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!