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I can’t tell you how much I loved Sam Moore’s column (Farm Collector, December 2014) on the old Whizzer! As a kid in the mid-1960s, I had the same feelings of freedom and flight on my bike. I was in grade school and already working for a man down the block from my home. He sold candy and cigarettes to stores and I packed boxes and kept the truck loaded for him. He had an extensive mechanical background and I was learning fast. He told me about the Whizzer from years past and I wanted one in the worst way!

Dad was a working man with five boys, so no one was buying me anything anytime soon. I could never save enough to buy one or anything like it. It was funny, my parents loved to see me work, but seldom let me take any money for said work. So it was time to build my own machine, sort of.

Somehow I scrounged an old bike frame that had a mount for an engine of some sort. I got an old lawn mower engine and I figured I was home free: Not so much. I had no idea for control or how to get power to the wheel. A big problem was the elusive centrifugal clutch. It was the linchpin of the whole project. Sure, I could buy one, if I’d had the money and someone inclined to drive me to a store to get one, but I had neither.

So that project sat as I moved on to steady income from paper routes and more responsible work and pay from the guy down the block. I finally got a small, used motorcycle and never looked back.

My project disappeared from the basement at some point, but I never forgot the feeling I had that I was so close to success with my first attempt at self-built powered transportation. The victory would have been sweetened by the fact that I would have built it “sort of” by myself.

I got over it, but never forgot about it. They say you never forget your first one. I guess that was it for me. So it was with great delight that I read Sam Moore’s column on the Whizzer and its history. I still have the fond memories of the one I never really had.

Mike Medora via email


Hatchet display

This is a photo of my display at a show I exhibited at last summer. This is an update of the photo and story you did on my collection (Farm Collector, May 2007). As you can see, the display has grown some. I now have and display about 150 pieces. My girlfriend shows about the same number of hammers.

David Johnson, Falconer, New York

Editor’s reply: Great job, David! Your collection of axes and hatchets has really grown since that display back at the New York Steam Engine Assn. show in Canandaigua, New York, in 2006!


Tank side

I am the fourth generation to live on the 160-acre Hamman Homestead Farm. In 1905, my grandfather built a 60 foot- by 30-foot hog barn. It had two stories with an earth bank at the south end. It had corncribs the full length of each side on the upper level. My grandfather, father and I fed ear corn to the hogs in the bottom level. In 1996, the building was in bad shape so my wife and I tore it down.

Sometime after 1932, when I was still a kid, I climbed the ladder to the attic of the hog barn and saw a tank there for the first time. It remained there until we tore down the hog barn. We then moved the tank to our garage.

The oval-shaped tank is made of steel. It measures 10-3/4 inches wide by 31 inches long by 19 inches high. The cast brass filler port has a hinged, oval-shaped lid measuring 1-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches. The lid has a knob with a threaded stem that clamps the lid down against a gasket. On the other end of the tank is a glass tube. The fittings at the top and bottom are brass with a small petcock at the bottom for drainage. The fitting in the bottom of the tank is cast steel with a drainage hole in the bottom and a side port with a 3/8-inch female pipe thread to hook a line to. The mounting brackets on the bottom of the tank are brass held onto the tank by metal straps. The brackets still have two 3/8- by 2-1/4-inch hex head bolts (out of probably four) to bolt it down.

After all these years, I think it is amazing that the glass tube on the end has not been broken. I continue to wonder how this tank was used, but I feel that it has to be a water tank of some sort. Maybe a Farm Collector reader will recognize it.

Max W. Hamman, 948 Co. Rd. 35, Ashley, IN 46705-9744


Tank end


Blitz Fogger article

In the late 1950s into the late ’60s, a firm in Pocahontas, Iowa, manufactured a product similar to the Blitz Fogger (see “The Blitz Fogger,” Farm Collector, April 2015) called the “Poky Smoker.” In 1958, we were moving to a farm where the previous tenants were quite unsanitary. My dad acquired a Poky Smoker, hooked it to our Farmall M’s exhaust and completely smoked the house through a basement window until smoke escaped through the roof shingles. Thank goodness we found a different farm to move to later in 1958 in Palmer, Iowa.

In 1964, my wife and I and our family moved home from Omaha to Pocahontas to farm with my father and brother. We smoked our corn fields that summer at lay-by time with 2,4-D by using a Poky Smoker mounted on a Farmall M with a 448 cultivator. The cultivator had a piping system somewhat like pipe drops used with liquid spray. Small Poky Smokers were also made to fit on lawn mower engines. I don’t know what ever happened to this product. I saw one sell on a farm sale about five years ago near Pocahontas. Your story about the Blitz fogger in the April issue was very interesting and brought back a lot of memories.

Gary Imhoff, P.O. Box 134, Lohrville, IA 51453; (641) 431-0509


Corn planter

This photo shows a 1-row corn planter I bought in February. I am looking for information as to what color it should be and what model it is. Also, the lever or handle that puts it out of gear with a matched clutch on the drive wheel is missing. If anyone had a photo of how it should appear, that would be helpful. The only markings are: J1, J2, J3, J4, J5 and J6. Someone painted it red and put John Deere decals on it.

Milferd Smith, 64812 Csah 18, Darwin, MN 55324; (320) 693-8340


Advance-Rumely steam traction engine

We have bought an Advance-Rumely steam traction engine. I am trying to learn the history of the engine. Because we live in the Netherlands, no one here knows anything about this engine. Perhaps someone in the U.S. will recognize the engine.

The engine sold for $19,000 on a Hilpipre auction in 2011 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. It came from the Blount farm, and was sold to Belgium. It has a 9x11 cylinder. The gearing and bearings are in very good condition. The serial number tag that should be on the smoke box is missing. I am doing a cosmetic restoration. The grates and water tanks are not very old, I think. The safety valve is very big. The firebox, flues and front flue sheet are also in very good condition. Production of this model began in 1915.

I would be very grateful to learn any information about this engine.

Bob Bruin, Valkkogerdijk, 9a 1744HE, St. Maarten, Netherlands; email:

Advance-Rumely steam traction engine


John Bailey

This is a photo of me and my grandfather, John Bailey, who was born in Kansas in 1896. This particular day it was too wet to plow, as evidenced by the straw and mud on the Farmall’s wheels. That is a 3-bottom 16-inch Minneapolis-Moline trip plow. The tractor’s serial number tag was gone. I now think it was a Rice R-9, as it had real wide tires and flat fenders. It also had a hand clutch. It had an LP engine; 60 gallons would run about 20 hours. In the picture we had already put the cans over the exhaust pipes. You can also see in the picture the backward tread on the rear wheel. That’s the spare. The cab could be from an early Ford Model TT. There was a small toolbox in each back corner of the cab. In cold weather, we put cardboard over the windows and it worked just fine. The old tractor did many years of hard work on my grandparents’ ranch west of La Veta, Colorado. My grandfather was a veteran of World War I. I am thankful to have been able to work and hunt with him for many years. This photo was taken in 1971. I was 20 years old; Grandpa was about 75.

Doug Bailey, La Veta, Colorado

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