Not all of Grandfather’s escapades were a great success.
Grandfather set out to build a miniature steam engine, which he did alright, but just look at it!
The boiler proved to be “marginal” (as the engineers say) meaning: “about to explode” — look at its bulging top:
But it was (to Grandfather, at least) an interesting minimalistic project. The piston cylinder, push-pull valve cylinder, wheel spokes, boiler-to-cylinder pipe and the machine’s legs were fashioned from brass tubing excised from an old rabbit-ears TV antenna. (Grandfather says most of you young whippersnappers will have to look up “rabbit ears antenna” in Wikpedia, or someplace). The boiler was an old can of neatsfoot oil.
It never did run on steam — its components expanded at different rates and seized when it was fired up, but Grandfather demonstrated the soundness of the concept to those who cared (not many) by attaching the boiler neck to a garden hose and the machine then chugged along just fine on water pressure, spraying water all over the bathroom.
About the Author: RD Blakeslee is an octogenarian in West Virginia who built his net worth by only investing in that which can be enjoyed during acquisition and throughout life, as opposed to papers in a drawer, like stocks and bonds. You can read more about him here.
Photos: Courtesy of the Blakeslee Family