Posts Tagged With: Waterville

The Lombard Log hauler

A Unique Waterville Industry

Manufacturing a Steam Log Hauler that, meets with popular favor among the lumbermen, the business of A. O. Lombard, Waterville has grown to large proportions and volume since he became established in 1903.

When the business was founded the facilities were small, to-day the firm occupy about 20,000 square feet of floor space, with modern offices, fire proof boiler house, spacious machine shops etc. In 1910 the firm erected a new and modern brick building two stores high 110 x 38 feet which is fire proof throughout.

The lower story of the new addition is used for assembling the Log Haulers, the upper story being devoted to the construction of gasoline engines for traction purposes. The Lombard Steam Log Haulers have an unsurpassed reputation in the United States and Canada and are known to be first-class and soundly serviceable, each hauler developing 100 horse power. Every outfit made at this plant is designed with the greatest care, constructed skillfully and painstakingly by experienced workmen and the highest grade and most durable material only is used. Employment is given to about 22 hands, all of whom earn good wages.

Mr. A. O. Lombard, the inventor, who still remains the head of the business, was born in Springfield, Maine, and has been a resident of Waterville for 16 years. His progressiveness and sagacity in the conduct of his present enterprise have given him a sound and desirable standing in the commercial world.

So says the Board of Trade Journal in a May 1910 edition of that then popular business magazine. Lombard, an inventor from Waterville Maine gave the logging industry a swift kick in the pants, providing a new way to maximize productivity for the timber harvest here in Maine, and elsewhere as well. There were other versions of this steam-powered tractor, such as the Canadian variety produced by the Jenckes Machine Company of Sherbrooke, Quebec and the Western variety made by the Phoenix Company in Eau Claire Wisconsin. The Lombard version was considered the best in the industry, however.

The Lombard was capable of pulling many more sleds than a team of oxen or mules were, capable of pretty much creating their own roadways, and were much better in the snow than other means of hauling logs were. This made the tractor a favorite choice as it was much more economical, and saved much labor, thereby reducing harvesting costs even further. Nevertheless, it did have its drawbacks. Downhill runs were dangerous as there was no way to brake the hauler, and sleds loaded down with logs were prone to jackknifing and overrunning the tractor. For this reason tracks were made with steep sides to run the “train” in to prevent this from happening. “Snub lines” and Barienger Brakes were also used at times on particularly steep grades.

The following piece is from the Horseless Age magazine, vol10, issue 22, in which Lombard writes a letter to the editor describing the haulers:

A Steam Logging Outfit

Waterville, Me., November 21. Editor Horseless Age:

We have just completed one of our steam log haulers, run it .out of the shop and taken a picture of it, which you will find enclosed. You will notice that the machine now has wheels under the forward part: we use wheels in the summer and a sled in the winter; the rest of the machine remains the same both summer and winter. You will notice in looking at the photo that we have an endless lag bed which makes the rear runner carry practically the whole weight of the machine of about 15 tons, with the exception of about 1 ton that bears on the forward sled. The runner is driven by a pair of engines and takes its steam at five-eighths stroke, so it can never get on dead centre. The runner, or endless lag bed, which you can see in the picture, is made of steel castings jointed together in such a way as to run over the sprocket wheels with toe cocks cast on them, the same as on a horse, so when they come in contact with the snow or ground there can be no slipping, even if it strikes the glare ice. This runner is driven through its rear sprocket wheel, which is constructed in such a way that the runner can tilt at any position that the road may require. The entire weight of the machine sets on a 5-inch axle running through the runner and hung loose at the ends so that the runner always tilts easily over rough going, rocks or anything that it may come in contact with, with a remarkable easy and quiet motion, which it is impossible to get from a round wheel. The opposite side of the machine is a duplicate of the side you see in the picture.

The machine is driven by a 100 horse power equipment. The boiler is a regular locomotive boiler fitted up with the necessary injectors, water tank and suction hose for taking water from springs or streams along the road: also with a cabin and wood box in the rear, as we always use wood, for the reason that using wood is far cheaper in the lumber woods than to use coal. The machine is reversible, the same as a locomotive, and will run one way as well as the other. It has a force draught, caused by the exhaust, the same as a locomotive: it also has a governor on the steam pipe just before it branches to each engine, which governor controls the speed of the machine and is belted to the main shaft.

This governor is set to give the machine a speed of 5 miles per hour, and presents the advantage that the engineer may pull the throttle wide open and the machine will take care of its own speed in plunging in and out of sharp pitches and cradle knolls, and gets the necessary steam ior up hill. This machine, without any load hitched to it, is capable of climbing any grade that a man can climb up afoot. Our experimental machine, which we had in the woods last winter, could easily carry 20.000 feet spruce lumber per load over a logging road of 7 miles and make two turns per day. The reason why we put on two sets of double engines, making four cylinders in all, is to get rid of the compensating gear: in making turns in the road one pair of engines runs a little faster, which makes it the best possible compensating arrangement. To steer this machine we put one horse in the shafts of the sled that belongs under the front end, tie up the reins and let him go. We never ask him to start or stop.

The Lawrence. Newhall & Page Company, of Shawmut. Me., have bought the experimental machine that we had in the woods for them last winter; also the two new machines now under construction, which are practically all done, and of which enclosed is a photo. They intend to move on a road of 7 miles their entire output of lumber, making 7.000.000 feet. According to our experiment last winter we can haul as much lumber for about $8 or $10 expense as they can for $too expense with horses, to say nothing about the larger depreciation in horses compared with this machine. We hitched up four of their lumber sleds, one behind the other, and put feet on each sled. The front sled has a coupling on the end of the pole, the machine is backed up and a pin dropped, the same as on steam railroads. This machine is especially useful in snow to break out its own roads or to haul snow plows after big storms, etc. A patent was granted on it May 21. 1901.

A. O. Lombard

When all is said and done, in spite of the gas and diesel motors rapid development, Lombard’s steam tractor did indeed provide a valuable piece of equipment to the logging industry. It proved the value of machine of sheer animal power in the field, and spelled an end to the era of twitching logs with ox teams and horses or mules. The Lombard Hauler gave way to gas powered skidders and tractors as the even greater power they provided decreased the costs of harvesting even more.

Lombard also developed an electric log hauler which he named the “Forest Echo,” and operated it in the area of Alder Stream. This also was a successful invention, though nat as popular as the steam and later gas powered haulers as a system of electric wires was required to operate the machine. The electric hauler had an engine of 25 horsepower, weighed fourteen tons, and on a test run pulled a load seven miles that scaled 17,280 board feet of logs.

Maine has a long line of inventors to her name, and some, such as A.O. Lombard achieved renowned success, and a success that we true Mainers can be proud of.

The Lombard Hauler gas powered version

Another view of the Lombard Hauler

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Shipbuilding in Waterville Maine

When it comes to shipbuilding in Maine, the first community that pops into most people’s noggins is the city of Bath, home to the world renowned Bath Iron Works. Many other communities follow along behind Bath, all of them along the coastline of this state. Therefore, it may well come as a surprise that the city of Waterville, Maine also has a history of shipbuilding, however brief as it was. Long gone are the days when a boat could ply the Kennebec from Skowhegan all the way to its mouth betwixt Phippsburg and Georgetown, thence to points elsewhere along the coast.

As early as 1794 ships were built in what was then a small village along the river, and they were launched with the spring freshets, with many orders coming from Boston. Also scores of smaller boats, such as the flat bottomed shallow draft steamboats were built which plied the Kennebec on a daily basis, transporting freight and passengers up and down the river. Construction of a lock and dam was completed in Augusta in 1837, thereby increasing the ability of larger vessels to come and go along the river during the warmer months. During the winter this same river, especially below Augusta enjoyed a thriving ice industry.

Most of the shipbuilding firms were located between where Sherwin Street and the Dam below Bridge Street. A careful archeological search may find some remnant of this once vital industry.

The following excerpt from the Centennial History of Waterville, edited by the Rev. Edwin Cary Whittemore in 1902 describes some of the shipbuilding history of Waterville:

What was once a thriving and profitable industry has long since disappeared and been almost forgotten. That Waterville was ever a ship building port will probably be news to many. Not only long boats, for home use, but schooners, brigs and even ships, were built, some as early as 1794. The abundance of ship timber close at hand made it possible to build cheaply and orders were received from Boston and elsewhere. The shipyard of John Clark was at the foot of Sherwin St., next above the yard of Nath’l Gilman, then that of Asa Redington and next north W. & D. Moor’s built many steamboats. It was necessary to launch them, the sea-going vessels, on the spring or fall freshets; they were then floated down river to Hallowell or Gardiner, where they received their rigging and outfit and took their place in the commerce of the country, but never to return to the port whence they started.

The following is probably a complete list with masters and owners.

1794. Schooner Sally, 92 tons, master, Rillae; owner, John Getchell.

1800. Ship Ticonic, 268 tons, master, Geo. Clarke; owner, John Clarke.

1810. Ship Hornet, 214 tons, master Wm. Fletcher; owner, N. B. Dingley.

1818. Brig Dingley, 106 tons, master, Thos. Jones; owner, Nath’l Dingley.

1826. Brig Elizabeth, 182 tons, master, John Sylvester; owner, Johnson Williams.

1805. Brig William Gray, 156 tons, master, Gideon Colcord; owner, Geo. Crosby.

1807. Schooner, Ticonic, 123 tons, master, Daniel Smith; owner, Nath’l Gilman.

1807. Schooner Thomas, 70 tons, master, Levi Palmer; owner, F. P. Stilson.

1810. Schooner James, 117 tons, master, Gideon Colcord; owner, Jas. Stackpole.

1809. Brig America, 136 tons, master, Wm. Pattee; owner, Peleg Tallman.

1809. Brig Madison, 160 tons, master, Caleb Heath; owner, Wm. Sylvester.

18n. Brig Hiram, 142 tons, master, Jos. Lemont.

1812. Sloop Aurora, 61 tons, master, Wm. Poole; owner, Asa Redington.

1814. Francis & Sarah, 290 tons, master, T. S. Winslow; owner, Rob’t G. Shaw.

1824. Brig Gov. King, 138 tons, master, N. Harding; owner, Nath’l Gilman.

1824. Schooner North Star, 107 tons, master, R. Crocker; owner, N. Gilman.

1825. Brig Waterville, 178 tons, master, N. Harding; owner, Johnson Williams.

1826. Brig Lydia, 178 tons, master, J. W. Lamont; owner, Johnson Williams.

1826. Brig Neutrality, 132 tons, master, R. Crooker; owner, Johnson Williams.

1827. Schooner Brilliant, 82 tons, master, R. Brown; owner, K. G. Robinson.

1829. Schooner Martha, 89 tons, master, R. Ellis; owner, Russell Ellis.

1835. Brig Wave, 47 tons, master, John Lewis; owner, J. M. Moor.

After the passing of shipbuilding came the era of steamboats. William and Daniel Moor under the firm name of W. & D. Moor were the leading captains of industry in this line. The first was the Ticonic, built at Gardiner. She made the first trip to Waterville, June 1, 1832, and was received with great demonstrations of rejoicing.

The Water Witch built by W. & D. Moor in 1842 was the first steamer launched in Waterville. It was quickly followed by others and soon a considerable fleet was plying between here and Augusta and Gardiner. In one season five steamers left the wharf daily. They were flat bottomed, of light draft, with stern wheels, and were of about 42 tons burden.

They prospered until the opening of the railroad to Augusta when the doctrine of the “survival of the fittest” relegated them to other scenes.

In 1890 an attempt was made by some of our enterprising citizens to restore steam navigation on the Kennebec. July 10th the steamer City of Waterville sailed from Bangor for this port. She has not yet arrived.

Near its close, the era of steamboats was marked by a terrible accident. May 23, 1848, the steamer Halifax, a new boat and the finest of the fleet, was making her record trip to Augusta; on leaving the lock the boiler exploded and six persons were killed and others severely wounded. Of the dead James Hasty, the pilot, and Vedo Micue, fireman, resided here.

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