All this talk about steam engines makes me nostalgic for the one I had.
Mine was heated electrically and I got it back in the mid-1950s. Had great
fun with it. For some reason I can't even remember what happened to it.
On Thu 12 Jan 2006 11:34:16p, Thus Spake Zarathustra, or was it Steven L
Wayne Boatwright *¿*
Sorry but electrically heated seems to defeat the purpose!
I notice that they all have water sight windows now which mine lacked. I
suppose some people were running them dry, overheating, and having the end
caps--probably brazed on--blow off.
Why, when I was a kid we had to go mine the coal ourselves, using our
fingernails to dig!
I'm not sure that going out and buying a little can of sterno is any
worse than running the boiler off of electricity. The electrical
operation certainly sounds more convenient and the kid and his/her
parents might be more likely to fire it up more often.
Obviously a clean burning fuel for indoors is a must but that aside I think
I would have enjoyed burning little crumbs of real coal especially for the
smell. Probably a pain to get a coal fire started though. I'm surprised
they didn't / don't just fuel these things with alcohol.
The reason an electrically heated boiler seems pointless is that with the
possible exception of an unverified reference to Italy having built
electrically heated steam locomotives anyone having electricity who desires
mechanical energy is going to use an electric motor!
Oh yeah! Watching the water boil was half the fun not to mention the anxiety
of waiting for it to start boiling to know you were on your way to seeing
the flywheel cranking. I watched a show on the history channel about steam
locomotives a while back. Occasionally they would blow up with a mess of
dead bodies and they would find ton pieces of cast iron from the engine
hundreds of yards away. --- Steve
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