Old Massillon Steamer Is Good 'Hand'


1913 model old steam engine

OLD FASHIONED THRESHING. Spectators were on hand Thursday to view the operation of an old steam engine and thresher still used by A. H. Fasnacht and his son, Alvin, to harvest wheat on their farm on Jackson Ave. N.W., near Massillon. The steamer, painted

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Repository Bureau Writer

(Kenneth Ross, Waynesburg, Ohio, sends us this clipping from The Canton Repository of Nov. 18, 1960. Thanks, Kenneth.)

MASSILLON Although Griscom-Russell Co. here now makes products for use in atomic energy powered installations, it was one of the old Russell Co.'s steam engines that stole the show Thursday, huffing, puffing and belching great clouds of black smoke.

Now a part of Griscom-Russell Co., the old Russell Co. of Massillon manufactured farm machinery.

On the farm of A. H. Fasnacht of 1140 Jackson Ave. NW, just north-east of here, the last steam engine to leave the Russell plant was being used to thresh wheat.

As Mr. Fasnacht and his son, Alvin, of 1126 Jackson Ave. NW, shoveled coal into the engine's firebox, workers inside a barn fed wheat into a huge, old-fashioned threshing machine which was driven by a long belt coupled to the engine.

The threshing machine is owned by Alvin.

At least a dozen spectators had turned out for the occasion, all of them to view a part of the nation's agrarian history. The steam engine and thresher now are relics of 'the good old days.'

A generation ago, both machines were the latest in farming machinery.

And yet today, Mr. Fasnacht's steam engine, to one who appreciates such an apparatus as he does, is a thing of beauty.

Both machines are in almost mint condition. The steam engine, with bright yellow wheels and crimson flywheel, is very colorful. It sparkled in the bright fall sun as it poured out black smoke and occasionally blew off steam into the crisp air.

Alvin's Thresher, a Huber built in Marion, was an advanced model of its day. Mr. Fasnacht said it was complete with feeder, weigher to 'sack' the grain, and blower to expel the chaff.

Ten years ago, a group of men bought the steamer, Mr. Fasnacht said. However, he since has bought out the interests of the others.

Although the machine can be driven on its large metal wheels, its owner said he does not move it from the farm.

Several 'fans' milled around as the engine entertained them. Among the spectators was Henry Jeanneret who had come from Orrville. H. L. Snyder of 838 State Ave. NE was there. He was with the old Russell Co. before it became part of Griscom-Russell Co. and later was president and general manager of Russell Service Co. which serviced the steam engines.

Also nearby was Frank Tehegen of 326 23rd St. NW, the last foreman in the Russell Co. test house, where the engines were tested before selling.

The center of attraction Thursday has a 12 horsepower rating and builds up 125 pounds of steam pressure, Mr. Fasnacht said. It was built in 1913 but remained in stock 14 years before being sold.

Alvin is the fourth generation of the Fasnacht family in the business of farming, threshing and sawmilling.

While threshing wheat is work to most farmers, it was evident Mr. Fasnacht and his son and the other enthusiasts who helped them were enjoying their hobby.

'We're kind of old fashioned,' Mr. Fasnacht remarked. 'Most people use a combine but we enjoy the old method.'