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.