View Full Version : Oh, why did - I why did I - why did I ever leave Wyoming?

A.K. Boomer
10-19-2007, 11:02 AM
I got the governor built for the old-old-old Victor phonograph, it was so amazingly simple in design --- flyball (three of them) - but the balls were cut in halves with a screw end in the middle of the flat side -- that secured to the center of a strip of spring steel (.006" thick, .250" wide and aprox. 2" long) and then to two brass pieces that the ends of the spring steel screwed too, the brass pieces were on a shaft, one piece was secured to the shaft and one was a floater, The floater has a flat face on its flange, This flange is what is used to drag and controll speed, it drags on an adjustable piece of felt,
Its about as simple a governor as one could ask for as the linkage to move the floater is the flat spring steel itself, In mechanical theory there really is only one moving part -- the floater flange --- the rest is in a complete elastic form and all solid mounted, The governor was missing one of its half weights and the spring steel --- so I built a weight and then just used a properly cut down .006" feeler guage,

So I show up with the governor to install it in My Sister in-laws record machine, it turned into a all day rebuild as both wind-up drive springs were broken and all sorts of other crap was bad, --- but what a pretty wrapper as far as the wood and the condition of this machine (save for the mechanical)

I seen so many "hodge podge" attempts of all the little intricate adjustments and how it seemed as if nobody new what they were doing, We spent about 3 hours on it, I tore the entire unit apart, She cleaned in a makeshift parts tank and I repaired and fabricated many of little gadgets...

Then came the wind up, It was like clockwork, all my guesses were right on the money, this little gem even had an RPM guage!!! It was an intricate little linkage that hooked to the govenor and displayed the RPM's though a little yellow glass window,

I put the turn table brake on, I put 35 turns into the spring handle, she went and got a 78 RPM record, I threw it on the table and released the brake, she started spinning and I watched in amazment as this little hummer thats probably sat for over 50 years and may have been built close to 50 years before that - came to life, I cant describe the feeling I got when all my guestimates were validated as I see the RPM guage take off and I said to myself -- oh wow -- at this rate its going to overshoot ----- and then it gets to 78 and imediatly settles, WOW! the adjuster screw well within a nice medium range to allow for a change in either direction:D one turn in either direction and there's imediate change in speeds!

So I throw the arm and needle onto the record --- it imediatly causes extra drag and I watch in amazment again as the governor compensates and after a few revolutions its hit the 78 mark again!

Then the real magic took place, some guy thats probably been dead for 50 years starts singing this song, Oh why did I why did I why did i ever leave wyoming? me and my sis were laughing are asses off, but it was more than that, there was a real appreciation for the times that once were, and being an engineer myself I have not only an appreciation of what these guys acomplished but how special it must have been for them, to me this thing back in its day is way bigger than the apple I-pod phone of today,
It really was a moment that could not be bought, so strange --- silent all these years and I swear to you so loud (after some needle tuning) that it was a little to much if you were standing right in front, so you would adjust by closing the front speaker/doors a little...

Who knows what this thing will be like in another hundred years, I think she'll make it though, she's been upgraded with a few extra skills than what she had before and she's also running on synthetics...;)

Weston Bye
10-19-2007, 11:20 AM
Great story A.K., well told. I have a similar operation (governor repair) to perform on a portable Victrola.

Lew Hartswick
10-19-2007, 11:27 AM
How did you cut and make the holes in the spring material? (feeler)

A.K. Boomer
10-19-2007, 12:10 PM
I was worried about that Lew but with a piece of oak in the Kurt and the feeler guage just slightly smaller width wise a cheap enco center drill went through it with some sulfer oil, had to drill three and really no prob with the support of the oak behind...

The gauge was so thin that I just used the counter sink of the small C.D. to get the proper hole size...

Edit; For cutting close to length and width I just used some high quality tin snips to get close then went to the grinder with my calipers nearby...

I left out that it was a virgin play for that record also which made it even better (virgin for our ears anyways),,,
When my Sis went and got it she came back into the room and said --- "Iv never heard this one before but how about -- Why did i ever leave wyoming", and then said some guys name and his band --------- too which I reply'ed "Ill tell you why he left wyoming" --- "its got the highest suicide rate per capita cuz of all that fuqing wind, thats why he left wyoming"

10-19-2007, 12:31 PM
How about posting some pictures, if you have any, to let us slightly younger folks see your handiwork !!

Yup, I'm old enough to have used LP's, 45's and even have seen :p 78's !

A.K. Boomer
10-19-2007, 12:36 PM
Tell me how to get my computer to recognize my sony handi-cam, its used to but dont anymore, I dont know why, tell me how and I'll go take some pics.:o

10-19-2007, 01:28 PM
Hey A.K. Boomer,

I'm from Wyoming. And yes, the wind is enough to drive a person either mad or to put wind turbine installations on hills. There are several of them near Laramie from what I've heard. . .


Errol Groff
10-19-2007, 03:30 PM
This is by way of sharing some personal information. It would be nice if we could do more of this as, for the most part, we are just names on a computer screen.

I was born in Cheyenne, WY in October of 1947. My mother, a young woman from Hartford CT and my father an Air Corps man from San Antonio Texas divorced there and when my Granddad fell in Hartford CT my Mom made the journey back to CT where I have grown up.

Summer of 2006 my wife and I went on a western states tour and spent a night in Cheyenne. They have restored the Union Pacific station in the city and I was able to spend some time sitting on the benches in the waiting area trying to imagine what it must have been like for Mom to sit there waiting for her train to be called. Heading home with a baby in a basket (literally) facing the unknown.

Well, that is my little story about Wyoming and my relationship to the state.

10-19-2007, 04:19 PM

Thanks for sharing. I was born in Cheyenne in 1975 and went to East High in Cheyenne graduating in 1992. That Union Pacific Depot was always amazing. I only get back about once every other year any more so I haven't seen the Depot lately. They had been trying to restore it and turn it into a museum since I lived there. It's said that the spire on the Depot was meant to challenge the gold dome of the Capitol Building down the street. The place has sure changed over the years since I lived there and I imagine that's even more true from when you lived there. Was the famous Big Boy Locomotive (one for the railroad buffs) in Holiday Park during the time you lived there?

Regards all,


Errol Groff
10-19-2007, 05:00 PM
When I "lived" there I was but an infant. Of course now my wife might say that I am infantile but that is another story.

We visited the "Big Boy" last summer and I took many photos of it. They may be seen at


Errol Groff