Bucyrus-Erie Model 54-B Shovel Brochure
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  1. #1
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    Default Bucyrus-Erie Model 54-B Shovel Brochure


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    Thanks for that Paul. Sorta brings back memories of a guy I knew forever. He had one like that, only it was a gas powered (Hall Scott) job, but about as big. Amazing how he made it look effortless.

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    My dad operated and repaired cable machines for many years. He always said Bucyrus Erie was the best of them although in hard rock digging Northwest had a slight advantage. He had a pair of 22B machines with hoe attachments. Growing up I was always so excited to go to work with him and ride those big noisy machines! Both had Cat D318 diesels. Good memories there, thanks for posting!

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    I wonder what the service/working life was for the Buda diesel engine. During WWII, Buda furnished some 6 cylinder diesel engines for use in diesel-electric locomotived built by Whitcomb (subsidiary of Baldwin Locomotive Works). These locomotives were furnished to the US Military and shipped to Europe. The Buda diesels had a dismal record of cracking cylinder heads in service more often than not. Trains were being run by the US Army with three of the Whitcomb diesel locomotives on the head ends. Each locomotive had two of the Buda diesel engines. The thinking was that with a total of 6 engines, a few were going to develop cracked cylinder heads on the run, but there would still be enough power to get the train over its run.

    Possibly, the Buda engines on the Whitcomb locomotives (I saw a Whitcomb up close and personal only once) had the mechanical superchargers (Roots blowers) on them. This may have contributed to the cracking of the cylinder heads. The Bucyrus Erie crane or shovel in the brochure has a naturally aspirated Buda diesel engine, so maybe more long-lived. I was intrigued by the "pony" engine for starting the diesel engine. It sits cross-wise at the top/front of the engine. It looks a bit larger than the pony engines used on the old 'Cat diesel engines. Years ago, I saw a monster of a Waukesha standby generator engine. It was a gasoline engine, an in-line 6 of some huge displacement. It had a little flathead 4 cylinder engine as the pony engine, and that pony engine was started with a rope. I wonder if the pony engine on the Buda diesel had an electric starter, or whether a ripcord was used to start it.

    Times were definitely simpler. There is nothing electronic on that Bucyrus-Erie crane/shovel. All the controls appear to work by direct mechanical linkages, no air servos or hydraulic servos. The brochure claims the crane or shovel is easy on the operators, with responsive controls with good feel to them. I wonder how much of that claim was "editorial license" ? Seeing the heavy levers and direct mechanical linkages, I was reminded of some of the ancient cranes I'd been around briefly. No matter how well B-E may have designed the linkages and brakes and clutches and control levers/pedals, I would think that it took some muscle to run that type of crane. Add some wear or slop in the linkages and some worn friction linings and I am sure the operators had to throw a bit more muscle onto the controls.

    Seeing the load chart reminded me how far cranes have come. The newer generations of cranes have on-board dedicated computers which monitor the various parameters (boom angle, length of boom, direction of the boom relative to undercarriage, load being raised, etc). These computers are essentially "automatic load charts" and will sound warning signals if an operator is getting into trouble, and can stop the crane from further movement if the operator is picking a load which will make the crane unstable. The only movement possible at that point is to get out of trouble (such as raising the boom to decrease load radius and lowering the load). The older cranes like this B-E had a pointer on the bottom section of the boom to give a visual indication of boom angle, and possibly, a load chart printed on a metal plate in the crane cab. After that, it was up to the operator to have studied the load chart and determined if the length of boom, number of parts of rigging on the main load hoist, and all else were going to be within the safe operating limits of the crane. The new generations of hydraulic cranes mounted on truck carriers have pretty much obsoleted a lot of the old "friction cranes" with "lattice booms". The new cranes are quite complex and rely on electronics and electrohydraulic controls. Quite a complex animal when compared to these old Bucyrus Erie cranes.

    The reality is that if a person found one of these old Bucyrus Erie cranes with the pony starting engine on the main engine sitting abandoned and not stripped out nor seized, chances are they could get it running again with a box of tools. If they found one of the newer generation of hydraulic cranes sitting abandoned, chances are good they'd discover a number of the components were obsolete, and that they needed a couple of batteries to juice things up. Once they got power into the newer crane's wiring, they would likely find that they needed to plug in a laptop computer and have the right software to figure out what problems existed in the different systems. They'd also find that the electrohydraulic control valves were quite sensitive to dirt and water in the hydraulic oil, and might well find some of those control valves were not working. Meanwhile, the guys who found the old Bucyrus Erie crane might well have walked it out of where it had been abandoned and could well have been running it to play with it, or walked it up to load out on a lowboy. I was kind of surprised to see the Buda diesel engine in that B-E brochure, thinking they would have used Detroit or Cummins diesel engines. I know P & H, who was a competitor to Bucyrus-Erie, and also a Milwaukee firm, used Detroit power in a lot of their cranes in that same time period. Why B-E chose Buda is another matter. Cummins made a good solid 6 cylinder diesel of similar rating, with nowhere near the headaches (pardon the pun) that the Buda engine had. For a rarer engine, also built right in Milwaukee, there was the Murphy diesel. A Murphy diesel was so heavy that chances are a crane did not need too much additional counterweight. Murphy diesel made it into some cranes, shovels, and draglines. The Murphy diesels were a 1200 rpm engine, with handholes on the side of the crankcase to access big-ends. The Murphy engines were 4 cycle, overhead cam engines, and were really massive. Possibly Northwestern used them on some of their shovels. I would not have been surprised to see a Murphy diesel in the old Bucyrus-Erie cranes in this brochure.

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    JM,the Murphy diesels were owned by North West,for their own machines,as well as for sale .And as you say ,a lot of iron ,either put it in the motor ,or into counterweights,...North West also used IH gasoline engines ,and I have the remains of a WW2 Nortwest that was mounted on a NR Mack carrier ,built ,I think ,for the Air Ministry (UK)...The local council had a fleet of them for the WSS Dept.IH U9 gas engines ,with the Mack Lanova diesel in the carrier.I drove mine across town with 60ft of boom sticking out.....good old days...And ,as you say ,Buda Diesels were never much good ...Allis Chalmers ended up buying the company ,and all the 50 s Allis dozers had Budas ....lots of black smoke and cracked heads.

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    Was lucky to see one of these a few years back at a steam era show here in SW Ontario. Absolutely
    mesmorizing to watch.

    Here's a short video of that:

    YouTube

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    These old gals were my bread and butter for 30 years, every logger had at least a 22b, 30b or the 54b for high line logging, I made 1000s of parts for the BE sure miss them,But not the grease...Phil

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    Default 54B Bucyrus Erie

    One of the stevedores who worked on our docks had a pair of these for general cargo work and later on were fitted with magnets for working scrap....They held up well under heavy work but everything on them was massive and designed for hard long hours of work with little trouble.. Cheers; Ramsay 1

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    Some of those (I don't know if all) were made in Erie, Pa. As the brochure states, South Milwaukee was another plant.

    Here:
    Google Maps

    And "Weschler Avenue" was always kept in brick, not repaved with concrete (a very rare thing in erie)

    as a kid, we would see the machines come out the large west door, and get crawled down the street (hence the city keeping it in brick) to the north on Weschler, to the back of what is now "valley tire"
    It was the test lot.
    I used to see a large pile of dirt running parallel to 12th street, with about 5-10 machines there, being test run.

    The machining shops were around the corner on raspberry st., most buildings are down, IIRC this was the offices:
    Google Maps
    Last edited by digger doug; 04-03-2020 at 12:36 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Michaels View Post
    Times were definitely simpler. There is nothing electronic on that Bucyrus-Erie crane/shovel. All the controls appear to work by direct mechanical linkages, no air servos or hydraulic servos. The brochure claims the crane or shovel is easy on the operators, with responsive controls with good feel to them. I wonder how much of that claim was "editorial license" ? Seeing the heavy levers and direct mechanical linkages, I was reminded of some of the ancient cranes I'd been around briefly. No matter how well B-E may have designed the linkages and brakes and clutches and control levers/pedals, I would think that it took some muscle to run that type of crane. Add some wear or slop in the linkages and some worn friction linings and I am sure the operators had to throw a bit more muscle onto the controls.
    .
    Well, a bit of info on this.
    As to be expected, there were 15b's and all manner of smaller B-E's around Erie. Some still at the various docks down at the lake, and you'll find some in the weeds around the farms.
    I worked at a garage that bucked the trend and bought a 15 ton unit shovel instead (actually 2 of them)
    The main reason ? the unit shovel had a low "house" or cowling over the engine, and when swinging a bucket full to meet a truck, the BE cab's have some blindspots, the unit does not.

    also, I think the B-E was the most expensive at the time.

    However, another contractor friend of mine had a unit shovel (must have been a salesman/dealership nearby) as he could not get a 15b when wanted. After a year or so, BE had more 15b's avail and he sold the unit shovel quickly. He said that even though both had direct acting levers (no air controls like later BE's) the BE's were much easier to operate, and you were not worn out by the end of the day.

    I do recall that both machines used different designs for clutches & brakes completely.
    Last edited by digger doug; 04-03-2020 at 12:38 PM.

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    My father worked at the Evansville IN plant from right after WWII until retirement. I worked there from 1973 until about 1980 when they sold out and I got laid off. I ran large planers (2 Grays and a Niles), we planed the mainframe castings for the 61B, 71B and 88B shovels among other parts. Also ran horizontal boring machines, they had three Grays with 6" spindles. Some of the machine tools there were huge.

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    Several of the old timers I served my apprenticeship under,had worked at the Evansville plant. Like theperfessor says, big machines. Also, lots of labor problems.

    JH

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    Nice one Paul, thanks.

    Got a really good laugh out of the “built for operator comfort” line, especially the claim of being well suited to summer and winter conditions, good one there.

    Working A full shift in that tiny un-insulated cab, perched on that little tractor seat, cranking those levers, let alone a long shift in the peak of summer (or winter) would have really taken something outta the operator!

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    The winter was not the problem, once the engine warmed up it would keep you nice and warm. Took about ahour to melt the ice so the cluchs worked good. Summer was the bad time, 120f in the cab and the chain case would coat you in real stinky 90w, and the grease was everywhere.....Phil

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  21. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Michaels View Post
    Times were definitely simpler. There is nothing electronic on that Bucyrus-Erie crane/shovel. All the controls appear to work by direct mechanical linkages, no air servos or hydraulic servos. The brochure claims the crane or shovel is easy on the operators, with responsive controls with good feel to them. I wonder how much of that claim was "editorial license" ? Seeing the heavy levers and direct mechanical linkages, I was reminded of some of the ancient cranes I'd been around briefly. No matter how well B-E may have designed the linkages and brakes and clutches and control levers/pedals, I would think that it took some muscle to run that type of crane. Add some wear or slop in the linkages and some worn friction linings and I am sure the operators had to throw a bit more muscle onto the controls.
    The only thing electric on my dad's machines was the 6V electric starter for the pony motor. As far as muscle when the clutches and brakes were adjusted properly it takes surprisingly little effort to operate. I was only about 14 when dad let me play around a bit and I had no difficulty at all. The older one of his machines had a worn travel clutch and that one needed quite a bit of effort to get the machine moving anywhere. Northwest advertised "Feather Touch" controls and dad said those were really nice. He did say air controls were more amazing still but were not as reliable with age as anything mechanical. My dad is fairly def now from thousands of hours sitting 2 feet in front of a massive non muffled diesel whose steel enclosure made it even louder. Today's operators have air cushioned seats, hvac cab with sound insulation and sensitive hydraulics for operator comfort and efficiency.

    I know Bucyrus Erie and Marion made some absolutely massive stripping shovels and draglines. They must of had some very impressive machine tools in their shops. Their foundry and pattern shops must have been quite something too.

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    wouldn’t be surprised if you looked through some of these old magazines if some pictures of the machinery inside the Bucyrus Erie factory might turn up
    Full-text Search Results | HathiTrust Digital Library
    Designed for Digging The First 75 Years of the Bucyrus-Erie Company
    Designed for digging; - Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust Digital Library
    I tried a few searches but the site runs a bit slow on my system .
    Regards,
    Jim

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    My father was one that worked on the big muskie project, he wound the armature coils for the motors & MG sets.

    So they get all the workers gathered up, and put in busses to go see big muskie
    in action, IIRC southern Ohio, maybe a 3 hour strip.

    Somewhere around here is a pix where they parked the 2 tour busses in the bucket.

    Apparently it was very quiet in operation, what with being all electric.

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    Something or nothing.

    We had a 280B at the cement works ''on my old manor'' in Kent (2 of em if memory serves) AKA ''The Big Buggers''

    Bit of YouTube here (not good vid) YouTube

    Flickr still here Northfleet cement works chalk quarry in 1979 | Shows a very … | Flickr

    I had a worn bucket tooth off one for years - used it as a door stop, ……..many visitors to my old shop - having been raised on JCB backhoes etc etc doing a double take when told ''it's just a digger bucket tooth''


    FWIW the cement works is now closed and it's a bloody great shopping mall ( Blue Water)

    P.S. At 5:33 on the vid the crushed chalk is going away on a conveyor - the rollers for which were made in their hundreds by many local job shops, ......a real thankless kick bollock and bite machining job with next to no profit in it, ...........you could be sure if a shop had a batch of those on the go - they were short of work.


    Talking of conveyors - here's a long one - 1 mile (a sea dredged aggregate works few miles down river from the cement works) it rund from the Cliffe Fort (top right) down to the plant (bottom left) with yup - (you've guessed i a LOT of rollers

    Google Maps

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    We had a 280B at the cement works ''on my old manor'' in Kent (2 of em if memory serves) AKA ''The Big Buggers''

    Bit of YouTube here (not good vid) YouTube

    Flickr still here Northfleet cement works chalk quarry in 1979 | Shows a very … | Flickr

    I had a worn bucket tooth off one for years - used it as a door stop, ……..many visitors to my old shop - having been raised on JCB backhoes etc etc doing a double take when told ''it's just a digger bucket tooth''


    FWIW the cement works is now closed and it's a bloody great shopping mall ( Blue Water)

    P.S. At 5:33 on the vid the crushed chalk is going away on a conveyor - the rollers for which were made in their hundreds by many local job shops, ......a real thankless kick bollock and bite machining job with next to no profit in it, ...........you could be sure if a shop had a batch of those on the go - they were short of work.
    There's a local guy to me - a pensioner with a nice garden workshop who is still active in model engineering and restoring old British bikes. I bought something off him a few years ago and when I went round to collect it we got talking. Turns out he used to service those Ruston Bucyrus machines at the (now Bluewater) cement quarry. He has a large binder album full of photos.

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    It was huge place Peter, when built around 1970 it was a 1 million ton / year plant and it grew the Bluewater was just one of 3 (I think quarries) with a massive workforce - including a lot of contractors,...many of them Irish

    From memory

    Conways stripped the overburden

    H&S Contractors always had a few machines on site (but they weren't Irish)

    The same with Pat Fay

    With Tommy Quinnells boys running around welding things up and hard facing like it was going out of fashion.

    And when wet, the chalk and mud ''slurry'' on the quarry and site roads stuck to vehicles, and set like concrete, ..............often taking the paint off if left on car bodywork too long.

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