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I Forge Iron

Steam company ring project

Black Frog

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This isn’t a forging project directly, but looking for some input and ideas.
I was scrounging through my favorite salvage yard last week, and came across this and thought it would be a cool item for ‘something’.
Internal diameter opening is around 24” from a rough guess. Outside rim where the bolt holes are is over an inch thick, guessing 60 pounds ballpark.
There is a ½” wide lip edge under the upper rim that has the lettering. A very beefy piece, but way too unique for me to pass up for the few bucks charged for it.
It was filthy rusty, but after a cleanup it looks great.

Central Station Steam Co. Detroit Mich
Pat. May 2, 1905 Oct 17, 1905 
Guessing it was some retaining rim for some sort of steam boiler or steam engine?

Now wondering what the best use for this grand old piece might be. The lip edge under the lettering rim lends itself to a lot of possibilities. One thought was to use this as an outer rim for a thick glass table top and forging a leg design. Also thought, wouldn’t it be neat to use this as some sort of picture frame featuring an old (yet to be determined) black and white photo inside? Then I thought, how about putting a beveled round mirror inside the ring…… I think that in the right room, this thing would look fantastic hanging on the wall.

Of course hanging something this heavy on a wall would require some mounting hardware attention.

Any other suggestions or ideas?

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Cool idea, window! Or even fishbowl (convex) glass as the window....
I'll bring all these options up with the powers that have the final decision making abilities on this project. ;)

Me: Hey baby, I want to use that ring for a window going into the sauna.
Her: We don't have a sauna.
Me: Well I guess we might have an excuse to get one now. :)

I do plan on moving at some point in the next few years, so thinking I may not want to make it a feature that can't easily move with me.

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Yeah, that's one of those MUST follow me home scores Froggy. The possibilities are almost endless.


Reading the description before looking at the pic I was thinking ways of making a fire ring or grill. The bolt holes and a little creative twisting, bending, and tennon peining came to mind.


Taking a look brought end tables, and shadow boxes to mind. You did you offer an appropriate reward to the yard guys for setting others like it aside for you? Yes?


Frosty The Lucky.

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Hmm scrounge a tiffany style domed lampshade and make a "wall hanging" mood light from it---movable


Free form custom lavalamp?


Put some massive butterfly nuts on fake bolts on it, convex heavy duty lexan bowl with a dremmel machined crack in it that "leaks" water into a bucket on the floor---fountain! (run the return behind the sheetrock, easy to patch the two holes before you move...)  (would drive me crazy waiting for catastrophic failure.)

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I've already forged a custom bottle opener for the owner of the salvage yard, with the name of the business and his name on it.
He LOVES it. :) So I am in great standing with him, and try to visit every few months when I'm in that area.

This ring didn't come into the yard recently, it was laying in his cast iron pile with literally tons of stuff.

This place has things sitting there from 50 years ago, it is indeed my favorite place and I could spend hours looking through it all.
He's guessing it has been in this pile for years, maybe decades, I just happened to poke through the items I could move without injuring myself.

Lots of pieces too heavy and awkward for me to move kept me from looking deeper into the pile.

It was on the backside of this pile.  The scale of these items make the pile look smaller than it is, those are fairly large tires on top.

And some sort of steam piston (?) casting laying on top in the middle. 

There's a huge frame casting of some sort of steam machine on the backside that you can't see in the pic, I couldn't even budge any movement from it, should have snapped a pic of it.

And there's another similar C.I. pile nearby.....




I actually found several cool things from this pile I brought home, plus eyed up a few more for the next trip.

The disappointing part of it though, I found a broken half of an identical Central Station Steam Co. ring in this pile...  couldn't find the other half.

If it wasn't broken, I would have had a matching pair of these uber-cool steam rings. :(

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Looks like the ring for a manhole cover. A lot of older cities had steam distribution from a central plant, much like gas water and electric.  Some "factory towns" had steam delivered  to the plant to the workers homes as part of the rent.

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I'm going to go ahead and show my true redneck, hillbilly colors and say......man I wish I had that pile of scrap metal in my yard :D !

My wife looks out the window and that's what she see's. :blink: Not that it really looks that way. ;)

That old piece has "steam punk" written all over it.  B)

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Sure looks line another trip to the resource center (junk pile) is in order. Look for pieces of something with a good ring to it. Bring them home and hang them from the holes to make a wind chime until you get the sauna built.

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Here's one of the other pieces that I found interesting and had to come home with me.

Not sure what it was used for or what it came from, but it has four cast boss stand-offs which the bolts are going through.
16" internal diameter and over 1/2" thick cast iron. I thought this also could be a cool item for "something".
I'll get this one cleaned up in the next week or two, and guessing it will look as nice as the steam ring when finished.
The steam ring was about in the same shape as this when I started.


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Use the second as a base for a glass top coffee table using the first as the top rim for the glass to sit on or in. Just forge the support legs to attach the two. That second one already has built in feet. Though you probably want to add something under the "feet" to keep it from gouging the floor.

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Maybe use rubber snubbers inserted into some of the bolt holes in the top ring for the glass to rest on. And if you put it together with bolts, when you move, you could easily disassemble it for easier transportation. I think it would just look absolutely awesome. What ever you decide to do, I look forward to the pictures.

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Greetings Frogman,


Got some cool looking future art from your favorite supplier..  The first one looks like a flange seal retainer for a large steam pipe. The second one I have no idea...  One neat thing is to put the two together to form a sphere 90 degrees apart and just hang it from a cable ... If you like the look a neat looking center light or globe might work...  Lots of fun repurposing quality iron... Have fun..


Forge on and make beautiful things


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How about a pic of the other side of the second ring?


A glass top clock table! Cool beans is right. You can glue a line of felt on the contact area between the glass and the iron. A few bronze bolt heads and a steam punk'ed counter top espresso maker and you have a PERFECT coffee table. Hang a couple large brass bells on the clock and it'll let you know when coffee break / tea time is.


Don't forget glass insulators and brass conduit/fittings for the electrical.


Frosty The Lucky.

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