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About Locomobile

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    Dearborn, Michigan
  • Interests:
    Steam carriages

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  1. Al, Here is a diagram of the fuel system we are discussing. No pumping required. just fill the fuel tanks and pop a hundred er so psi in the air tank and it's good until it needs to be refueled. Yes the steam automatic controls the burner and works off the steam pressure. I carry a 12 volt motorcycle battery and 12 volt compressor that will make 100 psi with me in a gym bag to the shows. it's a very easy way of doing the fuel system. The early cars didn't use the regulator, so the fuel pressure was continually dropping. I'm not quite sure how they handled the pilot fuel pressure, they may have just ran it off of the same pressure as the main fuel, the first Locomobiles had no pilot light, it was just high and low burner. The burners are a bit sensitive to fuel pressure, this method keeps the fuel pressure constant until the tank is empty. On 3 gallons of fuel, I can go about 50 miles. So plenty of fuel for all day running around at a show etc. I just fuel up every morning. The pilot is situated under the vaporizer for starting up and igniting the burner. Once going the burner which is also under the vaporizer, heats it as well. The pilot has it's own J-tube shaped vaporizer and must be heated with a propane torch to get it going, only takes a few minutes though. -Ron
  2. Al, It must be the picture? It is 19" diameter, same as the burner and the center drum is 14" long. The drawing dimensions are near exact for the coils, and exact for the center drum. I had the coils wound before I did the layout and I took measurements right off of them. The coils can touch, it would be better if they didn't as you know as an abrading precaution. The coils don't move much at all with thermal expansion, and there is no shock as there would be with a pump. I have a certification on the center drum, it is ASTM A106 schedule 80 seamless pipe, but it doesn't really have to be. since the drum is small and the hoop stresses are low, most people simply use A53 welded seam pipe. My coils are A53 1/4" welded seam. I've never had any issue with them, going on year six?. A dirty little secret about pipe is the majority of 1/4" pipe is still made in the USA. 1/2" ans 3/4" sch 40 is all Chinese. People freak out about the coils and the material, a total failure of a coil, clean break is extremely unlikely, even if it did, it would simply be like opening a steam valve. It's all inside of an enclosure, startling, yes, catastrophic, no. With 250 psi on and considering the cross sectional area of the pipe, there is only about 40 pounds of force trying to push it out of the shell, and it's welded in. You've worked in the industry, how many times have you seen pipes just break for no reason? All the components mentioned above are being used at about 1/10 of the suggested working pressures. The Ofeldt boiler is very safe. My opinion, with all things considered, the Ofeldt is the best boiler design anyone ever came up with. -Ron
  3. I'm surprised someone wouldn't know this. It's been common knowledge for many years now. Many states and the Federal govt have passed laws protecting peoples' privacy on line. It ain't the wild west anymore. http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/publishing-personal-and-private-information
  4. Al, The Ottoway is probably teh best route to go and it looks pretty simple to build, except all those tiny holes in the burner grate which is 321? stainless, I'm thinking they do those with a laser. Don Bourdon, sells these burners ready to go and they work very well. For a first project and lots of unknown territory that is a probably good option. Burners can be very troublesome. The Maxwell pilot works very well and is used by a bunch of people. Cruban is another type. I think the late John Packard had a version of vaporizing pilot also. All work well. I have those plans for the Ofeldt boiler from Reliable. it would be difficult to build and it's tall. That is an issue with these steamers, has to be short enough to fit in the body under the seat and still have chain clearance. I think it uses 3/4" pipe for coils too, very difficult to form up. The body height is only like 17" and there needs to room for an exhaust plenum with insulation, so that limits the boiler height to about 14". Speaking of coils , there is a guy in Southern Minnesota that has a coil winder. he's a real nice guy and he would probably wind them for you. When you're sure you want to do this, I will get you his contact info and you can ask him. Also, the vice President of Steam car club in Western Michigan can wind coils also. Attached is a picture of my Ofeldt -Ron
  5. No, but posting a person's personal information on the internet without their permission is.
  6. Hi Al, It is true that there are several folks that endeavor in to steam cars and seem to experiment for many years, but I think that is their intention, to build something better. That is why it is referred to as a "tinkerer's hobby". As long as a person stays with known fuel system and boiler type and control designs, the success rate is much higher. There are a few different common fuel system types. - Air pressure over liquid to deliver fuel to the burner (what I use), this is the earliest and most common method, White used this method as well throughout production. As I understand it, Stanley had a patent on their superior system. - Fuel pressure delivered by a pump to a small accumulator, i.e. Later Stanleys and apparently Mason too. The drawback is the accumulator is small and the pumps only run when the engine does, so at fire up which can be a considerable amount of time, the operator must use a handpump to keep the fuel pressure up, and results in considerable labor. Some use an electric fuel pump to resolve this issue. Once the vehicle is moving, it works great and the main fuel tank is at atmospheric pressure which is inherently safer. - Fuel atomized with a Beckett style gun burner adapted to run at vehicle voltages. This is by far the easiest, safest and controllable of all three, it's drawback is that is uses considerable current to run the burner, which the vehicle must generate and results in a negative to overall horsepower. Abner Doble used this system on all of his later steamers. There were others that used a gun burner as well. The gun burners are loud. Doble overcame the losses, by simply going bigger, his burners were putting out over a million BTU. My burner is around 300k which is a bit large for Stanhope. Plans for the Ofeldt like in my car don't really exist, I have some work drawings I made up attached here. Burners... The most common is the fuel vaporizing type burner. If you've ever operated a Coleman Stove, they operate the same way. Fuel is boiled to a gas in a vaporizer and delivered to the mixing tube, where it is mixed with air and burnt. Vaporizing burners come in all different types of configuration, from simply Whitney/Stanley types to those that resemble the combustion chamber of a jet engine. Emitting fuel in a cyclonic flow. Incidentally the Ottoway burner was designed by Herb Ottoway, he was an engineer for the Coleman company - small world. -The gun burner as mentioned above -Several different experimental types, from spinning cup type to fuel injectors from modern cars and many more. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. My opinion, but for a small hobby steamer, the Whitney/Stanley/Locomobile/Baker/Ofeldt/Ottoway and others type burners are the most convenient to use. And too in keeping in credo with 1901 steam car technology, it would be sacrilegious to hang a big old 12 volt battery on to run the burner. I have no electric anything on my car. it is the anti-tesla The air over liquid fuel system is also very easy and reliable for all day operation if set up properly. Steam Automobile Club of America has plans for the Ottoway in their store. -Ron
  7. The owners manual is titled "The New Mason Model C" and it is dated Mar 15th 1905. The drawings would predate the actual release of the product. It really doesn't matter, I doubt there are very many people concerned about it Thanks for posting that, I've never seen any of the original drawings before. Al, That Strelinger engine sounds like an old pressure cooker with the little rattling relief valve. That is exactly what it sounds like. Ben, I'm reading in the back of this manual and it says Prescott used the Mason engine exclusively. These are testimonial letters in the 1905 manual, however they mention that they received the engines "last year" so that would have been 1904, it's definitely 1904, and that makes sense, they began advertising them in late 03 and shipped them in 04. Must be a second version of the manual. Another Puzzle. Supposedly Stanley patented the fuel system with a fuel pump and a small reservoir in 1906 and the reason no one else was able to use it. But, in this 1905 manual they are talking about the Mason fuel system with a fuel pump, regulator and small accumulator, exactly what Stanley patented a year later. ?? So many questions And unfortunately most of those questions will never be answered, so little info and the people that knew have passed on. It's fun to try to decipher it anyway. -Ron
  8. A 3X4 twin is considered around 10 hp. Of course, horsepower ratings on steam engines are irrelevant other than suggested mechanical capability of operation, it depends how much steam is supplied and RPM it is ran at. My buddy has a small Strelinger coke bottle engine on a steam bike which is rated for 1/4 hp, he's pushing about 3-1/2 hp through it. 700 psi and 1400 RPM. Any steam engine not piped to a boiler is zero horsepower A steam plant is all about the fire first, then the boiler, then the engine. A steam engine's only purpose is to turn the power of the boiler in to work. They are heat engines and it all starts with the fire. -Ron
  9. That is reportedly an early 1898 Stanley. These pictures have labels, but it is difficult to verify the accuracy of those labels. It looks about right though. -Ron
  10. Al, the Mason C is a much larger engine, I think the little 70 weighs around 50 pounds and the Mason C is close to a hundred pounds. The Mason C was a beefed up replacement engine. The little Mason had only 3/8" diameter brass piston rods. Very lightly built and limited to steam pressures below 150 psi. The Ofeldt boiler didn't come out until around 1901. They built their own car under the same name and went on selling steam systems that were used to retrofit early steamers. The Ofeldts were brilliant steam engineers. After the steam car era was over, they marketed their system as a steam cleaner, needing a name for this new product, the advertising agent chose his daughter's name, "Jenny". And yes that is where the same Steam Jenny came from and that company is still in business as"Jenny Products". Different control scheme between water tube and firetube? There is no difference other than the water tube needs automatic controls more due to the fact they require more frequent tending. -Ron
  11. Hi Ben, Thanks for the information. The Stanley patent application drawing is for features that they patented. They patented all of their changes and anything not covered in the Whitney patent. The serial numbers on the early Mason engines are all low it seems. Have you seen any 4 digit numbers? I haven't. They must have started new numbers for each customer as you know, many early manufacturers used the engine numbers as vehicle identification numbers. As I understand it, the first Locomobiles had no serial number as well. Which makes sense, if Mason wasn't numbering engines, Locomobile had no number to use. Yep, The Stanleys wire wound the boiler and cranked the pressure up to 250 psi from 150 psi of the Whitney and outperformed every one. The Kit Foster book was largely how the surviving Stanley remembered it (Correction, that was the Thomas Derr book of 1932, which Foster undoubtedly used as a resource). As they say, history is written by the victors. That book has many people believing things that aren't true. Stanley obviously had a bias against Whitney after unsuccessfully defending two patent suits brought by him and Locomobile. Many times when I'm out with my car at shows, people will remark "Oh that's a Stanley" I just nod or if I have time I explain it to them. Anyways, it's an interesting puzzle to solve. I think it's important that Whitney is given the credit he deserves for his contributions to the early automobile, instead of it being buried and misrepresented in a few pages of a book written many years after the events took place. As I've written before, I feel the Whitney Motorette that survives in England is the most important historical vehicle there is for the US automotive industry. It is the car that really started the mass production of US automobiles. The Stanley land speed car of 1906 and the land speed steamer of Louis Ross in 1903-1905.
  12. The guy did a very good thing putting all that together, but I would take some of the info on the virtual steam car museum with a grain of salt. Not his fault, that is how this research goes, lots of back and forth on it. They claimed that someone else designed the early Mason, that is not true, George Whitney designed that engine for Mason, he even has it in his 1896 patent application. In Whitneys handwritten letters he states that emphatically - "I designed that engine for them". Take note of the crosshead how it heels on one side only, that is a marine engine design feature, Whitney was a marine engine designer, Boston tech (MIT) grad mechanical engineer. Lot's of bad info floating around the web. I was reading Wikipedia the other day, and it said the Locomobile steamer was unfavorable due to it's poor performance along with many other blatant inaccuracies. The Locomobiles and similar steamers were the fastest thing on four wheels. The early steamers were the first police and fire department vehicles. They also wrote in the wikipedia the Stanleys built a few hundred cars before selling to Locomobile, not according to my research, some of the old articles from the day said they built a few crude cars that were essentially copies of the Whitney Motorette, they were even sued over the same because the design belonged to Whitney. The Locomobile body style, the Stanley's had nothing to do with it. They sold their "automobile business", which was a few cars, parts for 200 and customer orders for 200 more. Somewhere on that virtual steam website they have the Whitney Motorette labeled Whitney 1901. Way off. Al, my understanding is they built the small Mason referred to as a model 70 2-1/2 X 3-1/2 Twin, a few years later in 1905, they came out with the Model C 2-3/4 X 3-1/2. I say 1905 because the ads say write us for an owners manual, I have an original owners manual and it is dated 1905, not 1903 like that website claims. Again, not accurate. As I understand it, Mason built one larger vertical chain drive engine for delivery vehicles, a 3X4 twin. A buddy of mine has one and they are rare. The 70 had only a water pump, The Mason C had a water and fuel pump. look at the body design in the Whitney patent, then look at the early Stanley from 1898. The above is how I understand it from the research I've done. -Ron
  13. Al, The way the exhaust systems worked for flue gas, there was two different "modes". The T-pipe that you see on the back was really just for firing up and there was a duct that ran from that to the top of the boiler. If you look close at these pictures above and even the #2 car, there is a pipe that extends down near the differential, that is the actual flue gas exhaust. How it worked: There is a tube that goes down through the water tank about 3" diameter, it actually tapers toward the bottom. The engine exhaust was piped in to the this tube with an elbow downward. When the engine was running it would pull the exhaust gases down through that tube. It would dispense with some of steam cloud (which people complained about, as it also startled horses) by condensing and also heat the water tank a little bit. The #2 car may have had openings along side the seat for firing up. The White steamer and others had similar opening under the seat. They look like a row of port holes. The #2 car likely had saddle tanks for water under the seats, with one of those tanks having an flue gas exhaust as I'm describing. The very early 1899 Locos had no provision to vent the exhaust gas during firing up and relied on the downward tube only. Matter of fact that short T-pipe with a panel back seat will not work at all at high speeds. I found that out the hard way. I put one on mine and had to take it back off, it was shoving the fire out the bottom of the burner. I don't have that tube in the water tank, I chose to omit it and it has a brass tailpipe for exhaust (pic attached). It works just fine without it, but I cannot run a T-pipe on it, as the wind comes around the seat on both sides and pushes on the ends of the pipe and it won't draw. That T-pipe was a bone of contention for these cars and many people offered aftermarket solutions to solve the issues. Included pics of the muffler with feedwater heater coil in it. And these modern day auto engineers think exhaust heat recovery is something new -Ron
  14. They have those pictures above labelled 1899 Locomobile, but I don't think it is one. I'm guessing it's a one-off of some kind. The #2 pic exhausting? I have no idea, looks like the folks in the back would have had hot knees. -Ron