A Mery Modelers Meeting

With only two real Mery engines known, 10 scales at once is something to see.

| August/September 2003

Eight Mery engines line up for running at Roland Morrison's shop in Benton City, Wash. Ten Merys were on hand, but two were still in process and didn't run.

On May 15-18, 2003, a group of model engine builders flocked to Benton City, Wash., to the home of Morrison & Martin Engine Works, originators of castings for the quarter-scale 1895 Mery Explosive model engine. With 10 Merys on display (eight running and two under construction), the meet represented the largest number ever of Mery models gathered for display at one time in one place. The 18 model enthusiasts brought other engines as well, for a grand total of 50 model engines on hand.

Modeling Tour

Roland Morrison, the driving force behind the creation of the scale Mery, arranged a tour of Western Sintering, a powdered metal stamping facility in Richland, Wash., on Friday morning. Unfortunately, only eight of the 18 model builders arrived in time to make the tour, and those who didn't get there in time missed a great opportunity to learn about current metal stamping technology.

Western Sintering starts the process with a very fine powder of sharp-edged particles, produced by spraying molten metal into a water bath. This can be steel, stainless steel, brass or aluminum. It is then mixed to product specifications with different alloying agents and compressed in a steel die with up to 60 tons of pressure to form completely finished parts.

Jeff Wood, vice president of Western Sintering, took the eight model builders on a four-hour, detailed tour of the stamping, heat treating and machining facilities while in full production. The tour also included a viewing of full-size steam engines owned by company president Mike Rector.

A dramatic demonstration of the process came when Jeff picked up a freshly pressed part that looked like polished steel - and broke it with his hands. It was a fascinating demonstration, and certainly got everyone to listen attentively to the discussion of the heat treatment used to bond the metal powder together after the initial pressing.