In response to Dave Ruark's letter about Ford's turbine tractor (Letters & Miscellanies, February 2003): A Ford turbine tractor was on display as a free piston engine at an open house for Ford employees and the public at the new Ford proving grounds at Romeo, Mich., in 1950. According to a retired Ford tractor employee, the tractor was never put into production.
George W. Tincknell 66291 Mound Road Romeo, MI 48095
In the process of conducting research incidental to my work, I noticed this newspaper article from the Jan. 23, 1910 issue of the Lockport, N.Y. Niagara Sun, 'Veteran Struck by a Flywheel.' We all probably could take a cautionary message from the fate Albert Wright suffered.
David L. Dickinson Niagara County Historian 139 Niagara St. Lockport, NY 14094
In my travels over the last year, I have come across two items that readers may enjoy seeing.
The first picture (Page 3) was taken in northwestern Ohio west of Bowling Green. I believe it was on Ohio Route 235. The Farmall H parked on top of the silo certainly caught my attention.
The second picture (Page 3) was taken at the Luling City Park just east of San Antonio, Texas, along Interstate 10. The picture illustrates an interesting aftermarket modification of a Fordson tractor. This example was used in the oil field for raising and lowering tools into an oil well.
Gerald Lee 5210 Springton Spring, TX 77379
Excerpted from the Lockport, N.Y., Niagara Sun, Jan. 23, 1910.
Albert Wright, a lifelong resident of this place and a painter by trade, was struck by the large flywheel on the engine in the sawmill of Webster C. Woodworth on Thursday and died yesterday as a result.
It seems he had gone into the mill to have a little visit with the owner, they being old acquaintances. In some manner the unfortunate man got too near the flywheel, which struck him on the head, on the downward stroke, tearing a large piece of the scalp loose and felling him to the floor unconscious. He was picked up for dead, but regained consciousness later and was brought to his home.
Dr. Johnson was called and found that Wright's spine was injured, causing paralysis. He failed to rally.
Mr. Wright was in his 63d year, and a veteran of the late war of the rebellion, being at the time of his enlistment one of the very youngest in the service. Although his father took him out of the army once, on account of his age, Albert persisted in his determination to serve as a soldier in the defense of his country and enrolled again, and this time he was allowed to have his wish.
I am writing regarding a couple of Internet sessions reported in previous issues of Gas Engine Magazine. The first concerns shop use in winter (see Stationary Engine List, February 2003). Several people wrote about using their wood stove to loosen stuck parts. I have done this myself, and while it does work, a word of caution is in order.
Do not overheat cast iron -anything more than a dull red is too hot, and if you heat the iron to an orange color you are inviting trouble. Once the iron gets too hot it's difficult to impossible to do any welding or brazing on it. I know this from experience, and from experienced welders. Also, hardened steel looses its temper and has to be rehardened after being put through this treatment.
Another session dealt with an Avery with new piston rings that was using oil (see SmokStak, January 2003).
Around 10 years ago an extensive article in Engineers and Engines discussed the Avery Company and their tractors. The article's author said that at one point Avery changed from a pressure-lubricated system to a force-feed lubricator because of excessive oil consumption. In the Internet session covered in GEM, two people advocated using oil control rings to counter the problem, and it was also stated that Averys had oil control grooves, but that they would not work.
Reading over the session, I could see people were having a hard time understanding why the oil control groove or the five compressions rings would not control the oil, but no explanation was given as to why this was so. To understand this, you must understand how oil works.
A shaft turning inside a sleeve with proper clearance between the two draws oil into the shaft in the direction of the shaft's rotation. Load on the shaft forces the shaft against the sleeve in one area. The oil, due to its viscosity and the reduced clearance created by the shaft being loaded, builds pressure until it floats the shaft on a film of oil, preventing the shaft and sleeve from making contact.
What happens between a piston, its rings and the cylinder is similar. As a piston is pulled and then pushed down a cylinder, oil builds up and is pushed under the piston and rings, floating them on a film of oil. The groove will not work because it is not in contact all the way around the cylinder because of the clearance necessary, and the compression rings will not work because; 1.) the oil has no where to go; and 2.) they are made wide so they will float on the film of oil to reduce wear and to seal against compression.
You need an edge scraping against the cylinder to control the oil. When you see an oil control ring, think of a putty knife scraping an old gasket. That is why they work.
Michael Bond 3594 Test Road Richmond, IN 47674
While we agree with much of what you say, the jury is out on what injurious effects heating cast iron has on the iron itself. While it's true that heating it white-hot can alter its 'grain' with potentially negative results, cast iron must be heated to at least a dull red before it can be welded successfully - and heating it also acts to relieve stresses in the casting.
Walt Hull of Walt Hull Iron Works in Lawrence, Kan., says the biggest issue with cast iron is avoiding abrupt transitions of temperature. When it comes to heating and cooling cast iron, Walt says you should always take it easy, 'Slow and gentle is almost always a good idea,' Walt says. Interestingly, Walt notes that the hardest cast iron to weld is cast that's been in repeated heat cycles in a wood fire. He says old cast iron fire grates can be almost impossible to weld, and wonders if there's a particular chemistry at work there. - Editor
Like other long-time subscribers to GEM (over 25 years), I think it is a shame more tractor enthusiasts do not send in articles. I notice you have published articles on some of the rare ones, such as the Hagan tractor (part of an article on Hagan engines) in the November 2002 issue, or the Kaywood featured in the January 2003 issue.
There were no tractors featured in the December 2002 issue, but you did feature articles on the Bull tractor and the Mini-McCormick in the September 2002 issue. I realize that by its name, Gas Engine Magazine, the magazine would naturally cater to engines, but maybe you can encourage more tractor owners to send in interesting articles on their tractors, something other than step-by-step restoration articles or single pictures of tractors at shows.
As a 'representative' of the Fordson tractor, I'd like to issue a challenge to those who boast about their favorite tractors to come even close to matching the versatility and innovations made for the Fordson, including units like road rollers, graders, front buckets, PTOs, mounted plows, mowers (not drag-alongs), full tracks, half tracks, hard rubber industrial tires, cultivator conversions, mounted gleaners (self-propelled combines), mounted buzz saws, etc. The list goes on and on. It's too bad Henry Ford himself did not develop these attachments - if he had the American farmer and builder would have been years ahead.
Jack Heald National Director Fordson Tractor Club 250 Robinson Road Cave Junction, OR 97523
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