Extracts from American Machinist Magazine -- Reminiscences of George Escol Sellers
Extract from American Machinist, July 12, 1884, pages 3-4
Early Engineering Reminiscences
By George Escol Sellers
In writing these reminiscences, I do not propose a continued history of the early condition, the advance of the art and practice of civil and mechanical engineering, but merely to give such examples as may occur to me to illustrate what had to be contended with and overcome.
Should I dwell too long on the earlier periods that come within my own recollection, the excuse is that the better we make ourselves acquainted with the foundations, the better will we be able to appreciate the mighty structures that have been raised on them.
For several years prior to the organization of the Franklin Institute, of Pennsylvania, there was great interest and activity in what at that time was considered a rapid advance in mechanics, both in America and Europe.
The problem of ocean as well as land transportation was occupying the mind of many thinking men. Steam power was looked to, but was ridiculed as chimerical by the world at large. Our own Oliver Evans, from the time of his first high-pressure engine in 1785 to the time of his death in 1819, never lost an opportunity to impress on any listeners he could hold the feasibility of not only navigating our rivers, but crossing the ocean and continents by steam power.
As early as 1786 he petitioned the Legislature of Pennsylvania to grant him the exclusive right to use his improvements in flour mills, and also for road wagons propelled by steam. The act passed in 1787, granted him the right so far as flour mills were concerned; but no notice was taken of that part of his petition relating to steam wagons. In 1787 the Maryland Legislature granted him, his heirs and assigns, the exclusive right for fourteen years to his improvements, including the steam wagon. The term "locomotive," as now applied, had not at that time been suggested.
As a boy, I have often listened to Mr. Evans' earnest predictions as to land travel by steam. He said he had lived to see part of his prediction verified by steamboats -- that high-pressure steam and light engines had made it practical on our western rivers, and would in time on good turnpike or tram road.
In speaking of the Pennsylvania Legislature, he called them "the assembled wisdom of the State, that could not see beyond their noses." They could see the grain go into the mill and come out flour, but as to a wagon being moved by any other power than the slow-moving ox, the horse, or mule, or being dragged by man power, was beyond their comprehension. He had asked no aid other than protection in case of success. It would cost them nothing, yet he had been treated with contempt little short of insult.
Of the grant from the State of Maryland he said the Hollingsworths, the Elliots, the Tysons, and others, were men of enterprise and progress, more so than the average of the time.
He was very severe in his denunciations of Benj. H. Latrobe, whom he blamed for a report on steam navigation he had made, in which he alluded to him (Evans) as a visionary, seized with steam mania, in conceiving and believing that boats and wagons could be propelled by steam to advantage; while he (Latrobe) demonstrated by figures that could not lie that the entire capacity would be required to carry the engines and fuel, leaving no available tonnage for freight or passengers. The B. H. Latrobe referred to was the father of the very eminent engineer, B. H. Latrobe, Jr., who carried to a successful termination one of the greatest of American enterprises -- the Baltimore and Ohio Railway, and other important works. The elder Latrobe was an accomplished English architect and engineer, who designed and erected the first water works of Philadelphia, by which a steam engine on the Schuylkill River raised the water into a brick underground conduit, through which it flowed nearly a mile into a cistern in Centre Square, the site on which the new public buildings are now being erected. Over this cistern was the engine house, on top of which, covered by a dome, was the reservoir or basin, to give head to supply the city with water through bored wooden pipes.
Mr. Evans frequently referred to his blasted hopes. He had succeeded in obtaining endorsements by Prof. Robert Patterson, David Rittenhouse, C. W. Peale, Nathan Sellers, and a number of others whose names I cannot recall, as to the feasibility of his plans. He was meeting with success in interesting parties of means, and was full of hope of demonstrating to the world that he was no visionary, when Mr. Latrobe's report proved too much for him to overcome, and he was obliged to abandon the project of demonstration by outside aid.
It is now about 66 years since I rode with my father and Oliver Evans from Philadelphia to a mill in Delaware county, Pa., in which the latter was putting in a set of his elevators, hopper bag, and flour press. Yet much of the conversation I listened to both in going and returning on that never-to-be-forgotten trip, is as fresh in my memory as if it had occurred but yesterday.
Mr. Evans had much to say on the difficulties inventive mechanics labored under for want of published records of what had preceded them, and for works of reference to help the beginner. In speaking of his own experience, he said that everything he had undertaken he had been obliged to start at the very foundation; often going over ground that others had exhausted and abandoned, leaving no record. He considered the greatest difficulty beginners had to encounter was want of reliable knowledge of what had been done.
Even at that early day Mr. Evans suggested and urged the formation of a Mechanical Bureau that should collect and publish all new inventions, combined with reliable treatises on sound mechanical principles, as the greatest help to beginners. He did not believe it could at that time be made self-sustaining, but it would be to the interest of mechanics, manufacturers and merchants to subscribe to its support.
Another subject discussed was the importance of a school to teach mechanical drawing. Mr. Evans made all his drawings full size on chalked boards; he had no confidence in working to scale with the character of labor to be had at that time. His drawing instruments consisted of a two-foot rule, straight edge, square and compass. His first designs were rough pencil sketches, not drawn to scale. To combine and reduce these full size working drawings and put them in shape to exhibit, he depended upon Frederick and John Eckstein, then copper-plate engravers in Philadelphia. I think he named at a later date William Kneass, who was also a copper-plate engraver, and a good draftsman, but of this I am not quite certain.
Mr. Evans gave an instance of the advantage, in fact, the importance of artistically finished drawings to the mechanic, by citing the Philadelphia water works. He said it was Latrobe's fine drawing he exhibited of the Bolton & Watt steam engine and pumps, and above all the exterior of the pumping house, with its Doric columns and pediments, both front and rear, its center dome-shaped building covering the reservoir, with the novel expedient of the stack and chimney, terminating on the apex of the dome, vomiting its wreath of black smoke, that caught the eye of the members of the city council that adopted the plans and gave to Latrobe the superintendence of the work. Mr. Evans called it the city plaything on which to expend money; more for ornament than utility, barely calculated to supply their wants without provision for a growing city, but he said that notwithstanding Latrobe had classed him among the visionaries, he would give him credit for having introduced a higher standard of mechanical drawing that would stimulate our native mechanics, and in that respect they owed him much.
Boy as I was at the time, it did not occur to me that there might have been a dash of satire in Mr. Evans' allusion to Mr. Latrobe, or that he might have been a competitor with him in plans for the water works. I do not know known that he was or was not. Beside the Bolton & Watt condensing engine and pump in the old Centre Square Water Works there was an engine known as the "American Engine," a vertical cylinder, lever-beam engine, the original Oliver Evans' engine, and I presume built by him or under his supervision. This engine, if my recollection does not deceive me, was oftener seen running than the "great English engine," as it was then called.
In speaking of the water works, Mr. Evans said Philadelphia had paid dearly for rejecting a proposition of Nathan Sellers, who was then a member of the council, for the city to purchase the Fairmount hills and reserve them as a site for reservoirs when the wants of the city should require an extension of its water works, and he believed Mr. Sellers had spoken prophetically when he said to the council that he expected to live to see the Centre Square Water Works torn down. Mr. Evans said that about that time he was called before a committee of the council, and that he said to them: "As sure as there is a Heaven above us, it will not be long before the city must own the Fairmount hills regardless of cost." I infer from this that Mr. Evans must have had plans in connections with these hills that were not approved at the time the "Centre Square plaything," as he always called it, was adopted.
I will here add that one of the last visits Nathan Sellers paid to Philadelphia after his requirement in his old age to his place in the country, was to see the first stone removed in the destruction of the Centre Square building that he had so earnestly opposed erecting -- not from any mechanical defects in the plan, but for inadequacy in supplying the requirements of a growing city.
The want of published mechanical works that Mr. Evans complained of so much did not begin to be supplied until some years after his death. It was not until 1825 that Nicholson's Operative Mechanic, so long a standard, was published in England, and the second American edition bears date of 1831. I do not know the date of the first. As late as 1831 I could not find on sale in either New York or Philadelphia a copy of Dr. Alexander Jamison's Mechanical Dictionary, then considered a standard work in England, and was obliged to import a copy through Cary & Lee, who ordered with my copy some extra ones, which they held a long time before finding purchasers.
I have dwelt longer on Oliver Evans than I intended, for I look back with pleasure at having been privileged to listen to the plans and predictions of so far-seeing a man.
A good style of mechanical drawing was taught in Philadelphia long before the want of a mechanical publication was filed.
Wm. Strickland, as an architect, was always ready to lend a helping hand to young beginners. He would lend them drawings to copy and give kind advice. I recollect his once saying to me, "Come often and study the plates of my Stewart's Athens; copy them and recopy them; they are the foundation of sound principle and true taste."
Some really fine mechanical drawings of my earliest remembrance were made by a divinity student, at that time acting as draftsman at what I think was called the Eagle Foundry and Machine Shop. It was located on the Schuylkill River, near the foot of Callowhill Street. I do not remember who operated it, but it must have been short-lived, as for many years the great stone building stood vacant and idle.
This student was an accomplished and rapid pencil sketcher of machinery. That and music were passions with him. He spent two or three evenings a week at our house, kept a violin there, and joined my mother and others, of whom I may yet speak, in home concerts. He frequently brought his drawings to show to my father. On one occasion a finished colored drawing of a pair of bevel cog wheels in gear, drawn in perspective, to my boyish eyes was a most wonderful piece of work, and, as a matter of course, I had many questions to ask. He then proposed, if I would devote my half-holidays (our Quaker schools gave two -- one on meeting day, the other Saturday), he would teach me all he could. On this my father went with John, as we familiarly called him, and selected a fine case of drawing instruments, and with them, proud enough, I trudged away out to the foundry. I say "away out," for at that time it was through the suburbs and by the brick ponds, on the margin of which I have more than once put up snipe and woodcock in what is now one of the best-built parts of Philadelphia. I profited by these lessons, for he was certainly the best mechanical draftsman of the time, and bid fair to make his mark as a mechanic had he not left its walks for what he considered a higher one -- the Church. I was present at his ordination by Bishop White and heard his first public sermon. He was a loss to the mechanical world, but not a case of "spoiling a good mechanic to make a bad preacher," for he became eminent and world-wide known as John Henry Hopkins, Bishop of Vermont. He made no mistake in choosing his profession, whatever he may have done by his advocacy of domestic slavery, and his claim that it was justified by Holy Writ.
Extract from American Machinist, November 7, 1885, pages 1-3
Early Engineering Reminiscences
By George Escol Sellers
Early in August, 1835, when our first engine was about ready to be placed on the road, Mr. Cameron, accompanied by Mr. Brandt, came to our works to inspect it. Mr. Cameron brought with him drawings of an attachment invented and patented by Mr. E.L. Miller of the Charleston and Hamburg R.R. of S.C., by which a part of the weight of the tender could be thrown on the driving wheels when an increased adhesion was required, directing us to put it on our engine, they paying the additional expense as well as for the patent right.
Anticipating this, or rather doubting the traction of the drivers, as placed back of the fire-box, being equal to the steam power, I had devised and applied a lever arrangement, the fulcrum of which was the axle of the driving wheels. The attachment of the tender to the engine was so made that at all times when drawing a train a portion of the weight of the front of the engine was removed from the truck and thrown on the driving wheels; this increased with draft in ascending grades, as additional traction was required, being automatic in its action. This device was approved of applied to our early engines, as was the Miller arrangement to the Baldwin engines, until the better distribution of weight on two pair of drivers was adopted.
About this time we had a visit from Mr. Rogers, the founder of the Rogers Locomotive Works, of Paterson, N.J. He was accompanied by Mr. Danforth of the same place. Our business connection with Mr. Rogers was of long standing, having furnished him with card-clothing for cotton machinery. As he expressed a desire to visit our works, I drove him and his friend out to them. The locomotive then in the hands of the painter reparative for delivery, seemed to be the chief attraction, particularly the iron frame, outside connections, and the driving wheels. The arrangement for securing counter-weights was commented on by Mr. Rogers, he asking why they were not cast solid with the wheel? During this visit Mr. Rogers said his friends J.B. Jarvis and Horatio Allen had long been urging him to try his hand at locomotive building, and that he had serious thoughts of doing so. I have related this as evidence that counterbalancing was not only under discussion but in actual course of experiment prior to Mr. Rogers commencing locomotive building.
As I was at that time residing at the works, I did not return to the city with these gentlemen, but in the evening sent them with a trusty and intelligent driver, who on his return seemed to have been much amused at the conversation between Mr. Rogers and his friend; he said they both spoke in praise of the character of the workmanship on the engine; that Mr. Rogers had remarked that he had noticed a strong, broad-wheel truck that he supposed was intended to move the locomotive over country roads to the railroad. He had also noticed that the engine was set up opposite the widest door in a substantial stone building; he had measured the doorway, and the engine across the cylinders, and found it some two feet or more wider than the opening after taking out the wooden door frame, and the way the engine was put together it would be impossible to take the cylinders off. He feared that when the Messrs. Sellers undertook to move the engine, they would find it like Robinson Crusoe's boat. William the driver said he could not help saying "maybe the stone-mason's hammer and chisel will soon make the door right." This trivial matter must have made a lasting impression on Mr. Rogers, for twenty or more years later he asked me how we had got the engine out of the house it was set up in, adding, "I have always been curious to know."
Fifty years ago, the time I am now writing of, the mechanical engineer was no more exempt from difficulties in the introduction of anything new and untried than he has been at any subsequent period. All our arrangements had been made to deliver our first locomotive "America" from our shops to the head of the incline plane over a hilly country road of about six miles, when we received a note from the canal commissioners stating that they had become satisfied that our outside connected engine, with the spread of its cylinders, would produce so much oscillation as not only to be injurious to the engine but to the track, if the engine could be made to keep it, but this might be partially remedied by placing side bearings on the truck; that unless they were put on the engine would not be allowed to run on the road even for a trial. Here was a serious dilemma. Having had a full understanding with Mr. Brandt as to carrying the weight on the center-pin, and to satisfy the commissioners, having adopted outside frame and bearings for the truck axles, with separate spring to each journal, there was nothing above this outside truck frame to which a support could be applied. Baldwin's springs over the outside wooden frames with its center pin passing through them, resting on a cast-iron grease box on the truck frame, admitted the truck to turn as much as required in running the curves. The J.B. Jarvis truck which we had seen on the Hudson and Mohawk had a better arrangement for turning, each axle bearing having separate springs, the side supports were rollers or wheels having their bearings in boxes attached to the engine frame, with flat iron plates on the wooden truck frame. I had so much confidence in the steady running with the bearing on the center pin without side supports, that in hopes of getting permission from the commissioners to allow the trial, agreeing in case the engine was found unsteady to put inside frames to the truck and supports to the iron frame, I at once went to Parksburg to see Brandt, and, if possible, get his influence with the commissioners to allow the trial. He was greatly surprised on reading the note, and could not imagine what influence had been brought to bear; he returned with me to the city and said all he could to induce the commissioners to allow the trial. No; they had laid the subject before their engineers and several reliable mechanics; the verdict was unanimous that at any speed beyond a walk the engine would certainly jump the track; Mr. Brandt in his characteristic way asked Mr. Cameron if he could not sit steadier on a three-leg than a four-leg chair on an uneven floor. Mr. Cameron replied "that is not the question; it is the oscillation caused by the alternate action of the pistons in the widespread cylinders that we fear." I urged that the inequalities of the road would only be felt half as much with the weight carried in the center of the truck; that the weight would always be equally divided among all four wheels; that the engine would run steadier and be less liable to leave the track. They would not yield; side supports must be applied before the engine would be allowed to go on the road. The position of the cradle carrying the center-pin socket or step where it passed under the iron frame of was only about 10" distant from it, and it was only about 5" wide. It would not be impossible to build on this, and to the frame so as to adopt the Jarvis roller; but I was bent on having a trial without any side support, and this could not be done without connivance with Brandt.
After hours had been wasted in these discussions I suggested suspending from the frame of the engine a kind of pendulum in the shape of a segment of a wheel that would represent about 14" diameter, with sufficient length of its periphery, which was to rest in a grooved box secured to the cradle to allow the truck to turn the shortest curves, in fact the Jarvis roller or wheel enlarged from about 2" to 14" diameter. Gravity would always keep it in position. This plan was approved; it could be applied without delaying the delivery of the engine, only requiring two holes to be drilled in each iron frame to secure the joint or axle, and like number in the cradle to fasten the grooved step; these wheel segment supports were forged of wrought iron about 1" thick. I have spoken of connivance with Brandt; when I told him of my intention of slotting the axle-hole so as to allow a play up and down of about 1 1/2" he was much amused, but insisted on having a template sent him, that he could have an extra pair made without slotting the holes, saying he would be on the engine when first steamed up, and if the engineers and wise mechanics were right, he would have a solid pair ready to put in; the slots were hid by large washers, and to keep these sham supports firmly in place the spaces above and below the axle were filled with soft white pine.
I have no memorandum at hand of the date the engine was put on the road, but it was not later than the first of September, 1835. Supposing all difficulties in the way of a fair trial of the engine had been overcome, and while my brother was engaged in loading the engine on to the truck and removing it to the railroad, I was surprised at finding in our city office a note from Mr. Charles Chauncey, who at that time was one of the most prominent of Philadelphia counselors-at-law in patent cases, asking an immediate interview, stating that M.W. Baldwin had instructed him to commence an action by injunction to prevent the running of our locomotive then being placed on the railroad, on the ground of infringement of two of his patent claims; that he, Mr. Chauncey, had declined taking the case, and that he had assured Mr. Baldwin that if we were infringing, it was without knowledge, and he had no doubt as to our making it right without recourse to law; that he had induced Mr. Baldwin to allow him to act as umpire between us; he therefore requested an immediate interview. Our position with Mr. Chauncey was one of long-standing family intimacy and friendship. At the time of our father's death, which occurred in May, 1834, we received a letter of condolence from him, in which he said it was his wish to extend his friendship for our father to his sons, and although he was retiring from active practice at the bar, occasions might occur in our business transactions requiring legal counsel and advice; in that case he hoped we would freely call on him as a friend. From that time our intercourse was of the most friendly character, and more than once we were indebted to him for valuable counsel and advice.
When I considered our previous friendly relations with Mr. Baldwin, I was completely taken aback. His shop in Minor street was but half a block from our office, and after his removal to Lodge Alley but two blocks away, a single week had never passed without our meeting either at his shop, or at the Franklin Institute, or in our own office, where he frequently came in company with his friend, our uncle, Franklin Peale, whose position as manager of the Philadelphia museum required frequent consultations with me as chairman of the executive committee of that institution. These meetings apparently friendly, the locomotive we were building was frequently a subject of conversation. Mr. Baldwin expressed great interest in what he called the experiment of iron frames and outside connections; I do not remember his ever expressing a decided opinion of them, but as to carrying the weight on the center of the truck, he was very decided, predicting failure and a necessity of side supports. The nearest he ever came to expressing an opinion as to outside connections was that he should watch with great interest the oscillative or vibrative effect on the engine, and incidentally asking if I had ever considered the difficulty in keeping the inside bearing journals of the driving axles lubricated. From this I inferred that he was somewhat skeptical. I felt greatly aggrieved at Mr. Baldwin's course, for he had never made any allusion to his patent claims.
I hastened to Mr. Chauncey's office, no doubt showing some nervous excitement, for on entering, Mr. Chauncey opened the business in his mild way by assuring me that his note was dictated by friendship; that he had fully impressed Mr. Baldwin with the danger of commencing action by injunction requiring security, and in case of defeat subjecting him to damages; that on his declining to take the case against us, Mr. Baldwin had asked if he was to understand that he would act as counsel for us against him? He replied that he would act for both parties as far as lay in his power to prevent needless litigation, but if it was forced on us he should certainly give us the advantage of his advice, but he would not take an active part on either side. Mr. Baldwin had finally left with him his patent specification and claims, pointing out wherein he considered us infringing, and had consented to his writing to us.
He then handed me the specification, requesting me to read it and the claims with care; after I had done so he stated that Baldwin in the first place claimed that we were infringing his combined wood and cast-iron wheel; I made a sketch and explained our continuous box rim filled with wood, with sufficient bearing on the cast-iron for the tire in case the wood should be destroyed by heat in shrinking on the tire. To his question as to how we had prevented the unequal contraction of the cast wheel that Baldwin claimed to have done by the separate or non-connected flanges on the ends of his cast-iron spokes, I replied, only proportioning the thickness of the parts, casting under considerable head with gates of ample size to feed metal as long as the casting in cooling would take it, and by leaving the casting in the sand for twenty-four or more hours with a charcoal fire on it for some twelve hours, slow cooling or annealing as far as practicable without an annealing furnace. Mr. Chauncey's practice in patent cases and the attention he had paid to mechanics made him very prompt in expressing his opinion that there was no infringement, saying wooden felloes are not patentable; they having been in use from the time of the Egyptians, the only sustainable claim could be for a particular combination. He then added: "Mr. Baldwin did not seem very confident as to his claim being infringed, but he laid great stress on his claim for ground metallic joints for steam and water pipes." To this I replied, that appears to be a claim for protection in doing good work, and that any one should make ti was astounding; that in the practice of my father's shop from my earliest recollection, well-fitted metallic joins was the rule, canvass and red lead a rare exception. Mr. Chauncey asked me to reduce to writing what I had to say on the subject, and let him have it that evening; that he had an early appointment with Mr. Baldwin for the next morning, and named the hour he would see me.
In drawing this paper I referred to the custom of our shop, and our manner of making metallic steam or water-joints; that we had long known by experience that a lump or fullness could not be ground off without making a corresponding depression in the opposite; that the joints on the locomotive steam-pipes were as they came from the lathe, having been tried under direct pressure, with Venetian red finely ground in oil; that care and little practice showed where the scraper, if required, was needed; also, when it had done its work, the joints were not ground. I referred to the gun-barrel steam pipes of the old Hawkins engine, one barrel coned into the other and drawn together with clamp bolts that had carried steam of 800 degrees temperature, and where these pipes, then in existence, could be seen. I also referred to Jacob Perkins' English patent of 1824, as published in Newton's journal, claiming the uniting of steam pipes by a short double-cone section drawn into the ends of the steam pipes reamed out conically to receive them, drawn together by bolts through flanges on the steam pipes, said to have carried steam of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit; also, to the account of steam-heating the house of Sir J. Sloan, London, which I believe was the first published account of heating by steam-pipes, the joints of these pipes being metal to metal, as described in the Perkins patent.
At the time appointed, as I went to Mr. Chauncey's office, I met Mr. Baldwin coming out; his passing greeting was hurried and excited; what had passed between him and Mr. Chauncey I never knew, nor did I inquire, for Mr. Chauncey said to me, "You put your engine on the road, you will never hear more of these patent claims." This episode did not produce any estrangement; after-meetings were always pleasant; neither of us ever reverted to it.
As I have before stated, this our first locomotive was put on the State road early in September, 18365, my elder brother Charles and Mr. Brandt handling the throttle on its first trip to Columbia and back with a freight train; after this, my brother made other trips with the runner having charge. When satisfied that all was ready for a public exhibition, a round-trip to Lancaster was made, accompanied by the canal commissioners, the civil engineers of the road, and number of invited guests, Mr. Brandt being on the foot-board with my brother. During the trip to Lancaster the commissioners and engineers took turns in riding on the engine. Among the invited guests were Dr. R.M. Patterson, director of the U.S. Mint, Adam Eckfeldt, chief coiner, our uncle, Franklin Peale, then assayer, melter and refiner, afterwards chief coiner and inventor of the steam coining press on which the first steam coinage was struck, March 23, 1836, Mr. Thomas Chauncey and a number of others. M.W. Baldwin was the only invited guest that did not accompany us. General Wm. Norris, though a rival builder, was sincere in his congratulations, and made himself the life of the party. At our dinner in Lancaster he spoke with enthusiasm of the success and unexpected steadiness with outside connections, saying that from it he dated a new era in locomotive building; he could clearly see the time would come for increasing the number of driving-wheels, heavier engines, with a better distribution of weight on the road, making available and using more effectively the steam-power of the engine with less injury to the roadway; he called on the commissioners for their opinion of our engines.
Mr. Jas. Cameron replied that they had been very reluctant in consenting that an outside-connected engine should be built; that they had given way to Messrs. Sellers backed as they were by John Brandt in whom he had great confidence; that he must confess to being very agreeably disappointed, as all who had seen the performance could bear witness to the great steadiness of the engine on the road; he had ridden all of their engines, and this was certainly the steadiest; then turning to me he said: "You see now the wisdom of our insisting on the outside supports from the trunk frame. Where would we have been left if the engine had been allowed to rock on its center pin with every stoke of the pistons?" When about taking the cars for the return trip, I crawled all around the engine; then standing on a level track, directing Mr. Cameron's attention to the side supports, I took hold of one and raised it clear of its bed grove. "What," asked Mr. Cameron, "is the axle broken? we must have a new one put in before we start; I feared they were too light to bear the thrust." Going to the other side, and taking hold of the other one I found it jammed, and was obliged to jar it with a hammer before I could raise it. "What," asked Mr. Cameron, "is this one also broken?" I directed the pins to be taken out to show the slots. As this was being done Brandt came to my assistance, with the duplicates that he had in hand; showing them to Mr. Cameron with the ones that had been slotted, he said, "With your positive order I could not let the engine go on trial without having these in case they were required." "Ah! Johnnie, Johnnie," said Mr.C., "you are a sad man, I see you believe in the old Scotch adage that the proof of the pudding is in chewing the string. I think this time you have chewed it pretty fine. I was going to say take off the things, but on second thought they had better be left on as a safeguard in case of rocking too far on a sudden lurch." They other engine went out without any side supports. On our way back to Philadelphia my brother came from the engine into the car, and asked the commissioners how they liked the performance of the engine; the answer was, that it was perfectly satisfactory, and if we would call at their office, an order on the treasurer would be ready for us. We had no written contract; the understanding was if the engine performed satisfactorily we were to be paid $5,000. When I called I was handed a draft for $5,500, Mr. Cameron explaining that the $500 had been added for the lever attachment to throw part of the weight of the forward end of the engine on the drivers instead of applying the Miller attachment.
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