Still Shot circa 1900 [updated]


He was a musician as well.

[Found here.]

[UPDATE: That’s not a still. It’s apparently a steam engine. See comments below.]

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8 Responses to “Still Shot circa 1900 [updated]”

  1. Leonard Jones Says:

    That is a small steam engine probably driving an overhead
    line shaft for a small plant or machine shop. The clue is
    the angled belt on the left side of the photo.

  2. Bunk Strutts Says:

    Leonard– You may be right. It looked like a thumper and condenser to me, and the description came from the source image. I’ve forwarded your observation to the source for response.

  3. Leonard Jones Says:

    I know of no still that has a reciprocating steam cylinder,
    a crosshead, a mechanical governor, a pulley and a
    lineshaft belt. Whoever captioned the image at the
    link got it wrong.

    I have rebuilt simplex and duplex reciprocating steam
    pumps as well as rotary steam turbines. The governor
    controls the steam flow via the inlet valve and the
    discharge line is piped to the condenser, which is
    indicative of a steam engine.

    The condenser on a multi-thousand HP turbine I worked
    on was so efficient, it was drawing a near perfect vacuum
    on the discharge line. It is not just about the steam
    pressure, it is also about the flow. If you are pulling
    a near perfect vacuum at the discharge, you are at the
    edge of efficiency.

  4. Bunk Strutts Says:


    I get it. Post your comment on the link above, and we’ll see if we get a correction.

  5. Leonard Jones Says:

    OK, I did it, but I doubt the person who posted this disinformation
    has spent one minute in the mechanical trades. Stills are basically pressured vessels with condenser coils. This image has a piston,
    a steam cylinder, a late 19th to early 20th-century mechanical
    governor, a crosshead and rod, and a line shaft pulley and belt,
    not one of which is found on moonshine stills!

    The condenser is the only thing a still has in common with a
    steam engine. I worked on steam engines in my mid to late
    20s. They are still used to power reciprocating fluid pumps
    anywhere steam is used in a production process like a chemical
    company or an oil refinery.

    This is most assuredly not a still. You can see the inlet and
    exhaust lines on the lower left and the mechanical governor
    in the inlet line, as well as the condenser on the exhaust line.
    The governor serves to regulate or more precisely modulate
    the steam pressure so as to maintain a constant RPM for the
    steam engine.

    Sorry, but as I said before I worked on steam engines.
    If this were a still, it would two components, a pressure
    vessel (most often wood fired) and a condensing coil,
    usually consisting of copper pipe coming out of the top
    of the pressure vessel. More efficient stills might have
    water or fan cooled condensers to speed up the output
    volume but no still has pistons, cylinders, or crossheads!

  6. Bunk Strutts Says:

    Leonard– Thanks for the update. I don’t think the source (Jim Linderman) intentionally misidentified the machine. His original photo is faded – I enhanced it a bit before I posted it here, and it shows more details that I glossed over but you caught. Thanks.

  7. doublegenealogytheadoptionwitness Says:

    No matter what it is, exactly, you give interesting discussion. The gentleman sitting beside the whatever, seems wholly unconcerned with same.

  8. Bunk Strutts Says:

    doublegen– I think the photographer told him not to blink, so he kept his eyes closed and clenched his toothless jaw.

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