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MMD > Archives > February 2005 > 2005.02.02 > 05Prev  Next

Rootes Blower vs. Turbine for Calliope
By Bruce Miller

Hi Ken,  I saw your note on MMD regarding a calliope blower.  I am
not an expert, but do know something about this.  To the best of
my knowledge, the original Tangley blowers were made by the Rootes
company.  (Sometimes you will see this name spelled "Roots".)  This
is the same company that has made superchargers for auto, truck, and
boat engines for years.  The Tangley Rootes blowers strongly resemble
an automotive supercharger.  They certainly did their job, but they
were heavy, loud, oily, and require a fairly large electric motor to
turn them.

I have an original Tangley calliope, upon which I am currently working,
that was disassembled for restoration back in the 1950s and then left
to sit (rust and rot?) in the cellar of an old theater until just a
few years ago.  After collecting up all the pieces from workbenches,
shelves, the floor, etc., and studying them, it became very apparent
why the calliope was disassembled in the first place: every one of the
valves was caked with dried oil, rendering them useless until restored
or replaced.

The source of this oil was the Rootes blower, which, when all is shiny
and new, does a credible job.  However, as time goes on, the seals
within the blower wear and it begins to blow oil, which goes throughout
the calliope.  The air reservoir tank on my calliope had well over an
inch of mucky oil in the bottom.  It even had a dead rat in there.  He
had been soaked in oil for decades.

In my personal opinion, the better way to go now is with a [turbine]
blower that can be easily purchased from Dave Miner, of Miner
Manufacturing Company in Iowa.  They build new calliopes and use
a simple, quiet, lightweight blower that is very reasonably priced:

I hope this helps you.

Bruce Miller
Issaquah, Washington

 [ I had much the same experiences due to leaking seals on at least
 [ three different old Rootes blowers.  No rats in the sump, though!
 [ The calliope owners had no interest in maintenance beyond polishing
 [ the whistles.  -- Robbie

(Message sent Wed 2 Feb 2005, 18:24:36 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  Blower, Calliope, Rootes, Turbine, vs

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