds steam pressure, and 102.9 pounds would
raise the same water to 80 pounds, and 104.4 would raise it to 160
pounds, and this 160 pounds would produce a large increase of power over
the 80 pounds at a very slight increase of fuel. The compound engine
will furnish the same number of horse power, with less fuel than the
simple engine, but only when they are run at the full load all the time.
If, however, the load fluctuates and should the load be light for any
considerable part of the day, they will waste the fuel instead of saving
it over the simple engine.
No engine can be subjected to more variation of loads than the traction
engine, and as the above are facts the reader can draw his own
The friction clutch is now used almost exclusively for engaging the
engine with the propelling gearing of the traction drivers, and it will
most likely give you more trouble than any one thing on your engine,
from the fact that to be satisfactory they require a nicety of
adjustment, that is very difficult to attain, a half turn of the
expansion bolt one way or the other may make your clutch work very
nicely, or very unsatisfactory, and you can only learn this by carefully
adjusting of friction shoes, until you learn just how much clearance
they will stand when lever is out, in order to hold sufficient when
lever is thrown in. If your clutch fails to hold, or sticks, it is not
the fault of the clutch, it is not adjusted properly. And you may have
it correct today and tomorrow it will need readjustment, caused by the
wear in the shoes; you will have to learn the clutch by patience and
But I want to say to you that the friction clutch is a source of abuse
to many a good engineer, because the engineer uses no judgment in its
A certain writer on engineering makes use of the following, and gives me
credit: "Sometimes you may come to an obstacle in the road, over which
your engine refuses to go, you may perhaps get over it in this way,
throw the clutch-lever so as to disconnect the road wheels, let the
engine get up to full speed and then throw the clutch level back so as to
connect the road wheels." Now I don't thank any one for giving me credit
for saying any such thing. That kind of thing is the hight of abuse of
I am aware that when the friction clutch first came into use, their
representatives made a great talk on that sort of thing to the green
buyer. But the good engineer knows better than to treat his engine that
Never attempt to pull your loads over a steep hill without being certain
that your clutch is in good shape, and if you have any doubts about it
put in the tight gear pin. Most all engines have both the friction and
the tight gear pin. The pin is much the safer in a hilly country, and
if you have learned the secret of the throttle you can handle just as
big load with the pin as with the clutch, and will never tear your
gearing off or lose the stud bolts in boiler.
The following may assist you in determining or arriving at some idea of
the amount of power you are supplying with your engine:
For instance, a I inch belt of the standard grade with the proper
tention, neither too tight or too loose, running at a. maximum spead of
800 ft. a minute will transmit one horse power, running 1600 ft. 2 horse
power and 2400 ft. 3 horse power. A 2 inch belt, at the same speed,
twice the power.
Now if you know the circumference of your fly wheel, the number of
revolutions your engine is making and the width of belt, you can figure
very nearly the amount of power you can supply without slipping your
belt. For instance, we will say your fly wheel is 40 inches in diameter
or 10.5 feet nearly in circumference and your engine was running 225
revolutions a minute, your belt would be traveling 225 x 10.5 feet =
2362.5 feet or very nearly 2400 ft. and if I inch of belt would transmit
3 H. P. running this speed, a 6 inch belt would transmit 18 H.P., a 7
inch belt, 21 H.P., an 8 inch belt 24 H.P., and so on. With the above
as a basis for figuring you can satisfy yourself as to the power you are
furnishing. To get the best results a belt wants to sag slightly as it
hugs the pulley closer, and will last much longer.
SOMETHING ABOUT SIGHT-FEED LUBRICATORS
All such lubricators feed oil through the drop-nipple by hydrostatic
pressure; that is, the water of condensation in the condenser and its
pipe being elevated above the oil magazine forces the oil out of the
latter by just so much pressure as the column of water is higher than
the exit or outlet of oil-nipple. The higher the column of water the
more positive will the oil feeds. As soon as the oil drop leaves the
nipple it ceases to be actuated by the hydrostatic pressure, and rises
through the water in the sight-glass merely by the difference of its
specific gravity, as compared with water and then passes off through the
ducts provided to the parts to be lubricated.
For stationary engines the double connection is preferable, and should
always be connected to the live steam pipe above the throttle. The
discharge arm should always be long enough (4 to 6 inches) to insure the
oil magazine and condenser from getting too hot, otherwise it will not
condense fast enough to give continuous feed of oil. For traction or
road engines the single connection is used. These can be connected to
live steam pipe or directly to steam chest.
In a general way it may be stated that certain precaution must be taken
to insure the satisfactory operation of all sight-feed lubricators. Use
only the best of oil, one gallon of which is worth five gallons of cheap
stuff and do far better service, as inferior grades not only clog the
lubricator but chokes the ducts and blurs the sight-glass, etc., and the
refuse of such oil will accumulate in the cylinder sufficiently to cause
damage and loss of power, far exceeding the difference in cost of good
oil over the cheap grades.
After attaching a lubricator, all valves should be opened wide and live
steam blown through the outer vents for a few minutes to insure the
openings clean and free. Then follow the usual directions given with
all lubricators. Be particular in getting your lubricator attached so
it will stand perfectly plum, in order that the drop can pass up through
the glass without touching the sides, and keep the drop-nipple clean, be
particular to drain in cold weather.
Now, I am about to leave you alone with your engine, just as I have left
any number of young engineers after spending a day with them in the
field and on the road. And I never left one, that I had not already
made up my mind fully, as to what kind of an engineer he would make.
TWO WAYS OF READING __________
Now there are two ways to read this book, and if I know just how you had
read it I could tell you in a minute whether to take hold of an engine
or leave it alone. If you have read it one way, you are most likely to
say "it is no trick to run an engine." If you have read it the other way
you will say, "It is no trouble to learn how to run an engine." Now this
fellow will make an engineer, and will be a good one. He has read it
carefully, noting the drift of my advice. Has discovered that the
engineer is not expected to build an engine, or to improve it after it
has been built. Has recognized the fact that the principle thing is to
attend to his own business and let other people attend to theirs. That
a monkey wrench is a tool to be left in the tool box till he knows he
needs it. That muscle is a good thing to have but not necessary to the
successful engineer. That an engineer with a bunch of waste in his hand
is a better recommendation than an "engineer license." That good common
sense, and a cool head is the very best tools he can have. Has learned
that carelessness will get him into trouble, and that to "forget" costs
Now the fellow who said "It is no trick to run an engine," read this
book another way. He did not see the little points. He was hunting for
big theories, scientific theories, something he could not understand,
and didn't find them. He expected to find some bright scheme to prevent
a boiler from exploding, didn't notice the simple little statement,
"keep water in it," that was too commonplace to notice. He was looking
for cuts, diagrams, geometrical figures, theories for constructing
engines and boilers and all that sort of thing and didn't find them.
Hence "It is no trick to run an engine."
If this has been your idea of "Rough and Tumble Engineering" forget all
about your theory, and go back and read it over and remember the little
suggestions and don't expect this book to teach you how to build an
engine. We didn't start out to teach you anything of the kind. That is
a business of itself. A good engineer gets better money than the man
who builds them. Read it as if you wanted to know how to run an engine
and not how to build one.
Study the following questions and answers carefully. Don't learn them
like you would a piece of poetry, but study them, see if they are
practical; make yourself thoroughly acquainted with the rule for
measuring the horse-power of an engine; make yourself so familiar with
it that you could figure any engine without referring to the book. Don't
stop at this, learn to figure the heating surface in any boiler. It
will enable you to satisfy yourself whether you are working your boiler
or engine too hard or what it ought to be capable of doing.
SOME THINGS TO KNOW
Q. What is fire?
A. Fire is the rapid combustion or consuming of organic
Q. What is water?
A. Water is a compound of oxygen and hydrogen. In weight
88 9-I0 parts oxygen to II I-I0 hydrogen. It has its maximum
density at 39 degrees Fahr., changes to steam at 2I2 degrees,
and to ice at 32 degrees.
Q. What is smoke?
A. It is unconsumed carbon finely divided escaping into
Q. Is excessive smoke a waste of fuel?
Q. How will you prevent it
A. Keep a thin fire, and admit cold air sufficient to insure
Q. What is low water as applied to a boiler?
A. It is when the water is insufficient to cover all parts
exposed to the flames.
Q. What is the first thing to do on discovering that you have
A. Pull out the fire.
Q. Would it be safe to open the safety valve at such time?
Q. Why not?
A. It would relieve the pressure on the water which being
allowed to flow over the excessive hot iron would flash into
steam, and might cause an explosion.
Q. Why do boilers sometimes explode just on the point of
starting the engine?
A. Because starting the engine has the same effect as
opening the safety valve.
Q. Are there any circumstances under which an engineer is
justified in allowing the water to get low?
Q. Why do they sometimes do it?
A. From carelessness or ignorance.
Q. May not an engineer be deceived in the gauge of water?
Q. Is he to be blamed under such circumstances?
A. Because if he is deceived by it it shows he has neglected
Q. What is meant by "Priming."
A. It is the passing of water in visible quantities into the
cylinder with the steam.
Q. What would you consider the first duty of an engineer on
discovering that the water was foaming or priming
A. Open the cylinder cocks at once, and throttle the steam.
Q. Why would you do this?
A. Open the cocks to enable the water to escape, and throttle
the steam so that the water would settle.
Q. Is foaming the same as priming?
A. Yes and no.
Q. How do you make that out?
A. A boiler may foam without priming, but it can't prime
without first foaming..
Q. Where will you first discover that the water is foaming?
A. It will appear in the glass gauge, the glass will have a
milky appearance and the water will seem to be running down
from the top, There will be a snapping or cracking in the
cylinder as quick as priming begins.
Q. What causes a boiler to foam?
A. There are a number of causes. It may come from faulty
construction of boiler; it may have insufficient steam room. It
may be, and usually is, from the use of bad water, muddy or
stagnant water, or water containing any soapy substance.
Q. What would you do after being bothered in this way?
A. Clean out the-boiler and get better water if possible.
Q. How would you manage your pumps while the water was
A. Keep them running full.
A. In order to make up for the extra amount of water going
out with the steam.
Q. What is "cushion?"
A. Cushion is steam retained or admitted in front of the
piston head at the finish of stroke, or when the engine is on
Q. What is it for?
A. It helps to overcome the "inertia" and momentum of the
reciprocating parts of the engine, and enables the engine to
pass the center without a jar.
Q. How would you increase the cushion in an engine?
A. By increasing the lead.
Q. What is lead?
A. It is the amount of opening the port shows on steam end
of cylinder when the engine is on dead center.
Q. Is there any rule for giving an engine the proper lead?
Q. Why not?
A. Owing to their variation in construction, speed, etc.
Q. What would you consider the proper amount of lead,
A. From I/32 to I/I6.
Q. What is "lap?"
A. It is the distance the valve overlaps the steam ports when
in mid position.
Q. What is lap for?
A. In order that the steam may be worked expansively.
Q. When does expansion occur in a cylinder?
A. During the time between which the port closes and the
point at which the exhaust opens.
Q. What would be the effect on an engine if the exhaust
opened too soon?
A. It would greatly lessen the power of the engine.
Q. What effect would too much lead have.
A. It would also weaken the engine, as the steam would
enter before the piston had reached the end of the stroke, and
would tend to prevent it passing the center.
Q. What is the stroke of an engine?
A. It is the distance the piston travels in the cylinder.
Q. How do you find the speed of a piston per minute?
A. Double the stroke and multiply it by the number of
revolutions a minuet. Thus an engine with a 12 inch stroke
would travel 24 inches, or 2 feet, at a revolution. If it made
200 revolutions a minute, the travel of piston would be 400 feet
Q. What is considered a horse power as applied to an
A. It is power sufficient to lift 33,000 pounds one foot high
in one minute.
Q. What is the indicated horse power of an engine?
A. It is the actual work done by the steam in the
cylinder as shown by an indicator.
Q. What is the actual horse power?
A. It is the power actually given off by the driving belt and
Q. How would you find the horse power of an engine?
A. Multiply the area of the piston by the average
pressure, less 5; multiply this product by the number of feet the
piston travels per minute; divide the product by 33,000; the
result will be horse power of the engine.
Q. How will you find the area of piston?
A. Square the diameter of piston and multiply it by .7854.
Q. What do you mean by squaring the diameter?
A. Multiplying it by itself. If a cylinder is 6 inches in
diameter, 36 multiplied by .7854, gives the area in square
Q. What do you mean by average pressure?
A. If the pressure on boiler is 60 pounds, and the engine is
cutting off at 1/2 stroke, the pressure for the full stroke would
be 50 pounds.
Q. Why do you say less 5 pounds?
A. To allow for friction and condensation.
Q. What is the power of a 7 x 10 engine, running 200
revolutions, cutting off at 1/2 stroke with 60 pounds steam?
A. 7 x 7 = 49 x .7854 = 38.4846. The average pressure of
60 pounds would be 50 pounds less 5 = 45 pounds; 38-4846 x
45 = 1731.8070 x .333 1/3, (the number of feet the piston
travels per minute) 577,269.0000 by 33,000=17 1/2 horse
Q. What is a high pressure engine?
A. It is an engine using steam at a high pressure and
exhausting into the open air.
Q. What is a low pressure engine?
A. It is one using steam at a low pressure and exhausting
into a condenser, producing a vacuum, the piston being under
steam pressure on one side and vacuum on the other.
Q. What class of engines are farm engines?
A. They are high pressure.
A. They are less complicated and less expensive.
Q. What is the most economical pressure to carry on high
A. From 90 to 110 pounds.
Q. Why is high pressure more economical than low
A. Because the loss is greater in low pressure owing to the
atmospheric pressure. With 45 pounds steam the pressure
from the atmosphere is 15 pounds, or 1/3, leaving only 30
pounds of effective power; while with 90 pounds the
atmospheric pressure is only 1-6 of the boiler pressure.
Q. Does it require any more fuel to carry I00 pounds than it
does to carry 60 pounds?
A. It don't require quite as much.
Q. If that is the case why not increase the pressure beyond
this and save more fuel?
A. Because we would soon pass the point of safety in a
boiler, and the result would be the loss of life and property.
Q. What do you consider a safe working pressure on a
A. That depends entirely on its diameter. While a boiler of
30 inches in diameter 3/8 inch iron would carry I40 pounds, a
boiler of the same thickness 80 inches in diameter would have
a safe working pressure of only 50 pounds, which shows that
the safe working pressure decreases very rapidly as we increase
the diameter of boiler. This is the safe working pressure for
single riveted boilers of this diameter. To find the safe
working pressure of a double riveted boiler of same diameter
multiply the safe pressure of the single riveted by 70, and
divide by 56, will give a safe pressure of a double riveted
Q. Why is a steel boiler superior to an iron boiler?
A. Because it is much lighter and stronger.
Q. Does boiler plate become stronger or weaker as it
A. It becomes tougher or stronger as it is heated, till it
reaches a temperature Of 550 degrees when it rapidly
decreases its power of resistance as it is heated beyond this
Q. How do you account for this?
A. Because after you pass the maximum temperature
of 550 degrees, the more you raise the temperature the nearer
you approach its fusing point when its tenacity or resisting
power is nothing.
Q. What is the degree of heat necessary to fuse iron?
A. 2912 degrees.
A. 2532 degrees.
Q. What class of boilers are generally used in a threshing
A. The flue boiler and the tubular boiler.
Q. About what amount of heating and grate surface is
required per horse power in a flue boiler.
A. About 15 square feet of heating surface and 3/4 square
feet of grate surface.
Q. What would you consider a fair evaporation in a flue
A. Six pounds of water to I pound of coal.
Q. How do these dimensions compare in a tubular boiler.
A. A tubular boiler will require I/4 less grate surface, and
will evaporate about 8 pounds of water to I pound of coal.
Q. Which do you consider the most available?
A. The tubular boiler.
A. It is more economical and is less liable to "collapse?"
Q. What do you mean by "collapse?"
A. It is a crushing in of a flue by external pressure.
Q. Is a tube of a large diameter more liable to collapse than
one of small diameter?
A. Because its power of resistance is much less than a tube
of small diameter.
Q. Is the pressure on the shell of a boiler the same as on the
Q. What is the difference?
A. The shell of boiler has a tearing or internal pressure
while the tubes have a crushing or external pressure.
Q. What causes an explosion?
A. An explosion occurs generally from low water, allowing
the iron to become overheated and thereby weakened and
unable to withstand the pressure.
Q. What is a "burst?"
A. It is that which occurs when through any defect the water
and steam are allowed to escape freely without further injury
Q. What is the best way to prevent an explosion or burst?
A. (I) Never go beyond a safe working pressure. (2) Keep
the boiler clean and in good repair. (3) Keep the safety valves
in good shape and the water at its proper height.
Q. What is the first thing to do on going to your engine in
A. See that the water is at its proper level.
Q. What is the proper level?
A. Up to the second gauge.
Q. When should you test or try the pop valve?
A. As soon as there is a sufficient pressure.
Q. How would you start your engine after it had been
standing over night?
A. In order to allow the cylinder to become hot, and that the
water or condensed steam may escape without injury to the
Q. What is the last thing to do at night?
A. See that there is plenty of water in boiler, and if the
weather is cold drain all pipes.
Q. What care should be taken of the fusable plug?
A. Keep it scraped clean, and not allow it to become
corroded on top.
Q. What is a fusible plug?
A. It is a hollow cast plug screwed into the crown sheet or
top of fire box, and having the hollow or center filled with lead
Q. Is such a plug a protection to a boiler?
A. It is if kept in proper condition.
Q. Can you explain the principle of the fusible or soft plug
as it is sometimes called?
A. It is placed directly over the fire, and should the water
fall below the crown sheet the lead fuses or melts and allows
the steam to flow down on top of the fire, destroys the heat and
prevents the burning of crown sheet.
Q. Why don't the lead fuse with water over it?
A. Because the water absorbs the heat and prevents it
reaching the fusing point.
Q. What is the fusing point of lead?
A. 618 degrees.
Q. Is there any objection to the soft plug?
A. There is, in the hands of some engineers.
A. It relieves him of the fear of a dry crown sheet, and gives
him an apparent excuse for low water.
Q. Is this a real or legitimate objection?
A. It is not.
Q. What are the two distinct classes of boilers?
A. The externally and internally fired boilers.
Q. Which is the most economical?
A. The internally fired boiler.
A. Because the fuel is all consumed in close contact with the
sides of furnace and the loss from radiation is less than in the
Q. To what class does the farm or traction engine belong?
A. To the internally fired.
Q. How would you find the H.P. of such a boiler?
A. Multiply in inches the circumference or square of
furnace, by its length, then multiply, the circumference of one
tube by its total length, and this product by the number of
tubes also taking into account the surface in tube sheet, add
these products together and divide by I44, this will give you
the number of square feet of heating surface in boiler. Divide
this by 14 or 15 which will give the H.P. of boiler.
Q. Why do you say 14 or 15?
A. Because some claim that it requires 14 feet of heating
surface to the H.P. and others 15.
To give you my personal opinion I believe that any of the
standard engines today with good coal and properly handled,
will and are producing 1 H.P. for as low as every 10 feet of
surface. But to be on the safe side it is well to divide by 15 to
get the H.P. of your boiler, when good and bad fuel is
Q. How would you find the approximate weight of a boiler
A. Find the number of square feet in surface of boiler and
fire box, and as a sheet of boiler iron or steel 1/16 of an inch
thick, and one foot square, weighs 2.52 pounds, would
multiply the number of square feet by 2.52 and this product by
the number of 16ths or thickness of boiler sheet, which would
give the approximate, or very near the weight of the boiler.
Q. What would you recognize as points in a good engineer.
A. A good engineer keeps his engine clean, washes the
boiler whenever he thinks it needs it. Never meddles with his
engine, and allows no one else to do so.
Goes about his work quietly, and is always in his place,
only talks when necessary, never hammers or bruises any part
of his engine, allows no packing to become baked or burnt in
the stuffing box or glands, renews them as quick as they show
that they require it.
Never neglects to oil, and then uses no more than is
He carries a good gauge of water and a uniform pressure
of steam. He allows no unusual noise about his engine to
escape his notice he has taught his ear to be his guide.
When a job is about finished you will see him cleaning
his ash pan, getting his tools together, a good fire in fire box,
in fact all ready to go, and he looses no time after the belt is
thrown off. He hooks up to his load quietly, and is the first
man ready to go.
*Q. When the piston head is in the exact center of cylinder, is
the engine on the quarter?
*A. It is supposed to be, but is not.
*Q. Why not?
A. The angularity of the rod prevents it reaching the quarter.
*Q. Then when the engine is on the exact quarter what
position does the piston head occupy?
A. It is nearest the end next to crank.
Q. If this is the case, which end of cylinder is supposed to be
A. The opposite end, or end furtherest from crank.
A. Because this end gets the benefit of the most travel, and
as it makes it in the same time, it must travel faster.
*Q. At what part of the cylinder does the piston head reach
the greatest speed?
A. At and near the center.
Figure this out for yourself.
*Note. The above few questions are given for the purpose of getting
you to notice the little peculiarities of the crank engine, and are not
to be taken into consideration in the operation of the same.
Q. If you were on the road and should discover that you had
low water, what would you do?
A. I would drop my load and hunt a high place for the front
end of my engine, and would do it quickly to.
Q. If by some accident the front end of your engine should drop
down allowing the water to expose the crown sheet, what
would you do?
A. If I had a heavy and hot fire, would shovel dirt into the
fire and smother it out.
Q. Why would you prefer this to drawing the fire?
A. Because it would reduce the heat at once, instead of
increasing it for a few minutes while drawing out the hot bed of
coals, which is a very unpleasant job.
Q. Would you ever throw water in the fire box?
A. No. It might crack the side sheets, and would most
certainly start the flues.
Q. You say, in finding low water while on the road, you
would run your engine with the front end on high ground. Why
would you do this?
A. In order that the water would raise over the crown sheet,
and thus make it safe to pump up the water.
Q. While your engine was in this shape would you not
expose the front end of flues'?
A. Yes, but as the engine would not be working this would
do no damage.
Q. If you were running in a hilly country how would you
manage the boiler as regards water?
A. Would carry as high as the engine would allow, without
Q. Suppose you had a heavy load or about all you could
handle, and should approach a long steep hill, what condition
should the water and fire be to give you the most advantage?
A. A moderately low gauge of water and a very hot fire.
Q. Why a moderately low gauge of water?
A. Because the engine would not be so liable to draw the
water or prime in making the hard pull.
Q. Why a very hot fire?
A. So I could start the pumps full without impairing or
cutting the pressure.
Q. When would you start your pump?
A. As soon as fairly started up the hill.
A. As most hills have two sides, I would start them full in
order to have a safe gauge to go down, without stoping to pump
Q. What would a careful engineer do before starting to pull
a load over a steep hill?
A. He would examine his clutch, or gear pin.
Q. How would you proceed to figure the road speed of
A. Would first determine the circumference of driver, then
ascertain how many revolutions the engine made to one of the
drivers. Multiply the number of revolutions the engine makes
per minute by 60, this will give the number of revolutions of
engine per hour. Divide this by the number of revolutions the
engine makes to the drivers once, and this will give you the
number of revolutions the drivers will make in one hour, and
multiplying this by the circumference of driver in feet, and it
will tell you how many feet your engine is traveling per hour,
and this divided by 5280, the number of feet in a mile, would
tell you just what speed your engine would make on the road.
THINGS HANDY FOR THE ENGINEER
The first edition of this work brought me a great many letters asking
where certain articles could be procured, what I would recommend, etc.
These questions required attention and as the writers had bought and
paid for their book it was due them that they get the benefit of my
experience, as nothing is so discouraging to the young engineer as to be
continually annoyed by unreliable and inferior fittings used more or
less on all engines. I have gone over my letter file and every article
asked for will be taken up in the order, showing the relative importance
of each article in the minds of engineers. For instance, more letters
reached me asking for a good brand of oil than any other one article.
Then comes injectors, lubricators have third place, and so on down the
list. Now without any intention of advertising anybody's goods I will
give you the benefit of my years of experience and will be very careful
not to mention or recommend anything which is not strictly first class,
at least so in my opinion, and as good as can be had in its class, yet
in saying that these articles are good does not say that others are not
equally as good. I am simply anticipating the numerous letters I
otherwise would receive and am answering them in a lump bunch. If you
have no occasion to procure any of these articles, the naming of them
will do no harm, but should you want one or more you will make no
mistake in any one of them.
As I have stated, more engineers asked for a good brand of oil than for
any other one article and I will answer this with less satisfaction to
myself than any other for this reason: You may know what you want, but
you do not always get what you call for. Oil is one of those things that
cannot be branded, the barrel can, but then it can be filled with the
cheapest stuff on the market. If you can get Capital Cylinder Oil your
valve will give you no trouble. If you call for this particular brand
and it does not give you satisfaction don't blame me or the oil, go
after the dealer; he did not give you what you called for. The same can
be said of Renown Engine Oil. If you can always have this oil you will
have no fault to find with its wearing qualities, and it will not gum on
your engine, but as I have said, you may call for it and get something
else. If your valve or cylinder is giving you any trouble and you have
not perfect confidence in the dealer from whom you usually get your
cylinder oil send direct to The Standard Oil Company for some Capital
Cylinder Oil and you will get an oil that will go through your cylinder
and come out the exhaust and still have some staying qualities to it.
The trouble with so much of the so called cylinder oil is that it is so
light that the moment it strikes the extreme heat in the steam chest it
vaporizes and goes through the cylinder in the form of vapor and the
valve and cylinder are getting no oil, although you are going through
all the necessary means to oil them.
It is somewhat difficult to get a young engineer to understand why the
cylinder requires one grade of oil and the engine another. This is only
necessary as a matter of economy, cylinder or valve oil will do very
well on the engine, but engine oil will not do for the cylinder. And as
a less expensive oil will do for the engine we therefore use two grades
Engine oil however should be but little lower in quality than the
cylinder oil, owing to the proximity of the bearings to the boiler, they
are at all times more or less heated, and require a much heavier oil
than a journal subject only to the heat of its own friction. The Renown
Engine Oil has the peculiarity of body or lasting qualities combined
with the fact that it does not gum on the hot iron and allows the engine
to be wiped clean.
The next in the list of inquiries was for a reliable injector. I was
not surprised at this for up to a few years ago there were a great many
engines running throughout the country with only the independent or
cross-head pump, and engineers wishing to adopt the injector naturally
want the best, while others had injectors more or less unsatisfactory.
In replying to these letters I recommend one of three or four different
makes (all of which I had found satisfactory) with a request that the
party asking for same should write to me if the injector proved
unsatisfactory in any way. Of all the letters received, I never got one
stating any objection to either the Penberthy or the Metropolitan. This
fact has led me to think that probably my reputation as a judge of a
good article was safer by sticking to the two named, which I shall do
until I know there is something better. This does not mean that there
are not other good injectors, but I am telling you what I know to be
good, and not what may be good. The fact that I never received a single
complaint from either of them was evidence to me that the makers of
these two injectors are very careful not to allow any slighting of the
work. They therefore get out no defective injectors. The Penberthy is
made by The Penberthy Injector Co., of Detroit, Mich., and the
Metropolitan by The Hayden & Derby Mfg. Co., New York, N. Y.
SIGHT FEED LUBRICATOR
These come next in the long list of inquiries and wishing to satisfy
myself as to the relative superiority of various cylinder Lubricators, I
resorted to the same method as persued in regard to injectors. This
method is very satisfactory to me from the fact that it gives us the
actual experience of a class of engineers who have all conditions with
which to contend, and especially the unfavorable conditions. I have
possibly written more letters in answer to such questions as: "Why my
Lubricator does this or that; and why it don't do so and so?" than of
any other one part of an engine, (as a Sight Feed Lubricator might in
this day be considered a part of an engine.) Of all the queries and
objections made of the many Lubricators, there are two showing the least
trouble to the operator. There are the Wm. Powell Sight Feed Lubricator
(class "A") especially adapted to traction and road engines owing to the
sight-glass being of large diameter, which prevents the drop touching
the side of glass, while the engine is making steep grades and rough
uneven roads, made by The Wm. Powell Co., Cincinnati, O., and for sale
by any good jobbing house, and the Detroit Lubricator made by the
Detroit Lubricator Co., of Detroit, Mich. I have never received a
legitimate objection to either of these two Lubricators, but I received
the same query concerning both, and this objection, if it may be called
such, is so clearly no fault of the construction or principle of the
Lubricator that I have concluded that they are among if not actually the
best sight feed Lubricator on the market to-day. The query referred to
was: "Why does my glass fill with oil?" Now the answer to this is so
simple and so clearly no fault of the Lubricator that I am entirely
satisfied that by recommending either of these Lubricators you will get
value received; and here is a good place to answer the above query. If
you have run a threshing engine a season or part of a season you have
learned that it is much easier to get a poor grade of oil than a good
one, yet your Lubricator will do this at times even with best of oil,
and the reason is due to the condition of the feed nozzle at the bottom
of the feed glass. The surface around the needle point in the nozzle
becomes coated or rough from sediment from the oil. This coating allows
the drop to adhere to it until it becomes too large to pass up through
the glass without striking the sides and the glass becomes blurred and
has the appearance of being full of oil, so in a measure to obviate this
Powell's Lubricators are fitted with 3/4 glasses-being of large internal
diameter. The permanent remedy however is to take out the glass and
clean the nozzle with waste or a rag, rubbing the points smooth and
clean. The drop will then release itself at a moderate size and pass up
through the glass without any danger of striking the sides. However, if
the Lubricator is on crooked it may do this same thing. The remedy is
very simple-straighten it up. While talking of the various appliances
for oiling your engine you will pardon me if I say that I think every
traction engine ought to be supplied with an oil pump as you will find
it very convenient for a traction engine especially on the road. For
instance, should the engine prime to any great extent your cylinder will
require more oil for a few minutes than your sight feed will supply, and
here is where, your little pump will help you out. Either the Detroit
or Powell people make as good an article of this kind as you can find
anywhere, and can furnish you either the glass or metal body.
Hard Grease and a good Cup come next. In my trips over various parts of
the country I visit a great many engineers and find a great part of them
using hard grease and I also find the quality varying all the way from
the very best down to the cheapest grade of axle grease. The Badger Oil
I think is the best that can be procured for this purpose, and while I
do not know just who makes it, you will probably have but little trouble
in finding it, and if you are looking for a first class automatic cup
for your wrist pin or crank box get the Wm. Powell Cup from any jobbing
These people also make a very neat little attachment for their Class "A"
Lubricator which is a decided convenience for the engineer, and is
called a "Filler." It consists of a second reservoir or cup, of about
the same capacity of the reservoir of Lubricator, thus doubling the
capacity. It is attached at the filling plug, and is supplied with a
fine strainer, which catches all dirt, and grit, allowing only clear oil
to enter the lubricator, and by properly manipulating the little
shut-off valve the strainer can be removed and cleaned and the cup
refilled without disturbing the working of the Lubricator. This little
attachment will soon be in general use.
Injectors have a dangerous rival in the Moore Steam Pump or boiler
feeder for traction engines, and the reason this little pump is not in
more general use is the fact that among the oldest methods for feeding a
boiler is the independent steam pump and they were always unsatisfactory
from the fact that they were a steam engine within themselves, having a
crank or disc, flywheel, eccentric, eccentric yoke, valve, valve stem,
crosshead, slides, and all the reciprocating parts of a complete engine.
Being necessarily very small, these parts of course are very frail and
delicate, were easily broken or damaged by the rough usage to which they
were subjected while bumping around over rough roads on a traction
engine. The Moore Pump, manufactured by The Union Steam Pump Company,
of Battle Creek, Mich., is a complete departure from the old steam
engine pump, and if you take any interest in any of the novel ways in
which steam can be utilized send to them for a circular and sectional
cuts and you can spend several hours very profitably in determining just
how the direct pressure from the boiler can be made to drive the piston
head the full stroke of cylinder, open exhaust port, shift the valve
open steam port and drive the piston back again and repeat the operation
as long as the boiler pressure is allowed to reach the pump and yet have
no connection whatever with any of the reciprocating parts of the pump,
and at the same time lift and force water into the boiler in any
Another novel feature in this "little boiler feeder" is that after the
steam has acted on the cylinder it can be exhausted directly into the
feed water, thus utilizing all its heat to warm the water before
entering the boiler. Now it required a certain number of heat units to
produce this steam which after doing its work gives back all its heat
again to the feed water and it would be a very interesting problem for
some of the young engineers, as well as the old ones, to determine just
what loss if any is sustained in this manner of supplying a boiler. If
you are thinking of trying an independent pump, don't be afraid of this
one. I take particular pride in recommending anything that I have tried
myself, and know to be as recommended.
And a boiler feeder of this kind has all the advantage of the injector,
as it will supply the boiler without running the engine, and it has the
advantage over the injector, in not being so delicate, and will work
water that can not be handled by the best of injectors.
We have very frequently had this question put to us: "Ought I to grease
my gearing?" If I said "yes," I had an argument on my hands at once. If
I said "no," some one would disagree just as quickly, and how shall I
answer it to the satisfaction of most engineers of a traction engine?
I always say what I have to say and stay by it until I am convinced of
the error. Now some of you will smile when I say that the only thing
for gear where there is dust, is "Mica Axle Grease." And you smile
because you don't know what it is made of, but think it some common
grease named for some old saint, but that is not the case. If these
people who make this lubricant would give it another name, and get it
introduced among engineers, nothing else would be used. You have seen
it advertised for years as an axle grease and think that is all it is
good for; and there is where you make a mistake. It is made of a
combination of solid lubricant and ground or pulverized mica, that is
where it gets its name, and nothing can equal mica as a lubricant if you
could apply it to your gear; and to do this it has been combined with a
heavy grease. This in being applied to the gear retains the small
particles of mica, which soon imbed themselves in every little abrasion
or rough place in the gearing, and the surface quickly becomes hard and
smooth throughout the entire face of the engaging gear, and your gear
will run quiet, and if your gearing is not out of line will stop cutting
if applied in time.
It will run dry and dust will not collect on the surface of your cogs,
and after a coating is once formed it should never be disturbed by
scraping the face of the gear, and a very little added from time to time
will keep your gear in fine shape. Its name is against it and if the
makers would take a tumble to themselves and call it "Mica Oil" or some
catchy name and get it introduced among the users of tight gearing, they
would sell just as much axle grease and all the grease for gearings.
FORCE FEED OILER
Force feed oiler come next on the list. This is something not generally
understood by engineers of traction and farm engines, and accounts for
it being so far down the list. But we think it will come into general
use within a few years, as an oiler of this kind forces the oil instead
of depending on gravity.
The Acorn Brass Works of Chicago make a very unique and successful
little oiler which forces a small portion of oil in a spray into the
valve and cylinder, and repeats the operation at each stroke of the
engine, and is so arranged that it stops automatically as soon as the
oil is out of the reservoir; and at once calls the attention of the
engineer to the fact, and it can be regulated to throw any quantity of
oil desired. Is made for any size or make of engine.
One of the little things, that every engineer ought to have is a Motion
counter or speeder. Of course, you can count the revolutions of your
engine, but you frequently want to know the speed of the driven pulley,
cylinder for instance: When you know the exact size of engine pulley and
your cylinder pulley, and the exact speed of your engine, and there was
no such thing as the slipping of drive belt, you could figure the speed
of your cylinder, but by knowing this and then applying the speeder, you
can determine the loss by comparing the figured speed with the actual
speed shown by the speeder. If you have a good speeder you can make
good use of it every day you run machinery. If you want one you want
the best and there is nothing better than the one made by The Tabor
Manufacturing Co., of Philadelphia, Pa. We use no other. You will see
their advertisement in the American Thresherman.
But one article in the entire list did I find to be sectional, and that
was for a spark arrester. These inquiries were all without exception
from the wooded country, that is, from a section where it is cheaper to
burn wood than coal. There is nothing strange that parties running
engines in these sections should ask for a spark arrester, as builders
of this class of engines usually supply their engines with a "smoke
stack", with little or no reference to safety from fire. This being
recognized by some genius in one of our wooded states who has profited
by it and has produced a "smoke stack" which is also a "spark arrester."
This stack is a success in every sense of the word, and is made for any
and all styles of farm and saw mill engines. It is made by the South
Bend Spark Arrester Co., of South Bend, Indiana, and if you are running
an engine and firing with wood or straw, don't run too much risk for the
engineer usually comes in for a big share of the blame if a fire is
started from the engine. And as the above company make a specialty of
this particular article, you will get something reliable if you are in a
section where you need it.
Next comes enquiries for a good lifting Jack.
This would indicate that the boys had been getting their engine in a
hole, but there are a great many times when a good Jack comes handy, and
it will save its cost many times every season.
Too many engineers forget that when he is fooling around that he is the
only one losing time. The facts are the entire crew are doing nothing,
besides the outfit is making no money unless running.
You want to equip yourself with any tool that will save time.
The Barth Mfg, Co., of Milwaukee, make a Jack especially adapted to this
particular work, and every engine should have a "mascot" in the shape of
a lifting Jack.
Now before dropping the subject of "handy things for an engineer," I
want to say to the engineer who takes pride in his work, that if you
would enjoy a touch of high life in engineering, persuade your boss, if
you have one, to get you a Fuller Tender made by the Parson's Band
Cutter and Feeder Co., Newton, Iowa, and attach to your engine. It may
look a little expensive, but a luxury usually costs something and by
having one you will do away with a great deal of the rough and tumble
part of an engineers life.
And if you want to keep yourself posted as to what is being done by
other threshermen throughout the world, read some good "Threshermen's
Home journal." The American Thresherman for instance is the "warmest
baby in the bunch." And if anything new under the sun comes out you will
find it in the pages of this bright and newsy journal. Keep to the
front in your business. Your business is as much a business as any other
profession, and while it may not be quite as remunerative as a R. R.
attorney, or the president of a life insurance company it is just as
honorable, and a good engineer is appreciated by his employer just as
much as a good man in any other business. A good engineer can not only
always have a job, but he can select his work. That is if there is any
choice of engines in a neighborhood the best man gets it.
SOMETHING ABOUT PRESSURE _________
Now before bringing this somewhat lengthy lecture to a close, (for I
consider it a mere lecture, a talk with the boys) I want to say
something more about pressure. You notice that I have not advocated a
very high pressure; I have not gone beyond 125 lbs. and yet you know and
I know that very much higher pressure is being carried wherever the
traction engine is used, and I want to say that a very high pressure is
no gauge or guarantee of the intelligence of the engineer. The less a
reckless individual knows about steam the higher pressure he will carry.
A good engineer is never afraid of his engine without a good reason, and
then he refuses to run it. He knows something of the enormous pressure
in the boiler, while the reckless fellow never thinks of any pressure
beyond the I00 or I40 pounds that his gauge shows. He says, "'O!
That,' that aint much of a pressure, that boiler is good for 200
pounds." It has never dawned on his mind (if he has one) that that I40
pounds mean I40 pounds on every square inch in that boiler shell, and
I40 on each square inch of tube sheets. Not only this but every square
inch in the shell is subjected to two times this pressure as the boiler
has two sides or in other words, each square inch has a corresponding
opposite square inch, and the seam of shell must sustain this pressure,
and as a single riveted boiler only affords 62 per cent of the strength
of solid iron. It is something that every engineer ought to consider.
He ought to be able to thoroughly appreciate this almost inconceivable
pressure. How many engineers are today running 18 and 20 horse power
engines that realizes that a boiler of this diameter is not capable of
sustaining the pressure he had been accustomed to carry in his little 26
or 30 inch boiler? On page 114 You will get some idea of the difference
in safe working pressure of boilers, of different diameters. On the
other hand this is not intended to make you timid or afraid of your
engine, as there is nothing to be afraid of if you realize what you are
handling, and try to comprehend the fact that your steam gauge
represents less than one 1-1000 part of the power you have under your
management. You never had this put to you in this light before, did
If you thoroughly appreciate this fact and will try to comprehend this
power confined in your boiler by noting the pressure, or power exerted
by your cylinder through the small supply pipe, you will soon be an
engineer who will only carry a safe and economical pressure, and if
there comes a time when it is necessary to carry a higher pressure, you
will be an engineer who will set the pop back again, when or as soon as
this extra pressure is not necessary.
If I can get you to comprehend this power proposition no student of
"Rough and Tumble Engineering" will ever blow up a boiler.
When I started out to talk engine to you I stated plainly that this book
would not be filled up with scientific theories, that while they were
very nice they would do no good in this work. Now I am aware that I
could have made a book four times as large as this and if I had, it
would not be as valuable to the beginner as it is now.
From the fact that there is not a problem or a question contained in it
that any one who has a common school education can not solve or answer
without referring to any textbooks The very best engineer in the country
need not know any more than he will find in these pages. Yet I don't
advise you to stop here, go to the top if you have the time and
opportunity. Should I have taken up each step theoretically and given
forms, tables, rules and demonstrations, the young engineer would have
become discouraged and would never have read it through. He would have
become discouraged because he could not understand it. Now to illustrate
what I mean, we will go a little deeper and then still deeper, and you
will begin to appreciate the simple way of putting the things which you
as a plain engineer are interested in.
For example on page 114 we talked about the safe working pressure of
different sized boilers. It was most likely natural for you to say "How
do I find the safe working pressure?" Well, to find the safe working
pressure of a boiler it is first necessary to find the total pressure
necessary to burst the boiler. It requires about twice as much pressure
to tear the ends out of a boiler as it does to burst the shell, and as
the weakest point is the basis for determining the safe pressure, we
will make use of the shell only.
We will take for example a steel boiler 32 inches in diameter and 6 ft.
long, 3/8 in. thick, tensile strength 60,000 lbs. The total pressure
required to burst this shell would be the area exposed times the
pressure. The thickness multiplied by the length then by 2 (as there
are two sides) then by the tensile strength equals the bursting
pressure: 3/8 x 72 X 2 x 60,000 = 3,240,000 the total bursting pressure
and the pressure per square inch required to burst the shell is found by
dividing the total bursting pressure 3,240,000 pounds by the diameter
times the length 3,240,000 / (32 x 72) = 1406 lbs.
It would require 1406 lbs. per square inch to burst this shell if it
were solid, that is if it had no seam, a single seam affords 62 per cent
of the strength of shell, 1406 x .62 = 871 lbs. to burst the seam if
single riveted; add 20 per cent if double riveted.
To determine the safe working pressure divide the bursting pressure of
the weakest place by the factor of safety. The United States Government
use a factor of 6 for single riveted and add 20 per cent for double
riveted, 871 / 6 = 145 lbs. the safe working pressure of this particular
boiler, if single riveted and 145 + 20 per cent=174 double riveted.
Now suppose you take a boiler the same length and of the same material,
but 80 inches in diameter. The bursting pressure would be 3,240,000 /
(80 x 72) = 560 lbs., and the safe working pressure would be 560 / 6 =
You will see by this that the diameter has much to do with the safe
working pressure, also the diameter and different lengths makes a
difference in working pressure.
Now all of this is nice for you to know, and it may start you on a
higher course, it will not make you handle your engine any better, but
it may convince you that there is something to learn.
Suppose we give you a little touch of rules, and formula in boiler
For instance you want to know the percent of strength of single riveted
and double riveted as compared to solid iron. Some very simple rules,
or formula, are applicable.
Find the percent of strength to the solid iron in a single-riveted seam,
1/4 inch plate, 5/8 inch rivet, pitched or spaced 2 inch centers. First
reduce all to decimal form, as it simplifies the calculation; 1/4=.25
and 5/8 inch rivets will require 11/16 inch hole, this hole is supposed
to be filled by the rivet, after driving, consequently this diameter is
used in the calculation, 11/16 inches=.6875.
First find the percent of strength of the sheet.
The formula is P = percent.
P = the pitch, D = the diameter of the rivet hole, percent =
percent of strength of the solid iron.
Substituting values, 2 = .66.
Now of course you understand all about that, but it is Greek to some
So you see I have no apologies to make for following out my plain
comprehensive talk, have not confused you, or lead you to believe that
it requires a great amount of study to become an engineer. I mean a
practical engineer, not a mechanical engineer. I just touch mechanical
engineering to show you that that is something else. If you are made of
the proper stuff you can get enough out of this little book to make you
as good an engineer as ever pulled a throttle on a traction engine. But
this is no novel. Go back and read it again, and ever time you read it
you will find something you had not noticed before.
PART FIRST PAGE
Tinkering Engineers . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Water Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
What a Good Injector Ought to Do . . . 45
The Blower . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
A Good Fireman . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Wood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Why Grates Burn Out . . . . . . . . . . 57
Scale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Clean Flues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Steam Gauge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
How to Test a Steam Gauge . . . . . . . 74
Fusible Plug . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
Leaky Flues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
Knock in Engine . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
Lead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
Setting a Valve . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
How to Find the Dead Center . . . . . . 95
Lubricating Oil . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
A Hot Box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
A Traction Engine on the Road . . . . . 111
Sand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
Friction Clutch . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
Something About Sight-Feed Lubricators 132
Two Ways of Reading . . . . . . . . . . 137
Some Things to Know . . . . . . . . . . 139
Things Handy for an Engineer . . . . . 159
Something About Pressure . . . . . . . . 184