Monday, February 29, 2016

Tuesday Torque: A Preview

Susan and I acquired this rare 8 H.P. Bessemer engine in Lawrence County Kentucky in 1976, and we brought it to the farm in 1980 when we picked up and moved.  The parts resided in the barn until 1992...

...when it moved out to the road and became The Mailbox Engine.  Internal parts stayed in the barn in a hydraulic oil bucket.  Gary Bahre stumbled upon our old iron one day when he was driving by and checking fencerows for old iron.

He took it home in March 2014 and began his restoration work.  This photo by Gary demonstrates that it was not an engine; just a parts kit.  He had a new rod built, had the cylinder bored and sleeved, and learned a whole lot of century-old technology when he overhauled the throttle/gas mixer valve assembly.  This old engine was used in Kentucky to power a sorghum press.  It froze one winter and had an ugly brazing job holding the iron water jacket together.   We figure that the original rod broke because the oiler for the rod was allowed to run dry.  The limited capacity of the drip oiler is the big weak point in the design of this engine.

Gary made the old girl run last fall and he brought it to Pinckneyville just so we could see the wheels turn.  We shot some video and have kept it under our hats because the restoration was not complete.  It is all done now, on a cart, with a cooling tank, and decals so it looks darn near like it did 100 years ago when it left the factory.  We will see it run next weekend at Gary's annual crankup and will shoot photos and video of it to share with you next week.  Until then, here is the 8 H.P. vertical Bessemer in its not-quite-finished state last fall.


Merle Morrison said...

Will it be used to power something, or just chug away?


David aka True Blue Sam said...

Just chugging.