Single Drum (Capstan) type Steam Donkeys

If you leave our layout you pass the Skunk Depot and you’ll then see the Deli/Mall/Museum. In the north corridor of the Deli building you’ll find a locomotive and two steam donkeys. One of these is of the oldest type – a steam donkey with a single capstan like drum. I apologise for the photo quality but the Mall is’nt a well lighted place and the steam donkey is crammed in the space where it lives.

Capstan type steam donkey in the Deli Mall in Fort Bragg

Capstan type steam donkey in the Deli Mall in Fort Bragg

The steam donkey was patented by John Dolbeer in 1883, Here’s the drawing that accompanied the patent application:

J. Dolbeer's patent application for a steam donkey

J. Dolbeer’s patent application for a steam donkey

The design is ingenios in that it married existing technology of the time on steam schooners with an upright boiler powering a single propeller and a powered capstan. The one in the Deli was owned by Union Lumber Company (ULC) here in Fort Bragg.

As the club’s historian I am constantly “fishing” for new historic info. I mostly catch minnows – single “bits” of historic info. This blog is about when I landed a school of whales. I was looking at the pics collected in Lynn Catlett’s  “You know if you’re from Mendocino if” Facebook blog. Totally accidentally I clicked on a photo and I landed on a Dutch site, “De Puffende Schoorsteen,”  which translated means, “The Puffing Chimney.”    The site is devoted to modelers who build exquisite working models from old photos. Hence this gallery of  pics of steam donkeys  based on the original Dolbeer patent. Click on any photo in this blog to see it full size.

 

Great collection of photos what?

And what sort of model was made with these photos? Well lookee here ……… Click on ’em to see the detail – it’s breath taking.

Working Model of a Steam Donkey with a capstan

Working Model of a Steam Donkey with a capstan

Working Model of a Steam Donkey with a capstan

And if you’ve ever wondered why steam donkeys were called steam donkeys …….. check out the pic below:

Steam Donkeys Plaque

Steam Donkeys Plaque