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Re: Pondering the White control system

Posted by: Jim Crank

Yes indeed, the groove in the White flowmotor was tapered and varied in width, and had a very definite feed rate to the steam generator.
In Chris Dundee's personal note book, he was the Portland, Ore. dealer, he stated that the 20 hp flowmotor fed one gallon in 1:45, and the 40 hp flowmotor fed one gallon in one minute. We found that when tested at 45 psi water pressure, an original flowmotor that was in good shape did just that. So that became the criteria when rebuilding a flowmotor.
So I made up a test rig with a water flow meter and pressure gauge-needle valve and when mine met those criteria, the car just settled down and ran as it was supposed to. Most gratifying.

The flowmotor and thermostat did the varying of the water to fuel ratio all the time. You see this in action when you watch the burner fuel pressure needle and the pyrometer needle. They change all the time.
The "Water Regulator" was the pressure control, and at 600 psi, bypassed ALL the water back to the tank. Usually with an amusing squeek when it opened up. Most people try to eliminate that squeek, I left it in because it told me that the water regulator was doing it's job. Sometimes a good loud screech just as it started to open up. I liked to hear it.
Holman missed this point as you said. Then the flowmotor would see no water coming in, think the car was not running, and the spring in it closed the fuel valve and returned the piston back to the top.

The thermostat water valve does increase the water flow to the coils; BUT it puts the water in behind the flowmotor piston, and thus doesn't try to force it down the groove; but actually it cheats the flowmotor, so the spring pushes the piston back and cuts down on the fuel flow to the burner, while the water is coming in not only via the groove; but from the thermostat water valve too. This varies all the time, it is constantly varying the fuel to water ratio. It works splendidly when set as the factory intended.

Henry Merkel, Walter White's grandson, one remarked that every single person in the White engineering department was a college trained engineer with a degree.
Rollin White was one very smart cookie for sure.
You just have to wonder what the White steamer would have been if it had continued production into the 1920's. I think Abner Doble would have had a very serious challange on his hands.

Right Ben, this White system was not some guesswork idea; but most carefully worked out and refined before putting it in the 1907 cars. So they probably started working on it in at least 1906.

There are a few more most critical design points in the White control system that most owners don't know about.
Perhaps I should write that paper on it and put it in Woodson's web site.