Dear Sir: or rather Elmer,
I met you and Mrs Ritzman at Blaker's Reunion where I had the best time of my whole life so far.
Please find enclosed a check for my renewal of the IRON MEN ALBUM. I have every issue and surely don't want to miss one, especially as long as they are getting better all the time. It makes it all the more interesting as I've net most of the boys who have letters, pictures, etc., in the ALBUM. Those old greasy engines make my heart throb more than a 'Pin Up' girls picture does a sailor.
I started pulling the throttle on steam engines when I was about 4 years old. When I was 9 I pulled the grader for Dad with a 12 hp Huber. At 10 years I moved my first building with a steamer. The same old Huber by using a wooden box to stand on. After getting lots of experience (I thought) Dad let me run one of the engines when we moved a large, tall grain elevator. After that I was a regular engineer on a 16 hp Aultman-Taylor. With the all of a plank across the platform and a box I was about as much of a man as Bad and his grown engineers.
I got in on a little threshing, silo filling, rock crushing, etc., but spent most of my 45 years at traction work. We used to do heavy hoisting with a steamer before we got winch trucks.
I finally figured out why the old steamers were laid aside but not until I saw the cover picture on the March-April, 1951 issue of the IRON MEN ALBUM.
You know, most of the steam engineers were dirty, greasy, seedy looking characters that looked more like something that lived in the timber.
Now, I believe if all the old steamers had been furnished with an engineer like the 1917 Frick on the March-April '51 cover of the ALBUM, none of these engines would have gone to junk and the farmer boys wouldn't have had so much trouble getting help on the threshing crews.
My daughter handles a 16 hp Russell real well and I have an older sister who used to be quite good with an engine.
I left a double Reeves in a farmer's yard about 2 years ago and the next morning I went back and fired up to get a good early start as I had 28 miles to go to get on the moving job. As I was pulling out the lady of the house and two little girls, about 5 and 7, were looking it over. The little girl cried to ride on it. So the lady and the little girls got on. I asked the little girl if she wanted to run it. She said 'sure.' I released the pin (clutch pin). After the two little girls and their mother got through playing with that Reeves it was just about an hour and a half later and engine tracks all over the place.
I couldn't complain, because I knew just how much fun they were having.
We use steam engines pretty often and every time we have one out somebody comes to look it over.
I thawed the riser pipe on our city water tank the last day of January, 1951. Twelve below zero, dozens of people bore the sub-zero weather just to watch that engine. One old time Case salesman rode 6 blocks with me on my way home, then walked back to town. He said it was worth it because he hadn't rode a steamer or had his hands frozen for over 20 years.
Guess my pressure is going down so will close. Hope to see you this summer.
Bruce McCourtney Table Rock, Nebr.
When a man can buy a thing like that and wear a satisfied expression, as Mr. Yoder does, you have a creative individual. When you get a creative man you will find ho is not in same hellish activity. We know many men who spend more on the so called 'High Life' than any man spent on steam engines and they have nothing in the end except a headache and an empty life. The Hobbyist has his health and something to show for his time. Sent by V. H. Stroud. 319 E. 16th St., Hitchinson, Kansas.