Steam Powered Box Factory
May 9, 2013 4:26 AM   Subscribe

Youtube video of "Americas last steam powered mill."
posted by Faux Real (17 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
The title made me think this was going to be good news about the production of a video game console, but it is pretty cool nonetheless. Gears! Belts! Pistons! That little spinny weathervane thingy!
posted by Rock Steady at 5:26 AM on May 9, 2013


I've gone to steam enthusiast gatherings many times. It's hard to explain the allure of steam power... the machines have an organic, living quality. Owners lovingly tend their engines as they sigh and breathe and boy, when a steam whistle sings out it's like absolutely nothing else on earth.

Thanks for posting this. It's reassuring.

For folks on the East Coast, let me recommend a fine steam-powered cider mill.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:30 AM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Long hair and gears and belts... I was waiting for this to end in a very bad way...
posted by billcicletta at 5:51 AM on May 9, 2013


That little spinny weathervane thingy!

That's a centrifugal governor, a particularly clever device for keeping steam engines from getting into a destructive positive-feedback loop and tearing themselves apart without close monitoring.

Aside from Dutch windmills (which automatically rotate into the wind using a small secondary wheel), it's one of the earliest examples of an automatic-feedback control mechanism that I'm aware of.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:13 AM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Here's another "America's Last Steam-Powered Sawmill"
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:15 AM on May 9, 2013


As a little bit of state tourism promotion, I would highly recommend anyone who geeks out about steam power get their butts to The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, MI. They've got an enormous selection of antique industrial steam engines, including the oldest surviving example in the the world.
posted by pjaust at 6:27 AM on May 9, 2013


Long hair and gears and belts... I was waiting for this to end in a very bad way...

At 6:50 the dog walks by. Its tail looks shorter than it should be.
posted by achrise at 6:46 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love his Jed Clampett hillbilly truck. Form & function.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 7:08 AM on May 9, 2013


That's a centrifugal governor...

Hooooooly cow, thank you so much for solving that little mystery. I always wondered what that was, but never remembered to look it up or ask someone, but now I know.
posted by frijole at 7:15 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wondered about the truck. Why not make the shed roof higher?
posted by notyou at 7:16 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Kadin2048: That's a centrifugal governor, a particularly clever device for keeping steam engines from getting into a destructive positive-feedback loop and tearing themselves apart without close monitoring.

Yeah, thanks, Kadin2048. I love getting an answer to a question I didn't know I wanted to ask!
posted by Rock Steady at 7:43 AM on May 9, 2013


Anyone else who is particularly interested in governors and early servomechanisms in general may want to read this paper, written by none other than James Clerk Maxwell (yes, that Maxwell), which he somehow managed to crank out in between solving somewhat more fundamental mysteries of the universe. As far as I know it's the first formal description of control theory. It also has some pretty epic name-dropping (Watt, Foucault, Siemens, etc.).
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:14 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]



Long hair and gears and belts... I was waiting for this to end in a very bad way...


Industrial Safety Films is over there ---->
posted by mikelieman at 9:03 AM on May 9, 2013


This hits a sweets spot for me. I watched the whole video, rapt.

I really, really want to smell that room.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:23 AM on May 9, 2013


"This truck has the top half chopped off, so it can fit under the shed roof."

"Why not just make the shed roof higher?"

[blank look] "This truck has the top half chopped off."
posted by echo target at 9:31 AM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Long hair and gears and belts... I was waiting for this to end in a very bad way...

Yeah, that made the production support engineer in me twitch pretty hard.

Also, only the sawing and planing was steam powered unless they have a compressor and generator hidden away somewhere to power all that electric and pneumatic stuff.

Nice video...
posted by Confess, Fletch at 4:55 PM on May 9, 2013


Why not make the shed roof higher?

They didn't have safety back in those days.
posted by sneebler at 8:31 PM on May 9, 2013


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