20 HP Minneapolis engine

Content Tools

In the September-October copy of the Iron-Men Magazine you showed a picture of the Avery 20 HP return flue engine up-side down that I described in the article in that issue, 'Threshing in the Cornbelt'. Since then I have found pictures of two threshing scenes which I am enclosing that gives further proof of the size of the threshing outfits we used for 'Threshing in the Cornbelt'.

The first scene was taken in July 1926 threshing on my own farm one mile east of Earlham, Iowa. This outfit is a 20 HP Minneapolis engine and a 32 x 60 Avery Yellow Fellow separator. I was the engineer standing in the coal wagon back of the engine and almost out of the picture. Standing on the feeder of the separator is my brother who was separator-man. My son, a very small child at that time, is shown in the picture near my mother at the right in the picture. I am now retired and my son runs the farm but threshing scenes like this disappeared and he now uses a combine to harvest his crop.

The other threshing scene was taken in July 1925 on the S. J. Trueblood farm one mile east of Indianola, Iowa. The outfit is a 50 HP Case engine run by my brother (tending the separator in the other picture ) one year later, and a 36 x 58 Case All Steel separator. The outfit was owned by Ralph Tipton and was thirteen years old when this picture was taken. They were just finishing the job when the picture was taken, hence only one bundle wagon at the separator.

WAYNE THOMAS Earlham, Iowa


I am enclosing a picture of our Black Motor Surrey which you and I were discussing during our recent visit at the Mt. Pleasant Reunion.

My wife and I are seated in the car, and Mr. Fred Rhoda of York, Nebr., son of the original owner of the car, is standing by the left wheel. The picture was taken at a parade in York. The car is equipped with a two cylinder directly opposed (bent rods) air cooled engine with chain drive to differential and to each wheel. It has steel tires with lugs on the rear wheels. After retiring the car from the road the late Charles Rhoda had an extension forge welded on the crank shaft with a pulley outside the body. The engine was then used to saw wood and do other belt work on the farm. The engine was completely rebuilt when we restored the car several years ago. The car was stored in an open cattle shed for more than thirty years.

We have the original invoice which lists the Surrey at $650.00, lamps at $10.00, horn at $2.50 and fenders at $25.00 for a total of $687.50. It was purchased March 12, 1908 from the Black Mfg. Co., Chicago, Ill. We also have their advertising booklet and parts list. Also a Dealer's Certificate and some advertising orders which Mr. Rhoda had kept.

I am also enclosing a picture of our 16 Double Simple Reeves. The picture was taken by Burton Farmer, Exeter, Nebraska. Myself and my two and one half year old son, Charles, are on the engine. He is a real steam enthusiast already, as is his mother, who can handle an engine as well as most men. This engine was purchased from Lad Kostonek of Wilber, Nebr. It was headed for the junk. The pipes were all knocked or cut off. The babbitt was removed from most of the bearings and eccentrics. The main bearing caps were missing, roof gone, and the side tanks needed replacing etc. It was quite a job to rebuild it, but it gives one a lot of satisfaction to see and hear it run like new again.

ROBERT (BOB) TRAUGER Exeter, Nebraska


I was very much interested in the picture of the Henry Ford collection of engines, Page 4 of the May-June issue of the ALBUM, 1961.

I have seen the C & 0 1601 in operation along with the 59 others of the same type, about 20 would pass my home every 24 hours.

One June day in 1950, an east bound coal train made an unscheduled stop and I casually picked up my camera and took the 30 odd steps from my door and clicked the shutter getting a good shot of the 1604.

There were many other fine types of steam power which included the giant passenger, ''Greenbrier' and other huge two-cylinder types.

It is a sad story as all these fine locos are going the way of the scrap heap.

In 1958, I suffered a serious eye impairment which stopped me in my tracks. This did not keep me from attending the opening of the museum at Kinzer in April, 1959 as you recall we were rained out. I had a very pleasant chat with Mr. Vic Winter-mantle and Mr. Ralph Green. The good wife thought it would be well for me to attend the 1960 reunion at Kinzer and she took over the task of driving and explaining the interesting features since the improvement of my eyesight is a time proposition.

Going down the lot she said, 'Here is a fine 'gee-ser' engine.' I reminded her if Peter Geyser could have heard that remark he would have removed every one of his engines. Seeing she missed out on that one, she said we would go up and see the engine that was buried, (meaning the Corliss with the fly-wheel pit). That was the last shovel full of coal and from that point, I figured things out for myself.

J. C. COBB, Ronceverte, West Virginia