IBLS Journal 1953

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From "The Miniature Locomotive" Jan-Feb 1953

BLS Banner TheMiniatureLocomotive 1953.jpg

Carl Purinton

Charles A. Purinton

There are many ways in which the Brotherhood can be of use to you. If you are planning a trip, the secretary would be only too happy to give you a list of the Live Steamers along the route that you plan to take. All he asks in return for this is a stamped envelope for the reply.

Once again I must explain to the Live Steamers who did not receive a notice of the 20th annual Brotherhood meeting, that if a reply has not been received as requested by me, at least once in three years that I have been forced to remove their names from the mailing list. It does not seem as if a reply is an unreasonable request. Such a step is extremely distasteful, but is necessary due to the large number of notices mailed. Replies have been very much better this year than ever before. I am most grateful as they make me feel that my efforts are appreciated. one of the most pleasing letters came all the way from Korea from Sgt. J. R. Shugart.

Now that the colder weather is near at hand, one can get to work in the shop once more without feeling that the outside work is being a little neglected. Also with the summer and fall operating pleasures over with, at least for the Brothers who dwell in the cold sections, the new projects can be given more attention. I don't know as all of them suffer from the same troubles as I do right now. My difficulty seems to stem from the fact that I have too many schemes on deck. Between three old 2-1/2" gauge engines to overhaul, three new locos to finish, the drawings and the welcome letters, it seems as if I were making very little headway. Besides all this, the kitchen has to be painted. It looks as if I could be pretty busy until spring rolls around again.

Have been trying out a simple form of hydrostatic lubricator on one of my new small moguls. I know from previous experience that a mechanical lubricator is 100% satisfactory, but some of the parts are rather fiddling to make. This hydrostatic system consists of a vertical tank located in the cab on the fireman's side. Steam is taken to it from a valve on the turret. Between the turret valve and the tank is a check valve so the oil cannot be sucked back into the boiler. At the oil outlet at the top of the tank, is a regulating valve so located that it can easily be reached when running. A choke is located in the delivery pipe where it enters the steam line to the cylinders. However, I have found with this rig that it is best to shut the turret valve just before closing the throttle and opening the blower. Further tests are needed to determine if the system is OK.

A question in a recent letter dealt with the scaling down of valve gears. I think that the Live Steamers who have studied valve gears will go along with the following statement; that Baker is the only gear that can be scaled down from the full size dimensions. Unlike the other gears, it can be placed almost anywhere within reason and it will work correctly. The foregoing applies to the gear itself. The dimensions of the combination of level will no doubt have to be changed as most of our small locos use a different combination of lap and lead.

It might be a good idea if the firms who market parts and drawings of engines which have Baker valve gear, would specify whether the gears were the earlier type or the later long travel type. The reason for this is to enable the builder to check the length of the eccentric crank or to check the drawings. Also, if the builder wanted to change the valve lap thereby changing the valve travel, he would know which gear he was dealing with. This question was brought to light during a recent attempt to help a good friend out of an unintentional mistake. A careful study of the blue prints failed to produce any statement of the type of Baker gear used. It was necessary to hunt all over the prints to get the valve lap and the port size. Having found these, the valve travel was figured in order to obtain the eccentric crank length. As I understand the Baker gear, the ratio between the eccentric crank pin circle and the valve travel was 4 to 1 in the earlier models. In the long travel gears this ratio was 3 to 1. This knowledge would be of considerable help to a free lance builder especially if he had purchased a set of Baker gear drawings.

In getting things cleaned up in my shop in preparation for the 20th Brotherhood meeting, I surely missed the cheerful help given me in previous years by John (Scotty) Gardner. Scotty was always on hand to help, never had to be asked and always aided willingly. Then, when the Live Steamers were here at our open house evening, was Johnnie on the spot to give a lift with the coffee. He is now in Scotland and, while we miss his helping hand, we wish him the best of luck.

Having cleaned up my shop in preparation for the open house night here, I find it kind of difficult to leave the machines alone so as not to have to houseclean again.

Harry L. Dixon

Harry L. Dixon

Now that the heat of the desert around Needls is easing up, you fellows in that area will find Live Steamer F. A. Tucker, 105 Erin Drive, opening his shop and working on the boiler for his 1/2" scale 4-6-2.

By contrast we'll be looking forward to a report of progress from Kermit R. Olsen, Box 553, Sitka, Alaska, who has been working all summer during the fishing season. Now he'll be thawing out coal on the fire while turning out parts for his 1/2" scale 4-8-4. Good luck to both Mr. Tucker and Mr. Olsen throughout the winter. Let's hear from you.

Now let's take an air line hop to the Hawaiian Islands where the "DOWSETT TERMINAL RAILROAD" is under way. Captain Jim Banning is president and General Manager of this line and a pilot for the Hawaiian Airlines.

Here you see Jim and the fine loco "Carina" that he is building. It will soon be in service.

Captain Jim Banning with "Carina"

We are moving along with a full head of steam. For those interested in statistics, here are some interesting numbers. During 1952 we registered close to 100 new members and B-L-S membership in our Pacific Region is now 361. That is an improvement, yet it is far short of the number of Live Steamers living in this area.

Arizona 3
California 271
Oregon 22
Washington 21
Western Canada 40
Alaska 2
Hawaii 1
Utah 1
Nevada 0
Idaho 0

This is a mutual benefit society to help acquaint Live Steamers with one another. Our hobby is an even greater pleasure when there is someone to enjoy it with us. You may be just the one to help a Brother Live Steamer in your vicinity learn the tricks that can mean success instead of failure.

Dues in this organization are absolutely 0000 (nothing) payable yearly. It won't cost you anything to register an "YOU MAY MEET A FRIEND".

While on the subject of B-L-S you may like to know that while Carl and I are Live Steamers, we also have another hobby at which we seem to be very poor. In the more polite circles it is "Philately". To us it is "Stamp Collectors". We like the nice shiney new ones that can be placed on a letter to you.

Vic Shattock

The following was published in "The Miniature Locomotive" magazine, Jan-Feb 1953, page 21.

Odds and Ends from G.G.L.S
by Vic Shattock
According to the photograph there are other forms of interest besides live steam locomotives appearing on the GGLS track in Redwood Park, Oakland. We are not running this as an advertising medium to get membership. Join the club, fellows, you may be missing something.
The occasion was an ad stunt by the Saftey Department of the So. Pacific. A movie was made of one of Vic Shattock's So. Pacific "Mikes" hauling a string of miniature freight cars passing a certain station which was followed by his Pacific hauling three beautiful "gals" into the same station.


Southern California Live Steamers Report by C. S. Chovil, Secretary

The Miniature Locomotive, May-June 1953

February 19, 1953: Frank J. Moore read the correspondence to the assembly in the absence of our corresponding secretary. The most important letter was from Harry Dixon, secretary of the B.L.S. western division and addressed to our president, Mark G. Piper, asking if S.C.L.S. would consider having the 1954 National meeting of the Brotherhood at our Lomita track facilities.

Sunday, March 22nd, Southern California Live Steamers met at their track facilities in Lomita and a good turn out of workers in the A.M. saw considerable work accomplished towards cutting in new switch for the westbound track leading to steaming tracks and turn table. At the 1 P.M. business session, after the reading of the minutes of the past meeting of February 19, the subject of the 1954 Brotherhood meet was again on the agenda. After pro and con discussion of problems to be dealt with, a vote was called for. The attendance of thirty one members cast a solid vote in favor of the Brotherhood meeting. Notice will be given the Brotherhood that no facilities for 1/2 inch scale equipment will be available at the 1954 National meeting.


Letter from Carl Purinton, dated 29 April 1953. From eBay auction, 5 July 2013.

First use of "International"

The term "International Brotherhood of Live Steamers" appeared in print for the first time in The Miniature Locomotive, September-October 1953 edition, as follows:

C.S. Chovil, Secretary, Southern California Live Steamers
John Matthews announced that he would represent the Southern California Live Steamers at the Toronto, Canada, meeting of the International Brotherhood of Live Steamers which will be held August 22-23, 1953.


The IBLS meet was held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on August 22 and 23, 1953.

Charles A. Purinton

The Miniature Locomotive, September-October 1953

The 1953 meeting of the BLS is being scheduled for the 22nd and 23rd of August at Toronto, Ontario by invitation of the Toronto Society of Model Engineers. They have a nice track and are a most congenial group. I hope that all the Live Steamers who can will attend, as this promises to be a good meeting.

Carl Purinton's Report

Annual B.L.S. Meet at Toronto, Ontario, Canada

by Carl Purinton

On August 22 and 23, 1953, the Toronto Society of Model Engineers were hosts to the Brotherhood of Live Steamers for the 21st annual meeting. As always, for any out-door activity, the weather is a great big gamble. Either the TSME were good pickers or the weather man was in a good mood because the weekend conditions were just about perfect. Neither too hot nor too cold and with plenty of sunshine for picture shooting. The Toronto track is approximately 600 feet around and is laid for 2-1/2 inch and 3-1/2 inch gauge equipment. The rail is of flat steel laid on edge and this makes a most excellent track. The track committee had put in a lot of work in order that things would be right for the meeting.

One of the projects was the building of a transfer table with tracks for raising steam. In connection with the transfer table was a passing sliding so arranged that one went from the transfer table to the siding and from the siding to the main line. This siding was used when stopping for coal and water, thus helping to keep the main line clear. Keeping the main line open at any large meeting is still an unsolved problem and I, for one, do not believe that there is any solution. In this connection it would be in order to say that a great deal of consideration for the other fellow was shown in that not very much stopping on the main line to talk with some friend was in evidence.

The Toronto Society members at the registration desk were busy lads. They not only had to register the locomotive men, but gave them a badge and also a very special and welcome souvenir in the form of a white cloth bag with the TSME seal on the outside and five pounds of Welsh coal inside. There were between 90 and 100 gas of caol and some of the later arrivals were out of luck, which goes to give you some idea of the number of loco men on hand. The complete list of names of those who registered has not reached me from Toronto as yet, but my guess would be that there were over 150. It is the custom of the TSME, on the occasion of their annual meeting of the loco and power boat men, to have dinner on Saturday night at "The Old Mill." When the boat and loco men registered in at the TSME grounds, they were given a chance to sign up for the dinner. By the middle of Saturday afternoon about 80 had taken tickets, but by the time everyone was seated for supper, there were over 160 to feed. Under these conditions the "Old Mill" deserve a whole lot of credit for the very excellent manner in which this situation was handled.

One of the Canadian television companies had taken movies of the power boats and the locomotives during Saturday and these were shown on a TV set at "The Old Mill" just before dinner. After the dinner was over movies of some of the power boats were shown and these were followed by locomotive films brought by Larry Duggan from San Francisco. It is a great pity, in more ways than one, that there is no group or track somewhere nearer the center of North American than any of the presently existing groups who have tracks. Toronto, being a little nearer the center, this year drew many more live steamers from Ohio, Illinois and the St. Louis region than any other previous meeting. It was very nice that so many came from this area and that we all could get acquainted.

As usual, the Live Steamers came from pretty much all over Canada and the States. It was again fine to see John Matthews from Garden Grove, Larry Duggan of San Francisco, Jack Kerr, Marvin Winslow and T.W. Thompson of Winnipeg, Mottshaw from Port Arthur, Lester Glass of Sac City, the three Robinsons from Celoron, Karl Friedrich of Pittsburgh, Dave Mackie from Ashland, Wisconsin, the Lees of Windsor, Bob Ebert from Wooster, Charlie Titius of Mattoon, John Hiestand of University City, the Ohlenkamps from Chicago, Otha Hege of Charlotte and all of the other Live Steamers, both visitors and the members of the TSME.

This year there were approximately 31 locos in steam at different times. It is interesting to note, as an indication of the most popular scales, at least in the east, that there were but two 2-1/2 inch gauge locomotives in operation. All the others were 3-1/2 inch gauge. Another phase is that there were but two 4-3/4 inch gauge jobs on exhibition; one was Bill Coopers 0-6-0 CNR switcher and the other was Bill Mark's 4-6-4. The most popular wheel arrangement is the Hudson and in second place are the Atlantics. From here on in the arrangements varied and perhaps more interesting, to me anyway. Ohlenkamp's "Rainhill", Allin's B&A Tanker, Van Gorp's 0-4-0, John Matthews' "Pug", my "Mogu", Ralphs Knox's "T. Thumb", Keyworth's "Royal Scot", Bob Ebert's "Milly", Friedrich's saddle tank, Falconer's "Precursor", Josslin's "Helen Long", Jim Watt's "Jeanie Deans", and the several fine traction engines all go to make up a most varied collection of locomotives and their first cousins, the traction engines.

From a locomotive man's standpoint, or perhaps, viewpoint would be better, the track of the Toronto Society is in a class by itself. It is the only track where a person can watch both the small locomotives and the full size ones from the same location. During the two days that the meet was in full swing, I saw but one diesel and that was a switcher hauling a special train of N.M.R.A. members. The C.P. Ry. main line west out of Toronto goes right by the north side of their track location. During the course of a few hours you will see 2-8-0s, 2-8-2s, 4-6-0s, 4-6-2s, 4-4-4s, and now and then a 4-6-4. Also a lot of double headers hauling freight out of Toronto. Truly a steam locomotive man's paradise and a very fitting place to have held the 21st annual B.L.S. meet which the TSME handled so smoothly and congenially.

M.G. Winslow's Report

IBLS meet report by M.G. Winslow

Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Miniature Locomotive, November-December 1953

The Red River Valley Railway has had a good summer with the track being put to good use on holidays and weekends. We found it necessary to make a few repairs in the spring but as a general whole the track was and is in very good order.

Our genial president, Jack Kerr, myself, and T. Thompson, attended the International Live Steam "meet" held in Toronto, August 22 and 23. Jack and I motored down, taking our respective wives and also our locomotives. Brother Thompson went by train but left his engine at home. The Saturday and Sunday of the meet turned out to be good days and attendance was high. As this was the first get-together I had attended, I had quite an interesting time and thoroughly enjoyed meeting chaps with whom I had corresponded but had not met personally.

I should like to mention that Jack's Hudson and my own Northern performed without any trouble manifesting itself anywhere. Perhaps it would be in order to pass along to you that many favorable comments were made about our magazine.

We arrived back home in time to make suitable arrangements for our own annual "meet." This was held on the Labor Day weekend and we were favored with cool but bright days.


From The Miniature Locomotive, July/August 1953

By C. S. Chovil, Secretary, Southern California Live Steamers

Members of the Brotherhood of Live Steamers who are considering attending Southern California Live Steamers Annual Field Day meeting October 18th, 1953 are requested to notify either the Recording Secretary or the President of S.C.L.S. so that we can plan trackage time for them and thus expedite the movement of all rail traffic on this special occasion. If a visiting member can show certificate of boiler inspection from his own club and certificate is dated within the six months time limit his engine will not have to go through the hydrostatic test at our club track.