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Str. Betsy Ann Bell

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Old 06-04-2009, 08:24 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: On Flintlock Farm on Gunpowder Road in Boone County, Kentucky
Posts: 777

Jim: I sure donno the answer but I can figure that with those TALL stacks that they had on those early boats (Lee 'n Natchez come to mind) produce many inches of water column of draft...being wood-burners, any light pieces of wood were more likely to be carried aloft than coal...the very reason that the old diamond stacks on locos gave way to simple pipes when they went to coal...those diamond stacks were there to catch the sparks and prevent brush fires. If you ever go to a steam tractor show, you might be treated to a spark show after dark. They hook the tractor to a fan or other simulated or real load, block the wheels, put her in full gear and open the throttle...a puffin' and workin' HARD. The engineer then opens the firebox door and shovels in some sawdust and business picks up...sending an unbelievable cascade of sparks skyward under the forced draft of the higher pressure exhaust of her workin' in full-gear. The folks love it until the wind drifts the mostly, but not quite, burned out sparks over the crowd. There's many a blotched blouse the next day...some with holes burned plumb through! Try to remember to edge around the crowd to the up-wind side! I once attended a tractor pull in Lawrenceburg, IN. They had a bunch of those fire-breathing ear-splitting gas and diesel jobs with more rubber up than an earth-mover. There were three steam-powered tractors there and I talked them into a pull with one of the stink pot tractors. Management delayed things until most of the crowd went home. One of the Altman Taylor if I remember correctly hooked his drawbar to one of the screamers and the show started for me...That little Altman Taylor steamer (the smallest of the three steamers present) pulled that screaming demon gas tractor backward the length of the field...the big gas job digging huge furrows in its fruitless hopeless attempt to gain any advantage over the Taylor. Meanwhile the Taylor was spewing sparks, blowing its whistle and safety valve every step of the way. The engineer shot me a smart salute as he went by as if to say..."where do you want me to drop this piece of ......" You could not even hear the whistle over the roar of the protesting exhaust and burning rubber of the gas job.. Made my day! Cap'n Walnut.
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