SEAMS News Archives


The end of February and the beginning of March 2015 was the time of the 15th NATIONAL HISTORICAL MACHINERY RALLY in Australia at a place called Carrick in Tasmania. On the Friday, a small MacDonald horizontal diesel engine was running happily away, unattended with the flywheels parallel to the fence. Friday is the first day for the public to attend. Without warning the flywheel closest to the fence (spectators) suddenly dropped off, shot through the fence (a standard type Hurricane steel mesh boundary fence) about 3 metres along from the engine, tore down the public walkway to be caught by a fence at right angles to its travel about 20 metres away. This fence was of the same type as the first fence. Fortunately nobody was struck by the runaway. The flywheel had been secured to the engine by a standard type of taper key approx 100mm x11x11 which was now lying on the ground about 1 metre from the engine. The engine was shut down by another exhibitor (it continued to run quite happily with only one flywheel)

Before you say it would not happen to me (us) I can recall 1 flywheel and 2 pulleys which on separate occasions escaped from there engines and run away during exhibitions staged by our club. Numerous times loose flywheels / pulleys have been rectified at exhibitions put on by our club.

Richard Amos adds…. With the rally season starting and many new restorations¬† out of the shed for the first time run, it would be a good reminder to owners to check flywheels and pulleys after the first short run. The issue of appropriate clothing is more difficult¬† but the rule would be to stand well away from any moving parts and don’t wear anything with loose hanging parts. Also, keep well away from engines anything that could be blown in or get caught up in or cause someone to trip over,¬† a very good reason to keep clutter well away from your exhibit.