Sunday, January 31, 2010

Not My Victrola

Pax41 has posted another great dance record to get you ready for Monday morning. I have listened to this song for years, but never realized it was a show tune until I saw the sheet music cover in Pax's upload.

Ready Or Not, Here Comes Monday!

Back To The Old Grind!

Too Close For Comfort

A good friend of mine was injured very badly three weeks ago in a chainsaw accident. It was one of the coldest days of the winter, and he was pinned for several hours under a tree before he was freed, and flown to Evansville for the beginning of his medical help. I spoke to him this week, and he expects to make a good recovery, and he is very glad to be alive. The tree that nailed him was one he had cut, but it was still standing due to vines which tied it to a second tree which he cut. When he cut the second tree, he ended up with the first one on top of him. Both of his legs and several ribs were broken; one bright spot is that no joints were crushed. Here are some excerpts from the local newspaper:

"Man pinned by tree rescued

Victim able to call for help on cell phone, use saw to help rescuers find him


McLEANSBORO — A local man pinned by a felled tree was able to use his cell phone — and a chainsaw — to call for help...

....Though severely injured and pinned by the tree, Wheeler was able to get to his cell phone and call for help, Brenner said. A neighbor was among those who came looking for Wheeler, but wasn’t initially able to find him, the sheriff said.

But Wheeler’s chainsaw — still running — was within his reach; the neighbor had Wheeler on the cell phone, and he was able to rev the chainsaw to help rescuers locate him, Brenner said.

“If he couldn’t get to his phone, it’s likely he would have lain there and froze,” the sheriff said." Copied from the McLeansboro

Chainsaws and falling trees don't give us much room for error. If you are going to be running a saw, please review the safety rules on the left side of this blog occasionally to refresh your memory, and click on the chainsaw label to view the posts about chainsaw use.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekend Steam

There are four different cylinder configurations you will see when you are engine watching at steam shows. The most common is the single cylinder engine. These engines have two power strokes for each revolution because steam pushes the piston from both sides. Farm steam engines always used a slide valve in the steam chest, and on single cylinder engines (simple engines), the steam is used once, then exhausted up the stack.

The double simple layout has two cylinders of equal size, each with its own steam chest; and the steam is used once and exhausted up the stack. This type of engine sounds more like a locomotive because of the doubling of the exhaust notes. Double simple engines are easier to start than single cylinder engines because the power strokes overlap.

Cross compound engines have two cylinders of different sizes. Steam is fed to the steam chest of the smaller, high pressure cylinder, and after it is used, it is exhausted to the steam chest of the larger, low pressure cylinder. After the steam is used in the second cylinder, it is exhausted up the stack. This type of engine usually was built with a valve which allowed the engineer to feed high pressure steam to both cylinders for starting, or for emergency power. Because only one cylinder exhausts into the stack, these sound just like a single cylinder engine when they are working.

The tandem compound layout was used extensively on Port Huron engines, and on a limited basis with a few other brands. The small, high pressure cylinder is mounted on the end of the low pressure cylinder, and both pistons are on the same rod. When you study this layout, you will notice that the steam chest is much larger than on simple and cross compound engines. The slide valve is a complicated affair which allows steam into the high pressure cylinder from the chest, and then routes it through the valve into the low pressure cylinder, and then exhausts the twice-used steam up the stack. I have studied diagrams of the Port Huron valve, and I wonder how anyone was able to design such a piece of machinery. It took a lot of imagination, and drafting and engineering skill. These engines also sound the same as a simple engine when they run. Below is a video from YouTube of a Port Huron pulling a load.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Crankin' It Up

This week's selection is "Lazy Daddy," by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. This is a well loved record, judging from the wear that I can see in the grooves. The clarinet and horns really play off of each other in this song, and it is a real joy to listen to.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Way Back In B.C....

That would be, Before Chainsaws, inventors came up with fascinating labor saving ideas. This is an improvement over pulling on a misery whip all day, and you could buy log saw hardware for cutting horizontally for dropping trees. I think I will keep my chainsaws.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hart-Parr Catalog: Part Three

This week we have ten more pages from the Hart-Parr catalog. Click to enlarge each page, and right click to save. There is some very interesting reading. Next week: the final twelve pages.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Here It Comes!

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola: Fight Those Winter Blahs

We have posted this one before, and is a great song to lift your spirit on a cold and dreary winter day. It is one of my favorite records for Fox-Trotting, so push back the furniture and join in the fun.


The Harrison Jumbo engine at Pinckneyville is NOT the engine in the Weekend Steam post from the Spring 1948 Farm Album Magazine. The engine in the magazine has lugs that are on an angle, and the lugs on the Pinckneyville engine go straight across the wheel. I looked up some photos of a Jumbo shown at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and it, too, has lugs that go straight across. I wonder if Fred Kiser's engines survive. If anyone out there knows, please comment or send an e-mail.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weekend Steam

This week we are looking at a few more pictures from old Farm Album magazines. The first one is an early traction engine in the Fall, 1948 issue. This issue contains some interesting biographical information about Elmer Ritzman, the gentleman who published The Farm Album, and the Iron Men Album magazines. "Mr. Ritzman has been a Methodist minister for 34 years. He is very happy to be counted worthy of such an office. Next in his heart is the history of Agricultural Equipment, especially the steam engine.

His earliest collection dates 1903 when a youngster he stole a Frick poster hanging in a covered bridge, since that time he has made a large collection of pictures and posters. Not by stealing we are glad to say. He takes pride and joy in giving you the pictures and articles in the ALBUM. We surely hope you enjoy them." I certainly would not consider taking an advertising poster from a covered bridge to be stealing; I am quite sure that this was not counted as a sin by our dear old Elmer when he went to glory.

The Spring 1948 issue began the second year of The Farm Album. This nice collection of engines is in Illinois, and I wonder if the Jumbo is the same engine that is shown at Pinckneyville each year. I must do some research.

This reciprocating sawmill advertisement was reproduced in the Summer 1948 issue of The Farm Album. I have seen one reciprocating mill, and the vibration from this type of machine is a marvel to feel as it comes up through your feet. This machine is not too far removed from the old system of having a real man in a pit as the pit-man to pull the saw down, and a man on top to pull it back up. The circular saw was a huge improvement over this system.

This advertisement reproduced in the Spring 1950 Farm Album demonstrates just how hard it is for us to predict the future. Horses have been replaced by a little electric tractor in this 1891 catalog picture, but a nineteenth century binder is still processing wheat into sheaves for a threshing machine. Our imaginations just aren't big enough to figure out what is coming in the future.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Crankin' It Up

Over on my YouTube channel I had a request for the name of the song on the flip side of "The Mocking Bird," a whistling novelty song I posted a long time ago. After looking through four record cabinets and six file drawers, I found it! The flip side is another whistling novelty, the "Tout Passe Waltz," performed by Guido Gialdini. Have a listen to an unusual record made by an exceptionally talented man, who probably met a very sad and tragic end. I was very glad to find this record, but after reading about the artist on Wikipedia, I am a bit wiped out.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What's Old Is New Again...

but it could have been thought out a little better. A little over a century ago, Henry Ford put two petcocks on his Model T so you could check the oil. The oil should run strongly out of the lower petcock, and dribble out of the top one. It was an easy system to use and it worked well. You could check the oil by reaching under, but you did not need to jack up a Model T to do that.

Our 2008 Ford Explorer does not have a dipstick for checking the automatic transmission fluid. Instead, it has a plug in the bottom of the pan with another plug in the middle, which is at the bottom of a stand pipe for checking the fluid level. The concept is good, but in practice it is not easy without a lift. Checking the transmission fluid level is supposed to be done with the car warmed up, sitting level, with the engine running. The home mechanic must lift the entire car and have it sitting safely on jack stands in order to check the fluid level, or to change the fluid and put in the proper amount.

I jacked up the car, set it on stands, and also blocked the wheels for good measure. I took out the little plug, and drained out a quart, then took out the big plug and drained out the rest of the transmission fluid. I dropped the pan, and the reusable gasket (!!!!) stayed in place on the transmission body.

You can see the little standpipe for setting your fluid level in this shot, and the magnet for capturing metal from transmission wear. The total fluid collected was just under five quarts.

The new filter, which is held in place by two bolts, and the cleaned-up transmission pan. I poured in three quarts of new fluid before I lifted the pan into place, and bolted it under the car.

Here is the part that is different from dipstick transmissions. You have to pump the new fluid up through the standpipe, run in the plug, warm up your transmission, and with the engine running, check the fluid level by removing the little plug again. The fluid should drip well, or run out fairly strongly. It took a few tries to make it drip to suit me. I kept track and it took five quarts, plus 23 ounces. Our Explorer is the 2008, V-6, five speed version. The V-8 has a different transmission, so you will have to measure what you drain, then fill and check as I did if you have the V-8 Explorer.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The BEST Flatwater Canoe Trip In The Country

It's not too early to begin planning if you want to take the best family canoe vacation in all of the US. The Green River in Utah, from just below the town of Green River to the confluence with the Colorado is over 100 miles of secluded desert relaxation and beautiful scenery. You will need to make some calls to arrange for an outfitter, and pick up a river guide book to begin your orientation.

The Belknap guide to the Canyonlands is a waterproof book with large scale maps that will help you keep track of where you are, and the miles you travel each day.
Your outfitter will probably put you in at Crystal Geyser, five miles below the town of Green River, and before you know it, you will be running into sandstone scenery like this.
You will want to make this trip last ten days to really get relaxed, so when you start out you will be carrying lots of water in the bottom of your canoes. Food and camping gear should be in waterproof containers in case you have a spill, but that hasn't happened in our group in two separate trips. There are only a few places on the entire trip where you will see a riffle in the water.

You should plan each day on the river so you begin and end early. It is common for winds to kick up in the desert in the middle of the day, and the wind can make paddling difficult. A few of the camping spots are difficult to tie up and unload in, so it is best to arrive early and have plenty of time to set up for the evening.
The scenery cannot be beat.

EJ began paddling his own canoe on river trips when he was eleven years old.
He has turned out to be a real travelin' man.

The view from Horse Bottom at sunset, looking upstream.

Butte of the Cross; actually two buttes.

Exploring around Turk's Head

After your week or two floating down the Green River, your outfitter will meet you at the confluence and jet-boat you back to Moab on the Colorado. We have used Tex's Riverways to put us in and bring us back two times, and have had very good service. There are other outfitters in Moab, and I am sure if you do an internet search you can find them. Tex's website has lots of information to help you plan your trip, and you should start planning now if you want to go this summer.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hart-Parr Catalog: The Second Installment

We will hop right in where we left off last time and give you ten more pages of the old Hart-Parr catalog. Click on each page to enlarge for reading or saving to your hard drive.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Not My Victrola/Crankin' It Up: Prohibition Twofer

"Everybody Wants A Key To My Cellar" is another Prohibition comedy song performed by Bert Williams. Babrahmson posted this on YouTube, with a nice slide show of historic photographs.

"How Are You Going To Wet Your Whistle When The Whole Darn World Goes Dry" is a re-post of a Billy Murray comedy song which was published before Prohibition came into effect on January 16, 1920

Here It Comes Again!

Back To The Old Grind!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Weekend Steam: Not So Good-Old-Days

The Spring, 1950 "Farm Album" has this sad photo of a common event from the Good-Old-Days." Leroy Blaker, Alvordton, Ohio submitted the photo, and a newspaper article from the Hudson Post Gazette (Michigan), which tells about this fatal accident in July, 1886.

"A new 10 H.P. Advance No. 456 steam engine and the first to be seen in this vicinity was headed for a field just east of Hudson. As the engine passed the Brown school house, a small boy asked his mother if he might ride on it. She consented but made him promise to jump off when he reached the bridge. As the engine approached the bridge the boy scrambled back over the boiler and on to the water wagon where he dropped off as the engine touched the bridge. While the boy watched, the engine plunged through the wooden timbers into Bean Creek, carrying the driver and the engine tender with it.
The boy turned and fled for home, where he told his mother the engine had broken through the bridge. She asked if anyone was hurt and he replied he did not know. She then sent him for his father...and the men hitched a team to a wagon and headed for the accident.
The young boy ran back through the fields beating the men to the scene, and found a small crowd assembled, who were hurriedly searching the wreckage for him, since they had been told by the driver that the boy was with them, and there was a hat identical to the one the youngster was wearing floating in the water. The hat later proved to be the one belonging to the man killed.
The engine tender, who was killed was Michael O'Riley, and the driver of the engine who was injured was Jim Donnelly. The boy who obeyed his mother and jumped off, thereby escaping certain death, is Dan Brown, who was nine years old at the time....
The engine was later restored to use by Johnny O'Riley, brother of the deceased, and was used for many more years."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

That's More Like It!

It occurred to me that I have posted a couple pictures in recent months of beat up WC Allis-Chalmers tractors that were badly in need of restoration. This WC was on display last summer at the Evansville SIAM show, and it is a good example of how a tractor should look.

They do clean up nice.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wood Cutting Weather

Southern Illinois actually made it to Sub-Zero over the weekend, and we took advantage of the weather to work up a tree that had tipped over on the pond bank. It has been down for two years, and this is the first time the pond froze over so we could get to the tree with a chainsaw. Firing up the Kubota Diesel was the first order of business, and a bucketful of hot coals under the oil pan warmed it up in short order so we could haul wood.

The tree was a gnarly old post oak, and the upper limbs were nice and dry, and ready to use. The trunk was over two feet in diameter, and even though I cut the rounds short, we had to split them in place before we could move them. The knotty post oak wood was all that our 35 ton splitter could handle. We were glad that we didn't buy a smaller splitter. We finished up moving all the wood off the ice after dark. The temp came up near freezing on Monday, and we had a wave of big snow flakes come through. Next week we will work on Terra-Firma again. One thing I realized as we cut on the pond is that you don't have to be careful about keeping your saw out of the dirt. "Rocking" your saw on ice doesn't hurt it a bit.

Monday's Snow