Yuba Tractor Steam Outboard

A few years ago I scanned a lot of Peter Scott-Brown’s material from his files.  Included was this photo of the Yuba outboard of which little is known.  Here is what Brian McMorran from Scotland sent me:  1947-1954  A 2 piece outboard developed by Yuba Construction Co. of Benicia, California under contract to the U.S. Army.  Described in LSP Vol XX Jan-Feb 1971 pagest 38-39.  Additional pictures from Roland Giroux supplied by David Sarlin and contained in the Besler steam outboard notebook.  engine is 3 cylinder single acting poppet valve type 1.25″ x 1.125″ running at 2000 rpm.  Output said to be 10 horsepower using steam at 1500 psi and 1000 degrees F.  Boiler fired with gasoline.  Motor designed by Mr. Bob Harris.  Additional information supplied by Peter Scott-Brown indicates that the 3 cylinder engine was a good one but some problems remained in the areas of silence, transmission of hot steam from the boiler to the engine, weight in the stern, fan power for firing up etc.  Whether this one made it to the water is unknown.  Total weight 150 pounds.  End of quote.  What I would like to know is where the outboard is, after 60 years and where the Besler notebooks are and why Bob Harris was so good at designing and making steam engines.  His work along with Marcus Lothrop on the Yuba Tractor is excellent and ever since people have been trying to duplicate the work with each person starting from scratch instead of building on the work already done.  The reason for this duplication of effort, or of the lost effort, is because no one was collecting either the hardware or the information contemporaneously.  The reason is because these were all engineers instead of history majors and because no one had the resources to construct a large building to put everything in.  The listing of lost steam projects goes on and I will write them up shortly.  Tom Kimmel

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One Response to Yuba Tractor Steam Outboard

  1. Charles Chisholm says:

    The steam outboard was donated by Lothrop and West to the Smithsonian after the Navy decided they did not need a silent running outboard. Probably languiishing in some warehouse.

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