26 hp. Tandem Compound Port Huron

26 hp. Tandem Compound Port Huron burning straw and pulling: a 40x62 Case separator.

Ralph Thompson

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Tecumseh, Michigan

Check is enclosed for renewal. I enjoy the ALBUM immensely and am sure you are filling a niche in the lives of a great number of our generation. Am also enclosing two pictures taken in the district about 90 miles east of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. I have operated threshing machines about 24 of my 64 years. And this includes 6 years in Canada where I went following release from service in World War I.

The Rumley pictured is a 36 hp. double simple compound and weighed 63,000 less fuel and water. This engine was, I felt, a wonderful engine. And like the Reeves Cross Compound in both the 32 and 40 hp., all did their share in the development of our own northwest and that of our great neighbor to the north. This Rumley carried a larger boiler however, than the Reeves 40, and pulled the same load. We were at this time pulling 18 disc plows in an extremely heavy gumbo. We made from 18 to 24 miles a day and were 26? days plowing a section. Used from 9 to 12 tanks of water a day. Water was transferred on the move. I am leaning against the drive-wheel and my fireman is standing next to the water tank. He was another Iowa man, Andy Anderson, of Audubon County, who was a wonderful chap to work with and the very best of help. We had just finished cleaning the boiler when this picture was taken in August 1923.

The threshing scene was taken in the fall of 1922, and shows a Port Huron 26 hp. This engine was a tandem compound and burning straw. Pulling a 40x62 Case separator equipped with Garden City extension feeder. Straw made a good fuel and especially flax straw since it had a great deal of the natural oil in it. I went to this engine but one morning before breakfast during the entire fall. This being the duty of the fireman and of course a lot different from an engineman's duty which I had been used to here in Iowa. My fireman on this engine was a young fellow named Tom Pontek, from Poland. He had fired it a number of falls and was a good fireman. This engine was cursed with having the differential torn out of it about every fall. But true to a lot of our clan, I too like to boast a bit, by saying, 'It did not happen during this fall of hard threshing.'

Would like to write more in time about experiences. Have burned straw in the Case also. Have a lot of respect for their engines, the 75 and 80 plow engines. I do feel however, that the 110 was their poorest job. The Rumley Oil Pull, I refer to is the early ones before they got to monkeying with them, it was a great machine among oil tractors in my mind.

Best wishes for you and the ALBUM

'RALPH THOMPSON, Maxwell, Iowa


In your issue for January-February you printed a letter under the title, ''We Don't Please Them All'. I wished to express my feeling at that time but did not get down to it, however will do so now. As far as I am concerned, I think you have been doing a swell job and see no room for improvement in your magazine. It sounds to me like the writer of the letter was rather sore because his letter was not printed, but I have a notion you knew what you were doing in not doing so. Keep up the good work.

I have been intending to try to get a few pictures of a little of the steam equipment which we have here in this museum as I think some of them might be of interest to you and perhaps some of the subscribers.

Again assuring you of my great interest in your magazine, I am

RANSOM MATTHEWS, Curator of Mechanical Science, Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles 7, California


I received a copy of the ALBUM and am glad to see that all of the 'Iron Men' of the farm are not gone. I still like the steam and want you to place me on your subscription list.

PFC. JAMES HAYES, Co. I 129, Inf. Reg., Fort Lewis, Wash.


I really enjoy your magazine from front to back, it's all so friendly. It seems to be written to everyone, personally. Am sending an extra quarter to help smooth out some of the low spots.

FRANK PURSEL, Carmel, Indiana

Fond Memories

By ED. L. HALL 600

Forest Ave., Fon Du Lac, Wis.

In your May-June issue, W. T. Richards Huber brings back fond memories. When I was a kid I operated the blower on a rig powered by just such a Huber, but tell Mr. Richards to fix an extension on his separator pole to get the nose of that feeder farther back, away from his engine. I knew a man, Bill Gardner, of Loraine, Illinois, who nearly got killed on such a hookup. He had a 16 hp. Advance engine and separator moving at night with one other fellow to help him. Going up an incline the front wheels of his engine got off the shoulder of the road. He stopped, blocked his separator, got back into the center of the road and backed up to recouple. His helper held the pole in the dark, missed the hitch. The engine being on an incline, did not stop at once, and Bill found himself pinned under the feeder apron, down on top of the boiler. His helper kicked a block under the rear of the engine wheel, grabbed the pole axe from the coal bunker, and ran back to the separator to knock the block from under the back of the rear wheel. This was difficult because the wheel kept riding the block, but he succeeded in moving the block enough so that Bill could wriggle himself free. The boiler had no jacket so the front of his shirt and undershirt were burned off him. He was so badly burned that he spent several months in the hospital ... A LONGER POLE PLEASE.

Forest Crassen's article and photo reminds me of an experience I had in the summer of 1910. I was riding with a dry farmer in his new Rambler car, headed for his place halfway between Denver and Castle Rock. When still several miles away I noticed a belt of cottonwoods winding down from the foot hills and continuing across the prairies for miles. Now the prairie in July is brown and parched but those cottonwoods were green as all get out. I asked my host 'How come,' and he replied, 'We will cross that in a minute and then I will stop and show you'. We stopped and got off. There was a ribbon of sand perhaps 35 feet wide and the cottonwoods stood on each side of this. He scooped out a hole about a foot deep with his hands and in a moment there was about 5 inches of water in it. This was snow water from the mountains, a dry stream. In it's valley about a mile wide and 20 miles long were prosperous farms, growing wheat, oats, barley and pasture. 'DRY FARMING' they call it. The grain was still on the stalk so I helped him cut it. I had 3 horses on a 7 foot McCormick. In the afternoon Pikes Peak had a hood over it and about 4 P. M., the sky got black and she looked as though she was really going to 'Down'. A few big drops and I loosened the apron, covered the binder and headed for home. I got about a half mile when the sky cleared, clouds disappeared and no rain. Next day about the same time old Pike had another hood and the sky got black, but I had smarted up by this time so I said to myself, 'you're not fooling me this time.' Before I could get the aprons loosened and the binder covered I was soaked to the skin. It came down in buckets and what's more it rained all night.

This is not exactly whistle steam but I can give you some of that from time to time as your ALBUM reminds me, about engines I've owned, opinions on them, sawmills, etc. It seldom rains like that in Colorado east of the Rockies, in fact it seldom rains at all. I have also turned Alfalfa with a fork in that land where it is irrigated. I never saw such Alfalfa anywhere else.

Hope your waste paper basket is handy.


Am sending four dollars for a years subscription and a copy of the Steam Engine Guide. I am also enclosing a picture of myself on Ernest Kieker's half-size Advance Rumley.

I drove to Hector on Sunday morning, October 17th. It was a beautiful day and I arrived at Ernest's place about 12:30 P. M. After Ernest had finished his dinner we went out to the shed where he keeps his engines. He has two, a Case and an Advance Rumley. The Advance had a nice wood fire and about 75 pounds of steam, and after Ernest had checked it over we backed out of the shed. I run the engine about the yard for a while and took some pictures. In a short time more people came and we got out the Buzz Saw and started sawing wood, having only 35 pounds of steam when we started. We were burning damp wood and the steam pressure came up slowly and when it neared the 100-pound mark we used some coal and you should have seen her steam then. We sawed seven inch logs without any sign of pulling the engine down. That little engine would bark in a fashion that would warm the heart of any man who loved engines. The governor worked perfectly. They used a Marsh valve gear and that is a simple and highly efficient valve gear. The engine pops off at 150 pounds and was made of scrap parts and is certainly a credit to Ernest Kieker and Ted Lange, the men who built it.

About 5:30 we ran the mighty Advance into the shed and went to the house where Mrs. Kieker had prepared a wonderful supper for us. We had homemade sausage and home baked beans and I never tasted better. After a little sociability I started the 120-mile trip home, thinking it was a wonderful day. I don't think any person could have a hobby so interesting and enjoyable as the steam engine boys and I am glad to be one of them.

LEO P. HUSTON, Watertown, South Dakota


Got the good IRON-MEN ALBUM a few days ago and have read it two or three times. Seems I enjoy it more each time, it sure is a fine magazine for us steam thresher fans. I especially like the Model Builders Page and I hope the model makers will make a special effort to get out to the reunions this summer and fall. I believe most associations would be glad to furnish steam for the models that have no boilers. There are thousands of these fine engines and I think they would show up by the dozens if they could run them. I hope we have such an arrangement at our Wichita show this year and I will be willing to help set it up if the other members think we should.

C. E. KAUER, 2511 N. Waco, Wichita 4, Kansas


First I want to thank you so much for the many moments of pleasure I get from your magazine and here is another shovel full of coal ($2.00) so you can keep the steam up and the ALBUM coming in my direction for another year. I especially enjoyed the nice picture of Frank Stohlers 20-40 Case tractor in the Sept. issue. Please print more such pictures of these early huge gas monsters. If you ever get a picture of a Case 40-72 please print it. These were built in about 1926

WALTER C. BIERITZ, Yorkville, Illinois


I am enclosing a picture of my double Rumley. I got it in the sand hills of Nebraska, just north of Heisey in perfect shape throughout, except the cab which you can see is off.

The flues were like new and all I had to do was repair the valves and piston rods. Both injectors worked, right off. This engine was in a shed by a dipping vat and had not been used for years. I just beat the JUNKIES, as the owner was wanting to get it out of there. It's of 1913 vintage, 20-60 hp. and I now have the cab off to put a new side rail on, and that is all it needs. I chopped the grease off and what a job. I have a little painting to do. I was always crazy over steam engines and used to lay awake nights thinking about it when one was in the neighborhood doing a threshing job, how I wished I was big enough to run one.

When I was 19 years old I walked four miles in 10 inches of snow just to fire one up and to be around an engine, but I never got to run one until I bought one of my own. My first machine in 1922 consisted of a double Rumley and 36x58 Minneapolis separator. Had lots of trouble the first season as we had so much rain. This being my first time at the head of a threshing outfit, I had a time arranging the work as all the old farmers wanted theirs to be first. They were glad to see you come and glad to see you go, so if a little trouble would happen it was like a hail storm. The next year went better and in 1929 I bought an Avery gas outfit at sale. It was no comparison to the steam, just a big noise. The first day out a belt from the grain auger jumped off and took my right hand off at the wrist, so that was all for gas for me.

I have never lost the boyhood liking for the old steam, the chuckle, oil and last but not least the fun everyone had, even my mother-in-law was glad when the old steam came down the road and turned in our drive. She liked to cook that good old Dutch food that everybody liked and worked hard for. No baker's bread, but the homemade kind with plenty of meat, potatoes, gravy, pie, cake and coffee, or tea, also cabbage. Those memories will never pass on till I die.

I hope you all the success in the world with your magazine which brings all these good old times back to our memories again. I will be with you as long as it goes. Am sending you a picture of my engine with me on the left side. I still handle it with one hand and put it anywhere.

H. P. RENTZEL, Trenton, Nebraska


Please renew my subscription. I love the little magazine and don't want to be without it. You know how it is and what happens when an engine lover gets to working on a 1' scale Case 65 model, I just can't think of anything only J. I. Case.

I am enclosing an extra dollar for some extra copies if you have any. If not just put a few more Case pictures in the ALBUM and I will be happy. Thanks for making the little magazine so interesting.

ALBERT L. SAFFELL, Battle Creek, Michigan


Am enclosing $2.00 for my ALBUM. I do not want to miss a single issue.

I sometimes wonder why they don't put out an album on the different kinds and makes of grain separators, like they have on steam engines. I am trying to make a steam engine and have the boiler about ready. The boiler is 52' long, and shell is 13' deep. I want to put on a cylinder with a 3'x4' stroke. Best wishes

JOHN E. PETERS, Inman, Kansas


Find enclosed money order for another subscription to the ALBUM. I am also sending one of my old letterheads showing some early tractors. This tells what each piece seems to be. Am also enclosing a picture of my 28-88 Minn. steam engine at the 101 Ranch at Ponca City, Okla. The pony is blue stone, the best roping pony in this world, from the ranch. He was at the World's Fair in Chicago with School Boy Scotty. That is me beside him and the pony was 24 years old when the picture was taken.

JESSE R. BARBER, Lavinia, Iowa


In the March-April 1955 issue, page 15, at the bottom you will find a picture and incomplete information sent by J. A. Loffelmacher. Mr. Chas. S. Tunis of 855 Homewood Ave., Zanesville, Ohio, knew he had seen the picture some where so he goes through his American Threshermans and finds it in the Dec. 1907 issue, page 106. Both the picture in Popular Mechanics and the one in the ALBUM had been taken from the same picture in the American Thresherman. Here is the complete description as given in the A. T.

'How many little boys and girls who read the AMERICAN THRESHERMAN can equal the record of this young man? Marvin Wilkinson of Winfield, Kansas, is eleven years old. His father says he fired, oiled and kept water in his J. I. Case 20 hp. the past season of 25 days without a stop or mishap of any kind, and offers the affidavit of his customers as proof of the statement.'

Now some of you Kansans find out what become of this young engineer.

The Editor.


You will find enclosed $2.00 for another year of the ALBUM. I sure do like to read the news from the good old days from the Old Boys who had so much experience with steam. It was my mother's great uncle who invented the old Cooper steam engine that was built in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. If I can get up to the National Threshers Reunion and see any of you people there I will try to give you more details on this.

BUNN F. BONER, Main St., Butler, Ohio.


Dear Mr. Kepner;

I received your letter last Monday and my first issue of the ALBUM. You can bet your life you have another faithful subscriber as long as it is published. It is really crammed full of the most interesting articles and held my attention until I had read it from cover to cover. You mentioned the Threshermens Reunion held at Pontiac. I meant to mention in my first letter but it escaped my mind. I live about 30 miles southeast of Pontiac and attended the reunion every year until I joined the Navy. Since then I have not been home at the time it is held. A reunion like that is something no one misses around home.

I'm really too young to recall when we used to thresh with steam engines, but it was right around 1935 or '36, and I can remember the old Buffalo Pitts setting behind the engine mans tool shed until the second World War came along and on that time it was sold for the scrap drive along with my dads old Aultman Taylor gasoline tractor. It was a monster compared to tractors of today. But what I cannot remember in my day, grandfather and uncle can bring back just as though I had been there too. My uncle is always telling about the pipes he would clean for guys when he was running an engine. My dad's favorite story is about the guys who were not busy sitting around behind the engine. One day the boiler blew at the back flue sheet but for some reason there did not happen to be anyone there that day and what a good thing as it took the grates, fire and ashes right out the back of the flue box. No one got hurt, at least not there, but somehow some fire got up to the separator and set it on fire. The water wagon was pulled up by the machine and as the man on the pump was pumping the handle broke and he fell off and broke his arm. He was the only casualty of the affair. Those were the good old days and I wish I could have been a little older and could have gotten in on it.

About all I can do is go to Pontiac when I can and see Dan Zehr's engines. He has at least 2 engines, one being an Avery 2 cylinder undermounted. Last time I was at the reunion was in 1952 and he had it running and unless you saw it running you wouldn't have known it because it was so quiet and run so smoothly. Of course at the time it was hauling no load.

Here aboard ship anything that turns is steam driven or driven by electricity which is generated by steam driven generators, but sad to say there are no reciprocating engines, all steam turbines. I guess they are so much better there is no comparison but you cannot get the thrill of steam unless you can see those rods, crossheads, eccentrics, etc., moving around back and forth. I hope you don't mind my rattling on but when I get to thinking about steam engines, I can talk and talk.

I am hoping I can get home for the reunion this year or to some other affair of the same kind. Am enclosing $2.00 for the ALBUM and in my opinion it is the best magazine east or west of the Mississippi.

DONALD E. STADLER, U. S. Navy, USS McCain, Care of FPO., New York, N. Y.