Old return-flue

An old return-flue that couldn't take any more pressure.

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Enclosed is a copy of a snapshot which was given to my good friend Ben Fischer of Bowesmont, North Dakota. It shows what was left of a good old return-flue job that apparently had 'had enough.' The degree of demolition is almost unbelievable, but a fragment of the boiler section is visible, together with a twisted and broken engine frame and broken gearing and bent drive wheel. The coal wagon remains intact, but no information is at hand concerning any possible casualties in this terrible explosion. While the old photo is a bit dim, I hope that it may reproduce, and because of its very unusual nature I should like to send another copy of the snap to our western friend Steam Engines, as likely there may be several readers of one magazine who may not also see the other, and I am presuming that you will not mind this favor.

Since I am greatly interested in what may come from the soil, under good cultivation, I am looking forward to that time when I may again take utmost pleasure in gardening and a bit of fruit orchard. Could anything be more enlightening? In my alumni magazine recently appeared the following, as quoted from Light of Many Lamps; you may wish to re-print it for our readers as it is a beautiful thought:

'If this were my last day I'm almost
I'd spend it working in my garden....
Then, as I rested, perhaps a friend
or two,
Lovers of flowers would come and
we could walk
About my little garden paths and talk
Of peaceful times when all the world
seemed true.
This may be my last day, for all
I know;
What a temptation just to spend it so!'

Of course my faithful traction engine would be alongside the field where I might glance up and see it every now and then, for it too was a great tiller of the soil, the Iron Man.

FRANK J. BURRIS, Marietta, Georgia


Your magazine carries excellent photos and interesting stories about steam engine and threshing operators from all over the country, but I would like to see some of the local boys, in the Hummelstown, Harrisburg, Middle-town, Hershey area come forth with some of their history and experiences. For instance, there is a Mr. David Seibert, Hummelstown, R.D., who operated a number of steam threshing rigs, was one of the biggest in the area and I am sure he could supply a wealth of very interesting information on his experiences in the business.

While I am very much interested in steam engines, I do not have the space to house one of these big beauties and therefore have confined my restoring activities to small gasoline engines of the farm variety. I believe that there are others with similar interests and therefore would like to see your magazine expand into this field.

I have a one horse power MOGUL engine which my father purchased about 40 years ago. I restored this engine a few years back and am now in the process of re-doing it. I am enclosing a photo of a restoring job which I just completed on a Horse Power NEW HOLLAND, serial 7912. This engine had been lying out back of the barn on a farm scrap pile for 9 years when I purchased it last fall. It is now in excellent appearance and good running condition.

Also, it was with great interest and surprise that I read in your January-February issue, that you are serving as pastor of the Paxton Methodist Church. Again in the new issue 'The School Marm' writes her confession on watching a Blue Bird through the open window of this church. This brings some very happy memories to my mind, for I also looked through this same window and stood behind the same pulpit. At that time I lived in Hummelstown and was a member of the Hummelstown Methodist Church. On various occasions my wife and I would visit with our Methodist friends at the Paxton Church. Then one day I was compelled to do a terrible thing to these friends. I received a phone call from the then district superintendent, Dr. Alexander Smith, asking if I would fill the pulpit at Paxton for a few Sundays until he could appoint a minister to the charge, and I accepted. So these good folks were forced to listen to me or, perhaps they too preferred to watch the singing birds through the open window. Will you convey my greetings and best wishes to these folks and particularly to Mr. and Mrs. Harry Sauers.

JOHN D. GRUBB, Reading Tire Company, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania