Steam Photos

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This is a portable steam engine at the Willits Steam Museum in Northern California.  You can tell that it is not a traction engine because the rear wheels do not have lugs on them and there is no steering mechanism.  This thing was pulled around by horses to provide power for threshing.  Back when this was made they had not invented electricity and so everything had to be riveted together.  Only solid fuel was available, either wood or coal.  This is very old technology and very little of that technology is of any value today.

December 2013  Here we are making steam on a cold winter day and making fire, same day.  This is our motorcycle boiler 4 1/2 gallon/hour kerosene Beckett gun burner and about .8 gallons of water per minute for almost 500 pounds of steam an hour at about 500 psi and 800 degrees F.  We are adjusting the controls at this time and sometimes the steam temperature fluctuates.   They tell me this happens a lot when a person does not know what they are doing with a monotube boiler.  The fire is unintended.  We have extra cooling air blowing around the combustion chamber and so there is a lean burn.  There is an extra nozzle in there so that at speed we can turn on a switch to the fuel solenoid and add a couple more gallons per hour of kerosene, sort of as an after burner.  It appears that when we overheated everything the last run, due to forgetting to hook up a ground wire and thus not pumping water for a few minutes until everything glowed red hot, the nozzle melted off the fuel line.  Thus instead of through a small atomizing nozzle we had fuel going in through a brake line.  At least we had good ignition.  This fuel delivery system needs to be perfected before we sit astride the motorcycle.  More testing is in the program.  Tom Kimmel

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