Thursday, 19 January 2017

1912 Waterous Steam Road Roller Restoration

        What better way to begin the New Year than with the restoration of a Waterous Steam Road Roller.  These machines were in service for the better part of half a century beginning around the 1904, and played a crucial roll in road construction in Canada. While these Canadian machines were made in Brantford at the Waterous Engine Works Co., they shared a striking resemblance to the Buffalo Pitts Roller, as they were built under the same license of Buffalo Steam Roller Co. of New York. However, as you can see from the illustrations, the similarities end as the pin striping designs between the two steamrollers are completely different.
As you can see, the striping designs differ from the Buffalo Pitts Roller pictured below

Buffalo Pitts Roller

     This Waterous steamroller is being restored from the ground up as part of the restoration collection for Heritage Park located in Calgary. After coming off the production line in 1912, it is believed that this steamroller was used in Fernie, British Columbia before being decommissioned and transferred to Heritage Park collection in the latter part of the 20th century. As you can see, this machine has seen its fair share of wear and tear over over the decades - almost all of the original hand lettering and pin striping has disappeared. That called for a trip out to the Reynolds museum to try to find more evidence.

Current state of Waterous steamroller

Buffalo Pitts in original condition
          If you are ever looking for inspiration - The Reynolds-Alberta Museum is the place to go. This place is full of eye candy - especially behind the scenes.😉 The museum was founded by Stan Reynolds. Stan owned a car lot and was notorious of trading to add to his collection. Not kidding, Stan collected everything from antique cars, to agricultural equipment, to airplanes and military paraphernalia. So much so that acres upon acres of fields were lined with rusty machines.

View from inside Buffalo Pitts Roller

Behind the scenes at the Reynolds museum, this was just one of several hangers

Beautiful detailing on a fire apparatus

         Returning back to the Waterous steamroller, the museum had not one, but two steamrollers in their collection - one Waterous, and one Buffalo Pitts. After careful inspection of the Waterous Steam Road Roller, it was deemed that the paint job was not the original, and thus, the pin striping was not either. While the pin striping patterns on the Buffalo Pitts differed from the Waterous, it was still in quite good condition so it was a great opportunity to snap some pictures and archive the patterns.Cross referencing the original illustrations to remnants of pin striping found on the machines we were able to gauge what the original designs may have looked like.
Remnants of striping on Waterous steamroller

Another image of striping pattern on spokes of Waterous

      With a clear vision in mind, we could return back to home to prepare the designs for the steamroller. Stay tuned for updates of the restoration process.