Dairyland Driftings


Another thresher seen threshing at Carl Fisher's.

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One could hardly page thru 'The Album' without noticing 'something new' has been added. I'm sure 'Sparks from Old Plugs' is a long-felt need to tractor and gas-engine enthusiasts. Can't say the interest in steam is tapering off, but 'The Early Day' collectors are growing by leaps and bounds; not only old tractors but horse-drawn equipment and belt-driven machines as corn shredders, grist mills, etc. I didn't get the collector's name, but someone had a colorful display of old cast-iron seats at the Rollag Reunion.

Was on our way to George Persons, Chicago City, Minn., with some engine parts, he fairly insisted to build up the 'pins' of the valve motion on my 50 Case. We paused at 'Waynes Truck Stop' for a burger-basket and overheard one feller telling another, 'Sure windy today, I couldn't go fishing or canoeing, so that I might as well work'.

This very day April 1st Scout Leader Thomas Halvorson, 33, of Polk St., Minneapolis, drowned in the swift icy waters of the St. Croix River near the Interstate Bridge when their canoe capsized. Cub Scout Steven Quist was rescued after clinging to the overturned canoe. To think we witnessed part of this sad incident.

Suppose you heard the one about the Texan who wrote a check and the bank bounced?? Well, Geo. C. was telling one in our favor back in '29 a land-dealer got some prospects together on an excursion to Texas. The southerners were inquisitive, 'You-all got lots of hard-wood up there?' 'Yup,' says the excursioner, 'we make fence posts so hard they wear out 3 or 4 post holes.' Seemed the Texans were more interested in the Dairy State than visa -versa. 'Kind a healthy climate up there?' 'Well, I should say so. . . .going to Grantsburg the other day, noticed a 104-year-old man sitting by the road crying so I see, 'How come?' 'Well, my pa just gave me a licking'' 'He did! What for?' 'For throwing' stones at Grandpa.'

Got a letter from the Jackson Bros, of Mondovi, Wisconsin, who were at that time spending a month at The World Trade Pair in Colombo, Ceylon, demonstrating the Jackson Lumber Harvestor Mill, cutting what is possibly the hardest of tropical timber. Clint said there are lots of oxen in use, but couldn't locate a traction engine, though they still maintain steam trucks and steam locomotives. Imagine an island half the size of Wisconsin with a population of 10 million people. It's our hope to soon see the movies and slides taken over there, and that they will present their story and experiences in some hobby magazine.

Myron Gleiter from Cochrane drove up one day. He is now a full-fledged 'cat-skinner' and was lining up some work for the summer. He has a dandy 18 hp Baker Engine used to operate a sawmill, etc. He informs me his old-time engineer, Clarence Benter answered the 'Golden Whistle Call'. Knowing Clarence as I did, proved to me that engineers are made, not born.

Got a letter from the 'Combustion-Power' man, C. D. Knudson, Gulley, Minn., - is still hunting gas-engines. Wants a two flywheel New-Way, Ellis, Badger and Otto says he has a 3 hp P. M. 1907 Vertical to trade. It's a sure thing anybody driving by Gulley is in Minnesota.

George was visiting a friend out in South Dakota said his friend used to have two windmills, but he had to take one down 'cause there wasn't enough wind for both!

'The Corliss Kid' very much so, none other than Jim Johnson (217 S. Home. Ave., Park Ridge, III.) came during this Easter vacation. In the Spring this young man's fancy turns to thoughts of Corlisses. He got wind of the fact that Wm. Herpst of Elmwood possessed a nice collection of old catalogs including Corliss engines, old tractors, steamers, gas engines, etc. I too, am in pursuit of 1910 editions (for some reason, not my fault). Herpst insisted we come for dinner, and what an elegant meal that was, Anna is some cook! Thence we were escorted into the basement 'licking our chops' over William's lifetime collection of early-day literature. Jim was simply beside himself. You couldn't have given him Fort Knox. William is only 81 years young but feels some younger collector should share the loot. His generosity sure surpassed our comprehensions. Can't say how many catalogs Jim got, but I gathered some very priceless prints and all for a very tolerant price. (Jim still lacks literature on the Bates and the Nordberg Corliss engines, has traction engine catalogs to trade for same.) As if that wasn't enough, William took us to Harold Churchills sugar-bush at Rock Elm, something very new to Jim. This being a very good year for maple syrup, Harold had passed the 300 gallon mark. William Herpst and Churchill, close friends for many years, have a 20 hp double M. Rumely engine and sawmill in partnership as well as several upright boilers and smaller engines to run on wood-saw, etc.

A small boy went to school for the first time coming home he was asked, 'What happened today?' 'Nothing much,' he said, 'there was a woman there who wanted to know how to spell c-a-t, so I told her.'

Was reading the 1910 Sageng Combination Thresher Catalog. Man, that was some outfit, sorta return-flue job, but it must been sagging some place, 'cause it seems it never got beyond the experimental stage. Catalog records 22 testimonials resulting from a demonstration at Dalton, Minnesota, and again at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, November 26-27, 1909, but none were listed as owners. The 'Sageng ' self contained thresher was to be built in 4 sizes 28' to 40' cylinder. The 4 cylinder motor had 5 main bearings - connecting rods were adjustable in length to change compression to suit any kind of fuel. (The Iron-Men Album carried some information on this machine May-June '54, page 21; Nov-Dec '58, page 13)

Received my N.T.A. 'Steam O Gram' No.8 from Lucille Blaker. She sends out about 4,000 copies - almost a staggering figure, but has taken on this task voluntarily for the benefit of steam fans over the nation.

Teacher (Earlene) - 'How do you spell Mississippi?' Youngster, 'River or state?'

The 'Corliss-Kid' had put a bug in my ear two dandy engines whose days are numbered but still on the job at Cargill Grain Elevator in Duluth. Luckily Harold Gjonnes, who operates heavy road and dozer equipment was going up to the Highway Building in Superior to check on road jobs. After crossing the old toll bridge on '53' we fairly ignored 'no admittance ' signs and worked our way to the boiler room at the rear and located the engineer, Louis Schlichter, who gladly showed us two vertical Corliss engines. The Hodge Corliss was 'at ease' but powered a major part of the elevator thru a rope-drive, something new to me. The Colonel Steeple Corliss was in action using a flat belt drive. It is a 24' x 48' x 48' compound turning 66 r.p.m. under 100 lbs. pres. Has been in use half a century at this location and was used 20 years prior to that elsewhere. Schlichter claims it's still in almost-new condition, but will have to give way to dozens of electric motors. Sometimes it looks to me we are progressing backwards!