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Steam engine up and running

Published: Monday, June 30, 2014 11:08 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, June 30, 2014 11:49 a.m. CDT
(Submitted Photo )
Pictured (from left) are Denny Hammer, Brian Healy, Dick Wobst, Dan Heaberlin and Chuck Hanson, the hardy volunteer crew that worked on and got the Minneapolis Steam Engine up and running after being winterized last fall.

On Saturday, July 21, volunteers met at the Historical Museum for one hour of instructions by Brian Healy on the operation of,and the safety procedures necessary in the operation of the Jasper County Historical Museum steam engine.

After the class room instructions, the volunteers went to the engine house to work on the steam engine. Several hours were spent replacing seals and checking gauges and greasing and oiling appropriate places on the engine.

The next step was to fill the boiler with cold water and pressure test the whole water-steam system at 150 psi. In operation the steam engine would operate at 100 psi. Any leaks were addressed and the steam engine was ready for the Sunday, July 22, firing off.

On Sunday, July 22, the water tanks were filled and the fire box was filled with wood and lighted.

After about 45 minutes the steam was up the engine driven outside. If you have never seen a steam engine running, there is lots of noise and steam is coming out of the stack and steam is coming out of various parts on the engine. Fly wheels are spinning, pistons are flying back and forth and a loud chuck, chuck, sound is heard. It is an awesome sight and sound.

The Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company built the Steam Traction Engine, number 8651 in 1915. The steam engine is rated at 20 horse power. Its length is 22.5 feet, width 8 feet and height 10.5 feet. The highway speed is approximately three mph.  Operating weight, with 200 gals of water, is 26,700 pounds, which is over 13 tons.

An extra treat was a stew which was cooked, in a Dutch Oven, on the very hot engine.

The steam engine will be running in the Newton Fourth of July parade. See the steam engine close up between 1 and 4 p.m. May 1 through Sept. 30 at the Jasper County Historical Museum.