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      This little book has been compiled from the “Threshers’ School of Modern Methods.” It consists of the lessons on the boiler and engine, beginning with the August issue, 1906, of The American Thresherman.

      These lessons were prepared originally in the form of lectures for the farm engineering students of the North Dakota Agricultural College, and were used for several years by Professor P. S. Rose in his class work before he prepared them for The American Thresherman.

      Simplicity has been the watchword in the preparation of these lessons. The writer realized that they were for the use of boys and men who had practically no technical training and who wanted something that anyone of average intelligence could understand. Consequently, wherever it has been possible to state a truth in simple words, this has been done. This book contains almost no mathematics and no long discussions of heat and heat units. It is a plain, practical book for men in the field.

      A large number of things usually found in other engineering books have been omitted, but that is thought to be an advantage since the things omitted have no direct bearing on the traction engine. On the other hand, there are many things touched upon not found in other engineering books, notably the chapter on reversing gears and on valve setting.

      The lessons of this series dealing with the separators are not yet completed and consequently it was deemed advisable to make two volumes of the work and publish both under the title “The Thresher’s Guide” Volume Two, dealing with the separator, will follow.


CHAPTER I — Power of Steam and Types of Boilers

      The expansive energy of steam. Classification of boilers; internally fired boilers; externally fired boilers; fire tube boilers; water tube boilers. Description of the various types of traction engine boilers. Discussion of return and of direct flue boilers. Boiler stays and girders.

CHAPTER II — Kind of Material and Boiler Details

      Discussion of the physical characteristics, properties and uses of cast iron; malleable cast iron; wrought iron, steel; effect of carbon on steel; methods of testing boiler plate. Boiler steel specifications, babbitt metal, brasses, bronzes. Boiler tubes, arrangement of in boiler; method of setting flues; beading; calking; use of copper ferrules; description of tools used. Rules for figuring safe working pressure of all parts of a boiler.

CHAPTER III — Boiler Feeders and Safety Appliances

      Atmospheric pressure; principles of action of pumps; principles of the injector; of the jet pump. Principles of the steam gauge; single Bourdon spring; double spring; diaphragm spring. Care of the gauge, the siphon. The fusible plug; principles of action of pop valves.

CHAPTER IV — Fuels and Firing, and Boiler Horsepower

      Principles of combustion; heating value of various fuels. Duty of the fireman; methods of firing with coal, straw, wood. Keeping up steam. Horsepower: Work and power defined. Horsepower, how measured; boiler horsepower; directions for using Prony brake.

CHAPTER V — Types of Engine, The Plain Slide Valve

      Classification of engines, simple, duplex, compound. The plain slide valve, lap, lead, angle of advance. Economy of working steam expansively. Principles of action of compound engine. Directions for putting engine on dead center. Piston clearance. How to set a plain slide valve. Angularity of the connecting rod.

CHAPTER VI — Traction Engine Reversing Gears

      Classification of all reversing gears. The Link reverse gears. Radial reverse gear. The shifting eccentric reverse gear. The Marsh reverse gear.

CHAPTER VII — Directions for Valve Setting

      Detailed directions for setting the Woolf valve gear, link reverse, shifting eccentric, Marsh reverse. Description and classification of valves, direct acting, indirect, multiple ported, piston, balanced, poppet.

CHAPTER VIII — Governors

      Classification of governors, throttling, variable expansion. Early types of governors. Modern governors, the Pickering governor, Waters governor. Speed adjustments for governors.

CHAPTER IX — Lubricants and Lubricators

      Effects of friction. Purposes of lubrication. Kinds and properties of various lubricants. Liquid lubricants, greases, dry lubricants. Properties of oils. Value of mineral oils. Cylinder oils. Description of lubricators, plain lubricators, sight feed oilers, grease cups, pumps.

CHAPTER X — Gearing, Belting and Care of Engine

      Description of differential gear. Leather belting, power belts will transmit. Canvas belts, rubber belts, belt fasteners, methods of lacing belts. Engine efficiency, causes for loss of efficiency. Life of a traction engine and methods of handling. Cleaning a boiler.

Information Sources

  • The Thresher’s Guide, Volume 1, 1910 pages 1-4
    Being a reprint from the Threshers’ School Of Modern Methods of the American Thresherman
    Published By The American Thresherman, Madison, Wisconsin
    Copyright 1910 By The American Thresherman
    Prepared By Professor P.S. Rose, North Dakota Agricultural College

    This book courtesy of Brian Szafranski

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