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 June 2013

It's Alive!

By Paul Harvey

When this article rolls off the presses, our big June Show is less than two weeks away.  That's right;  June 13, 14, and 15 will be our June Expo featuring oil engines.  The museum exhibits will be running, the fields will be full of exhibitors, there will be an enlarged flea market, and plenty of good food. But most important, the fellowship of chatting with old friends and making new ones, as one enjoys the long warm days of Summer and the sounds of engine exhaust. 

We already have the April and May open weekends under our belts.  They were quite successful with many people attending.  Now, every weekend is a work weekend as we prepare for the June Expo.  Yes, the museum is now ALIVE!  There never seems to be enough time to prepare, but when it happens, all falls together and a great event is enjoyed.     

For a change of pace, I have decided to take the reader "behind the scenes" and show just a few of the projects that our volunteers do to get ready.  As one can imagine, there are so many more jobs being done than the ones included here, and each project has its coordinator who works hard to improve the overall function of his project as well as that of the museum.  See the photos and enjoy! 

Photo 1 shows Dave and Buck on a cold April day planning a radiator change for our main air compressor.  This unit was assembled in Franklin, PA by Chicago Pneumatic.  The spoke wheels and early tires reveal its 1940s vintage.  It uses a Caterpillar four-cylinder diesel that is pony motor started, and it drives  a CP compressor.  It makes 350 cfm of air! It runs every show day from early in the morning till dark supplying compressed air to start the large engines, run the steam engines, and many, many other uses.  When you visit the museum, it can be found just north of the Power Technology Building under its own roof. It is truly one of our dependable workhorses and is essential to show operation.  

Photo 2 shows Rob constructing a new workbench in the Power Technology Building.  The original, which I built in 1971, had deteriorated enough that tools were falling off.  So, for this one, concrete legs were installed and heavy wood is being used.  The bench holds our giant vise and is a convenient place to make quick repairs during showtime.  Rob has undertaken the monumental project of sorting and placing all the tools as well as doing a major rearrangement of the engines along the west side of the building.  Plans include a west access door to allow the visitors more freedom to view the equipment.  This will be a major improvement to the building and its use.     

Photo 3 shows Reid cleaning the 300 hp Miller Improved gas engine.  This large engine runs on a posted schedule during the shows and is always a crowd pleaser.  The compressed air start up sequence is the most impressive.  After the October show is over, the engines are given a heavy coat of grease to prevent rusting and this has to removed again in the spring.  Reid, one of the engineers operating this engine, will soon have it shiny again.  This engine was built in 1913 in Springfield, Ohio, and operated a large air compressor used to pump oil wells in the Kane, PA field.  The compressor is installed and its operation is planned.  It makes an impressive static display at this time.  Be sure to see the big Miller start and run during your visit here. 

Photo 4 shows a new addition in our wooded oil field display area.  Here, one will find many small buildings with individual displays depicting the various technologies of pumping and transporting crude oil in the early 1900s.  Stewart is erecting a vintage power house moved from the Pleasantville, PA area.  It contains a 15 hp two-cycle Pattin Brothers engine built in Marietta, Ohio, belted to a TICO rod line pumping power.  The TICO, built by Titusville Iron Works in Titusville, PA is unique in that it features a spiral, bevel, herringbone tooth drive.  This must have been a pattern maker's nightmare!  The Pattin Brothers engine came from northern Pennsylvania which is unusual for these engines to be so far from Marietta.  But, there was a dealer in Bradford.  The TICO power came from a lease near Pleasantville, PA.  The building is now nearly completed and its vintage appearance is a compliment to this display area.

Photo 5 shows Tom and Rod digging the foundation hole for a steam engine to be operated from the Windy City air plant.  Tom is digging and Rod is hauling the dirt away.  The form lies beside the hole and is now filled with concrete.  Windy City was located just south of Kane, PA and the entire building along with its engine was dismantled and re-erected at the museum.  The big Blaisdell compressing engine, in Windy City, with its extremely loud exhaust note and huge seven foot flywheels has been a museum favorite for many years. So now it is going to be put to work.  The Blaisdell provided compressed air to operate 48 steam engines that pumped individual oil wells.  Apparently it was more economical to replace the old boilers and use a central air plant to operate the wells than to replace the individual steam engines with new gas engines.  The steam engine to be installed is a Farrar & Trefts built in Buffalo, NY about 1880.  It originally operated about two miles from the Windy City plant and was removed because the well had stopped producing crude oil.  It will happily be running on Blaisdell air again for our June show. 

Photo 6 shows Dylan oiling and operating the 1880s Farrar and Trefts steam engine from the Windy City lease.  It has been located in the Half Breed Pavilion and he, along with other young folks, have faithfully operated it for many years.  Soon, a walking beam and well head will be installed to demonstrate the original use. By the June show, the engine will be mounted on the concrete foundation near the Windy City air plant and he will again operate it for all to enjoy.

Photo 7 shows making the 30 feet long legs that will support the water tank that will provide cooling water for the 600 hp Snow, as well as the Friend's Exhibition Hall, Pat's Place, and other installations being developed on the hill.  Already three 1,000 gallon concrete tanks have been buried that will collect the water to be pumped overhead for reuse.  The top of the tank will be over 40 feet and easily seen from the highway, marking the museum's location to all travelers.  Photo 8 shows Ben, Chris and Doug placing one of the legs with the museum's Lorain crane to check alignment.  The legs, tank and accessories will then be sandblasted and painted before final erection.

Mowing the 25 acres of the museum fields and parking areas is a never ending task.  Photo 9 shows Kevin with his Kubota and 10 foot wide Woods mower making short work of the project.  He keeps his equipment on the grounds here and drives from New Jersey frequently to keep everything "all trimmed up."  Mowing, trimming, and grounds maintenance is a major summer project to make the museum presentable.

Photo 10 shows Tom working on the museum cooling water system near the Fred Merry Pump House.  Tom manages to start in April to service all the pumps needed to keep cooling water flowing to the engines during our events.  The water is pumped from the creek but no water is returned to it due to environmental concerns.  It is stored in several large tanks and piped to many of the original buildings to provide engine cooling.  It then returns to a large concrete underground sump tank.  From there, it is pumped uphill by the several pumps in the Pump House, through a radiator type cooler, to the storage tanks on higher ground.  Downhill flow through all the engine water jackets is by gravity so that damaging excessive pressure can not be applied.  Hence, all our cooling water is recirculated and not wasted on the ground.  It is a huge system with many valves and pumps to check and maintain in order to have the necessary cooling water for our engines.

Photo 11 shows the balcony addition to the Friend's Exhibition Hall.   Some static displays have been placed there and are easily viewed from the ground level.  This has given room for the building's work area just underneath.  Mike is seen operating the forklift with Mark on the balcony to guide the engine into place.  Kevin is in the background supervising the move.

Photo 12 is the 50 hp White and Middleton gas engine arriving at the museum and being unloaded in Pat's Place which will be its permanent home.  Mike and Dave are busy at work to place the engine.  This monumental machine, with its 7 1/2 foot diameter flywheels, was removed from the Buckeye Pipe Line Company's Bremen Station in the 1960s by the late Dr. John Wilcox.  There, it had pumped crude oil along with the big Model 4 Klein located in the Power Technology Building.  It is now owned by Greg Johnson, of Lakeside, CA who will be here to interpret and operate it for our events.  Restoration was done by Dave but the final starting will await Greg who plans to do it during the June show.

Photo 13 is a new acquisition belonging to the author.  It is a 20 hp South Penn Special half breed that pumped an oil well near Dutchman Run, WV.  These were very sturdy engines built near Clarksburg, WV in the South Penn shops using their own cylinder and a very heavy Oil City Boiler Works frame.  It was supplied with a reversing clutch and originally supplied the power to drill the well and then stayed on site to pump and service the well.  Dutchman Run wells averaged 1,800 feet deep and were drilled in the early 1930s.  This engine is of special interest to me as it is similar to one of the first "big" engines that I learned to operate.  When in school at WVU in 1967, I found that there were oil wells just west of Morgantown, WV and big engines that I had never seen before.  One of the local pumpers, Les Neely,  befriended me and sometimes would take me with him to see how he pumped.  He first taught me to operate a 20 hp JC engine and then the South Penn Special.  This engine will be placed in the Half Breed Pavilion in memory of Les.

Probably the most unseen job to do for the museum is advertising.  But sometimes in can be fun as Photo 14 shows.  I did a radio interview with Danna and Dick Vernon for WYTM-AM 1380 Kittanning.  The Vernons were gracious hosts and the 1/2 hour interview took over two hours with all our chatting.  It has already aired but can be heard on the web at  anytime.  This proved much better than designing posters and contacting papers and magazines! 

Yes, Coolspring Power Museum is now ALIVE and in full swing of making the June show great for all our visitors.  The dates are JUNE 13,  14, & 15, 2013 which is a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Our special featured engines will be OIL ENGINES which we define as any compression ignition engine.  But, all engines and displays will be welcome!  There will be a special presentation on Oil Engines given by Mike Murphy at the Coolspring Presbyterian Church (the one on main street) Friday night at 7 pm.  It is free and all are invited to attend.  New for this year will be some evening engine runs.  Some buildings might close for dinner and the presentation but then reopen again for evening runs.  Stick around and enjoy the fellowship of an evening run!  These are always fun.

Would  you like to become a volunteer at the museum?  We always need more help with projects like these  and would like to teach you to become an engineer.  We have so many machines that need adopted and operated for our events.  Please contact any of our members for more information. 

          Looking ahead, July 20 and 21 will be our open weekend and July 20 will be our second annual History Day with its Car, Truck & Tractor show.  Please  call 814-849-6883 for more information.  Just drive in with your antique car or truck and join us for an event without the large crowds so that our engineers can chat with you and answer all your questions.  See you then!

Planning a Radiator Change 

Photo 1: Dave and Buck planning a radiator change

New Workbench 

Photo 2: Rob constructing a new workbench

Cleaning the 300 hp Miller 

Photo 3: Reid cleaning the 300 hp Miller Improved gas engine

Pattin Brothers Power House 

Photo 4: Stewart is erecting a vintage power house

Digging Foundation for Steam Engine 

Photo 5: Tom and Rod digging the foundation hole for a steam engine

Dylan Oiling Steam Engine 

Photo 6: Dylan oiling and operating the 1880s Farrar and Trefts steam engine

Water Tank Legs 

Photo 7: making the 30 feet long legs that will support the water tank 

Placing Water Tank Legs 

Photo 8: Ben, Chris and Doug placing one of the legs with the museum's Lorain crane

Mowing the Museum Lawn 

Photo 9: Kevin with his Kubota and 10 foot wide Woods mower

Repairing Water System 

Photo 10: Tom working on the museum cooling water system

Exhibits on Second Floor 

Photo 11: The balcony addition to the Friend's Exhibition Hall

Unloading White & Middleton 

Photo 12: 50 hp White and Middleton gas engine arriving at the museum

South Penn Special engine 

Photo 13: 20 hp South Penn Special half breed engine

Radio Interview 

Photo 14: Danna and Dick Vernon of WYTM-AM 1380 Kittanning


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