Mr. Charles A. "Carl" Purinton was an early live steamer and founded the Brotherhood of Live Steamers in the USA in 1932. Many of the first "live steam meets" were held on 130 feet of 2-1/2" gauge "up and down" track in his driveway at Marblehead, Massachusetts. In this photo, taken some SIXTY years after those "driveway meets" of the 1930s, he's seen running a 1-1/2" scale 4-4-2 at a private track in Danvers, Mass. (photo by John Kurdzionak). Mr. Purinton's son Charlie's memories of the "Early Days" of the 1930s are now preserved in book form, available below. You'll see the Purintons, father, son, and grandson....plus many of the other "names and faces", and their locomotives and tracks, of those early days.
"Live Steam of Years Gone By", by Charlie Purinton. Edited by Larry Urbanski and Richard Symmes. Now available from Friends.
137-page book containing Charlie Purinton's written recollections of the early years of live steam with more than 100 photos from the era. Charlie (1922-2010) was the son of Brotherhood of Live Steamers founder Charles A. "Carl" Purinton. Compiled and edited by live steamers Larry Urbanski and Richard Symmes, both of whom were longtime friends with Charlie Purinton and members of the same live steam club.
From the Purinton family's photo files, you'll see the first "back and forth" tracks of the 1930s, and early live steam meetings held there; you'll see the formation of the Brotherhood of Live Steamers in 1932, and the larger "backyard loop" tracks that soon followed; and also you'll read about some of the large early clubs of the 1940s and 50s. Plus you'll meet builders of the era, and see their locomotives. Charlie was there for all of it (he was aged 10 when the Brotherhood of Live Steamers was founded in 1932), and editors Urbanski and Symmes have compiled it perfectly in this superb telling of the story of the "early days".
$20, plus $10 if shipping to the USA; or plus $25 if shipping to Canada; or plus $30 if shipping to the United Kingdom. Please click any of the Paypal buttons below, to purchase. For countries other than the USA, Canada, or the UK, please contact me.
Charlie Purinton hosted dozens of guests at his home shop over the years. No-one knows the actual number of visitors, but it perhaps exceeds a hundred individuals over several decades. In October 2008, I was the last of such visitors to Charlie's home shop. I had my camera with me, and today it is an honor to share with you the last photograph taken of Charlie at home. Two days after this photo was taken, Charlie suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized. Upon his recovery he went into "Assisted Living". But with family and friends helping, he attended local live steam meetings for the next year or so. He passed away 2 years after my 2008 visit, on Veterans' Day 2010.
In the background of the above photo of Charlie, you can see a portion of Ed Leaver's "Maisie" (a British 4-4-2 in 3/4" scale) on the bench (look closely behind the vice). You'll also see very same "Maisie" running at Danvers, MA on page 20 of the new Charlie Purinton book by Urbanski and Symmes.
Thank you for your interest in this early live steam history, and please click below to purchase your book for shipment to the USA or Canada. For other countries, please inquire.
Historic reprint of Lester Friend's 1948 construction booklet on the 3/4" scale 4-6-6 Boston & Albany "tank" locomotive. (750ml adult beverage is shown for size reference, and is not included with the booklet).
One of the pages inside the 36-page booklet. Photo of Lester Friend's 4-6-6 chassis shows at left, under construction in the late 1930s.
by Lester Friend, 1948
36-page booklet covers various aspects of the construction of the 3/4" scale Boston and Albany "tank" locomotive. Originally published in 1948 as a compilation of Les Friend's 1930s and 1940s construction articles, it has been reprinted in exactly the same form as it was published prior, so as to preserve its content and integrity. This way, in 2012 and beyond, you can sit in your easy chair and have Lester Friend (1895-1962) describe to you in his own words, how to build a live steam locomotive....without any changes or updates by me. You can read the very same words that all the "old timers" read back in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.
With 3 major exceptions I can think of, most of the booklet's content from 1948 applies today. Exception #1, Lester Friend mentions that the locomotive can be built for less than $100. This is probably not so anymore. Next (#2), the then-common but now-oddball size of copper boiler pipe (5-1/2" O.D.) that was called for in 1948 will now have to be purchased overseas (or "rolled from flat stock", screwed at the joint, and soldered); as it's no longer manufactured in the USA. And finally (#3), more modern & safe insulation than the asbestos that's called for (a common, "hardware store" item back in the 1940s, but now known to be unsafe) must be used for lagging. The days of walking into the local hardware or plumbing store and buying "asbestos sheet" are long gone. Other differences between 1948 and 2012 might be noted, but most are minor in nature; a matter of "semantics" or technique; or not critical.
Other than those 3 things that our modern era has made obsolete, with this booklet you can enjoy having it be 1948 again for several enjoyable minutes in your easy chair!
This booklet's no-nonsense and homespun style is great reading, and it may perhaps be considered a predecessor of the more-thorough "step by step" instructions that other designers and authors published in the decades that followed. You'll be delighted to read it over and over.
Introduction; Engine Truck; Chassis; Axle Pump; Tender Truck; Cylinders and Valves; Baker Gear and Timing; Smoke Box and Exhaust Nozzle; Boiler; Oscillating Disc Throttle.Includes photos of the 4-6-6 under construction, and of various scenes at the old "Yankee Shop" at Danvers, Mass.
The Paypal purchase link below, is for shipping to the USA. For other countries, please contact me to make arrangements for your purchase of this booklet. Thanks for your interest!
"Friends Models" Catalog #5-A (1972)
I have a very limited supply of N.O.S. (new old stock) Friends Models print catalogs from 1972, available for $32.00 postpaid (via USPS Priority Mail to Anywhere, USA). I will gladly ship it overseas as well, via International Priority, for a nominal amount more, based on your location. Please inquire.
It's great reading, and is a wonderful addition to your collection of live steam catalogs in the shop, the den, or the bathroom (please....keep the window open, or the vent fan ON, if you keep it in the bathroom).
You may order by credit card or Paypal, below.
Thank you for your interest.
Above, you may click the PAYPAL button to make a $32.00 payment with your Paypal account or your credit card for a N.O.S. (New Old Stock) copy of the Friends Models 1972 catalog. Thank you very much for ordering.