Peerless Portable Steam Engine

Courtesy of Denis McCormack, 180 John Anderson Drive, Ormond Beach, Florida 32074. This beautiful Peerless portable steam engine was restored and exhibited by Walter B. Clement of Auburn, Alabama 36830. That's Walter tending the engine. This engine soon w

Denis McCormack

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Painswick, Ontario, Canada

First of all, let us say, please do not apologize for increasing the subscription cost of the 'Album'- we're sure you will not have any complaints a magazine as unique as the 'Album' is worth the price. Besides, everything must go up occasionally just like wages and cost of living.

We certainly do enjoy the magazine, and came upon it quite by chance. A friend loaned us a couple of old copies, so we wrote inquiring about subscriptions, not knowing if you were still in business.

We would not fall into the 'Old Timers' category, but can just recall the end of the steam traction era as it finished in this part of Ontario in the Twenties. The last steamer I can remember working, came to our farm with a stone-crusher and broke up a large pile of field and old foundation stone my father had sold to the Township for road building.

We were fortunate enough to get in on the threshing and silo filling bees in the district in the Thirties and Forties. There were two outfits - one a McCormick-Deering 15-30 with a 36' McCormick separator and the other a 28-50 Hart-Parr with a 36' Goodison Machine.

We had the latter outfit thresh at my father's farm. I will always remember the owner of that outfit, He was a real Iron-Man, - but not steam. His first set that I can recall was a 15-30 Case, about a 1922 model (complete with roof) and a steel 32' Case machine. About 1927 he traded the Case tractor on a brand new 28-50 Hart-Parr and a 36' Goodison wooden thresher. That was an excellent machine with very good capacity and of course the big Hart-Parr just laughed its way along with it.

I can well remember the first time I fed that machine. I rode about three miles on a bicycle to relieve a brother for other duties - (I was sixteen years old) and as he had been feeding, I had to take his place. It was a barn threshing with large sheaves of winter wheat and we fed right through from one o'clock till six with Ho 'coffee breaks' and as hard as the work was I enjoyed it because feeding was a pretty important job.

That night as I rode the bicycle down the road after a tremendous supper with all the trimmings, I was happy, in spite of blisters on my hands the size of half-dollars.

Our Iron-Man thresher ran a dairy farm as well as his threshing outfit, and also had a sawmill behind the barn which he pulled with the Hart-Parr or sometimes with an old Eagle. The neighbors drew logs in during the winter and he would work them up in the springtime. He used to take this portable mill around the district and set up in a timber stand for most of the winter.

Like his Hart-Parr, he finally wore out and threshed his last barn out in about 1954.

The memories of hard work and good companionship linger on. The spirit of the old threshing is in part re-lived at the reunions and steam shows - but one has had to partake in the real era of the threshing outfits to thoroughly enjoy the old wine of memories.