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Clif Roemmich,     Piedmont SD           5/20/2004

The model picture is my most recent work, completed in May of 2004. I started this project in September of last year. The model is an American La France Fire Engine, circa 1890. The castings for the model are from Coles in California. The engine has a functional steam boiler, 2 cylinder steam engine and a two cylinder double acting water pump. The model with horses is 44 inches long and 18 inches high. Total weigh is approx. 100 lbs.


 The full size fire engine was rated at 1,100 gallons of water per minute and when fired from a cold boiler could reach pumping pressure in 4 to 5 minutes. The weigh of a full size engine was 6,800 lbs.


 The brass bulb (accumulator) and the brass boiler smoke stack were both shaped by the use of hand tools while spinning on a lathe. The hand tools were made from old screwdrivers with carbide inserts silver-soldered on. The brass castings and the aluminum frame castings were high quality. The aluminum wheel castings were poorly cast from a grade of aluminum that was gummy and difficult to machine. Each wheel required about 4 hours of work to clean and prepare for paint. The plans and prints for the project were adequate. For the first time I used and automotive grade self-etching primer (available in aerosol cans) on the aluminum parts. I have had paint peel from aluminum castings in the past. The primer I used covered well and could not be scratched off after it was dry.

 The horses and harness were purchase from D & H Custom Designs in Garner, Iowa. The owners, Harold Bulmer and his wife, built the harness and the quality is excellent. The horses are manufactured by the Stone company.


The project was very challenging and seemed like a never ending story, but the end result is pleasing and worth while. The engine was built as a gift for my son who is a full time fireman and his wife who is a volunteer fire fighter.




Copyright 2004,  Florida Association of Model Engineers and engine builder as noted above, All rights reserved.