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.
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
Founded in 1966 by Rev. Elmer Ritzman
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