Box 72, Ray, Indiana 46737
I have just read my January-February Album and would like to write some in regard to things I did and things that happened in my 57 years of threshing, sawmilling and clover hulling and silo filling and husking corn. Also will state that I had the first garage and machine shop in Pittsford, Michigan, Hillsdale County, along with the first gas welder and arc welder. I still have them.
I was born December 8, 1889 and started out threshing at eight, that is I fired my father's 10 H.P. Russell on wood with water monkey splitting the wood as in those days we had no coal. My grandfather, Albert Earl, and my father, Bert Earl, were threshing before I arrived. They had an engine horse drawn, called her old Betsy, and they did build her over to a traction engine, the first one in Hillsdale County, Michigan. That was before my time. The 10 H.P. Russell was the first engine that I can remember.
One time in the spring, father was getting the Russell in shape to go threshing and early one morning, he removed the grater and crawled into the firebox to roll and bead the flues. It was rather warm that day and about noon, father was ready to get out. He could not make it as he weighed about 250 and on the fat order. He rather swelled up in that warm firebox, so to get him out, my mother had him remove his shirt and she greased him up with lard and he finally made it. That was the last for father. It was up to me to do the boiler work and I have been doing that off and on for years.
Along with my brother, Dave A. Earl, now of Coldwater, Michigan, we ran the garage and threshed every fall. My father traveled for Arbuckle & Ryan Toledo selling threshing rigs. At one time I rebuilt engines for Arbuckle & Ryan at Hillsdale. E. E. Edly was in charge of the branch at Hillsdale. In all my threshing and sawmilling, I had the following engines: 20 H.P. Huber return flue single with old trunions on Bull gears; a 16 H.P. Reeves single double engine with standard boiler; a 16 H.P. single Starr; also a 30 H.P. single Russell and a 15 H.P. Huber Wolf Compound, a good little engine. I will tell you about this.
We were hulling clover north and west of Hudson, Michigan, close to LeRoy Blaker's farm at the time. He lived there about 40 years ago. LeRoy saw this little engine and from then on, he wanted to be a steam boy. I think he has made it, don't you? Soon after that I think he purchased a 19 H.P. Port Huron long fellow and was in the business. Some years later he moved to his present farm in Ohio just over the line from Michigan, or 15 miles south of Pittsford, my home town.
My engines are all gone but one, a 21-75 Baker Counter flow that I still have and used in on a sawmill a number of years. I use it in parades and always on 30th of May at Pitts-ford. It is just 15 miles to LeRoy's place and one year I ran the Baker down there to help get the steam rally started. We all had a good time. Used all slab wood going down and back. As we were going down to LeRoy's place and as we cleared a piece of timber, Harvey Champion with me, pulled the whistle cord and just after that, I saw a girl running down the road ahead of us. I also noticed a tractor in the field with the motor running. That girl ran about mile to get home. When we pulled along at their place, her folks all out by the road with a camera and all laughing. What happened was, she thought a railroad engine was coming down the road and she left the tractor and ran for home. She had never seen a traction engine.
I wish I had all the pictures there have been taken of my old 21-75 Baker. I would have a trunk full. I could write a book on all this yet don't want to take up too much of your space in the Album.
I have one boy, Mark D. Earl, Pittsford, Michigan, who can handle an engine and repair them same as I do. We like to rebuild them. We keep the old 21-75 Baker at his farm just north and east of Pittsford. Anyone wanting some help on engines or separators, let us know. As of now, I have my sawmill at Ray, Indiana. The timber at home is about all gone, yet here there is plenty. I saw about every day weather permitting. It is hard to get help as the workers all have a factory job.
I use my old 22-36 McD Int., a 1929 model 4 cylinder straight gas. She does a real job, not as good as steam, yet costs less to operate.
As tomorrow is my 77th birthday, I will bid all my thresher friends adieu and wish them all the luck in the world and trust to God to keep us all going.
how to test and what to do to make them safe for low steam pressure. I would like to help them out on valve gears, their faults and good points; also how to set valves and should they need an engine restored, I could do it for them. Our shop is at the farm at Pittsford, Michigan.
I will write up an article on boiler explosions in the near future, as I might save a life for young men buying these old engines with standard boilers must look out. I can tell them