E. E. Baugh Steam Plant.
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    Default E. E. Baugh Steam Plant.

    These picture's are of a small steam plant with some connection to E.E. Baugh Mount Holly, New Jersey. The reason I say connection is because the Township itself is much later than the mechanical design of the engine. Also the threads and fittings are not American threads seemingly Whitworth but I haven't gotten far enough along to really tell.

    This engine is made of either " Red Brass " or Bronze. I'm leaning toward Bronze based on the Patina.It is a very small engine with a 6" flywheel with maybe a 3/4" Bore. Beautiful little thing. A puff of air from my lungs will keep it going quite awhile !

    I don't believe it is a toy. It is made far to well to be a boy's plaything. The design of the engine places it into the late 19th Century. Now the little plunger pump does appear to be from some engine sold commercially probably from Germany. It doesn't approach the same workmanship which appears in the engine and boiler. Note the connecting rod on the engine with Gib and Cotter. The cylinder head screws have been replaced somewhere along the line.

    I love the FORM of the Box Bed and the golden Patina. Every surface has been beautifully finished..all the casting marks removed. The Box Bed has no section thicker than 1/8" with most of it being 1/16" thick. Beautiful little thing.
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    The pressure gauge is unusual surprising me with its mechanism. Internally it is all mechanical its mechanism being activated by a pressure operated plunger or diaphragm assembly which threads into the Gauge case.

    The Gauge Face is Zinc. The gauge is unmarked. Last pic shows how it attaches to the steam manifold which contains the remnants of a weighted Safety Valve. I replaced the crudely cut window glass Crystal with one for an old pocket watch.

    Has anyone seen this design before ?
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    Last pics are of the boiler. It is 5 1/2" in diameter with beautiful riveted construction. Outer shell is Brass, internal formed parts Copper. It sits on a base made from an old iron cased pressure gauge with a small round Gas burner. The burner is made in the USA..should have taken a pic of it.

    The water column threads have been "pulled" in this boiler so the original water gauge ( which I have) is unusable. Reason I think it may be Whitworth it the threads on the original water gauge are straight threads, no taper. I can easily re-thread these "pulled threads" with a 1/8" NPT Tap. Fortunately the rest of it is in perfect condition.

    I have never seen a boiler so beautifully constructed. It is made exactly like a full size riveted boiler excepting the outer rivet heads have been filed flush. These rivets have been carefully fitted into "counter sink's" which you can clearly see in the photo's.

    One of the pics show the Smoke Box and stack and various parts. Little by little each part is being repaired and reinstalled. This steam plant is a true mystery. If it is an American made engine..why the odd threads ? Where did these beautifully made engine castings come from ? Why is the base and burner so much different from the rest of the plant ? So many questions !
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    The steam gauge design goes to some early designs by Ashcroft - perhaps pre-civil war - which afterwards were obsoleted by the generalized adoption of the Bordon tube type.

    This is covered in "Antique American Steam Gauges" by David.

    "Counter sink" boiler rivets were used and I would guess up into the 1870s if not a bit more. The original "Baxter Colt" stationary self contained boiler/engine was built almost exclusively this way. Colt-Baxter production began in 1867ish and ended in the early 1880s as cheaper engine producers (and boiler constructors) became more common.

    Whitworth threads were common through the American Civil War. Americans really didn't have a big urge to develop home grown tooling since most tooling was based on tool steel - and the primary producers of tool steels were English glass-blowers - at least until the Civil war. I myself have a woodworking lathe which is a no-name lathe, made in the style common in Worcester, MA until at least the 1880s, and probably pre-dates the Civil War. I think it is a Shepard-Lathe & Co. A later Lathe & Morse lathe which is documented online is nearly identical. My lathe is notable in having headstock bearing cap bolts done in 7/16-14 BSW, which to a casual use SHOULD fit 7/16-14 UNC - but they don't. One gets the bolts screwed in about 6 turns and it "binds up" on the 55 degree included thread angle. But this is a lathe likely made before the Civil War.

    Lathe & Morse Tool Co. - Photo Index | VintageMachinery.org



    Joe in NH

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    No match for E E Baugh Mt. Holly, but I find: BAUGH Edward A., machinist, h Bispham bel Washington
    Here: Mt. Holly NJ Directories, 1866-1894 Partial - Burlington County NJ - NJGenWeb

    Mount Holly Cemetery
    Burlington County, New Jersey
    Baugh, Edward E., b. 1864, d. 1935, E1

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    That thing really does look very well made and is quite "pretty". Seems too small for practical use, might it be some sort of sample piece or the like?

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    JST...the same thing crossed my mind. It is very difficult without some sense of scale to have a realization of its size. It has a 6" diameter flywheel but one could easily jump to the conclusion its a much bigger engine. What is so amazing is its likeness to full size.

    Thank you reggie for the Mount Holly connection. One could almost assume a connection here and the time frame overlaps. It is a mysterious little thing. The threads throw me. How could such a LATE engine ( assuming the nameplate is correct ) be such an aberration from engines built in that time period? Even Model engineer's were using standard threads at the time or the "ME" threads which originated in England.

    So what is it? What does it represent? Perhaps " E E Baugh " is the son and put together his Father's handiwork as a memory. Perhaps EE and EA Baugh is the same person.

    It is also very possible these pieces were purchased and assembled by E.E.Baugh sort of like some do today, putting together a working steam plant for their own pleasure. These pieces could have been very old at the time. They may have earlier roots than the Baugh connection. The different levels of workmanship add intrigue to its genesis.

    Salesman Sample is a term bantered around way to much when it comes to small steam engines. This engine has no distinguishing features beyond what was common in that time period. But man..this little thing looks exactly like its bigger brothers and could very well have been carried in a suitcase or traveling trunk.

    Also see how the flywheel rim is made. It is a very early style with narrow rim. I simply love the engineering and beauty this engine has in its details. Combine all this with the early style pressure gauge and it makes one wonder. So little is known about these early steam engines. Technology was certainly an infant in regards to photo's and records. I wish there was more and I wish the information wasn't so hard to find.

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    A few pleasant hours of shop time has resulted in getting this small steam plant back to operating condition.Well..more than a few but pleasant nevertheless

    Most of the piping was missing. The little plunger pump came with the engine but had no check valves.I straightened that out and put in a bypass. After testing the boiler I made a fancy clamp to secure it to the firebox. I made an adapter with orifice for the burner. I fitted a different safety valve..a bit large but it'll work. I couldn't save the original safety valve, it was too far gone.

    I always try and use as many original bits and piece's as possible. On this one I very sympathetically cleaned the engine and boiler. In fact I didn't clean the engine at all opting for a rub down with light oil. I made a displacement lubricator from a small brass oil cup and corrected the problem's which always seem to come with these antique steam plants.

    I think I'll fit a band around the smoke box top cap to make it look pretty. I'll fire it up this afternoon or tomorrow and enjoy the beauty of a beautifully made steam plant complete with the smell of steam oil.
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    These are the last pic's some taken before the mechanical restoration. I REALLY like this small pressure gauge fitted to this mysterious plant. It is a low pressure gauge so this plant will run on very low pressure. The engine is incredibly well made. I can keep it rotating constantly under lung pressure only so I'm quite sure it'll run and pump its own water feed quite happily.

    It is not what I consider to be a working " power focused " steam plant but rather a demonstration piece built for educational purposes. I don't believe it is a boy's toy or something bought in a model shop. The exquisite workmanship and design of both engine and boiler suggests something different than an expensive toy. What I do not know. What I do know is the way it was originally piped up was done by someone else because the threads are regular 1/4" x 40 tpi Model Engineer Pipe threads. The threads on the engine and boiler are different than any Standard USA Thread.

    One thing I will be changing are the straight test cocks which have no "turn down" on them but discharge directly into ones face ! I'll keep the originals in place but fit some small copper pipe's too send their discharge "down" rather than "out". I'm still considering exactly how to do it. Also I'll fit some small wooden handle's over their operating lever's to prevent burnt finger's and give them a nicer look.
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    Lester:

    You do have a knack for finding (and showing us) some of the most interesting and well made model and small-sized steam plants. My guess is Mr. Baugh built the steam engine as a working model. It was a common thing many years ago for machinists and stationary engineers as well as marine engineers to build model steam engines. An old friend had a model of a steam launch in the window of his auto parts shop in Marquette, Michigan in the 1970's. The launch was about 3 feet long with a working steam plant. It had a single cylinder vertical engine, all made of bronze castings, with a mainframe in keeping with what was in use on the Great Lakes many years ago. It also had a vertical boiler, fully jacketed. I used to enjoy looking at that model, and I was told it had been made by a stationary engineer in the waterworks in Duluth, MN many years earlier. The founder of the auto parts store had come from Duluth, and apparently, the stationary engineer at the waterworks was a friend who passed his model along to him. Same sort of construction, one-off bronze castings, one-off fittings apparently made by the same man who made the rest of the model.

    Mr. Baugh may well have been any of several professions, as many years ago stationary and marine engineers were usually fairly accomplished machinists. Mr. Baugh likely made patterns and had them poured in bronze in some local foundry. Making the pattern for the cylinder with cored steam passages was quite an accomplishment in its own right, given the small size of things. Mr. Baugh was following stationary engine practice of the 1860's -1890's, I think. The engine is too nicely made and too well finished to have been used as a "working engine" for something like driving sewing machines (a common use for small "working" steam engines and boilers).

    The boiler is a fine piece of work in its own right, and has a "wet" or "submerged" firebox. From the looks of the top ends of the boiler tubes, they were expanded into the sheet. My guess is Mr. Baugh riveted the tubesheets into the boiler barrel, then silver brazed the end of the flanged seam to seal the joint. When that was done, he was comfortable with filing off the rivet heads to flush them with the barrel. We will never know why Mr. Baugh decided to flush off the rivet heads- maybe not to scale, maybe not neat enough to suit his eye. Either way, the boiler is a very fine piece of work. I find myself thinking Mr. Baugh, at the time he build the boiler, may well have done the silver brazing in a charcoal fire. A gasoline blow torch (blow lamp to our UK brethren) might have been used as well. Certainly, whatever Mr. Baugh had available at the time was not the easy propositions we have in the form of oxy-fuel torches with various sizes of tips, or TIG torches. He likely had to get some "spelter" (brazing alloy), maybe filed it to make fine particles of it, and mixed his own flux from borax. Painted this mixture on the seams, then put that part of the boiler into the fire or played the blowtorch on it. Maybe had the balance of the boiler buried in a pail of damp sand to limit heat travel.
    He may have made a tapered drift to expand the tubes into the sheets, and flared the ends slightly. Nothing was so easily done as we have it today.

    The gauge is interesting, to say the least. I believe I saw one very old steam pressure gauge which used a corrugated diaphragm to work the mechanism. As pressure increased, the diaphragm deflected and worked the movement of the gauge. The gauge on this engine and boiler is quite a fine piece of work, and I have to wonder if it were a one-off job. Making a Bourdon tube which would function properly over the range of pressure to be measured, and fit into a small gauge case may have been something Mr. Baugh was unable to do, so he resorted to a different means of sensing steam pressure. Usually, there is a hairspring in mechanical pressure gauge movements, and I wonder if there is a hairspring that is missing from this gauge. I can imagine at the time Mr. Baugh built this steam plant, he may well have gone to a local watchmaker or horologist and asked him to make and fit a hairspring to his gauge movement. He may also have handed the gauge face off to a local engraver for engraving/etching. Different times when a person could go to local craftsmen for one-off out-of-the-ordinary type jobs, and when local foundries would pour one-off jobs like castings for a steam engine model.

    As per your style, you have done another exemplary job of bringing the engine and boiler back to first class condition. Mr. Holly, New Jersey is down in Southern NJ, close to Philadelphia, PA. It is a busy area, suburbia, with people living life at a hyperkinetic pace. Crazy traffic, the usual "homogenized" kind of community that is proliferating our country and taking away the individuality and local flavor. It is hard to imagine Mr. Baugh living in Mt Holly at a time when life was slower and machinists, horologists, foundries and places with steam engines (where Mr. Baugh may well have worked) existed.

    When Lester takes on one of these steam plants, he shows a respect for the person who made it, and does not take "the easy way" to get things running again. The result is what I call "museum quality" restorations and repairs. At the rate Lester Bowman is going, he could open a small museum of the collection of small steam plants he has taken on and restored and repaired.


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