The International Steam Pages


Steamy Java Sugar Mill Tour 2010, Maxwell's Demon

This series of pages from July and August 2010 records our travels from China to Malaysia and on to Java, Indonesia where we were hosting the 'Steamy Java Tour 2010'. Click here for the main Winds of Change index page.


Today we had the three steam mills east of Probolinggo to explore. None has steam power in quantity but each is well worth a visit for an hour or so. Gending is a small mill which is always clean and tidy as such places go. Outside the administrator's house is preserved an engine very similar to those seen in Burma's rice mills, the name Maxwell appears on engines and mills in Java, but, as I keep saying, so far no one has been able to tell me whether they were manufacturers or simply agents.

This was another mill which had been stopped for lack of cane, it was scheduled to restart later in the day but there was no way we could find the time to revisit. So once again it was an opportunity to climb all over the place to take pictures from normally forbidden angles. There are 4 mills here and the first two have standard Stork machines, the first engine (upper) is slightly larger:

The third engine is an unusual one, it is similar to two engines at the next mill, Pajarakan, which one of the ISSES men claims is a Stork. This would place it in the early 1900s.

Halle built the fourth engine. I have to say I find these chunky drop valve machine the least attractive of this type in Java. 

Since my last visit, the water injection pumps which worked alongside the handsome vacuum pump have vanished. The latter, however, is still at work. Its identity remains unknown like that for the other large pump alongside it:

In the rest of the mill, this simplex pump still works behind the two machines above and the Halle mud pump is optimistically considered to be 'in reserve'. I have not seen it work for quite a long time. 

The mill's most interesting steam locomotive, diminutive OK Mallet #4 went to the Frankfurter Feldbahnmuseum some time back but the other three lie unloved and dumped in the shed. There is still a fair amount of railway activity here in the hands of small diesels, including some field working - we saw temporary tracks in use alongside the main road nearby. Confusingly, there were two similarly named diesel locomotive builders in Diepholz. #4 is one of the more common Schoemas, while #5 is one of the rarer Diemas.

The lack of activity was very welcome to me at least, it gave me a respite from the dust. Next up would be Wonolangan, a mill with long British connections.


Rob and Yuehong Dickinson

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