Soot in the flues

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Hi Dear Iron-Men Family! I'm very happy as the mail is coming in now and please don't ever stop I know there are many folks out there who think what they have to offer would not be interesting, or written right or other excuses, but all you have to do is send it in and I'll take care of it. Now, if you don't see your letter right away, just be patient, because I assure you each one will be used. I have never discarded any communication. It definitely will be in the column, if not this one, an upcoming one.

And now to inspire you, a little excerpt from Wellsprings of Wisdom by Ralph L. Woods. I've used many before, and I think they are wonderful, always timely and inspiring. This one is called

A Man's Work

The zealous missionary had been preaching to the inhabitants of a certain town, but seemed not to break through their wall of indifference. His apparent lack of success finally caused him great discouragement; he had gladly given up much to do this work, he had ignored the jibes of friends and the sneers of strangers; and now he was confronted with failure.

He went out into the countryside and sat down by the roadside exhausted, and fell asleep. He dreamed a vision of heaven, a land of contentment, peace and prosperity, and he heard a voice say to him, 'My son, all this is yours.'

And he heard himself reply, 'But Lord, I do not deserve it! My work has been a failure.'

'You deserve it,' came the reply, 'so long as you do the work each day as well as you can.'

This missionary awoke and resumed his work, confident that out of apparent failure, God would bring success. (I like this parable, don't you? I can identify with it, for many times I feel what I have done has not been right, or not noteworthy, sort of like I failed. BUT this inspirational message boosts my spirits. I hope it does for you also. If what we have done is the best we can do, then it is not in vain and we can share in God's precious words and beautiful world.)

'It's very disturbing to me and many others, I'm sure, to read in your column the possibility you may 'hang it up'. The IMA would not be the same without your column and letters.' (Thanks for your concern, Jim, but for the time being the letters are coming in pretty well, so I'll just keep praying it continues.)

'This is a slow time of year for iron farm work, and maybe that accounts for the drop off in mail,' writes JIM BYRD, 1310 Via Edina, Pensacola, Florida 32560.

'There is something I'd like to suggest it's based on the great values that all the hard Iron-Men's labors were dedicated to, and that is the home and family, and I've always considered my mother as the centerpiece of it all. What I'd like to suggest is that maybe lady folks could share some interesting stories of memories they have of the steam and tractor early years.

'What got me to thinking about this was when looking at a large antique white ironstone serving platter that my grandmother (on my mother's side), always used at threshing dinners, stacked high with fried chicken. I don't know of even one steam man or farmer who could do those hard days' work without those good dinners to replenish energy for all the work!

'So, there it is for whatever it is worth. It could be favorite recipes explained just as done with the methods of cooking in those days; also as to utensils used and etc. I know items like that would be interesting, and my wife would become an Iron-Men Album reader along with me at our house, which I would like very much. (Good idea, Jim there should be a great deal of information along that line).

'Another thing that makes me think about this is the 'cracker barrel' restaurants. I find many of their menu items are reminiscent of foods prepared at many threshing meals and farm tables in general. I'd like to think the popularity they are enjoying could be a sign that America is finding her soul again.

'A few years back, as I walked across the parking area at the Adams, Tennessee threshing show, I counted 27 different state car tags there. Maybe that is saying something to searching of souls, as well. One of the key features of the Adams gathering is the Sunday morning church service under the tent. It is a very moving service, especially the memorial they have for any steam man who may have passed away during the year, and the 'whistle down' is a very touching part of it.' (Thanks Jim for your interesting ideas that just may bring some new thoughts and information into the letters for the column.)

JIM SIMON, R.R. 1 Shubie, BON 2H0, Nova Scotia, Canada sends the following: 'Here is a brief history of the Loyd's Manufacturing & Foundry of Kentville, Nova Scotia. The company had been in business for a number of years, since 1888 to be exact. The company advertised for machine shops and foundry, and could supply machinery and castings of all kinds including stove machine, improved lane and rotary saw sawmills, buzz and surface planers, shingle mills in three sizes, heading rounders in three sizes, storey jointers, as well as all kinds of repair.

'By 1895 the company had become the Loyd Manufacturing Company, and on January 10, 1900, a fire destroyed the building at a great loss, but the foundry and machine shop were rebuilt and reopened for business later the same year. Loyd's then began making gas engines in addition to their already established lines.

'The Loyd Company was purchased by Winslow Burrel in 1935 and then became the Burrel Foundry and Machine Works. The foundry burned again in 1960 and was not rebuilt, but the company was active as a machine shop as late as 1982.

'There exist today quite a few shingle mills made by Loyd's also carriages and rotary saws; indeed, some are in daily use even in the 1990's.

'Although very few gas engines exist, one big Loyd gas engine is at the Ross farm museum at New Ross, Lenenbury County in N.S.

'It may also be added the company manufactured waterwheels of nearly every description, including Johnson waterwheels, Little Giant, Leffel, Vulcan and Kennedy; all before 1900. The ratio of water power to steam by 1861 were 1,501 water-powered mills to 22 steam-powered mills; so it appears that the Loyd Company was fairly busy up to the 1930s. However, water power and steam power is a thing of the past, a cherished memory for all.'

'Being a tractor nut, I just obtained my first copy of IMA, for one reason: after restoring a dozen gas tractors, I want a steam tractor. Not knowing a great deal about them, I bought a subscription to Iron-Men.

'I had hoped to find where one might purchase books to learn more about said tractors. 'I'm reading through issue No. 6, Vol. 45. Mr. Bob Perkins from Texas, asked about water injection into a Rumely or a hit and miss engine. The induction of water into any internal combustion engine was done to produce more HP and prevent pinging or pre-detonation. This detonation occurs near or at maximum working load. This is because engines of this type (running on fuels other than gasoline), bring the internal operating temperature up very high, in order to burn 'fuels'. Pre-detonation takes place, the fuel starts to burn too soon, causing a ping or hammer type noise to occur. Engine timing and overall conditions also play a large part in detonation.

'To prevent damage to the engine, water is induced into the main stream of air and fuel mixture. This does two things: one, it cools the internal temperature; two, when it burns it creates steam thus producing more BTU's per burnequals more power per stroke, more HP. At max. load, an Oil Pull would burn 50/50 mix.

'To answer Bob's question: A good engineer would open the water jet valve at the first sound of detonation. One must remember most engines would close down on the main jet (fuel) causing a lean condition; this also helps bring up the internal temperature. As the water jet was opened reducing detonation, the main jet could be opened to balance the total power produced.

'Yes, this would and could work on a hit-miss engine. The operator must stay on his toes to learn the engine and at what load the water could be required.

'A footnote! Gasoline at one time was a waste, dumped as an uncontrollable byproduct of fuel oil. Its flash point was too high; also it did not produce enough power (BTUs) to be a good power source. By adding different burnable additives to it, gasoline became the main fuel world wide. Yet, other fuels burn hotter and are cheaper to produce.

'During World War II, aircraft used a water injection system to produce more HP. This system could bring HP ratings up as high as 30%. Using H2O produces a very strong gas under pressure and mixed with gasoline the BTU's expansion is twice as great. The control system for this injection was far more complex than the fuel mixing system on a Rumely or a hit-miss engine. Please remember an Oil Pull, hit-miss or any engine designed to run on fuels (not gas) doesn't really like gasoline under max. loading. Damage has occurred running said engines under max. loads for long periods of time on gasoline; like the whole low end being dumped on the ground.

'Now, for my question where could I find information on steamers? How were they built? How to operate said steamer? What is the difference between lap seam and a bull seam boiler? Well, that's a start. I need to find all the help I can get. (My 27 Rumely is only run on gas for moving slownowhere near max. load. )'

This letter came from O. G. RAWLINGS, 33185 Ave. D, Yucaipa, California 92399. (I'm, sure you might get some letters regarding your letter and our company has some books on engines that we sell.)

The interesting picture below comes from V1NSON E. GRITTEN, 401 Burwash, Apt. 313, Savoy, Illinois 61874 and he says: 'About the picture showing all of the threshers, this is a shipment of eight threshers that we sold in 1929. In fact, this is the second shipment of eight. Besides many others, we sold a total of 30 threshers each summer of 1929 and 1930. They were International Harvester threshers.

'My dad had been in the threshing business starting in the early 1900s until he purchased the Hardware, Furniture and Farm Machinery business in a little town of Fithian, Illinois in the mid-twenties. Those were two of the best thresher years. In the mid-thirties, we sold the many combines in a two or three year period.

'Dad sort a had a name for knowing the thresher business, which I believe is the reason we sold so many machines. The large runs were beginning to break up. We stocked, demonstrated and taught many people how to operate them.

'We sold many outright, but Dad had a trick that helped sell many. He would get three or four farmers who had 400 acres of grain or more between them, and put a thresher on their farm. He told them to give him three cents a bushel for oats and six cents for wheat and bring the machine back. Or, they could keep the machine and make the payments over a three year period. Of course, they always had enough to make the payments.

'We sold threshers all over central Illinois and Indiana. Not to brag, but we sold more threshers than all of the other eighty dealers in the Kankakee branch put together. We liked the thresher business, but of course we sold a lot of tractors and other machinery.'

This informative letter comes from CLAUDE NELSON, P.O. Box 127, Battle Creek, Michigan 49015. 'While at the Michigan Steam Engine and Threshers Club Show this year, I got to talking with some old friends about different engines and different engineers that have climbed the wooden incline high ramp.

'They tore the incline portion to the ramp down several years ago, and all that remains is the platform at the top. I have heard several reasons why they tore the ramp down, but I guess liability insurance and safety had a hand in why they disposed of it. Just the same, I sure do miss it!

'But getting back to the story I mentioned to my friends several engines and the people who drove them up the ramp. I might mention that the Michigan Steam Engine and Thresher's Club Show had been held at several different locations in Michigan, before they settled in Mason. I think they had relocated at least four or five times, and I can remember four different high ramps this club has built over the years.

'First of all, Harry Woodman see was by far the greatest engineer to climb the high ramp, but I have seen a few others. I will try to list the engines and the engineers that have gone up the wooden high ramp.

'At an early show, I can remember Ken Lewis on a 20 HP Rumely going up the ramp. I saw Harry Woodman see take a 16 HP Aultman Taylor up the ramp. I remember the time water from the water tank spilled on the rear wheel, and he lost traction, and the front wheel slipped off the side of the ramp, breaking a casting. We also can't forget his 12 HP Case. Other engines and engineers are Melvin Lugtin on an 18 HP and a 19 HP Keck Gonnerman, and Larry Mix on a 19 HP Baker engine.

'I'm 87 years old and have been to several shows and have enjoyed most of them, but I think the Michigan Steam Engine and Thresher's Club Show is where the best engineers come to demonstrate their engineering skills. They certainly put on a good show. I still wish they would build the wooden high ramp back again, but I know they won't.

'Another interesting thing I noticed about some of the engineers is that Harry Woodman see always smoked a pipe; Melvin Lugtin most always wore coveralls and Larry Mix quite often smoked a cigar.

'My health is still quite good, so I hope to make it to the shows in 1992. I hope to see my friends again at that time.'

'As a subscriber of IMA dating back to the days of Elmer Ritzman and a reader of your column for so many years, the statement that the column may be discontinued prompted me to write my first letter to your column.' (Good, maybe this will inspire some more articles to be posted).

'Please do not discontinue Soot in the Flues,' writes RUSSELL JONES of 486 Regent Ct., Dimondale, MI 48821. 'I understand time takes its toll, being in my 88th year and my dear Vivian will be 87 in March. We will honor our 58th anniversary together December 26. So many fond memories; many of our friends have answered the Lord's call, however every day is a new day and we are always surrounded by both old and new friends.

'I believe one of God's greatest inventions was a steam engine. I must have been all of three or four years old when I first saw a steam engine moving a separator on the road in front of our house. The engine was an A. W. Stevens, and my daddy was at the throttle. My mother, knowing this would happen, had taken me into the yard telling me to watch for my daddy. I lost my mother at age five, so these memories go way back.

'My dad had my brother, six years my senior, and me learning how to handle an engine when we had to stand on a box to reach the throttle and reversing gear. All through high school and some years later, I operated engines on threshers, clover hullers, sawmills and many tasks where power was needed. I feel lucky indeed to have been born and lived and worked with the men and women of this wonderful era. The sounds and smells of a steam engine working a sawmill, the rhythmic sound of the exhaust on a thresher, the lonesome wail of a steam whistle in the night from a locomotive moving tons of freight, are still some of my favorite memories.

'The real message of this letter is to inform you of a club, 'Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation. If my information is correct, Number 1225 was built by Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio for the Pere Marquette Railroad. It was placed in service in 1941 and retired from service in 1951. It was donated to Michigan State University, where it stood on a siding as a monument to the age of steam.

'In 1971 a Michigan State student had the job of unlocking the gate each morning for visitors. This same student, during the course of his duties, would climb into the cab and dream of the smell of coal smoke, soft wind in his face, and the exhaust of the locomotive during its working years. From this dream, a club was born to restore this locomotive to its former condition. They received permission from the university to promote this endeavor, which they estimated would require about three years.

'They little realized the herculean task of freeing up frozen journals, hydro tests, etc. From this embryo club was born MSTRP. Number 1225 was moved to the old railroad shops in Owosso, Michigan, and made its first run under steam in 1988. At 240 lb. PSI, she stands tall and proud. She made several excursion runs this past summer, including a two-week trip to West Virginia. All mechanical work is donated by club members. Expenses are from the club membership and donations.

'Number 1225 is a Berkshire type, I believe one of forty 4-8-2 locomotives for fast freight, and I believe one of only two remaining that were restored to operable condition. It made a test run this past summer from Plymouth to Grand Rapids, Michigan and return, on the Pere Marquette Main Line, pulling several cars, and then made a two-week trip to Huntington, West Virginia to attend the National Historical Society Convention. This trip was made together with another Berkshire, Number 765 Nickel Plate Railroad.

'There are several small gauge clubs from 8' to larger gauges now in operation. I have attended the one in Lakeland, Florida that has approximately one and a quarter miles of track. They usually have a general meeting in February with attendance from several states. These small locomotives have amazing power, and will pull two cars with seven to eight adults. The last meeting that I attended had twenty five to thirty trains in operation.

'This type of hobby should be very useful for students for the mechanical skills required.'

MARK A. CORSON, 9374 Roosevelt Street, Crown Point, Indiana 46307, sends us the following information from Ireland Machine & Foundry Company, Incorporated, Norwich, New York:

'A. Bertsell Ireland had worked in the Lyon Iron Works in Greene, New York, now the Raymond Corporation.

'It was 1906 when A. B. Ireland moved to Norwich, New York, where he founded the Ireland Machine and Foundry Co., Inc.; A. B. Ireland, President; Frank L. Ireland (son of A. B. Ireland), Vice-President; A. G. Jones, Sec. & Treas.

'In 1942 it became the Bennett-Ireland Co., which is now out of business.

'Cotton-Hanlon, Inc. of Cauyga, New York which took over the Ireland division, is still in business today.

'In 1968 the last 52 Ireland sawmills were built. Some spare parts are still available, and what is left of one of the last sawmills.

'The mill was to be used as a museum display, but has since been stripped for parts.'

'Hope all is well with you and our extended family of IMA readers,' writes SCOTT THOMPSON, R.R. #2, Box 30, 12109 Mennonite Church Road, Tremont, Illinois 71568. 'My family and I were fortunate enough to visit quite a few shows around the Midwest and found all to be 'on the grow'. But more and more, I seem to notice the threshing demonstration, which used to be the feature attraction, being pushed aside by other 'non-traditional' show activities.

'On several occasions, hundreds, even thousands, crowded the craft and flea market areas, while a handful of 'old timers' milled around where threshing was in progress.

'Now I know these other activities are important for a good crowd and profit, but I hope all the shows will take a moment this winter to re-evaluate what we can do to keep the threshing demonstration well attended. After all, the main purpose of our shows is to educate the public about our agricultural heritage; most of them don't know a threshing machine from a grain binder.

'A few suggestions then! First, to put as much planning and preparation into your threshing demonstration as you do your flea market. Don't just leave it to a few unappreciated members to go out and 'run the machinery.' Try to make sure the public knows when threshing will be done. Handouts, or even a large sign explaining the whole show, will let the public know what is being done, where and when. Otherwise, it is just a lot of wheels and belts.

'Some shows thresh twice a day, usually at 10:00 and 2:00. Often, that is all the grain they have stocked up, and on a five-day show, that can be a lot. But that kind of schedule misses a lot of people who may not be able to stay all day.

'Next to the steam engine and thresher itself, nothing quite attracts a crowd like horses pulling the bundle wagons! If space is available, some bundles set up to be loaded by roving teams really tells the story. Here the people see how it was really done. I've often imagined people standing there wondering what that wagon full of 'straw' was and how it got there.

Don't know much about this photo except it is a steel Wood Brothers separator. From the collection of Franx Wood, President. Can anyone identify the steam engine? Photo courtesy of Scott Thompson.

A 30 HP (?) Wood Bros, double-geared steam engine pulling sawmill duty, somewhere in Iowa. From the Franz Wood collection. Photo courtesy of Scott Thompson.

'Having your participants dress for the part in straw hats and bibs gives a nice touch, as does having a couple of kids with water jugs. You can make a real production of a threshing demonstration that leaves an impression on people. Also, it's a good chance to instruct folks doing the 'pitchin' of the proper way to feed one of those things. I realize a lot of shows stand on informality, but a threshing demonstration all properly done up is a thing of beauty and precision. All I'm saying is a little more work and planning goes a long way towards making it an 'event' and not just another 'demonstration'.

'Just so as not to sound too negative, thank you one and all out there in Engine Land for all the hard work you accomplish. Let's just try not to lose sight of the original intentions of the shows in our hurry to grow and prosper. Let's face it most folks weren't even around when the last threshing runs bit the dust. The chance to see grain delivered into a horse drawn high-wheeled wagon instead of a modern tractor-powered auger wagon is like the old saying 'a lot more trouble, but it's worth it!'

'One more item before I go! I have a problem I hope someone out in engine land can help out with. I have a #8 Birdsell Clover Huller I would like to put up for adoption. Free to a good home. Right now it is still in restorable condition, but due to lack of space it has been sitting outside, which means death to a wooden machine. No one around here seems interested in taking it, so I hope there is some club or individual who will take pity on this poor old girl and haul her to a new home. She's located in central Illinois. Please call any time night or day if you can help.'

In closing this time, I would like to share with you Mountain County Medical Terminology For The Layman:
ARTERY - The study of fine paintings
BARIUM - What you do when C.P.R. fails
BENIGN - What you are after you are eight
CESAREAN SECTION - A district in Rome
COLIC - A sheep dog
COMA - A punctuation mark
DILATE - To live long
FESTER - Quicker
G.I. SERIES - Baseball games between teams of soldiers
GRIPPE - A suitcase
HANGNAIL - A coat hook
MEDICAL STAFF - A doctor's cane
MINOR OPERATION - Coal digging
MORBID - A higher offer
NITRATE - Lower than day rate
NODE - Was aware of
ORGANIC - Church musician
OUTPATIENT - A patient who fainted
POST-OPERATIVE - A letter carrier
PROTEIN - In favor of young people
SECRETION - Hiding anything
SEROLOGY - Study of English Knighthood
TABLET - A small table
URINE - Opposite of you're out
VARICOSE VEINS - Veins which are very close together

I think this was great someone very brilliant had to think these up! All for now, so until next time God Bless You All!

An Opportunity To Learn About Steam Jim Vouk, Secretary-Treasurer of the Minnesota Steam Engine Association, 703 County Road 2 S, St. Stephen, MN 56375 recently wrote to Anna Mae in response to an item about the Society in her column. While the organization does not have its own show, they do have an annual Steam-up in May, where they try to teach anyone interested the proper operation of steam engines and boilers. This year, the steam-up is scheduled for Saturday, May 16 on the grounds of the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion at Rollag, Minnesota. Topics covered include purpose of the water glass, soft plug, operation of the valve gear, operation of the injector and lots more. After the 45 minute classroom session, 3 or 4 engines will be fired up or ready to fire to provide hands on participation.