Model of American La France Steam Fire Engine

Case Place

Subscriber
I have taken on a new project. I have acquired the castings and drawings from Coles Power for their American La France Steam Fire Engine. I have seen several models over the years and they were beautiful. I am looking forward to building something smaller than the 1/3 Scale CASE 65 and something that will actually sit on my workbench to tinker with. I sent off for the drawings this past January in anticipation of starting this project after the completion of the CASE. I received the castings about 6 weeks ago and soon there after started to work on the main frame.

I have been tracking down full size American La France steam equipment. There are several here in NC. The Raleigh and Durham fire departments still have theirs and the Greensboro Historical Museum also has one. All these departments have been very gracious to allow me to spend time taking pictures and going over the equipment with an eye for details to apply to my model.

My two oldest grandsons and I took a trip to North Charleston, SC to visit the American La France equipment museum. What a special treat that was. They had examples of their fire fighting equipment from the very beginning to the present.

The third picture is the unit at station #24 in Raleigh, NC. The second picture is a Silsby in the front window of the American La France Museum. The first picture is a beautiful American La France steam fire engine at the same museum.

Next posting I will share some some pictures of the frame work of the model and some of my plans. Salute: Larry:wave:
 

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gbritnell

New member
Hi Larry, that's quite a project you've got there. It makes a magnificent model when finished. I have only seen a few of them over the years but with all the polished brass on them they are quite eye catching. There's a fellow named Lou Chenot who is currently working on a Deusenberg automobile. He built one and I think it went up for sale at the Cabin Fever fall show this year. I have no idea what it went for. Best of luck on your project.
gbritnell
 

Case Place

Subscriber
Yes, it will be quite the project. There is a lot of opportunities to do some free lance work with this model. For instance, the wheels come as a aluminum castings. This model is just screaming for "wood" spoke wheels. Instead of a piece of aluminum sheet for the floor board, I am going to use wood as on the original. These are just a few of the things I want to incorporate in the model. These changes and others are why I have been chasing down some original engines. Besides the kid in me still loves to chase after fire engines. I have a good start on the frame work as the attached pictures reflect. The project will gravitate to the leaf springs. The casting set came with cast aluminum springs. They are non-functional and are fairly ugly. I have purchased some 3/8" wide blue spring steel and will attempt to make some authentic working leaf springs. The following link was quite a shock to me. When you have the chance, check it out. http://www.ministeam.com/acatalog/Sale_Items_and_Used_Items.html

If anyone has any comments, thoughts and/or suggestions, I am always open to new ideas. Salute: Larry:wave:
 

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ghart3

New member
Larry, Started one of these and hope to get back on it and finish this winter. The aluminum wheels took much time to finish the rough castings and don't think it would of taken much more time to have made the wheels as they are suppose to be. Wish now that I had done wood wheels. Made an extra set of covers (? is that called lagging?) for the engine. Anyway, they are no use to me and if you would like you can have them. Possible might have caps that go on the top also.
Gary


 

Case Place

Subscriber
Gary, what I see in the picture, looks awesome. I hope mine will turn out as well as yours. I will keep you posted on the the cylinder wraps. I Like what I see and will give it due consideration. I have a particular overall look that I am trying to achieve. Are those cylinder lubricators on the top of your cylinders ? Some of the full size engines that I have seen had as many as 4 methods to lubricate the cylinders. Salute: Larry:wave:
 

Mike Ferreira

New member
Hi Larry
I Built the Live Steam American LaFrance on the ministeam web site.This is a great model and was a lot of fun to build .Sounds like you have a lot of good ideas for yours I am sure you will enjoy it.If you have any questions or would like some pictures let me know.
Mike
 

QuickJ

Member
Case Place,
Here are a couple of more photos for your references.
I took these at the show in North Iowa last month.

They are not the best, but may be of some use.

I have always loved that kit, Good luck with the build.
 

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Clif Roemmich

Subscriber
Attached is apicture of the engine I built. When I took the engine to shows I had many comments that this was the only engine anyone had seen with the team of horses. The horses are from the Stone Company and the harness was built by a vendor in Nebraska.
 

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ghart3

New member
Are those cylinder lubricators on the top of your cylinders ? Some of the full size engines that I have seen had as many as 4 methods to lubricate the cylinders. Salute: Larry:wave:
They are cylinder lubricators. Don't recall if copied from a picture or from one seen locally. Gary
 

Case Place

Subscriber
Thanks for the photos. This is the first full size one I have seen with the double flywheels other than the picture that Cole sends out with his casting kit. Larry
 

jlelandthomas

New member
Hi please keep us informed on your progress as I think they are the best looking one in the world I never been able to aquire one but I will love watching it go together.
Johnny
 

Tad Wicks

New member
Case Place, I see some nice mini-bolts in your pix, along with the grenade:D I have been making all of mine (that's nuts and bolts, not grenades :O) since I have not yet found a source for #0-#4 hex or square headed, ''steel'' bolts and nuts that are scaled properly. Would you mind sharing your source for these little time consumers? Thanks Tad
 

Case Place

Subscriber
Hey Tad, I purchased the little hex head bolts, nuts and washers from Coles Power. They do list them down to #0 and in steel or brass material. Cole Power has a web site and their latest price sheet is in PDF format. Scroll to catalog page 39 on the price sheet and you will see what they have to offer.

http://www.colespowermodels.com/index.html

They are great folks to deal with. After receiving their washers, I have decided to make my own. I want to put a slight radius on the edge that is under the nut. This will help with the painting and give a better finishing touch. I have found that paint does not like to cover sharp edges.

The grenade ?? Well, while my grandsons and I were in Charleston, SC visiting the American LaFrance Museum we also visited the aircraft carrier and submarine they have moored at Patriots Point. My 10 year old wanted a grenade as a keepsake. Then I bought one to have sitting on my work bench for folks to wonder about. Little Sam calls them gornades.

Salut: Larry:wave:
 

Case Place

Subscriber
After going to 4 steam and tractor shows and the Scottish Highland Games at Stone Mountain, GA. over the past few months, I have been able to get back to my fire engine project. These past few weeks I have made some progress on the fifth wheel assembly and my version of a "working" leaf spring. I say "working" because the the springs that came with the casting kit are just that, aluminum castings. They are somewhat rough and some of the detail was sanded away at the foundry. I made some brass end pieces and silver soldered them to the bottom leaf. I am using 0.032" thick by 0.312" wide blue tempered spring steel. I use a Whitney "Junior" hand punch to put a 0.062" diameter hole in each end of the bottom spring leaf. I drilled and tapped a 2-56 threaded hole in the brass end pieces. I place a little bit of silver solder flux on the mating surfaces and fasten them together with a 2-56 brass screws. The blueing has to be removed before soldering. Then I cut several more pieces of spring steel in shorter lengths to make up the leaf spring package. I am able to form the curvature by hand. I am relatively happy with the outcome and will proceed with the same technique with the other 4 leaf spring assemblies. Salute, Larry:wave:
 

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2manyhobbies

New member
Larry:

You never cease to amaze me with the attention to detail that you have! I look forward to following the rest of your Fire Engine build.

Brad
 

Windables

New member
thank you for those pictures as my name is winfield silsby twas my great great grand father i been playing with iron since i was 6 years old thanks
 

Case Place

Subscriber
You are most welcome for the pictures. Several months ago my grandsons and I went to the American LaFrance Museum in North Charleston, SC. In a bay window inside the entrance way was a beautiful Silsby Fire Engine. I have attached a few pictures of this remarkable machine for your viewing pleasure. Can you share any information about your great great grandfather ? Salute, Larry :wave:
 

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