Saturday, August 03, 2013

The Smoke Of Progress!

     Good ol' Indiana coal!  (The smell is oddly nostalgic for me.)

     Here's what it's burning in -- look closely for the glow from the fire, barely visible (if at all) at the top of the stoking door.
     The only thing "automatic" on a steam engine are the oilers (if provided) and the flyball governor (if it has one), and they're not very.  Maintenance is an ongoing job and not easy--
     Daily descaling is a necessity.  (Around here, even city water is hard, hard, hard.) I stand corrected, descaling is done at much greater intervals; I'm informed that it's the outside -- well, the exposed-to-firebox side -- of the boiler tubes one cleans daily, as soot build-up prevents good heat transfer.  It makes sense -- and it's a much dirtier job.

     (Purchased in the same Pioneer Village area as the lovely old traction engines, only slightly newer tractors and small stationary engines both IC and OC: a sorghum lollypop and maple sugar candy!  The State Fair is something of a sugarfest for me, including the wonderful honey ice cream in the Horticulture Building (where the apiarists set up, for obvious reasons.)

     This makes me happy:
     Military vehicles are copiously, obviously marked with what goes where, what the tire pressure should be, etc.  I'd like to see that on more of the vehicles at work.  I'd like to see more of that everywhere.


Anonymous said...

"Clean boiler tubes daily" means brush out the soot .

The soot acts as an insulator and greatly decreases the thermal efficiency of the boiler.

Descaling is a long, hard tedious job. Not a daily occurrence.

Comrade Misfit said...

There's something to be said for watching those old steam tractors at a county fair. The explosion blew the twenty-ton tractor ten feet into the air and killed five people.

Comrade Misfit said...

watching at a good distance.


Roberta X said...

Aha! Thank you, Anon.

Roberta X said...

E. B.: The State Fair has an actual boiler engineer (there's a test; also, he's pretty old and not dead yet) in charge of the steam engines. It's still a risk, but I feel it's well-managed.

Old NFO said...

Neat pics, and that kinda looked like the front end of a 53 Dodge Powerwagon with the Prestone 43 on it.

Dave H said...

I know what you mean about the smell of coal smoke. My girlfriend in high school lived for a while in a house heated by coal burning in the fireplace and a pot bellied stove. I have some fond memories of that time.

(Belfast in Northern Ireland gets a very similar, although slightly more metallic, smell in the winter. I believe it's from burning peat.)

Jeff said...

That top picture made me think maybe there was a new pope again!