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Belting Up

Our corner of the universe is likely one of the last points of refuge for the once-common flat belt. A simple piece of equipment that was instrumental in transfering power output to working machinery, the flat belt helped change the working world for farmers and manufacturers.

For all intents and purposes, however, the flat belt has long since been rendered obsolete. Beginning in the 1920s, direct-drive electric motors combined with smaller working instruments paved the way for a new order in tools and equipment. Farmers and threshermen, perhaps the last bastion of the flat belt, slowly retired their belts and related equipment as modern combines and farm implements were developed.

But the humble flat belt maintains a position of prominance and importance in our hobby, used today as it was yesterday, driving everything from butter churns to threshers.

Even so, how many of us actually know the issues and computations to consider when choosing the right belt and pulley for the job?

Noticing an absence of contemporary literature on the subject, enthusiast George Loughery decided to research the issue and put his findings and experience with belts to work. Ten years ago, George shared his considerations with members of the Hay Creek Valley Historical Assn. in Geigertown, Pa., of which he's a member. His work was subsequently published in the Summer 1994 issue of the Assn.'s publication, The Journal.

Seeing a need for a similar article that would reach a wider audience, George contacted us about reproducing his work in Gas Engine Magazine. The result of George's contact appears on page 16, where we present the first installment of a two-part series on belt power transmission.

Frankly, the timing couldn't be better. As collectors and enthusiasts across the country gear up for another season of showing their equipment and operating working displays, demonstrating the work practices of yore, George's article supplies valuable information on belt power that's sure to benefit enthusiasts around the country.

Building Small

This past January 15-16, I had the pleasure of attending the 9th Annual Cabin Fever Model Engineering Exposition in York, Pa. While I've been intrigued with scale and model engines for some time, Cabin Fever was the first opportunity I'd made to surround myself with scale-engine enthusiasts and take a good look at what the hobby is all about.

The show was fantastic, and the equipment on hand - from the scale projects themselves to the various tools and hardware for sale - was spectacular.

Getting close to the scale-engine hobby for the first time, I was able to realize something I'm sure is obvious to people already immersed in scale engines: Namely, that the hobby is every bit as much about art as craft. It's not so much what you made, but how you made it and what you put into it.

Scale engine enthusiasts pour over each other's projects with an equal measure of praise and critical analysis, appreciating the finished form and learning new methods from other builders. My impressions, which begin on page 6, hardly do justice to the assembled talent at the show, but hopefully they do give insight into what drives this fascinating corner of the old-iron community.

Richard Backus


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