How Things Work
Unusual Inventions
 Free Plans

From the USA, Engineers & Engines Magazine                                                                   British version from the Old Glory Magazine
World's Largest
Water Pumping Steam Engines

From the organization Cincinnati Triple Steam based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Leland L. Hite tells of the extreme difficulties associated with the installation for a system of steam-powered  pumping engines of gigantic proportions on a capricious river that dictated its need.

Click the picture for either the American version published in Engineers & Engines Magazine  or the British version published in the Old Glory Magazine.




Cincinnati’s Richard Miller Treatment Plant:
Setting the Foundations for the Future
10.5 Meg, PDF

By: Jeff Swertfeger, Lawrence Moster, Leland L. Hite, and Bruce L. Whitteberry

Very possibly no other department of the City of Cincinnati possesses a more interesting history than the Water Works: not only from its special record, but because it is more closely connected with the development of the city, and illustrates its progress to a better advantage.







Tubular Wind Chime Design and Build Handbook


Providing you with easy options for making good choices when designing and building tubular-bell wind chimes from tubes, pipes, or rods, is our number one goal.

Rather than building to a fixed set of plans, information on this site allows you to customize a chime set specific to your personality and style.






How to Build Wind Chimes – DIY Plans  1.5 Meg, PDF, How to build wind chimes. A great sounding set of wind chimes can be built for about $15 to $40 depending on the chime set size you select. Choose from four height selections ranging from 36 to 75 inches (900-1900 mm). Add your creative touch by altering the material and style used for the top support disk, striker and wind sail.

Get additional plans and drawing here





Made In Ohio – Steam Powered Machinery Index 
(With pictures)
9.7 Meg, PDF

A linked Index, alphabetical and by city, for manufactures of steam engines and steam powered machinery made in Ohio.





Big Iron Museums–USA  2 Meg, PDF

A listing of Big Iron Museums in the USA that provide public tours for either walk-in or pre-scheduled tour guest.

Text Only Version Here










Lee's See & Do List – Greater Cincinnati and Beyond
650K, PDF

Arts & Theater – Golf Courses  – Hobbies – Festivals
Museums & Tours – Music – Sports






"The Hieronymus Hoax:
Radionics, the Miraculous Pathoclast, and Deception"

By Leland L. Hite, 9.5 Meg, PDF

 Becoming desperate for a solution to a medical condition can cause irrational people to embrace alternate medical solutions that others consider the work of quacksalvers. This investigation into the Pathoclast discovers a surprising answer for why people would endorse treatment from a device that doesn’t work for a disease they don’t have. Read how the hoax unravels.







How Time Balls Worked Featuring The Cincinnati Observatory Birthplace of American Astronomy, 3.6 Meg, PDF

Did your great-grandfather drop the ball again? Perhaps he watched it drop?

How time was decided in the Greater Cincinnati area before radio signals, telegraphy, or other electronic methods. Preserving our global heritage for signaling time, prior to modern electronic methods, were time balls, time guns and time flaps that synchronized with the local astronomical observatory. First dropped in 1829 at Portsmouth, England, they remain today an ornamental and educational attraction in many locations around the world.

             Watch the video review  for over 200 Worldwide Time Balls.
                                  Time Signaling for Balls, Guns and Flaps



Why Headstones Are Arranged In Circles
By Leland L. Hite,
200K, PDF

The traditional configuration of facing the headstone along an east–west axis and positioning the body with the head pointing west, thereby allowing the feet to see the rising sun, was not followed with this pattern; instead, the wheel pattern was used, but why?


30% Efficient – You or Nuclear
By Leland L. Hite, 42 K, PDF

Are you more efficient at converting food into useful energy compared to the efficiency of a nuclear power plant converting nuclear fuel into useful energy? Learn about many surprising energy efficiency issues.


There's a Limelight Mystery Afoot!
By Leland L. Hite,
2.6 Meg, PDF

Used at the Cincinnati Water Works
Everything to do with lime
Nothing to do with water
In public with a female nude
Thrives on hydrogen and oxygen
WHAT IS IT and how was this device used?

A long time passed before we finally solved this mystery, We no longer have the device but we do have pictures taken in 1902. You can read the fascinating story surrounding the mystery and how the identity for the unknown device was discovered. 

Why a Dead Alkaline Battery Bounces

YouTube Video
By Leland L. Hite

This test works equally well for AA, AAA, C, D and 9 Volt alkaline batteries.


How To Throw A May Basket
Northwest Ohio Style

By Leland L. Hite, 200K, PDF

If your goal was to meet that special girl or guy, you would throw a May Basket on the apple of your eye. When you wanted to gather a group of friends for a party, you might throw a May Basket. Often, you wanted to recognize that special person for doing well, and throwing a May Basket was an appropriate recognition.


Lightning Safety Guidelines and Event Safety Plan 
By Leland L. Hite, 80 Kb, PDF
If you can see lightning or hear thunder, you are in danger!

While your chance of being struck by lightning in your lifetime is estimated at 1 in 5,000, it is much better than winning the lottery. Participating in high-risk outdoor activities when lightning approaches can increase your odds of a lightning experience. You can significantly reduce your risk by practicing these guidelines.

These guidelines are from classroom handouts provided during continuing education credit classes for lighting safety, by Electrical Engineer, Leland L. Hite.


YES: it's okay to ask your outdoor event planners about their event safety plan for lightning.

ASK: The Coach –The Referee–The Umpire–The Administrators–The Parents–The Event Planner or the Sponsor


Obed Hussey and His Ohio Test of the First Successful Reaper 40 Meg, PDF
By Robert T. Rhode and Leland Hite, NEW August - 2014

See the Lane water conveyance system model in Interactive-3D by downloading the file Water Conveyance System 3D-PDF.pdf and view in Adobe Reader.
Must download and view using Adobe Reader, not in your browser.

Our scholarly work breaks new ground on an event that was of tremendous importance to the world: the testing of the first successful reaping machine, which revolutionized agriculture globally in the nineteenth century and started farming down the path toward industrialization. That test, with its far-reaching consequences, took place near Mt. Healthy, Ohio, in 1835. Even though books and articles from the 1800s and early 1900s noted the achievement, it has been largely overlooked in our time, and it has never been fully researched and described. Bob and I made it our mission to investigate the matter thoroughly. Over the past year, we discovered many surprising facts that had been forgotten or that had never been brought to light.


This article was originally published in the October-November 2014 edition of Engineers &. Engines Magazine, and posted here with permission from the publisher.


The First Cable Suspension Bridge Built in Ohio
By Robert T. Rhode and Leland Hite, 1.6 Meg, PDF

On the 12th of December (2014), Leland Hite and Robert T. Rhode, acting on behalf of the Mt. Healthy Historical Society, recovered the last remaining component of the first cable suspension bridge built in Ohio. The 167-year-old iron tripod was one of four that had supported the cables of the 42′ bridge crossing the West Branch of Mill Creek near Mt. Healthy. Built in 1847, the footbridge on the Lane family farm was the brainchild of William Lane, brother of Clark Lane, the noted industrialist whose company of Owens, Lane & Dyer manufactured steam engines and sawmills in Hamilton, Ohio. The ingenious bridge was one of the first suspension bridges in the United States.


Dodge's Institute To Valpo Tech – 1873 to 1991 

2.4 Meg, PDF

Dodge’s Institute of Telegraphy (DIT) began in December 1873 and
became the largest school of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. The institute evolved into wireless telegraphy and courses in radio technology added to the curriculum. In 1944, DIT was renamed Valparaiso Technical Institute (Valpo Tech or VTI). Rated among the top 10 such educational organizations in the world, Valpo Tech became the oldest electronic institute in the country. The school celebrated its final graduation on May 25, 1990, and closed its doors after the January 1991 graduation. As a quarter century has passed since the last VTI commencement ceremony, I present this article in honor of all DIT and VTI graduates on this Memorial Day, May 25, 2015.




The Telegraph Instructor by G. M. Dodge, 1901,
from Dodge's Institute of Telegraphy, 14 Meg. PDF

                          From the 1901 Telegraph Instructor


Presented are Firefighting Murals from the former communications headquarters for the Cincinnati Fire Department located at the Greater Cincinnati Water Works, Eden Park pumping station. 2.5 Meg, PDF

After the building at Eden Park was discontinued as a pluming station it was repurposed by the Cincinnati Police and Fire Department as the city dispatch for emergency communications. In 1941 Herman Meissner completed a series of murals for the fire department section of the building. The murals depict 12 scenes in a fire fighting evolution that sequence through time. Pictures by Lee Hite

A Photographic Story of the Flood in the Ohio Valley

A Photographic Story of the Flood in the Ohio Valley, January 1937
By Clem Schutte, Published by O. Middendorf, 33 Meg, PDF

Best Flood Pictures



Wilbur H. Cummings Museum of Electronics  10.8 Meg, PDF

Rated as the only place in Indiana worth visiting “for the sake of science” by Popular Science Magazine in May 1988, the Wilbur H. Cummings Museum of Electronics opened in 1973.

Occupying three rooms in J. B. Hershman Hall at Valparaiso Technical Institute, the museum was the only Indiana site among top science and technology attractions in the United States listed by the magazine. The collection drew tourists from as far as Tokyo to view first generation IBM computers, Jazz Age crystal radios, and even a working Edison talking machine.




From The Ship Shape Sharp Shop, by Ersal Kindelv
Berea College Symposiums
May & June, 1985

Said by Ersal Kindel: "A Sharp Tool Is A Safe Tool, has been said many times and I say it again. Not only that but there is joy in using a sharp tool. There is a lot of satisfaction in making smooth clean cuts in a piece of wood, but---this is nearly impossible if the cutting edge is not sharp. So, let's see how we can get and hold a sharp edge. I'll show you one way − the way I do it."

VOA: 50 Years of Broadcasting to the World, 1.8 Meg, PDF
200 kW HF transmitters at Bethany Relay Station, 6.2 Meg, PDF
VOA Museum of Broadcasting, “flickr“ Pictures
Tour VOA Museum, YouTube
WLW 500,000 Watt Transmitter, YouTube
Part 1 of  5 Tour of Voice of America Transmitter Plant, YouTube



The Gray History of Wireless Museum
The Gray History of Wireless Museum website
The Gray History of Wireless Museum at the VOA, “flickr“ Pictures

Other Antique Wireless and Old Time Radio Sites
Antique Wireless Association
Auman Museum of Radio and Television Dover, Ohio
Museum of Radio and Technology, Huntington, West Virginia
The New England Wireless and Steam Museum, E.  Greenwich, RI
Crosley Radios, Cincinnati, Ohio
Radiomuseum, a listing for over 3,900 private collections
Phil's old Radios listing
Radio Boulevard, Western Historic Radio Museum Virginia City, NV

Ohio Museums Alphabetically  1.2 Meg, PDF

Ohio Museums  by County, 430K, PDF

Indiana Museums Alphabetical, 630K, PDF

Kentucky Museums by Region, 310K, PDF

Scale size for Cincinnati's Union Terminal
Train Station hides the power transformer.


I would like to recognize the often overlooked and forgotten Gyro Gearloose and his assistant, Little Helper, part of the Scrooge McDuck universe, and Duckburg's most famous inventor for his important contribution to the field of science. How many engineers and scientists today got their start in early years by reading about the antics of Gyro Gearloose and tinkering in a home workshop? Also not forgotten are his Grandfather, Ratchet Gearloose; his Father, Fulton Gearloose; and his Nephew, Newton Gearloose.




About me: I am a retired electronics engineer with a passion for investigating technical issues, occasionally surrounded with mystery and  often bridging several fields of technology.

Leland L. Hite (Lee), K8CLI,  Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, All Rights Reserved 1996-2017