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'shop tip from 1921

Drain clearing

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steamdave24/11/2018 22:28:15
435 forum posts
33 photos

Here's a 1921 Pop. Mechanics method of clearing a drain. Sounds quite exciting!

image1.jpg

Dave
The Emerald Isle

Mick B124/11/2018 22:48:32
1574 forum posts
84 photos

Don't do this at home, kids... surprise

duncan webster24/11/2018 22:55:00
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2585 forum posts
33 photos

Reminds me of many years ago when I was trying unsuccessfully to run an EDB diesel. Fuel was home made equal parts of diesel, redex and ether. My Dad decided to get the pot bellied stove in the kitchen going by dousing the coke in ether and applying a match. Not only blew the doors off the stove, all the coke was spread around the kitchen together with a lot of the soot out of the chimney. Mother was not a happy bunny. Neither was I as he didn't volunteer to buy more ether. Strange how as a teenager I could just wander into Boots in a small market town and buy such stuff no problem.
 

 

Edited By duncan webster on 24/11/2018 22:55:12

not done it yet25/11/2018 00:15:16
4630 forum posts
16 photos

A ‘P’can (or thereabouts) of TVO, splashed into the smouldering embers of the boiler fire, then standing back and waiting for the ignition was the usual trick to get the fire blazing again. Throwing it on, just before someone entered tthe room, could give them a bit of a surprise at times! We never stood in front of the fire unless it was flaming well - just in case....

Bazyle25/11/2018 00:35:20
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5207 forum posts
201 photos

We were told at school or Uni I forget when that aluminium smelters had a habit of blocking their air holes with slag so after WW2 the surplus of bazooka shells was used for unblocking them.

Hacksaw25/11/2018 00:37:07
428 forum posts
173 photos

Great for collapsing mole tunnels too !

Wasn't there was a " water pump" that worked by igniting a gas in a u bend , or a chamber , with a clack valve on the outlet end to stop the "pumped "water returning under gravity ....or something like that ??

Might have read an article it in ME or Stationary Engine ..

John MC25/11/2018 07:43:48
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279 forum posts
38 photos

The water pump is the "Humphrey" pump. I visited an installation in Chingford (UK) many years ago, not working but still in place. I wonder if they are still there?

John

john carruthers25/11/2018 08:35:40
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604 forum posts
176 photos

Sawdust sweepings from the joinery shop floor would be cast into the iron stove, the lid jammed on quick and a concrete block hastily placed on top.
The resulting crown fire would procede along the ducting and shoot forth singeing the hapless joiners who had carefully directed the hot air vents toward their work stations.

Edited By john carruthers on 25/11/2018 08:36:02

Ian S C25/11/2018 11:23:41
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7468 forum posts
230 photos

In an older ME there was a bit about how you could, before WW2 buy a little packet of gun powder, that could be put in the close fire box of the copper in the laundry to blow out the soot from the chimney, it also mentioned the effect of putting in 2 packets.

As kids we made bombs from the heads of Wax Vesta matches.

Ian S C

Edited By Ian S C on 25/11/2018 11:25:16

AJW25/11/2018 11:28:34
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289 forum posts
117 photos
My Dad used to tell the story of his Dad removing soot with a charge of gunpowder - did a lot of damage to the chimney breast dislodging many bricks!

Alan
Fowlers Fury25/11/2018 12:34:02
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342 forum posts
77 photos

An ex-Crewe Works old boy related to us students how they got fed up with one fitter who was always nicking coal from the works to take home for his domestic fireplace. One day at the end of the shift they put a detonator in his coal sack. Apparently the resultant shock and mess stopped his further theft of LMS coal.

Neil Wyatt25/11/2018 12:39:32
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Moderator
17876 forum posts
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Posted by Ian S C on 25/11/2018 11:23:41:

In an older ME there was a bit about how you could, before WW2 buy a little packet of gun powder, that could be put in the close fire box of the copper in the laundry to blow out the soot from the chimney, it also mentioned the effect of putting in 2 packets.

Still going! Google 'stovax' I think it has an excess of oxidser in it.

There was also 'imp' which was a little volcano shaped 'firework' you put in the grate as I recall.

Neil

Brian Wood25/11/2018 12:55:01
2185 forum posts
37 photos

A rather less exciting country remedy for soot clearance in chimneys was to suspend a hapless chicken on a weighted rope and lower the poor creature down the chimney. It did pay to block the fireplace properly before doing this

The alternative, but much messier way, was to let fly with both barrels of a shotgun shoved in from the bottom!

Brian

John Alexander Stewart25/11/2018 12:59:39
766 forum posts
51 photos

A fellow around the corner here in Canada got a new house a few years ago after cleaning up something with gasoline (petrol) in his basement.

Lots of us have natural gas powered domestic water heaters - big vertical cylinders with a pilot flame on the bottom.

Needless to say, pouring gasoline down the drain, having the fumes waft up and around the water heater was a recipe for disaster.

All survived; house rebuilt; not a trick I'd have chosen to get redecorating done!

Ron Laden25/11/2018 13:19:16
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1917 forum posts
366 photos

When we were kids (young teenagers) we used to make a basic 3 ingredient black powder, the fun we had with that. How none of us suffered serious injury I dont know, I could also tell you how to make a simple marble gun but they are seriously dangerous so I had better not....surprise

Edited By Ron Laden on 25/11/2018 13:25:53

SillyOldDuffer25/11/2018 13:45:33
5751 forum posts
1216 photos

Big problem with many of these old time wheezes is the results are unpredictable. It's rather difficult to get petrol vapour to explode at all and there's also a chance of it going bang with exceptional violence.

  • If the petrol-air mixture fails to ignite, you've doubled your problem - now you have a blocked sewer contaminated with petrol.
  • If the mixture goes bang and the blockage is firmly stuck the force of the explosion will be applied excessively to the structure and it will vent at any weak points. (Having a cast-iron man-hole cover fall on your head would ruin your day.)
  • If the mixture is optimum and multiple reflections of the shock wave bounce off the walls and lots of internal debris, the explosion will be unusually rapid and cause massive damage.

As a way of unblocking a sewer I wouldn't touch it with a barge-pole!

Dave

Mick B125/11/2018 14:32:47
1574 forum posts
84 photos
Posted by Ron Laden on 25/11/2018 13:19:16:

When we were kids (young teenagers) we used to make a basic 3 ingredient black powder, the fun we had with that. How none of us suffered serious injury I dont know, I could also tell you how to make a simple marble gun but they are seriously dangerous so I had better not....surprise

Edited By Ron Laden on 25/11/2018 13:25:53

But the chemists often sold you 'Chile' saltpetre (sodium nitrate - and hygroscopic) instead of the real thing. OTOH, in those days bonfire night tuppenny bangers 'Little Demon' and the aptly-named 'Cannon' contained quite a good, glossy black powder that I'd now guess roughly matched FFG.

I was lucky to get away without permanent damage to my hand when I tried to make a 'recoilless' cannon using this stuff and other ingredients.

For all the stories you hear of a lucky success, there are at least as many of serious consequences, which you don't hear told so enthusiastically.

Chris Trice25/11/2018 14:45:16
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1362 forum posts
9 photos

A friend of mine blew up his vacuum cleaner sucking up rust residue at the bottom of his petrol tank. Obviously a spark in the vacuum cleaner motor and the fuel/air mixture was just right. He remembers lying on his back six feet from where he had been with the shredded remains of the vacuum spread liberally around him.

Rik Shaw25/11/2018 16:22:41
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1325 forum posts
361 photos

"both barrels of a shotgun shoved in from the bottom!"

Would that be the bottom of the chimney or the bottom of the chi................? I agree, it does sound messy.

Rik

Samsaranda25/11/2018 17:20:30
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927 forum posts
5 photos

Whilst still at school, myself and two friends experimented with a number of home made explosives,( grammar school chemistry curriculum was great for expanding our knowledge, in the wrong direction). We used to use pressure to detonate our mixtures, this was achieved by making small parcels of mixture which was then placed on the rails of a local rail line and waiting for a passing train to detonate it. Some mixtures were more potent than others. In those days we believed we were immortal and no harm would befall us, how lucky we were not get injured or worse.

Dave W

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