FROM A READER
I have been a subscriber of your magazine for a number of years and enjoy it very much. Picture with this letter is of our Advance Compound Engine taken about 1919. The man standing just ahead of flywheel is Rev. Wm. Sucknow, now of Center Point, Iowa, who was separator man.
The man in center is Ben Ridder of Klemme, Iowa, waterboy, and I am standing at the rear of driver, engineer. It was my privilege to run steam engines for quite a few years until finally the small tractor-driven rigs took over.
I know what it is moving from one job to another at night with an old kerosene lantern dangling from the front end of engine for light and then get stuck in some ravine with millions of mosquitoes to fight off and finally at about 4 a.m., by wrapping the big drive belt around engine belt pulley and hitching the tank wagon team on the other end of belt, we managed to inch our way to higher ground with the engine, leaving the separator to be pulled out later.
Again on other occasions when the flues went bad it would be necessary to pull the fire as soon as threshing for the day was over, allowing the fire-box to cool off somewhat. Then crawl inside and ream and pound flues until perhaps 3 or 3:30 a.m. and by this time it was time to start firing again so as to have everything ready for another day's run.
These were the days never to be forgotten!
ROY I. SCHAEFER, Box 46, Klemme, Iowa
Excerpts from Jesse Connor's letter accompanying his pictures.
I often think about when I was a kid. I'm a little past that now in years but wood, and coal smoke mixed with steam smells just as good. One of the things I'll always remember is how I stood back as an engine moved past but soon as it did get out of the way I would run out and look at the tracks so that in case I didn't happen to be home when one passed I could look at the road and read the signs, then I could tell if one had passed, what kind it was and which way it had gone. You know, at that time cleats on the wheels were of more kinds than you see at the shows nowadays.
Of course, about the biggest thing that ever happened was in, I think, 1906 when my dad brought home a used square bottom 18 hp K.G. with a jacket with brass bands around it and did they shine! He ran that two years then traded that outfit in on a 1059, 18 hp round bottom with a jacket of course. The brass bands didn't seem as shiny as the first one but she was the one and only just like the Colt 45 - crack six times and throw rocks for 2 hours. Well, I guess she is dead and gone but no use crying over gone engines.
I read in the ALBUM (the best in the world) how some of these fellows holler about their engines and I wonder if they have run as many as I have. I don't know how many but I can count at least 20. They are all good but some better than others. The Case is the most over-rated. There were several came in here, but they couldn't take it. They were built good, pulled good, didn't use too much coal and water and good shape when traded off, but they didn't stay. Well, here I've been rambling on and someone might read this besides you and he might want to whip me for not bragging about the Case - he might not even like our old Double Huber 11508.
JESSE CONNOR, R. R. 3, Evansville, Indiana
FROM MR. ANDERSON
I am sending a picture of my Case 80 hp taken in North Dakota where I found it after it had set 20 years with the stack knocked off. It fired up with make-shift grates and we had it poppin'. It run like a top when loosened and oiled up. No leaks anywhere - due to the clean water in these parts.
The man I bought it from says he pulled 20 bottoms, 5 and 6 inches deep with this engine right along. He also threshed and graded roads, etc., with the engine.
Old Jim Hill, the famed 'Empire Builder' of the Great Northern R.R. used to stop at the owner's home for dinner, years ago, and said they had the best water for the engines between Minneapolis and the Rocky Mountains. Maybe that is why the flues are so good.
I am also helping to restore a Minneapolis double cylinder, double drive (no leads) that stood over 30 years and we had to pry the flywheel loose with a 12 foot pole. With a lot of oil and 145 lbs. on the gauge it took off just like old times.
This engine shows no wear at all and I hope to thresh with it in 1959 in Western Dakota. May send a picture later. We are putting on new tanks and painting it up. This thing can sure pull and no better sounding engine have I ever heard anywhere when on a load. It's a symphony of power, strength and rhythm to listen to and hear.
From another kid that never grows up but just gets older.
N. DAVID ANDERSON, 6029 Logan Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota