LETTING OFF STEAM

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I often wonder whether the great figures of our hobby -men such as Leroy Blaker, 'Steam Engine Joe' Rynda, Harry 'Pink' Woodmansee, 'Big Mac' McMillan and Marcus Leonard, to name just a few ever dreamed the events they launched some 65 years ago would continue to this day.

A celebration of America's rich agricultural past, the early collector's reunions harkened back to simpler times. Their popularity grew, and in 1946 the Reverend Elmer Ritzman launched The Farm Album, a magazine dedicated to preserving the history of steam traction engines and threshers. In 1950, The Farm Album became The Iron-Men Album Magazine. It flourished.

With the launch of Steam Traction almost two years ago, we committed ourselves to re-invigorating the magazine, drawing from the rich heritage of our past while building for the future. The response from steam traction and threshing fans has been enthusiastic, with new subscriptions reversing a trend of dwindling circulation that started in the 1990s.

From the many letters, phone calls and e-mails we receive, we know that readers appreciate what we're doing. But we need your help to keep this mission going. Increasing costs in paper, and especially postage, have made it impossible for us to continue delivering Steam Traction without a dramatic price increase.

Beginning with this issue, annual subscriptions to Steam Traction will increase to $38. After careful consideration of our options, we have determined this is the only way to keep Steam Traction alive.

We remain committed to the steam community, and we look forward to many years of sharing, through the pages of Steam Traction, the fellowship and joy of learning that defines the community of steam traction and threshing enthusiasts.