‘Lady B’ gets a makeover

Lady B's jewelry
During engine refurbishing, the crew polished up Lady B’s “jewelry” — photo courtesy Texas Cotton Gin Museum

The Texas Cotton Gin Museum’s volunteer engineers got together in Burton, Texas, in January to do a routine crankcase oil change on the 1925 Bessemer Type IV engine. This vintage piece, nicknamed Lady B, powers all the equipment inside the 1914 Burton Farmers Gin.

During the oil change and inspection, they found a crack in the crosshead of the inboard cylinder that could have led to a catastrophic engine failure. Soon after, the engineering team got together to remove the crosshead. It was transferred to Luther Hueske of Brenham, Texas, who as engineer Gary Butschek puts it, “can weld the crack of dawn!”

Hueske and H&H Machine made the necessary repairs to the crosshead, and by March Paul and Francis Hirschler had re-installed it. The engine crew conducted engine shake down runs April 7, and everything ran smoothly for the Burton Cotton Gin Festival April 17.

Refurbishing the engine

Since the festival, much work has been done to the engine. New timbers were added to the water tower that supplies water to the engine. Volunteer Cheryl Butschek gave a fresh coat of paint to the signs, flywheel marks and air valves on the Bessemer.

Pressure gauges and temperature gauges were added to the engine. Denis Huebner, Lindy Varner and Ronnie Stanley laid new water line for the water injection system. The changes will make running the engine easier for the engineers.

The Hirschlers and Huebner also cleaned the engine room, revealing the original floor. Huebner has spent countless hours “polishing Lady B’s jewelry,” which included the brass and copper fittings, and degreasing the engine.

In July, Gary and Brandon Butschek balanced the fuel injection to allow equal power under load for the Lady B. The last job done in August was to install two 4-inch clean-out ports on the exhaust line.

Thanks for the team effort

The Burton Fire Department provided flush water to clear out the exhaust lines, and Huebner provided a pressure washer to clean the exhaust pipes. The Bessemer hasn’t looked and run this well in decades!

Come see it up and running, every first Saturday of the month.

A big thank you to the Engine Room crew who provided labor this past year: Ronnie Stanley, Paul Hirschler, Frances Hirschler, Lindy Varner, Denis Huebner, Brian Butschek, Cheryl Butschek, Brandon Butschek and to Gary Butschek for his work at the museum and help writing this article.

For more information about the Texas Cotton Gin Museum, visit https://www.texascottonginmuseum.org/

The Texas Cotton Gin Museum provided this information.

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