LETTER

Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Ritzman

Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Ritzman, Enola, Pa., operating the scale Advance steam engine and Case threshing machine built and owned by N. B. Nelson.

Garnet R. Flack

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Here is a snapshot of my 21-75 Baker Uniflow engine, No. 1570, which I bought from A. D. Baker Co. and also a 33-56 Separator in 1920. This outfit I used 10 seasons and then traded the engine for a 28-50 Hart-Parr tractor which I still own and still in good running condition. From there on I didn't know where my 21-75 Baker was for 30 years. Finally Mr. Jones from Kentucky picked it up somewhere and he wrote to the company to find out who the original owner was. So the company wrote telling me where my engine was. He then sold it to Jack Tucker of Georgetown, Kentucky, so last fall my son, Raymond, went there and bought it back. It still is in good shape, nicely painted with new cab, tanks in good shape with new iron and coal bunkers.

I used this engine for other odd jobs; running the water works here while the oil engine was broke down. Also run air compressors and jetted water and sand for Penn Ry Co. building a bridge in the winter time. We run concrete for the bridge when it was below zero. They used high powered cement and in a couple of hours you could walk on the concrete. The photo I am sending you was taken in 1921 threshing out of the barn. From 1910 until 1920 I ran a 18 hp Counter flow Baker with a 30-50 Separator.

During the 50 years that I threshed I was lucky for I never burned down any buildings but did have some fires started but always managed to get them out. Had some close calls crossing bridges but never broke down. Most of the bridges there had wood stringers and plank. I started to thresh in 1906, then 18 years old, and I always liked to be around machinery. Had a good territory to work in; good farming community. It will soon be time for the reunions which I always enjoy.

In the picture I am standing second from left.

LOUIS H. FORK, RFD 2, Gibsonburg, Ohio

In regard to your cover picture on July-August, 1959 issue please get hold of your hat it is none other than a J.I. Case, built about 1870 and advertised under the caption 'They Live Off The Land.' My brother and I have been comparing this picture point by point with a catalog reprint. This engine has a peculiar feature not clear on the cover; the fire door is just ahead of the left driver and you fired it from that side. It must have had a baffle so the boiler was rather like a return flue, and they claimed you could fire it with about anything from chicken feathers up.

It has a tapered fire chute and was called a straw, wood or coal burning engine. If you look at the picture you will see the countershaft carrying the sprocket crosses the boiler right where the fire door should be and it has another cross shaft below this one.

I feared my brother was slipping his clutch when he told me this was a J. I. Case, but as always he pulled the book one me. I will ask him to bring this album to Mt. Pleasant so you can see it as it has several old time engine pictures and cuts in it.

F. H. WARNOCK, 3402 Prospect Rd., Peoria, III.

A friend of mine, Mr. William Swanson of Milton, North Dakota, lent me a number of copies of your magazine and I have certainly enjoyed them. It is surprising to learn that there are others who are just as interested about steam engines and threshing as I have always been.

Steam outfits were common when I was a kid and when I got old enough to go threshing I got in on the tail end of the steam era. I had hoped to get to fire or run engines but never sot further than to haul bundles.

The last steam outfit I worked on was in 1929, a big Minneapolis outfit owned by one of our neighbors. It was a 35hp engine and a 40x64 separator. This outfit was new in 1915. I remember when they brought it home although I was only a five year old. There were a couple of steam outfits operated in this area as late as 1940 and 1941.

I never saw power steering mentioned in your magazine. N. T. Nelson of Union, North Dakota, had a big Case. I believe it was 110 hp, that was steered by two levers instead of a steering wheel. The steering gear was geared to the crankshaft. They called it 'steam steering.' He threshed for my father in 1915 and 1921.

I understand this engine was purchased by an outfit in Iowa who reconditions engines for show purposes. This purchase was made in recent years.

Could someone tell me when the M. Rumely Co. took over the Advance Thresher Co.? Did they continue to manufacture both makes for a while before they began to make Advance Rumely's?

I attended the Red River Steam Threshing Bee on Alf Eldon's farm near Oslo, Minnesota, in 1959 and 1960 and certainly enjoyed it. I had begun to think I would never see a steamer in operation again. Hope to take in the reunions at Rollag, Minn., and New Rockford, North Dakota, sometime.

GARNET R. FLACK, Milton, N. Dak.

You may recall a short conversation I had with you at Pontiac on Sept. 3rd. I promised to write you and here it is. Also, I have a snap of a 110 HP Case threshing in Sask. about 1915, showing bundle loaders used at that time. When I get a new print of it and should you like to have it I will forward it to you to use.

On page 93 of Clymer's Album is shown a picture of a Gaar Scott Big Forty plow engine. This picture brought back memories. My father was a thresherman for many years in this part of Illinois. I myself followed it for a number of years in Sask. and 2 years here in the closing years of that of that era. Following his active years in operating threshers, my father was a salesman for several different firms, Port Huron, Advance, Gaar Scott, Geo. White, Coleman and others. As near as I remember it was in 1907 or about which he was with Gaar Scott and working out of the Fargo, North Dakota branch that a Mr. Harare of Leonard, North Dakota decided to go in for a steam plow. At the time, this engine was anew member of the line and none had yet been shipped to the Fargo house. In due time, my father (whose name was Z. B. Woolley and if any old time salesmen see this some of them will remember him as he was well known in the trade) called on Mr. Hamre and did have pictures of the engine. Mr. Hamre had no previous experience in the steam plow field, but stated he wanted the biggest engine that there was. So, when he saw the picture of this double cylinder tandem compound, quickly decided that was just what he wanted, so the deal was closed then and there. In due time the engine arrived, as was the custom, on a flat car. One can visualize when standing on ground what this monster looked like sitting up on a flat car.

The company sent a young man out from Fargo to unload, deliver and start the outfit working. Experts they were called in that day. This was done. Mr. Hamre was quite a large land owner of North Dakota prairie land. There being no wood there the people secured fire wood from quite some distance, likely over in Minnesota. He had no idea as to what it would take in the way of fuel but told the help to fire out of the summer supply of wood until the coal supply was delivered. As a result, most all the wood was consumed before getting started. However, they got lined out and ready to start plowing. The owner took out to show where to lay off a land. Of course, the young man from Fargo followed where Mr. Hamre lead. All went well until they came to a low soft place and the whole outfit was down to the fire box. A very depressing condition, an engine down and hooked to the plows. The owner had a fine heavy team on the water tank. He thought the situation could be solved by hitching the big team on to give the engine a lift. About all that was attained was to break up the harness and double trees. So we will pass over these seemingly humorous aspects. I neglected to say earlier that when he saw this engine on the flat car he said, 'I have the thing, now what will I do with it.' In time they got things going. It pulled 24 disk plows and the Gaar Scott catalogues of the time carried a picture of it. The young man from Fargo stayed and ran the engine and later married the daughter. I do not know the history from here on but hope the story can close by saying that they all lived happy for evermore with the Gaar Scott Big Forty. This was the first one of these engines sold in North Dakota. Sold by my father and from a picture only.

Incidentally, last year I saw one of these same engines in the Sask. Govt Museum at Yorkton, Sask. They have a fine large collection there and I am told even larger ones at Saskatoon and Battleford.

C. E. Woolley, 1236 N. Monroe, Decatur, Illinois

Just thought you might be interested in my father, Herschel Manes, threshing career. He got started just at the close of steam power time, but has run stationary threshers for 32 years, starting in 1927. He threshed his own oats this year (1959) and as far as I know this was the only threshing done in this locality of southwest Iowa.

Dad and a fellow he worked with started with a 22 inch wood Rumely and in 1935 they got a 30 x 50 Russell which her an through the 1947 season. In 1948 they got a 28 x 46 John Deere straw walker and the past two years Dad has had a 22 x 38 McCormick-Deering.

Dad, being a true John Deere man, thought the John Deere machine was the best of all. At the beginning they used a 10-20 Titan tractor and since 1933 most of the time they used two different D John Deere's. First a 1929 model and later a 1940. The model D in the picture I'm sending of Dad and his outfit is a 1929 model which we bought in 1955 and fixed it up quite a bit. We did use it this year threshing and once in a while grind feed with it.

Dad goes to the Mt. Pleasant, Iowa reunion every year and sure does enjoy seeing the mighty steamers perform. We enjoy reading every issue of the Album.

FRANK MANES, North boro, Iowa