Lynn L. Langsworthy writes. . . . . . . .

20th-century Engine

Here is a snapshot of the 20th-century Engine. I am at the right side of the engine.

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4 Terrace Street, Alfred, New York

In the November-December, 1958 issue of the Album you show an early Iowa scene near Eldora, Iowa, courtesy of Vic Wintermantel, Bellevue, Pennsylvania. I cannot tell you who the men in the picture are but the rig is a Westinghouse 12 or 15 HP Tracttion Engine and about a 32 Westing house Thresher of near the 1800 or 1890 Vintage. These were very popular rigs in New York State for many years and were light and well adopted to the western New York and Penna. hills. The engines were very economical but not too good as tractions because of their comparative light weight. The Westinghouse Company was organized in 1834 by Geo. Westinghouse, Sr. and they started in Mineville, Montgomery Co., N. Y.; moved to Central Bridge, Schoharie Co. in 1836 and in 1856 the Company was enlarged and moved to Schenecttady, New York where they did a wonderful job of making fine threshing machinery until 1916.

In 1924 They reorganized at Shortsville, New York under the title, 'The Pioneer Threshing Company, Inc.' where they are still making completely equipped threshers. They are one of a very few and, perhaps the only, makers of portable no ncombine threshers today. They have not made steamers since 1916.

In my 17 years experience I used a St. Johnsville or Williams Thresher, Westinghouse and Case. As engines, I used a 6 HP Rogers Portable Steamer, S. W. Wood & Sons 16 HP Traction Engine and, at last, an Avery Gas Tractor.

A friend, Mr. Jack England, gave me a magazine to read and I don't want to miss any if I can help it. Being an operator of old steam engines I was indeed thrilled to see and read so much about them again. I think it is very interesting as it tells so much about the good old threshing days of years ago.

My father and I operated many Huber threshing engines and Huber road rollers, also the 20th. Century engine built in Boynton, Pennsylvania.

My nostalgia for steam threshing inveigled me into driving 277 miles in late September, 1958 to the Dean Fullerton Farm near Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, where the Tri-State Historical Steam Engine Association sponsored a Threshing Day. Five beautiful engines were there among which was a Frick Double, a 16 HP Huber, 50 Case, a large Advance Rumely, 22 A.D. Baker (a beautiful specimen) and, what I might dub, a hermaphrodite 6 HP Case-Huber. I might add, the latter had no clutch or reverse gear but it had steam, a whistle and a fondling owner who could smile and really pull the whistle cord!

September rain made the forenoon a rather glum affair but the ladies at the counter in the Fullerton repair shop started the sun shining in the 'innerman' (and woman) by serving lunches, coffee and pop. As you might say, this sorta got the 'Old Timers' to diggine the chaff out of their eyes, rubbing the '600 W' off their noses and whisking the dust from their bandana neckerchiefs until they could almost smile About 2:00 P.M. Old King Sol completed the transformation and the smiles changed to sparkling eyes and broad grins. An old Frick, 24X42 Thresher (another hermaphrodite with both wind stacker and raddle carrier) was hauled out of a shed and a 'Frick Double' was belted to it in a nearby field. 'Ann Arbor' was put behind the raddles and gulped down the straw and regurgitated symetrical wire-bound quids to the Huber 16's black puffing guffaws. That Huber had a White Engineer, and believe it or not, a part of the time, at least, the Frick had a crow at the throttle! And, he wasn't black either, for was Pawl F. in person.

'Down by the Old Mill Stream' Hutton was busy feeding that A. D. Baker engine seasoned oak slabs and edgings and, believe you me, that Baker really hissed and barked at that sawyer, whoever he was. Didn't learn his name but he didn't seem to give a durn how mad that A. D. got at his vulturous old saw! Just pushed his feed lever a little harder at those petrified oaks. Why, I can hear that circle of steel whine this very minute! Also, the sawdust smelled 'oaky doak' to me.

Speaking of smells-remember that aroma of combined steam, cylinder oil and soft coal smoke? Why, to the average 'Old Timer' that gets right into yer human separatin system, travels down yer mittened shakin forks, past yer rocker-knees and never pans out on the tail board until its passed through the sieves of your shoes.

As I said before, they had a beautiful Case there-something to crow about, an Advance Rumely (all mogues beautifully painted and striped) but they didn't seem to have anything for the latter two to hitch to. Spose the day was too short. Or, they's probably moved the cow barn and the concrete engine repair shop-food counter, women and all or else they'd a leveled some of those Penna. hills. Fer my part, I think that's be a Reasonable project for them. Those hills are too numerous and too steep anyway.

Well they had one traction engine there that I wished I'd have had when I was a kid. Twas that one a feller down there made about as big as a pint of cider. I almost missed it while I was down by the sawmill. When I came back to our Rambler I half expected to find my wife asleep on the reclining seat but, no-sir-ee, she was sittin up straight as a ramrod, wide awake as an owl (eyes about as big, too) and she says to me, 'did you see that baby steamer go up around the barn and out to the threshing lot?' I answered, 'no, I didn't know they.'d had a pregrant steamer round the place. Was it black and white, red or a gandy belted? Was it a Case, Frick, Huber, Baker or Advance-Rumely? Was anybody leading it on a rope and could it suck?' 'Leading it on a rope?' she says, 'why, it was puffin up that muddy lot jest like them big fellers, snortin, blowin, smoke an steam and as for suckin, as you call it, it could cause it had an injector on it and I think a stummick pump and it could cry cause it had a whistle on it that blew just like the papa steamers did.' 'I snum.' I answered and I pulled my throttle wide open, hooked the reverse lever in the last notch forward, and churned my mud cleats as fast as my agin biler plates would allow toward that threshin field. But I was almost too late. The Fairy God Father had given that little iron baby an emetic and was pullin the fire. But it still had a little life left and responded with a lively kick as someone pulled the throttle and lustily cried out as a lad pulled the whistle cord. It looked to me like a Russell, but my wife said the feller named it after himself and I didn't get his name.

So much for the Burgettstown Threshing Day. Mr. Fullerton very thoughtfully invited us to drive our Rambler into the shop after the evening movies and slides so we had a refreshing sleep in our chuck-wagon, got our breakfast on our Coleman equipment and, after a parting look at the mute 'iron-men', we backed out of the shop and wended our way New Yorkward.