Rough and Tumble Report 1988

Helen confers with Case engineers

Helen confers with Case engineers.

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233 Country House Road Clarkboro, New Jersey 08020

'Man is civilized only when he remembers his yesterdays and dreams of the tomorrows', writes a man named Andrew Thomas. Well, R & T men were very civilized at the 40th Reunion and J. I. Case Exposition, and one could not frown upon the exhibit they promoted. So many folks came from far away places to witness this show of agricultural power; from the smallest to the large 110HP of Mr. Abell's. As for the dreams of tomorrow, we will need another 10 acres of ground for future expositions such as this. Along the top fence by the entrance we flew the state flags of each state and of the Canadian Provinces also.

All Case equipment was placed in one area and making a left from the main entrance you came upon the Case Expo tent. Inside was much literature and artifacts of the Case Company supervised by Helen Case and her husband. On display also, under the tent, was a large model of a farm complete with houses, barns, etc. and a Case threshing rig in miniature. I have an idea that this display is the work of Mr. Hilliker and was featured in an article in this magazine Sep./Oct. '88 issue. Sitting on the ground were 2'-scale, 3'-scale, 4'- scale and a half-size traction engine. There were also others steamed up that participated in the parade of power. One engineer carried his little dog with him. It appeared not to mind the smoke and oil.

Leaving Helen's tent you came upon the long row of steamers. First was a very old portable and a slightly newer one and I have no information of either. Next was the Kinzer old faithful, a 12HP center crank Case of 1894. I like all that fancy casting work around the gear train. The line then carried on from the 30HP to the large 110HP of Mr. Abell's. Two other large engines were J. Degans 1910, 75HP from Southampton, Long Island and Leroy Walkers 80HP 1914, from Glen Rock, PA.

Turning by the coal pile and on the other side of the driveway were the gas jobs. There were quite a few of them, some of them absolutely immaculate, from the one wheel in the front jobs and the cross motors, to those types that still carried the resemblance to a traction engine. Please excuse my ignorance of the different models, I'm more at home with steam rollers.

Upon seeing the 150HP Case boiler exhibited by the gentleman from Illinois, I cannot help but wonder at the immense size this engine must have been. A 110HP is a large machine but this must have been half as big again. In this magazine of Mar./Apr. '87 issue, Mr. Hedtke wrote quite an article on the history of this relic including the specs and measurements. Out of the nine that were built, it is a great shame that this boiler is the only remaining piece of these massive machines. I spoke with Mr. Hedtke and made fun of that spacious firebox being used as a motel room. Three whistles were mounted on top of the dome but sad to say, this boiler will never again make steam enough to blow them.

Not so much WWI, but more WW2 was responsible for the demise of my good traction engines simply because no one wanted them. Also here, as in Europe, it was considered unpatriotic if you didn't give them up for the war effort. There were fortunately men like Everett Young's Dad who could see an historical future in these old steamers, such as the old Scheidler and the little Frick still at R & T. Several others around this coast probably owe their existence to once being members of the Young stable. Mr. Young repaired and shipped engines overseas, I believe, but I don't expect one would ever have been as large as a 150HP.

Opposite to Helen's tent were the Case automobiles and were some of them nice! There were six altogether and one model had the lens in the headlights cut like a sugar bowl design. From the remarks I heard, not many folks knew Case even built automobiles, and, as Case was in car manufacture, it's a wonder they never built a steam car, or, did they?

The program each day was usual with the invocation, presidents' speech and so forth. The National Anthem was played followed by that of Canada. All activities then commenced and us operators did what we could to run our machines and dodge the crowd at the same time. Carl Simpson took over the commentating except for the special events.

Thursday morning we drove the roller down along the lower fence for Jack Norbeck to get pictures. It seems they need one for the front cover of a magazine which deals with construction. 'John O' Gaunt' now becomes a cover girl? Jack, as most of us know is the author of the 'Encyclopedia of Steam Traction Engines.'

Visitors saw the logs going the sawmill which was powered mostly by Ray Herr's portable. Tiny Miller, with his 35-ton Bucyrus Erie steam crane unloaded the logs and placed them in position for the mill. This machine is on crawler tracks and, of course, moves back and forth periodically. Quite a few people were interested in this operation.

Threshing was done in the usual series of events, flailing as in Biblical times, threshing with the little hand crank, or Ground Hog machine, the horse in the treadmill, and the 4-horse sweep drive. The straw was baled in the jump press and this is also powered by horse and the bale always looks a lot heavier than those from the mechanical baler. Mr. Woodward was in charge of the operation each day and gave a running commentary as operations progressed. At the completion of these displays inside of 'Little Toots' track, the visitors were instructed to move down to the lower part of the ground where the large threshing rig was set up for threshing wheat. Nevin Myers did the commentary here, for threshing he knows well.

Grant Huddle and his Dad did quite a lot of work to the 15' Toot railroad during the year and relaid, completely, the whole track. New ties, new ballast and almost rebuilt the engine too. The exhaust is now much sharper as the valves were re machined and the port face scraped. Drive wheels were turned and trued and bearing blocks bored and we thank Walt for that.

Ladies Auxiliary needs mention for they have donated quite a lot to the organization. They now have a nice new building in which to serve their good food to hungry engineers. This is situated by the old farm house and at a guess, is about 50 x 80. Another new building has been erected at the lower end of the parade area and will be used as a work and machine shop. With a little heat this is good for winter projects.

It seems that a generous gentleman has donated to the organization many odd and unusual pieces of equipment. The first that intrigued me was the steam lawn mower. I somehow felt I had seen a picture of this somewhere, so getting down a copy of Floyd Clymers traction book, I found, on page 50, 'The Coldwell Steam Mower Co. of New-burgh, New York.' The caption reads, 'A double cylinder engine by Mason, and could be used for threshing and sawing.' I don't think this would be quite true as there is no flywheel and even if there were, it would have to be fitted to the second shaft and this only runs about half engine speed. Tiny Miller apparently is going to try and make it operational and now has it loaded on his trailer.

Some years ago I mentioned a 'Lamp Post' engine in one of my reports. Well, this is another machine from the above estate that is now at Kinzers. This is truly a gas engine for it runs on hydrogen and is called the 'Otto-Langden Hydrogen Atmospheric Engine'. The base of it really does look like a lamp-post, you know, with all those circles and flutes cast in it. It has no crank, but a rack on the end of the verticle piston rod that engages a ratchet pinion on the flywheel shaft. 'Don't know if you readers can visualize this form of motion so, next time, I promise, you will get a picture.

Another piece of equipment from this same estate is the 10-ton Buffalo-Springfield roller that once belonged to one of our deceased members. It has not as yet been checked for service but it looks good. Yet another piece is a small tandem roller like an Iroquois although it would be nice to track down the actual manufacturer for the engine has a little brass plate on one steam chest that says 'B A P Co. Engine 23.' We at R & T are anxious to find the actual builder so if there is anyone out there who knows, please drop a line to me or R & T. I did hear they were used for patching pot holes in most large cities. Someone is bound to remember them. For a brief description, I don't think it weighs more than 1000 lbs., if that. The front roll is only about 18' diameter and the rear about 36' diameter. 'Boiler is like 18' diameter and roughly 40' high. Standing alongside 'John O'Gaunt', it looks like a mother and baby.

I stayed with a friend in his motor home and Friday morning about 7 a.m. we were awakened by the rain rattling down on the roof. We were in the campgrounds across the street and didn't go over to the show until the rain slowed up. It was disappointing, really, for Wednesday and Thursday had been so nice. Looking at the grounds and the driveways I knew, even if we lit the roller up, we were not going to go far. By noon things were beginning to dry up but the parade area was very soft. There were plenty of folks though, and the steam games were held in the evening. I watched them for a little while and quite amusing were the 'policeman' and an accomplice, namely, the Case Eagle. Boy, I bet that eagle suit was hot to wear!

Saturday morning we again awoke to the Friday morning situation. All morning it rained and I thought everyone would have stayed home, but not so. This weather didn't stop the spectators even though they had quite a job of parking their cars. It must have been a mudhole out there. All day long they came, through the model building four thick and, of course, there was plenty to see, even in the open steam shed outside. I was amazed how those miniature model railroad guys ran their trains in the rain. They had a sheet of plastic rigged up in one spot to keep the operators dry and the rain didn't seem to bother those little alcohol burners.

To sum up it's unfortunate it rained, and this is something that hasn't happened to a reunion in years. We have always had good weather but, as the saying goes, 'You won't always get jam on your bread'. The attendance was very good considering, and well, better luck next time! Thanks to Dwight, our President, and the Case organizing committee for such a well organized affair, and Whoo Whoo Whup, 'til next time!