F. L. Kilberger writes.........
In the March-April issue of the Iron Men Album there was a picture of a Case Separator. The party asked if there was any thresher man that started with this rig when they were boys. Yes, I am one of them and here is a picture of a 3658 Case that my father bought with a 15 HP Case Engine. I was only a boy but took charge of the engine when the party was with us only a short time.
I will admit I was sweating at times and worried besides, but with the advice of some older engineers I made the grade.
That reminds me of an incident. Some few years ago I was driving east, from Cedar Rapids, when at some distance I noticed where there was some lumber sawing done with an undermounted Avery and, being I was interested in that type, that induced me to stop and make a short visit. I noticed that a boy about 16 years of age was doing the firing and almost cried because he could not keep up the steam. I told him I would give him some advice if he would follow the directions I prescribed. He said he would do anything just so he succeeds. The first thing I asked him to do was to throw that poker away and don't touch it all the rest of the day. Next thing, fill your fire box plumb full, you can regulate your fire with the damper but don't use that poker because you shake most of the fire down the ash pan. I stayed with him for almost two hours and sure enough his steam gauge kept on crawling up besides his father operating the saw could put the log through much faster. And was this young boy tickled to get that kind of advice and, of course, he is a grown man by now and I would sure like to meet him.
I must tell the whole story about this machine. When father bought this rig the machine did not have that attached stacker, but an independent stacker on four wheels and the engine did not leave the cab on as I made it when I was only a boy.
F. L. Kilberger, 123-16 Ave., S. W., Cedar Rapids, Iowa
George B. Walton writes.......
Here is a picture of my Russell Steam Engine, No. 14879, which I am sure most any steam enthusiast would be interested in looking at. We all think this club of the Western Steam Fiends Association is a wonderful hobby. I will say that they are a bunch of wonderful fellows. There has been several of the old fellows pass away this winter. We all feel very badly and miss them.
I purchased my engine from Clyde Shurman at Woodland, Washington a couple of years ago. At one time Clyde had about 25 of them. All of the Shurman family are great steam engine hobbists.
I was raised with a steam threshing machine in the heart of Willemette Valley, Oregon. I went to school at Halsey, Oregon and also a little school in the country which was called Oak Plain. My father and mother also went to the same school. I have worked with steam practically all my life. During the time I did not have a steam engine there was hardly a day went by that it was not on my mind. Now when I go out and build a fire in my engine it seems that I always have an audience. Where the people come from I do not know, but they are there. Every small child wants to blow the whistle. They ask questions that I cannot answer.
Once a year they gather at the Harvey E. Mikkelson farm at Rt. 2, Box 52, Silverton, Oregon, for a threshing bee. Everyone has a wonderful time. All the spectators enjoy this and they all look forward to this event.
At Fort Steilacom, which is near Tacoma, Washington, they hold a big threshing bee once a year. Last year there were over 20,000 people in attendance. The Governor of Washington was there and they had a good program during the day. This took place while the Worlds Fair was in Seattle.
George B. Walton
Dee Quick writes.........
I enjoy reading the Album and look forward to its arrival, but still I read parts of the Album which brings sadness such as the passing of Uncle John Jenkins. Surely he was a great character to be in company with. I had the priviledge of meeting him in 1961 at the Highland, Illinois Meet of the American Thresher men.
His passing brings to our attention that none of us are getting any younger and it just means another loss in this great inspiring hobby which we so much enjoy. In order to go ahead while we are here, there must be some younger ones to carry on when we are out.
I was so glad to read your grandson's idea and plea to us to give the younger people a chance to learn about engines. Well, there is nothing I enjoy doing, outside of meeting with machine men, than teaching or trying to show some young person, who is interested, what little I know about the engines. There are scattered through the country and different reunions some of the best engineers. Many are authorities on several classes of valves and valve gears, which I am not. Maybe some kind of a plan could be worked out for instructions for these young boys.
Many things are to be learned about an engine such as care, safety and the ability to use common sense keeping a cool head when something goes wrong.
Here is a picture of my engine which I had in the American Thresher man Show held at Pinckneyville, Illinois last August. If I am there with it this year I'll be glad to have Dave or other boys who are truly interested to try their luck on handling it or what they wish to do toward learning. This picture was taken September 13, 1962 here at my home. I am standing by the engine, one foot on the step, shaking hands with my collie dog, 'Queenie' as we are waiting on the low boy to take it to my home town of Eldorado, Illinois for their two day celebration they call 'Town and Country Days.'
Dee Quick, R. R. 1, Eldorado, Illinois
James Robinson writes........
Here is a picture of an engine I made in November, 1955 when Sasketchewan had its Jubilee year. I drew a picture or plan on the back of a calendar to go by.
The engine is 3 ft. long, 22 in. wide, 23 in. high, hind wheels 5 in. wide by 11 in. high, front wheels are 3 in. wide, 7 in. high. It has the Reeves reverse gear on it which I find is the best. I got it out of Floyd Clymer's engine book. I have had 140 pounds water pressure on it but have had a little trouble with leaky flues as there are 9 flues, O.D. copper tubing. The engine runs perfect at about 60 lbs. steam pressure.
The little gauge, valves and displacement oiler I got from Charles A. Cole. The boiler is riveted together out of 1/8 plate, 3/8 mud ring in bottom of water leg, 3/8 stay bolts, fire box. is welded and riveted in.
The castings are all aluminum which I cast myself. I drew a lot of pictures to know how to whittle out the patterns. I bought a 10 pitch Ennulate gear cutter and cut all the gear, except the ball gears and the crankshaft pinions. The ball gears are off a couple of old style washing machines. So far I burn wood in it and it sure can burn it. I am sending it up to Pionera at Saskatoon this summer.
It is built on the style of an American-Abell. You can nearly see the rooster on the smoke box door. The water is fed in by a hand pump in the water tank. The bore is 1 diameter and 2' stroke. Belt pulley or flywheel is 6' diameter with a lead rim for weight. It has a friction clutch and bevel gear differential for turning corners.
James Robinson, Frobisher, Sask., Canada
Robert J. Worbois writes.....
I am a steam locomotive fan and have been a subscriber to your fine magazine for about 6 years. I am too young to have been able to run a steam locomotive, but I have had the privilege of riding in the cab of some fine examples of these wonderful machines.
Your picture of a 'cab-in-front' in the Sept.-Oct. 1 96 3 issue of the ALBUM prompted this letter. These locomotives were only used on the Southern Pacific. They were originally intended for use in snow sheds, but were later used anywhere an engine of their size was necessary, either in freight or passenger service. There were at least 244 locomotives of this wheel arrangement. The one pictured No. 4251 was Class AC-11 built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. She had 4 cylinders 24 X 32, 63 inch drivers and had a steam pressure of 250 psi.
Robert J. Worbois, 192 Browns town Rd., Irwin, Penna.