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How Not to Display a Case 50 HP

1881case10hp

Sponsor
Last Subscription Date
10/18/2019
I guess the moral of this story is if your going to donate old iron, give it to a good friend, or to a show that is big enough and has the right people to take care of it and love it.
Although it changes none of the good points you make, this facility appears to be a private entity ( family held LLC) rather than a traditional Non-Profit museum. As far as is known the LLC bought the engine at auction. Oddly enough the family is one of the biggest home builders in AZ. And they cant build a shed or ramada for the engine? Irony indeed.
 

mikefrommontana

Registered
" quote " Most Museums are short on Finances.

Brain's too.
Yes, most small museums that do not specialize in old iron have a tremendous knowledge deficit. Coming from the direction of letterpress printing, and especially hot metal casting (Linotype anybody?) I can tell you that there are probably as many Linotype (and Intertype too/Ford vs Chevy) as there are steam traction engines, but in the entire country I think that maybe there are 100 active machines.

Without an ongoing knowledge base to support the technology, old iron become orphaned, and then abandoned in the scheme of many museum. It can also be that the museum had a cadre (or a single person) who championed and kept up the old iron collection, but when that person leaves, the old iron gets left behind.

I think that while there are a lot of steam clubs out there, a lot of us are lone eagles and the notion of working on equipment, spending our own time and money for materials and supplies, on an engine that isn't ours.... well that doesn't happen often. Not sure how that might be resolved, but if we cannot conjure up a solution, we will see more sad stories such as this.

One thing that might be a value is to provide information (in lieu of actual participation at a museum) on the care and feeding of old steam equipment. The steam railroad locomotive fraternity has such a guide: Steam Locomotives on Display: Their Care and Maintenance. While the book was written nearly 50 years ago, but it still relevant (alas not available online) https://www.amazon.com/Steam-locomotives-display-Their-maintenance/dp/B00072XHDI
 

1881case10hp

Sponsor
Last Subscription Date
10/18/2019
I think that while there are a lot of steam clubs out there, a lot of us are lone eagles and the notion of working on equipment, spending our own time and money for materials and supplies, on an engine that isn't ours.... well that doesn't happen often. Not sure how that might be resolved, but if we cannot conjure up a solution, we will see more sad stories such as this.

One thing that might be a value is to provide information (in lieu of actual participation at a museum) on the care and feeding of old steam equipment. The steam railroad locomotive fraternity has such a guide: Steam Locomotives on Display: Their Care and Maintenance. While the book was written nearly 50 years ago, but it still relevant (alas not available online) https://www.amazon.com/Steam-locomotives-display-Their-maintenance/dp/B00072XHDI
Thank you the information Mike. A live link to the guide you mention can be found here https://web.archive.org/web/20080517150051/http://members.aol.com/belpaire/steamcm.htm
 

tharper

Registered
When people donate things to a Museum, They fail to realize that what they donate, still NEED's someone that has the expertise & knowledge to maintain things like a Steam Engine to keep it from deteoriateing over time. Most Museums are short on Finances.
Dale
Correct, it also depends on the nature of the donation and any agreements made. For instance we have a wonderful Lombard log hauler that is on long term loan to the museum. Its in operating condition and only needs a boiler inspection. On a regular basis we clean it, grease it and move it about to keep thinks limbered up. However, through the wishes of the family and liability concerns (lawyers always look for the deepest pockets) we have consented to not operating it under steam.

We have one local museum that has totally lost the plot with their collection. They have no knowledge other than what is on the signs and no interest in preventive maintenance to at least arrest decay. In fact a couple of years ago they hauled the Steam Lombard in their collection out of the building it long was displayed in, moved it across the road and stuffed and mounted it in an open air pavilion to advertise the museum. They have yet to reinstall the drive chains and lubrication to facilitate the move appears to have been minimal if at all. This is a machine that is recognized as a Mechanical Engineering Landmark and has an attached plaque to honor it. Again, those who understood and cared are long gone.
 

Odin

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
07/13/2019
I don't think those who know and care are long gone. There are still people around that know, and some younger folks into this that are willing to take up the shovel and keep the steam high.

But many of those people are also not willing to tolerate club or museum politics, and even the slightest exposure to such will make them pack up their tools and be gone for good. Museums and indeed many clubs have issues with that, and have driven away knowledgeable members and strong backs by letting their organization's politics get in the way of the mission they should be keeping.

This is especially important with younger members, many of which can't afford an engine of their own and would indeed be willing to donate time effort and even small amounts of funds to adopting and caring for a club-owned engine. That age group has enough politics in their lives already on the job and in dealing with the chaos of society, so it is critical to keep things running smoothly and laid back when they are volunteering or they'll get frustrated and leave.
 

tharper

Registered
it is critical to keep things running smoothly and laid back when they are volunteering or they'll get frustrated and leave.
Very true. I quit as a volunteer on one steam restoration for exactly that reason. I wanted to work and enjoy the friendships etc. Instead I got yelled at by a lunatic once too often - so that was that. Case in point... Most of the backhead fittings for the locomotive had been removed decades before and stored helter-skelter around the property. Myself and another volunteer worked all one weekend to gather it all up and dry fit it and label it so we knew what we had, what was missing and what didn't meet code or needed to be replaced. Instead we got screamed at about dangerous fittings and loose connections as if what we were doing was meant to be permanent! Never went back and that locomotive is still rusting away today. Keep it fun, make sure they are doing meaningful work and getting ample hands-on opportunity. Nothing is worse than volunteering only to sit and twiddle your thumbs watching others.
 
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