Another Mystery Item: Brass and Glass (Part II)


This steam engine photo is from the October 2, 1959, Fort Dodge Messenger and Chronicle.* I don't know for sure, but assume that this steam engine is similar in concept to that of my Great-Uncle Art (mentioned below).


Click on image to enlarge.

In the previous post I included a photo of what my father  (Deane Gunderson) said is a steam engine crankshaft oiler. I don’t know if that is the official name for the item or more of a descriptive name.

On Independence Day in 2005 my dad and I were cleaning out the furnace room of the basement at Gunderland. We ran across two steam engine oilers, both of which my dad later passed along to me, including the one in the photo at the left. Below are my notes from asking Daddy questions that day about the oilers.


Daddy guesses the oilers are from the 1920s during Uncle Art Gunderson’s (Aunt Ruth’s and Grandpa John’s brother) time.

They are an oiler for an old steam engine. Daddy said, “I’ve always associated them with Uncle Art Gunderson because he owned a steam engine. You take off the cap. Pour oil in and put the cap back on. If the engine was running and you wanted to lubricate the big shaft, you would pull the lever up and the oil would drip. At night you would close (it) because the machine would not be running. Otherwise it would drip and waste.”

I asked Daddy why Uncle Art had a steam engine. Daddy said, “It went with the threshing machine. It furnished the power for the threshing machine.”


Art Gunderson is the tallest man, third from the right. L to R are my grandfather and his siblings with their parents: John Gunderson (my grandfather), Martha Gunderson Boggs, Charles Lewis (my great-grandfather), Dena (my great-grandmother), Arthur (the great-uncle who owned the steam engine), Ruth Gunderson VandeSteeg and Naomi Gunderson. About this photo my mother wrote, "Golden Wedding Anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Gunderson in 1934."


*I’ll post the full Fort Dodge Messener and Chronicle article within the next month.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)


3 Responses to “Another Mystery Item: Brass and Glass (Part II)”

  1. Patti Collett Says:

    I never realized how much your grandfather & your father looked alike at a younger age. I really hardly remember your grandfather, but I do remember your grandmother.

  2. Doug Says:

    The more specific name for the brass and glass item is a ‘drip feed oiler’. Something that big looks like it would have been for a steam engine. These oilers would typically sit above the point where a shaft rotated within a large bushing or non-rolling type bearing. Older lathes and motors usually came equipped with these beauties and were elegantly functional. They are still used on some machinery today.

  3. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    Doug, thank you for educating me further. I’m glad to know the more specific name and more how these were used.

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