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Author Topic: Lectricity History  (Read 6875 times)

Frank DeWitt

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Re: Lectricity History
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2015, 06:07:09 pm »

Many of the old steam tractors (by the way, the word 'tractor' is a contraction of 'traction motor', as distinguished from a 'stationary motor') also had two operator positions: a fireman and an engineer. The fireman maintained the steam pressures; the engineer operated the engine.

I have related driving a traction engine to driving a tractor while cleaning the garage.  There is a lot to do.  BTW we have a lot of geeks on this list, so if you have never done it, think about how you add water to a boiler that is running at 125 PSI.  Yes a steam driven pump is one way but there is a more common way that is simpler.
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Steve M Smith

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Re: Lectricity History
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2015, 01:47:46 am »

Steve, You will understand this.  As you know, the stearing on a traction engine is not quick or precise.  I tool a class to operate and drive steam traction engines. We also got to drive a couple of locomotives and a steam roller.  The locomotives were easy to steer (Grin)

In the UK, you don't need a separate licence to drive a traction engine (a car licence is enough) but you do for a steam roller - but only because it's a roller and nothing to do with steam power.

The person controlling the engine is officially the driver.  The person steering has fewer (if any) responsibilities.  Over here, they are usually driven by a two person team.  It's rare to see one person operating them.  I did quite well with steering, but I did manage to get stuck on the grass verge once getting out of the way of something.  It required reversing out of.

There is something satisfying about being in control of nine tons of metal with no brakes!

This is the one I had a go on: http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/tractors/images/7/7f/Allchin_-_1415_-_The_Havenstreet_Queen.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width/529?cb=20091017174253

When I volunteered for the seam railway many years ago, there was one new recruit who needed a lot of convincing that locomotives didn't have steering wheels!


Steve.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 01:50:18 am by Steve M Smith »
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Lectricity History
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2015, 01:22:04 pm »

In the UK, you don't need a separate licence to drive a traction engine (a car licence is enough) but you do for a steam roller - but only because it's a roller and nothing to do with steam power.

In the United States, vehicle licensing is handled by the individual states, not the Federal government. In every state, you need a license to operate a motor vehicle, but only on public roadways. Farm and construction machinery -- even if operated on a public roadway -- is not considered a motor vehicle in most states and therefore doesn't require a driver's license, but is required to have certain placards or lights if on the public road. (There are different classes of licenses for private or commercial vehicles, and for vehicles of different sizes and classifications.) Most states require a specific license for commercial boiler operation, whether the boiler is stationary (as a heating plant in a commercial building) or motive (as a locomotive or steam tractor in a commercial setting). However, a drivers license is not needed to operate a locomotive on rails (at least not in Washington state).

P.S. -- Almost all occupational licensing is handled by the states. I believe there are only three occupations that require an individual be federally licensed: aircraft mechanic, airplane pilot, and amateur radio operator. There are a few business operations that also require federal licenses, but those are awarded to business entities not necessarily individuals.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 01:28:34 pm by Jonathan Johnson »
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Frank DeWitt

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Re: Lectricity History
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2015, 02:09:23 pm »

To clear things up a bit. I said I needed to take a two day class to operate a traction engine. That class is required by the Rough & Tumble association in order to operate anything powered by steam on there grounds. They do it because they realize that boilers are not inherently dangerous but can be used in a manor that is dangerous. The first and last thing we were told. is know your water level.  The plus side is once completed you are welcome to operate there equipment as well as anything you bring.  I knew I would never own one so it was a way to get my hands on and in these tractors.

In some states (perhaps most) the boiler must be inspected and a max pressure is set by the state, but the operator is not required to show that he knows how to use the boiler or tractor. 
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Steve M Smith

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Re: Lectricity History
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2015, 02:15:32 pm »

In some states (perhaps most) the boiler must be inspected and a max pressure is set by the state, but the operator is not required to show that he knows how to use the boiler or tractor.
Over here, boilers for both road and rail locomotives have to have regular pressure tests for which a certificate is issued.


The plus side is once completed you are welcome to operate there equipment as well as anything you bring.  I knew I would never own one so it was a way to get my hands on and in these tractors.

That's why I'm going to do voluntary work at our local bus museum. I would love to own a Bristol Lodekka but can't afford one and have nowhere to put it!




Sorry Mike, we have turned your electricity thread into a steam thread! (and bus).


Steve.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 02:22:36 pm by Steve M Smith »
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Lectricity History
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2015, 07:18:38 pm »

Sorry Mike, we have turned your electricity thread into a steam thread! (and bus).

Should I rename this thread SteamPunk?
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Lectricity History
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2015, 08:38:53 pm »

Should I rename this thread SteamPunk?

I just found an entire community of hackers who convert weed-wacker 2-stroke gasoline engines into steam powered generators. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qby_5dZJhDA

And what the heck is a 10 KW Tesla Turbine? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvMLkbnXRPE

Now, we're back OT (sorta)  ::)
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 08:42:31 pm by Mike Sokol »
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Lectricity History
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2015, 09:01:05 am »

I have a 32 volt Delco plant that I would take antique gas engine shows along with some other
antique gas engines, unfortunately it hasn't been ran much lately.
Mine has an auto start function that when load draw would reach a certain level it would start the generator before the batteries would run out. I have a 32 volt toaster, some light bulbs and portable motor on a tripod stand base that was used to "electrify" formally gas engine powered household appliances and farm tools of the day. The idea was buy one motor and move it to where it was needed.
Most Delco systems had batteries to run the normal loads and the generator would run to supplement higher load demands and to recharge the batteries, kind of like hybrid cars do today!

That's a great piece of history.  Thanks for posting it.   It is amazing how fast things changed.  That add is from 1900 and as you wrote. most people didn't have electricity in there homes but they wanted it.  By 1930, 90% of urban America had the benefit of electricity but only 10% of rural America had been electrified.

The Delco light plant (32 volt DC) was invented in 1916 and everything you needed was offered with it, Lights, coffee maker, iron, water pump, ETC.

Kohler followed in 1928 with 115 volt AC or DC plants for farms.  A big selling feature of the Kohler light plant was that the lady of the house could get a "city" refrigerator.  The light plant automatically started and stopped on demand so it would run a refrigerator without any special wiring or attention.

BTW small generators for toys, and radios were available.  I saw a collection of hand cranked generators and others run by a small table top steam engine that were sold to operate electric trains, or charge radio batteries.

http://www.antiqbuyer.com/images/2015-M-Archive/Generate/IMG_2301.jpg

Frank DeWitt

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Re: Lectricity History
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2015, 09:44:18 am »

I have a 32 volt Delco plant that I would take antique gas engine shows

Very cool.  I would like to see it.  what shows do you attend?  Have you been to CoolSprings PA?  There was a guy there last year with a Delco light Plant and a Delco motor
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Lectricity History
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2015, 06:45:16 pm »

Very cool.  I would like to see it.  what shows do you attend?  Have you been to CoolSprings PA?  There was a guy there last year with a Delco light Plant and a Delco motor
I found this old ad for the Delco Light Plant, which let the farmer's wife do more chores using electricity such as churn the butter and do the laundry, even after it gets dark outside. So it's a win-win for the farmer. Not so sure about the farmer's wife... ;D
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Mike Sokol
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Re: Lectricity History
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2015, 06:45:16 pm »


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