A Retirement Gift


| December/January 1991

  • brake lines
    This is 'little Joe' (at work) posing with his new toy.
  • Pump oil can
    Better shot of the grease gun and pump oil can.
  • Joe and John at Joe's house
    Joe and John at Joe's house.
  • The miniature tool set
    The miniature tool set: left to right, grease gun, pipe wrench, crescent wrench, pliers, hammer and pump oil can.

  • brake lines
  • Pump oil can
  • Joe and John at Joe's house
  • The miniature tool set

438 Maple Street, O'Fallon, Illinois 62269.

I built an engine as a retirement gift for a man who worked as a maintenance man at Nooter Boilermakers Corporation, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Joe Borisuk is better known as Little Joe to his co-workers. He worked at Nooter for 38? years. He started September 30, 1952 and worked until March 15, 1991. Everyone said it wouldn't be the same after Joe retires and it hasn't been the same. He always livened up the people he was around. He did his job well and better yet, he knew the machinery that he worked on here at Nooter.

I built the steam engine for Joe, because what better gift could a maintenance man get than an engine that actually runs and has moving parts that are clearly visible? Well, now to get on with the story of the engine.



I got the idea about ten months before his retirement, so I started gathering the pieces I knew I'd need. First, I got two brake cylinders after we scrapped them from a brake job we had done on an IHC flat bed truck. I brazed freeze plugs on one end of each cylinder so it would hold air on top of the piston. I then mixed up some JB weld and poured it into the freeze plugs. This gave me the extra thickness in the head of the cylinders to drill and tap threads. Because the freeze plugs weren't thick enough to tap, I used ? brake lines and cut threads on the ends of them and screwed them into the cylinders.

Secondly, I got a smaller wheel cylinder to use as the valve. I had to shorten the pistons in it so it would be easier to time without an excess of travel.