Overview

Who’s Behind This?

I am Leo, owner of the site and current curator of "the virtual museum". I reside in Canada, and have a background in theatre design, pyrotechnics and motion picture special effects. My most recent adventure (aside from my newly ... READ MORE

Engine Tourism

These are some shows that are of note in Canada. I have currently limited myself to the province of Alberta, but if you have an upcoming show date please let me know. I highly reccomend Christine Harrold's tractor / engine show listings... READ MORE

Video & DVD

We are excited to announce that we have begun production of our own engine videos. These informative and entertaining productions will last between 30 to 50 minutes and are for sale to you on DVD or VHS. Visit our YouTube Channel or... VIEW VIDEOS

Articles

Tools & Equipment

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Belt Driven Machinery

This page is under construction:
Have you ever wondered what these old bits of iron were for? They were the industrial predecessors which allowed us to progress to the information age. These were chop, bone, and feed grinders… they were drill presses, mills, lathes, saws, and trip hammers. They are mostly gone but some survive. We must not forget as it may come to pass that we will need them again.

Published: 21. 01. 2014 | Comments: 0

Fairbanks Morse Y style Hot Bulb – Documentary

Fairbanks Morse Y style Hot Bulb (to be picked up Summer 2009)

FBMY Semi Diesel Hot Bulb Engine

I purchased this engine in the summer of 2007 and have been trying to get onto the long journey to pick it up. My hope is to have it in my hands May / June so I can start showing it at shows. Peter did a wonderful job of restoring this and I think it will be well worth the wait.

Andrew sent me this quote for the FBMY semi-diesel engine:

“Fairbanks-Morse powerplants evolved by burning kerosene in 1893, coal gas in 1905, then to semi-diesel engines in 1913 and to full diesel engines in 1924. In 1916 the company began production of the Model Z single cylinder engine in one, three and six horsepower sizes. Over a half million units were produced in the following 30 years. The model Z found favor with farmers, and the Model N with fishermen. The Company also had brief forays into building automobiles, cranes, televisions, radios and refrigerators, but output was small in these fields. After the expiration of Rudolf Diesel’s American licence in 1912, Fairbanks entered the large engine business. The company’s larger Model Y semi-diesel became a standard workhorse, and sugar, rice, timber, and mine mills used the engine. The model Y was available in sizes from one through six cylinders, or 25 to 200 horsepower. The Y-VA engine was the first high compression, cold start, full diesel developed by Fairbanks-Morse without the acquisition of any foreign patent. This machine was developed in Beloit and introduced in 1924. The company expanded its line to the marine CO engine, and the mill model E, a modernized Y diesel.”

 

Published: 21. 01. 2014 | Comments: 0

Fairbanks Morse 15/20 hp (circa 1925) – Documentary

Fairbanks Morse 15/20 hp (circa 1925) – Under restoration (Fall 2008 to Spring 2009)

Fairbanks Morse Z series 15/20 hp Grain Elevator Engine

In childhood my long suffering parents used to take me to the local historical park to run out my over abundance of energy and to desperately try and give me some form of education. I used to play for hours around the old grain elevator, placed there in the 60’s as an interpretive symbol of the old west. The engine used to rhythmically tick away daily in the “office” as steam arose from its cooling tank, and outside the muffler would pound out its signature tune. Back then the muffler was installed as with all elevators, just outside the shed on the wall. I occasionally burned myself on its hot metal, and would happily inhale the sweet fumes emanating from it. I would come away from the scene with a sense of joy that this powerful giant was under human control and that I could become lost in its intoxicating presence.

Today this engine still chugs away. Thirty years later I bring my daughter to this site, but it is not quite the same. The muffler has been silenced for little ears, and hidden away from little hands. I am sure that the smell is different too as the fuel today would be unleaded gas with a whole different load of chemical additives. The grain elevator too stands more as a symbol of the passing ways of the prairies than that of our connection to the land. These prairie sentinels that once were scattered on the horizon now number in the very few with more being wantonly destroyed each year.

Here is the video I shot in 2008 of the engine at the historical site.

I had decided that I should try and find such an engine to add to my collection. I had spent time looking on my favorite engine websites but the ones I could find were well above what I wanted to pay and had no local history to me. There was one which was in the correct price range in Newfoundland, but by the time I made the contact it had sold. I did however purchase another engine from this gentleman which is very rare and of great significance.

I began to search out the local auctions. Several engines were at auction in the summer of 2007 / 2008 but one was of particular interest and I felt a good feeling about. This was part of an estate sale near Barrhead, 5 hours north of me.

Marie had agreed to meet me the week before her sale and show me her late husbands engines. A little wary of me, she invited a relative to watch over me. I was near the area working on a project and I thought that it would be a 2 hour journey maximum to visit her… but as the Arrogant Worms song goes, “Canada is really big”. One would think I would have learned that one by now. I also did not account for the 3 and a half hour coffee and chat we had which made for one very long day.

Getting Unstuck

Below you see the engine as I try to get it unstuck.  Although the major part, that is the piston, was free (in fact it was out), Much of the smaller parts were rusted stuck quite badly.  Bathed in penetraiting oils, and gently heated and cooled, the long process of degreasing and removal of rust began.  I use heat, brass wire brushes, hot water and steam baths, as well as electrolosis to clean the various parts.  The fuel pump was clogged solid and alot of heating was needed to turn the internal grease block to dust and then hot oil to penetrate and clean out.

Fairbanks Morse Engine Restoration – The motion base

Although interesting, I was not at all happy with the skids the engine arrived on. They were uneven and crude. I was interested in creating a cart system, but there are a lot of guys in the area who have dedicated a great deal of time in the accurate replication of the Fairbanks Morse Factory Cart which would have come with the engine. The best of which was done by Larry Potter. His engine is a dream. Finely balanced and the cart a highly accurate reproduction.

This engine was most definitely a grain elevator engine, so I felt a base which would give the impression of an engine on a mount in an elevator would be the way to go. I looked to the bases created by Rob Skinner of California and his ideology for moving them around. Robs bases are on removable fixed wheels which are merely tools in loading and unloading. The cart with no wheels, sits well on most surfaces and is not prone to the rock and bounce that wheeled carts are. With the wheels on the unit, it becomes a means to winch the engine platform on to the trailer. Since I go to shows with my tilt deck and use a forklift to load and unload the trailer, I felt this would be adequate for my needs.

Below are pictures of the welded frame before the addition of the wooden platforms. The wood used was 60 year old rough cut fence board. I felt the wood would work well to reduce vibration as well as to create a rustic look matching the engine. The board was milled to size with the weathered surface up and then clear coated with Varathane to protect it from the elements and the staining of oils.

With the completion of the base and a shelf full of cleaned and oiled parts, I was able to start the re assembly of the engine. Beginning with the base, I had applied a mixture of Boiled lindseed oil and Methyl Hydrate to it to protect the rust from further rust. I had decided that this engine would be remain in what looked to be work clothes thus, all cleaned parts kept either a metalic finish which would be coated with the linseed mixture or with some other form of clear coat / rust inhibition system.

The Base firmly bolted in place, I replaced the side running gear. The flywheels followed and were also covered with the Linseed oil mixture. It should be noted that this mixture takes a few days to dry properly so the progress would slow each time a protective coating was added.

The Fun Continues

With the mounting of the engine, the major job which I hated the most and left to very last, that of the piston rings became the paramount source of frustration. I had honed and deglazed the cylinder. Believe me, finding an 8 inch hone was not an easy task. I measured the rings to be 8.040. I needed two at the start. There were two stuck on the piston and one free. I used the technique of tapping to try and free the two stuck rings. Very quickly I needed two more rings as my patience was wearing thin with the tapping and the recomended method of shims was very effective in destroying two more of the remaining rings. I found myself searching high and low for a custom manufacturer of Piston rings.

A ton of searching later I had found a small custom manufacturer of piston rings in the eastern United States. It was a long three week wait, during the mean time I worked on the water plumbing and tank. The tank was built from a piece of rolled steel. To keep costs down I did the welding myself. The bottom is a circular plate welded and checked. Holes were cut with a plasma cutter and threaded ports welded on. The plumbing pipes were added (1 1/4″ pipe) as well as the hoses. The manual made special note that the hose sections were very important to the system. I felt it was as a vibration damper, but the hose flexibility helped in final assembly as well. The water tank and all the piping was coated in Tremclad rust paint hammered aluminum paint. The inside of the water tank was fitted with angle ears and a hole screen. This would act as a damper for water jumping with vibration, as well as a screen to protect from critters and unclean water sources.

Before the fuel systems were finished, however, I just had to give it one go. I shot the following video of it’s inagural run.

It was important to note that I had some high temperatures on the first few runs. This was caused by the new piston rings which had not yet seated correctly and were causing alto of friction heat on the cylinder. The manual is quite clear in stating that the correct operating range is between 140 and 170 degrees.

The cap on the connecting rod was checked for tightness and warmth after the run and then the crank guard was added. The fuel tank was made out of sheet steel and welded. The plumbing was of brass and copper. This became the last of the major items on the restoration. Other than lifting points for putting the wheels on and off for show, only time will tell what more will need to be done to this unit.

Published: 21. 01. 2014 | Comments: 0

Shows 2010

List of Shows in 2010

The following is a listing of communities and clubs that traditionally have shows.  The full show schedule is has been solidified, and Christine has published the dates on her site.  Please note that this is not a verbatim republishing of her list as I add a few that she does not recognize and have deleted anything to do with the Calgary Stampede (as I do not recognize it as a legitimate historic or cultural event).Check further below for maps and information on the bigger ones that I attend.

Saturday, May 22

Saturday May 29

Sunday, May 30

*Sat & Sun, June 5-6

Sat & Sun, June 12-13

*Sat & Sun, June 19-20*

Sat & Sun, June 26-27

Thursday, July 1

Thursday, July 1

Thursday, July 1

Sat & Sun, July 3-4

*Sat & Sun, July 17-18

Sat & Sun, July 17-18

Sat & Sun, July 17-18

Sat & Sun, July 17-18

Friday, July 23

Sat & Sun, July 24-25

Fri, Sat & Sun, July 30-31, August 1

*Sat & Sun, July 31, August 1

Sunday, August 1

*Fri, Sat & Sun, August 6-8

*Fri, Sat & Sun, August 20-22

Sat & Sun, August 21-22

Sunday, August 22

Sat & Sun, August 28-29

*Sat & Sun, September 4-5

Saturday, September 11

Sunday, September 18

*Sunday, September 19

 

Leduc Country Swap meet and Tractor Pull

Prairie Tractor Club Spring Tractor Pull, Picture Butte

Yoho Museum Annual Day, Peers

Westlock Antique Tractor and Machinery Club Show

Olds Antique Tractor Days

Lacombe Antique Tractor Show

Markerville Pioneer Days

Lloydminster Canada Day Fair

Blackie Antique Tractor Pull

Delburne Antique Tractor Pull

Edgerton Tractor Show and Tractor Pull

Big Valley Live Steam and engine show

(DATE HAS CHANGED) The Three Hills Tractor Pull

Lac La Biche Pioneer Days Tractor Pull

South Peace Pioneer Days (Beaverlodge)

Antique Tractor Pull in Vermillion

Leduc West Antique Society’s Annual Exposition

Heritage Acres Annual Show, Pincher Creek

Leslieville Antique Days

Manning Heritage Day Celebration

Irricana Annual Reunion and Show

Prairie Tractor Club Threshing Show, Picture Butte

Sunnybrook Farm Museum Vintage Tractor Pull

The Didsbury Tractor Pull

Strathcona Vintage Tractor Pull

Reynolds-Alberta Museum Harvest Festival

Leduc West Antique Society’s Annual Fall Harvest Fair

Prairie Tractor Club Fundraiser and Tractor Pull, Picture Butte

Camrose Machinery and Old Fashioned Day

Westlock Alberta – June.To visit the museum click here!


View Larger Map

Leslieville – August.


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Irricana – August.  This is my club show grounds pictured here.Visit the museum by clicking here.


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Reynolds Museum – September:  Probably the most prestigious show in the area as there is always some really great stuff there! Visit the museum by clicking here!


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Published: 14. 01. 2014 | Comments: 0

Links

Links to other COOL places on the WWW

As the modern age of the free internet slowly becomes lost in the clutter of advertising, lost is the art of web surfing.  Once upon a time you could surf from page to page on the web, riding along for hours of interesting and earnest information spread before you with a host of linked pages.  Now, this is not so possible.  Modernization and commercialization of the internet with its data shaping and google ad words has cramped us into a constant barrage of dead links and meaningless advertising.  Here I share with you some hand picked links of people we are doing link exchange with as well as people with the ideals we believe in.  Please check them out and tell them we say hi.  Please also let me know if there are any broken links at Leo@engineutopia.com.

Old Links Page: Under Demolition as the new pages take shape

Links to Collectors

Links to Commercial Sponsors & Supporters

Links to Manufacturers

Links to Museums

Links to Engine Registries

Published: 14. 01. 2014 | Comments: 0

Contests

And the winner for 2009 is……..

You Guessed it…

Same as 2008…
…NOBODY!!! Yes, nobody entered the 2009 or the 2008 contest. For those of you who were watching, when I brought up the idea of a contest for best engine display on the SmokStak board… I was soundly trounced. However, I feel that for the most part it was the bitter folk or the ego driven who were responding. However, I tried anyway and nobody wanted to take my hard earned cash. So the real winner in these times of economic strife is Me!

Announcing the 2010 Engine show display contest. I am awarding $100.00 of my hard earned cash to the best submission to me and this website. Keep in mind that it is not a contest for the best restoration, or the rarest engine, but rather it is the most imaginative and informative documentation of your display as presented to the public in the 2010 show season.

I am still developing the rules and they will be posted soon, but here are some of the guidelines…

– Submissions must be received by post or electronically no later than December 15, 2010
– Submissions can be video (DVD format), print, microsoft word, JPG
– Submissions at this time are from anywhere in Canada, US or Europe
– The display must have been presented to the public at a verifiable club show
– The work you present to me must be your own (you hold all copyright and image rights)
– Submissions will not be returned (so don’t send originals unless it is a donation)
– By submitting to the contest, the individual is granting full rights to me posting and using the material on my websites
– The judge’s ruling as to the winner is final.
– I reserve the right to cancel, update, and generally maintain the rules and guidelines as I see fit
– The price awarded is worth $100 Canadian dollars; any conversion will be made at rates current as of the date of award

So here is what I am looking for:

Good visual communication of the concept, execution, and presentation of the display;
Good depth of knowledge of the history of the items presented;
Good depth of technical proficiency in the execution and maintenance of the display;
Good “telling” of the story; and
Good intent to capture or engage the imagination of the audience.

Meet the judges…IT’S ME!!  (for now)

Once I choose a winner (if there is one) I will be posting the winning entry on the website and perhaps You Tube.

So good luck, and if you have any questions…  ASK

Published: 14. 01. 2014 | Comments: 0