Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Lookout Boiler

Sometimes you just draw a blank. It's amazing how little information you can glean from the web about Lookout Boilers like this one that was displayed at the 2014 WNC Fall Harvest Days Show. It almost seems like the Lookout Boiler Company formerly of Chattanooga, Tenn. was stuffed down the ole memory hole like one of those pesky conspiracy theories. Go ahead, try a search ; you'll find more listings for law firms specializing in mesothelioma cases than the info you're looking for. Maybe that has something to do with it.

The vertical boiler design had it's share of advantages. It was relatively compact and light compared to horizontal boilers. It got up to operating temperature faster and was considered to be safer to operate than the locomotive style due to the design of the water jacket that precludes the crown sheet being exposed to the fire without water covering it, a condition that resulted in many boiler explosions. It was widely used to power small stationary engines and portable applications like fire engine pumpers that used vertical boilers almost exclusively.

On the down side a limited heating surface reduced the amount of steam available to convert to the horsepower needed for traction engine applications. The D. June & company was one of the very few to manufacture a vertical boiler traction engine. It was reputed to be a very effective road locomotive.

Located behind the boiler is a vertical steam engine bearing a reproduction Sears, Roebuck & Company decal that reads: 5 hp. 1904 600rpm B & OB steam engine, Southwest Michigan in the black border at the bottom. A web search result at www.ehive.com yields an ad from a Sears catalog offering Kenwood brand vertical steam engines that look very similar to this one that ship from a factory in Southwest Michigan. The listed horsepower ratings however jump from 4 hp. at 325 rpm to 6 hp at 250 rpm. The catalog says it's a "center crank type with throttling governor. Each engine furnished with governor, governor belt, governor pulley, oil cups, throttling valve, cylinder lubricator, belt pulley and a flywheel. Steam and exhaust pipe not furnished unless a boiler is ordered with the engine." The ad doesn't say what type of boiler. A Lookout maybe? The ad copy concludes by adamantly stating that under no circumstances will mounting bolts be furnished. In that regard you were on your own.

Resources: Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction Engines by Jack Norbeck

Farm Engines and How to Run Them by James H. Stephenson

1 comment:

  1. If anyone can provide any additional information about the Lookout boiler or the Sears steam engine shown in the photos above, please feel free to leave a comment.


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