Characters, — September 3, 2010 9:16 — 0 Comments

Traction engine steam trap

(1910s memories) We were speaking of the old traction engine that puffed along to Kilkeel with its wagons laden with goods …

These were the early days when such machines were considered a serious risk to public health and a man walked in front of it waving a red flag to signal danger – that’ll give you some idea of the speeds she reached!


The staff of three – the driver, the herald and the fireman (he stoked the fire that boiled the water that made the steam that provided to power to drive the wheels forward) – were not averse to adjourning to Frank Keenan’s pub for refreshments. 


Anyway one day I observed this. The fireman placed an old bag on top of the chimney of the engine – to control both the fire and the smoke emission while they’d be gone. On returning to the engine the fireman forgot to remove the bag. 


The steam was up and the driver pulled the regulator and the sack was blown sky-high into the air by the first blast of steam, providing no end of free amusement for the crowd of youths, who were so engrossed that they stopped an important game of pitch-and-toss at the Old Market House in order to cheer derisively.


… more later …

 Compare with poem Steam Trap  ?

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