«Previous    Next»
Museum Volunteers Revived Vintage Engines
Visitors to the Yamhill Valley Heritage Center in McMinnville, Ore. are often surprised to discover two restored and working steam engines dating from the early 1900’s.
A 1912 Peerless U1 steel-geared hauling engine was originally used to plow Oregon fields. The engine was donated to the Yamhill County Historical Society (YCHS) about 20 years ago and it was restored by volunteers.
The second engine is a 1912 Aultman Taylor 20-60 that originally powered a nearby sawmill. The “20” in the name refers to the drawbar horsepower and the “60” is the belt horsepower. The museum has used the engine to power its thresher during three recent harvests.
Keeping the engines running smoothly is a continuing challenge says Eileen Brazil, one of the volunteer caretakers for the engines. “We listen for knocks, look for looseness, and address any problems we find. We must keep them greased and oiled, clean the wood ashes from the firebox, and drain water out of the boiler, making sure the boiler is dry to prevent corrosion and rust.”
If the engines must be moved after the water has been drained, Brazil says that’s done by using air from an air compressor to provide pressure to move the cylinder and therefore move the engine.
She says the engines don’t travel off the grounds because moving them requires a low-boy trailer. They can’t drive on paved roads because the steel wheels will damage the pavement.
Brazil became interested in steam power after working with gasoline engines. Her co-caretaker, Vern Yeager, has worked with gas and diesel engines. She adds that a volunteer master machinist, Frank Shurman, has machined and fabricated “countless parts” for the engines, because used parts are hard to find or, if found, are generally beyond repair.
“Working on the engines is fascinating because steam is very quiet and powerful,” Brazil says. “When the steam engines are operating, you can still hear people talking and other equipment running, which is helpful during threshing demonstrations at the museum.”
She adds that, unlike an internal-combustion engine that only receives power for the downward stroke, the steam engine’s steam cylinder receives power on both sides of the stroke. “When a pollution-free heat source is provided, the entire engine is pollution-free. I hope we’ll see more use of steam in the future.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Yamhill Valley Heritage Center, 11275 SW Durham Lane, McMinnville, Ore. 97128 (ph 503-472-2842 www.yamhillcountyhistory.org).

  Click here to download page story appeared in.

  Click here to read entire issue

To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.
Order the Issue Containing This Story
2022 - Volume #46, Issue #6