Monday, December 24, 2007

Great News!

Over the past week the Tod Engine Foundation has brought in $9,000 for the Tod Engine House construction project! The money represents a $2,000 gift from Daniel Becker of Struthers, OH, $2,000 from the sale of an asset and $5,000 gift from the William B. Pollock Co. Foundation. The Pollock check arrived in the mail today, and I was literally dancing around the engine with it in my hand! :-)

My 12 year old dream of saving the Tod Engine and restoring it is coming true, piece by piece. With these latest donations the purchase of the steel building will be fully funded. There is still one more contribution that we are expecting, and when that comes in the foundation work for the building will be fully paid for. There is still much more to do and I will be working on the second phase of our capital campaign, but for now its time to sit back and appreciate just how far we have come.

Just think, in 1995 when I discovered the Tod Engine, it was sitting deep in an active steel mill scheduled for demolition. I was 22 years old, never been in a steel mill before in my life, had no money and no idea what I was doing. The first miracle was getting North Star Steel to donate the engine, which had a high scrap value to them. The next miracle was getting 250 tons of parts taken apart, moved and stored and do it for under $10,000. The Tod family paid for half of that and I maxed out a credit card to pay the rest.

Four years went by before I found a piece of property that I could afford to buy for the engine. Some may not think it to be the ideal location but for what I could afford its better than nothing. So I forked over another 15k to buy the land (I'm still paying that line of credit off). Then it took another six years to move all the parts to the new site, and much more money. I don't keep track of how much of my personal money goes into the project but as you can tell from the ratty truck I drive I don't spend anything on me!

During 2007 we decided to go big time, set our sights high and put up a good quality steel building for the engine. With the leadership of the Tod family we have raised $18,500 from local foundations this year, bringing the total income of the Foundation to over $40k. 2008 we will continue to build upon this and raise additional money to finish off the building and grounds while I spend all of next summer actually erecting the structure.(I don't hire contractors, I'll do all this work myelf).

Come 2009 we hope that our building will be finished and the engine cosmetically restored enough to hold an official grand opening for the Tod Engine Heritage Park!

So its a very Merry Christmas here at the Tod Engine Foundation! I can't believe the incredibly good year 2007 has been to us. Thanks everyone for your continued support of our project. God bless!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tod Engine Foundation Starts

On December 8 the Tod Engine Foundation started, a website that will eventually become a clearinghouse of information about all aspects of the study of the steel industry. The site initially hosts only a series of discussion boards covering topics such as steel history and preservation, contemporary steelmaking and steel modeling. However it will expand to include many more resources geared toward prople who have an interest in the steel industry beyond the business aspects.

Please take a look and join in the discussions!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Become a Friend of the Tod Engine

You can show your support for our project and take part in one of the most important steel industry preservation projects in America by become a Friend of the Tod Engine. I know the Tod already has many friends by the number of visits to our websites, now you can make it official! You can become a Friend with a minimum $20.00 contribution to the Tod Engine Foundation. As a benefit of membership you will receive a discount on our expanding array of merchandise as well as the personal satisfaction that comes from helping a worthy cause.

All income that we receive goes straight to our main goal of preserving the Tod Engine and building the Tod Engine Heritage Park. You can pay your dues online here:
In the Designation field please put "Friend of Tod Engine" so that I know to add you to the membership roster.

You can also mail the dues to Tod Engine Foundation, 2261 Hubbard Road, Youngstown, OH 44505.

Thanks so much!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Tod Engine DVD Available

Back in 1996-97 when we dismantled the Tod Engine I brought along a camcorder on many of the work sessions. This DVD is created from that raw video and is a documentation of the process of taking apart and moving the engine to the plate mill in Girard for storage. At the end of the video is footage of the big Tod twin tandem compound engines in operation at Bethlehem Steel and a visit to the now demolished Tod water pumping engine at Lake Rockwell in Kent, Ohio. Jeff Borne at Prairie Works has done an excellent job creating this DVD, and $15.00 from each sale comes back to us for use in preserving the Tod Engine. Go to Jeff's website and order this DVD. You will enjoy it!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tod Engine Heritage Park Progress Report

Things have settled down at the Heritage Park due to the onset of colder weather. We still plan to set the crankshaft in place in the main bearings and put the flywheel together this winter. All preparations have been made for that to happen and we are now waiting for Grim's Crane Service to fit us into their schedule.

The hot metal car is also just about ready to be moved. The display track is finished, and only a little bit of work remains to ready the car for its trip to Youngstown. IT would probably be better if the ground were frozen when we move the car so as to keep the crane from sinking into our front yard at the Heritage Park.

Fundraising continues for the new building. I am still confident that we will raise the amount neccessary to begin construction come spring. So far there is over $12,000 in the bank, another $5,000 pledged and proposals are out for more. The goal is $30,000 and the deadline for that is summer of next year.

Over the winter Ken Izzo and I will be moving the YS&T Brier Hill drawing collection to a new home. The drawings are currently stored in Sharon, PA in a rented room, however I own a vacant house about a mile from the Heritage Park and recently decided that the house would be a better repository for the collection. There is more room at this location and it is closer to our main facility. The eventual permanent home for the collection will be at the Heritage Park in a proposed library.

We have recently decided to begin offering "Friend of the Tod Engine" memberships. The membership dues are $20 per year although sending in any amount over that would be appreciated! I think a great number of our supporters would want to have a membership structure for the organization, as do I. Its been a "one man show" for much too long and I want to encourage volunteer participation in this project. To join send your dues to the Tod Engine Foundation at 2261 Hubbard Road, Youngstown, OH 44505. We will publish a quarterly newsletter and also give discounts on Tod Engine merchandise, of which we may have several new offerings soon.

2008 will be a big year for us, and if everything goes as planned it will be the year that the Tod Engine is fully enclosed in a permanent building and restoration work can begin in earnest.

Annual Youngstown Whistle Blow

The annual Youngstown whistle blow was held yesterday in the parking lot of the B&O Station Restaurant in downtown Youngstown. Dozens of whistles were brought in by collectors for the event. 150 PSI steam was provided by Youngstown Thermal through their underground system of steam lines running under downtown streets.

The whistles could be plainy heard three miles away at the Tod Engine Heritage Park.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Brier Hill Plate Mill

This advertisement showed up in Iron Trade Review in 1918 and 1919, just after the plate mill at Brier Hill opened. The building still looks like the photo with the exception of the smoke stacks. The photographer is standing about where Interstate 80 crosses the valley, pretty close to "Point X", the new crossing of the PY&A and LE&E over the Erie and B&O tracks. Brier Hill Steel built the overpass at Point X in exchange for the PY&A right of way which passed through the middle of the Brier Hill plant.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

American Steel & Wire Locomotive at CAMA

This 3 foot gauge Vulcan 0-4-0T engine was used at the Worcester, MA, plant of the American Steel and WireCompany. It is now on display at the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association in Kent, CT. It has since been repainted into a historically correct scheme, with the company name on the saddle tank. Photos courtesy Mike Piersa

Burden Iron Works, Troy, NY

(Text Taken from Photos courtesy Mike Piersa)

An exhibit on Greater Troy's industrial history is housed in the former office of the Burden Iron Works. Constructed 1881-2, the distinguished brick Romanesque Revival building contains examples of objects manufactured in the city throughout the 19th century, when its factories produced parts of the U.S.S. Monitor, the replacement for the Liberty Bell, and some of the world's most innovative products, including stoves, mass-produced horseshoes and railroad spikes, detachable shirt collars, fire hydrants, and surveying equipment. Like California's Silicon Valley, Troy relied on cutting-edge technology - much of it developed at the city's Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - to maintain a competitive advantage throughout the Industrial Revolution.The museum is operated by the Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway, which also maintains downtown Troy-s RiverSpark Visitor Center (where there are additional exhibits about the city's history) and sponsors a regular series of tours, the most popular of which focuses on Troy's large concentration of Tiffany windows. Self-guided walking tours of the city's large collection of 19th-century buildings are also available there.The Burden Iron Works Museum, located at One East Industrial Parkway in Troy, is open by appointment only. Guided tours. Admission fee. 518-274-5267.

Lukens Steel Train Display in Coatesville, PA

Nearby the Lukens Steel plant in Coatesville, PA is a display of four narrow gauge flatcars. The first car caries three open hearth charging boxes, the second car is empty, the third has an ingot and the fourth a steel slab. There is also a Porter 0-4-0T locomotive, freshly repainted in the Lukens Steel scheme and wearing number 10. However that locomotive is not of Lukens origin having come from Florida.

Friday, November 16, 2007

MVRHA's Steel Industry Collection

The Mahoning Valley Railroad Heritage Association in Youngstown, OH has amassed quite a sizeable collection of steel industry railroad equipment. Included in their collection are:
YS&T 17 Pollock slag ladle car
YS&T 21 Treadwell 125 ton hot metal car (rebuilt by Pollock 1973)
YS&T 23 Treadwell 125 ton hot metal car
Sharon Steel 9 Atlas blast furnace transfer car
Pollock open top hot metal car
Sharon Steel ingot mold car
PRR ore jenny
YS&T 4 wheeled diesel electric locomotive
I'll add photos of those other cars when I can get them. The MVRHA is currently working on establishing a rail museum on Poland Avenue in Youngstown.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mclouth BOF Vessel on Display

In Trenton, Michigan the first commercially successful basic oxygen furnace vessel is on display outside the plant of McLouth Steel. Photos courtesy of John Hainbecher.

Monday, November 12, 2007

YS&T 301 at Canfield Fairgrounds

This Baldwin 0-6-0 switcher, built in December, 1915 for Youngstown Sheet and Tube, is cosmetically restored and on display at the Mahoning County Fairgrounds in Canfield, Ohio. This locomotive was for many years assigned to the Hubbard Works although it could be found at the Campbell Works as well. When the locomotive was retired it was donated to Penn-Ohio Railfans, who have since given it to the Western Reserve Village at the fairgrounds for display. In 2006 a roof was constructed to shelter the locomotive and former Youngstown & Southern caboose from the weather.

Bessemer Converter at Station Square

This is one of the most famous steel industry artifacts in preservation. This Bessemer converter was built by Pennsylvania Engineering in New Castle, PA for A.M. Byers in Ambridge, PA. It was used in the production of wrought iron by the Aston process until the bessemer plant was retired. This vessel was then donated and moved to Station Square for display.

Mesta Blowing Engine at Station Square

The next artifact in our review of preserved steel industry equipment is a Mesta long crosshead vertical blowing engine at Station Square in Pittsburgh, PA. Originally built for the Shenango Furnace Co. in Sharpsville, PA, it shared an enginehouse with three others providing the air blast for the Sharpsville furnaces.

Teeming Ladle at the Baltimore Museum of Industry

This teeming ladle is on display outside the Baltimore Museum of Industry in Baltimore, MD. Obviously from the Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point plant it sits outside with no interpretive information telling visitors what it is. There is very little other steel industry artifacts in the museum.

Pollock Kling Type Car at Homestead

The retail development at the former USS Homestead Works has a few hidden gems worth finding. This car, a Pollock Kling hot metal car, has been stuffed and mounted next to a couple of restaurants. Nearby is a narrow gauge diesel locomotive. This car is missing the top portion of the ladle which was an important part of the Kling design.

Hot Metal Cars at the Former Duquesne Works

Three hot metal cars, two Treadwell bottle cars and a Pollock Kling type car reside at the former USS Duquesne Works in Duquesne, PA. The cars are owned by the RIDC which now operates an industrial park on the site. Through an agreement with US Steel the RIDC must preserve the steel heritage equipment on site, hence the reason the cars have not been scrapped. There are also two slag cars, a locomotive and a cut of ingot cars with ingots on display.

Steel Industry Rail Equipment at B&O Museum

The steel industry is represented at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, MD by two railcars. Both are from the Bethlehem Steel Sparrow Point plant.

The first car is a Treadwell 125 ton bottle car. Although heavily abused during its years in service and missing several key components, the car was the first bottle car to be preserved in a US rail museum. This car is of the same design as the two cars in the care of the Mahoning Valley Railroad Heritage Association, however it retains its original Pilcher trucks.

The second car is a Treadwell double pot slag car. This is he only one of its type known to be preserved and it sits behind the museum in a string of unrestored equipment. Hopefully room can be found for this car next to the botle car someday.

Pollock Hot Metal Car at Steelyard Commons

This Pollock 150 ton hot metal car is on display at Cleveland's Steelyard Commons shopping center development. It is available for public viewing anytime.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Bethlehem 48" Mill Rebuild Photos

I just bought a series of 68 photos on ebay of what was advertised as a 48" mill rebuild at Bethlehem Steel. The pictures came today, and as I started looking through them (they are in chronological order), they start with the removal of the roller tables, removal of mill stand, then go into the dismantling of a Tod twin tandem compound reversing engine. The next few photos show digging out of the engine foundation, then placing concrete forms, rebar, then pouring concrete. Now I'm thinking to myself that the next photos will be of a big electric drive motor being installed. After all that was all the rage in the 1950s.

But instead of that I start seeing the engine being reassembled on the new foundation! Huh? What the... What would posess them to rip out the engine and put in a new foundation for it? Now this is 1958, right when everyone else in their right mind is pulling out blooming mill engines and putting in electric drives. Why would Bethlehem decide to replace the engine foundation? Not that I am complaining, a Tod engine is a mighty fine piece of engineering!

Anyways, the photos are safely here with me now, and will someday be published in some manner in booklet form. BTW I noticed that I was the only bidder for these photos. It would have been no use bidding anyways. I knew there were rolling mill engine pictures in this set, and Tod engines at that, so there wasn't any chance these pictures would have ended up anywhere else than in the files at the Tod Engine Foundation!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Tod Enginehouse Design Selected

The design of the new Tod Enginehouse will follow the design of the soaking pit furnaces building at the YS&T Brier Hill Works. Drawing 101885, which we have in our collection is the inspiration for the design. The enginehouse will be a scaled down version of the pit furnaces building, and will retain the unique features such as the roof monitor and sidebay. The enginehouse will be sided with galvanized corrugated steel, the same material that covered every mill building in the Mahoning Valley. Transluscent corrugated sidinf will be placed along the sides of the roof monitor and along the top 4 feet of the side walls, giving the interior plenty of natural lighting during the day.

We will attempt to follow classic YS&T building designs for this entire project. Actual salvaged doors will be used where possible in this building, including a set of wooden double doors saved from Moltrup Steel. Original porcelain enamel light fixtures will be used for artificial illumination. Most of these having been salvaged from the YS&T Brier Hill and Struthers Works.

It is our intent to make this building as authentic as possible given our monetary constraints.

Another Contribution to the Tod Enginehouse Project

On Friday, November 2 the Tod Engine Foundation recieved a $1,000 contribution from the Jane F. Lamb Charitable Trust in Youngstown. This came completely as a surprise to me, but a welcome one to be sure. This brings our total of grants and pledges to over $17,000!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

West Middlesex Iron Furnaces

West Middlesex, Pennsylvania is a small town a few miles east of Youngstown, OH. Located on the Shenango River, the town once was home to a couple of pig iron blast furnace operations. I was not aware of that fact until I was in the office of T. Bruce Campbell, Inc. a few months ago and saw photos of the now demolished furnaces.

The painting pictured above is located in the waiting room at Shenango Steel Buildings, Inc. located next door to Campbell's plant. It shows two of the West Middlesex furnaces and a steam locomotive rolling by with a cut of cars. One of the best iron and steel artworks I have seen.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Youngstown & Northern Railroad Office Still Exists

This art deco style office building, sitting at the corner of Bessemer and Waverly Avenues facing the former US Steel Ohio Works, once served as the main office for the Youngstown & Northern Railroad. The structure was built in 1935 and has been vacant since the mid 1980s when the Y&N was abandoned. It is currently owned by an individual from Canfield, OH, who purchased it in 1995 and apparently has not done anything with the building. It did appear to be secured from entry, however the interior had been ransacked and nothing of any value remains inside.

Monday, October 8, 2007

PRR N1s and the Brier Hill Plate Mill

I recently saw this photo on an ebay listing for a brass locomotive and noticed the building in the background. The caption says the picture was taken in 1919, which would have been one year after the Brier Hill plate mill in Girard, OH was completed. In this photo, the locomotive is probably sitting upon the old PY&A main line, which was relocated to its current right of way behind the building when the plate mill was constructed.

The stacks are for the heating furnaces for the 84" and 132" plate mills. The windows are of the continuous sash type and are all wood and glass. It must have taken carpenters months just to make them! Although this building still exists this view is partially obscured by the electric weld tube mill which was added to this building in the 1930s. Of course the Tod Engine Foundation has hundreds of engineering drawings of the plate mill and electric welded tube buildings.

From 1997 until 2006 the Tod Engine was stored in the plate mill building before being moved to the Tod Engine Heritage Park.

Lining Up the Main Bearings

Lining up the main bearings of the Tod Engine in preparation for setting the crankshaft and flywheel has begun. We are using the piano wire method, and have learned about a shortcut that the original engine erectors made to simplify the process.

On each end of the main bearings two punch marks have been made. Each one at the centerline elevation of the crankshaft and located 22" ahead and behind the centerline. By stringing piano wire between those two punch marks in the four locations then running another line perpendicular through the centers of the bearings a relatively accurate means of centering the bearings can be accomplished. I can hold the piano wire in place with magnets and two wire holders that have been specially made for this purpose.

The LP bearing is in its final position, and the LP bearing will be moved until it lines up. It has about 2" vertical and 3" horizontal travel to go before it lines up. Once the bearings are in line we will start work on getting the lower flywheel half in position.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Tod Enginehouse Fundraiser Reaches 40%!

Our goal to raise $25,000 for the construction of the new Tod Enginehouse has reached the 40% mark with a contribution of $10,000 from the Tod Foundation. This contribution will allow us to place the order for the structural steelwork, and will also be beneficial in our quest to raise the remaining $15,000 from other local foundations.

Temporary Winter Shelter Completed

The temporary shelter for the Tod Engine's cylinders has been completed. This shelter will keep rain, snow and ice away from the vulnerable engine cylinders and valve chests until the new enginehouse building is built in 2008.

Once the new building is completed the shelter will be dismantled and lumber reused for other projects.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

11 Years Ago Today

Eleven years ago today I formally announced that the Jeannette Blast Furnace Preservation Association was giving up on our efforts to preserve Brier Hill's Jeannette Blast Furnace. Also on this date I began dismantling the Tod Engine at North Star Steel Ohio. We have come a long way in 11 years!

Winter Enclosure for Tod Engine

Although we are planning the construction of a 55' x 60' prefab steel building in 2008, the engine still needs protected from the ravages of the upcoming Ohio winter. To solve this problem we are constructing a temporary enclosure as shown in the picture. It is being built completely with lumber that we have on hand, and will be roofed with used corrugated steel roofing that was acquired several years ago. The sides will be covered with tarpaulins, and when finished the engine will be completely sealed off from mother nature.

After the new steel building is completed next year this temporary enclosure will be dismantled and materials saved for reuse in a proposed permenent shelter to be built to house the two pledged EEC locomotives.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

YSU Preservation Class Visits Tod Engine

For the third year in a row Professor Tom Leary's Introduction to Historic Preservation class at Youngstown State University has visited the Tod Engine Heritage Park. We hosted 13 class members for this visit and talked for almost two hours about how the Tod Engine was saved, why it was done and what it means now that it is preserved.

We are eagerly looking forward to next year's visit!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Focus on Our Collections: First Rail

From time to time I will feature a particular item from our collection of steel industry artifacts. Today's piece is a 3/4" thick section of 85 pound rail, a souvenier of the first rail rolled at the Republic Iron & Steel Co. Haselton Works on April 22, 1905.

The Youngstown District was never well known for the production of railroad rails. The only two mills known to have rolled rails locally were Republic's and a short lived rail mill at the Ohio Steel Company, which became the US Steel Ohio Works. Neither could compete with the rail mills at the Edgar Thomson Works or Steelton, PA.

Although rails were not successful in Youngstown, the production of track spikes were. Both Republic and the YS&T Struthers Works sported spike mills, and YS&T also manufactured tie plates.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Gantry Crane Put to Work

It didn't take me long to put the 5 ton gantry crane to work. While most Americans took Labor Day off, I labored most of the day moving around large pieces of iron. The first task this morning was to put the William Tod name plate back on the HP cylinder head. To do this required removing the tail rod support casting then sliding the name plate over the piston rod. The tail rod support casting was then put back in place and bolted down.
The next task was to assemble the HP main bearing. It may look simple but each main bearing is actually composed of twelve pieces, all of which are quite heavy. The main bearing cap is the heaviest and will be put in place soon, however we ran out of time and energy today to get it in place today.
The bearing needs to be assembled to assist with the lining up of the engine. When it comes time to install the crankshaft the bearing will be disassembled, crank put in place then the bearing will be reassembled.
Its been 11 years since we took these bearings apart and amazingly I remembered where all the parts go. Fortunately William Tod Co. put match numbers on just about everything so reassembly is made easier.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Jeannette Blast Furnace Salamander

This is the salamander for the Jeannette Blast Furnace as it appeared on September 1, 2007. The salamander is the solidified iron that remains in the bottom of a blast furnace after it is blown out.

Grace Blast Furnace Remains

On Saturday Chris Hockett, Ken Izzo and myself visited the site of the YS&T Brier Hill blast furnace plant and discovered the mortal remains of the Grace blast furnace. Here is the hearth cooling jacket, iron columns and bedplate for the blast furnace. City Concrete, which now operates a ready mixed concrete facility at the site, excavated the furnace remains recently.

According to YS&T drawing 105367 dated November 15, 1917 there are twelve sections of the hearth jacketing. Each piece is 8' 10" tall and 5" thick of cast iron and weighing 10,800 lbs. Drawing 100769 dated Sept. 19, 1907 (almost 100 years ago exactly) shows the base plate ring upon which the six columns rested.

Finding the remains of Grace furnace is extraordinary and hopefully some way can be found to preserve all or part of these historic pieces.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Wallace Gantry Crane Erected

The 5 ton Wallace gantry crane that we purchased at the Cold Metal Products auction in January was erected today at the Tod Engine Heritage Park. With 19 feet under the girder and a span of 34 feet, this gantry crane should serve our needs well during the restoration of the engine.
The crane has been painted safety orange, all wheel bearings have been refurbished or replaced and new bolts installed where neccessary. A 5 ton chain hoist will be hung from the girder after it has been checked over and any worn parts replaced. The bridge is motorized, however the motors will not be attached until 3 phase power is available at the site later this fall. Until then the crane can be moved by two people pushing on the legs. A 3 ton electric hoist is also scheduled to be added to the gantry at a later date.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Progress on Hot Metal Car Display

Slag is in place and we are ready for the ties and rail.

Ames Uniflow Engine

I recently took a trip to Camillus, NY to pick up parts for a 17" x 20" single cylinder uniflow stationary steam engine. Last year I brought a few of the parts back, this trip was to retrieve the bedplate, cylinder and half of the flywheel. That leave the other flywheel half and crankshaft still up there to bring back. Here is a picture of the parts arriving at the Tod Engine Heritage Park. What took us almost 8 hours to load using a chain fall and portable gantry took me 10 minutes to unload with the front end loader.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hot Metal Car Display Track

We had originally planned to display the 80 ton Treadwell hot metal car at the rear of the Park property, however it was decided to move it to the front of the property for display. At the new location it will be much more visible from the road and hopefully gain the attention of motorists driving by.

On Saturday June 16 Ken Izzo and I laid out railroad ties in a rectangle to form a curb around the new display track. Since the property slopes in this area much fill dirt was brought up and placed around the ties. The area between the ties will be filled in with stones and slag then the display track will be placed on top.