Monday, December 24, 2007
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
Please take a look and join in the discussions!
Thursday, December 6, 2007
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
Sunday, November 25, 2007
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.
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
Saturday, November 17, 2007
(Text Taken from http://www.hudsonrivervalley.com/index.cfm?section_id=6&page_id=83 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.
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
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
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.
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.
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.
Friday, November 9, 2007
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
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.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
Monday, September 3, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
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.