Soot In The Flues

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As we work on the January/February issue, we are reminded of all the opportunities to do better that a new year brings! With the end of the century drawing nigh, we hear frequently about the great computer challenge known as the 'Y2K problem.' This has to do with the fact that many computers throughout the world are programmed with only two places in determining dates when 2000 suddenly comes, computers will not recognize '00' as being later than '99.'

We thought we had this problem taken care of in our office. Since we handle subscriptions which are often two years into the future, we had to deal with the challenge before a lot of businesses. But, as we were working on these first issues of 1999, we learned that the codes which determine the printing order of our 'Coming Events' ads had only two places instead of four. This meant that shows in the year 2000 would come out of the program ordered before those in 1999 instead of after, requiring a keen proofreading!

Fortunately, we'll be able to cope with this problem, but it does set the mind to wondering how many other small procedures does the computer perform for us which are date sensitive and have been forgotten?

Well, we hope that the earth won't come to a standstill as some predict. Nonetheless, we can see that the unexpected will surely occur, particularly to the unprepared!

We have quite a few letters this time, and a great number of pictures. We continue to get great stories about restorations, and we've gotten some show reports, as well. Please, please send in your stories, as we really want to print larger issues! And now, on to the letters:

CINDY BUTKOVICH, 131 Red Bud, Wood River, Illinois 62095, reports on plans for a 1999 Steam School: 'The Pawnee Steam School will be on the road just like the famous Pawnee Bill Medicine Show of Pawnee, Oklahoma. This year's school will be held in beautiful southern Indiana at the Boonville Antique Gas and Steam Club grounds. It will be held on March 27 and 28, 1999.

'This year's school subjects will be as follows, with maybe a few more extras: Professor Chady (Winton) Atteberry will be discussing the design of a steam engine and boiler, as well as teaching history, beginner steam operation, and snake oils.

'Professor Lyle Hoffmaster will be teaching plumbing safety and asafetida bags.

'Professor Harold Stark will be teaching parts, the proper mounting of steam injectors, and lumbago ointment.

'These are just a few in the line of professors teaching at this year's school. Many other subjects, such as governors, babbitting, and ultrasound testing, will also be taught.

'We are requesting that all participants either phone or mail a letter or postcard advising the number of participants who plan to attend. This is to let us know how many people to expect for lunch. You can send all letters and/or postcards to Joseph Graziana, 315 Grand, Wood River, Illinois 62095 or call Joe at (618) 259-5458.

'The Boonville Antique Gas and Steam Club grounds are located 2 miles north of Boonville, Indiana, on Highway 61. School starts promptly at 8:30 a.m.

'The school is free, and we guarantee that all will learn something of value. You never know what surprises might happen at the school.' (We've had stories on our pages from a number of steam schools, and encourage attendance!)

HERBERT E. MANN, 2588 W. 250 South, Warsaw, Indiana 45580-8149 tells us, 'Although the Wauseon, Ohio, show has always had several Baker engines performing on the belt, I had never seen one pull on the drawbar. This year I had the opportunity to see a 23-90 'walking the dog' with an 8-bottom prairie plow. He could have easily pulled 12 bottoms!

'I have watched steam plowing at Hesston, LaGrange, Tipton, Valparaiso, New Haven, and the old Huntertown Show here in Indiana, and this Baker was certainly impressive.

'I have been an Iron Men Album subscriber for many years, but I don't recall anyone ever writing an article to either praise or condemn Baker engines. There are many, many Case supporters, probably like Chevy lovers, there are more units out there. Russell, Advance-Rumely, Avery have all been written about, pro and con.

'How many engines did Baker build? Although very popular in northern Ohio and southern Michigan, how far from home did their distribution reach?

'Baker always claimed that their combination of Uniflow cylinder, piston valve, and Baker valve gear made them the most economical of any engine on coal and water. Is this a valid claim?

'Leroy Blaker always claimed a Port Huron tandem compound would beat all comers on economy. My uncle, Elmer Aldrich, threshed with a 12 HP Huber, and he always claimed he could set up and be half-done before the big rig could get there!

'Hoping to hear from some Baker lovers or haters out there.'

We have this from JOHN T. WEEKS, Apt. 165, 80 Lyme Road, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755; e-mail 'Traveling along Canada Route 1, near Crapaud on Prince Edward Island, Canada, I chanced on a roadside transportation museum. Out in the yard under the trees, evidently having been there a while, was a classic steamroller. I enclose two shots of the old thing, in all its rusty glory. Whether it is restorable or not, it still is a shame to have it rot away, but then I don't know what the supply of steamrollers is like; there may be a plethora or two. I've no doubt many of your readers will be able to identify the make and model. Obviously a late one, as the mechanism is fairly sophisticated.

'Chief Firewater,' a Compromise 21 boat manufactured by Beckmann Boatshop, is owned by Capt. Jack Haigh of Wickford, Rhode Island, seen here enjoying a steam up one of the estuaries leading into Narragansett Bay. Beckmann Boatshop, Ltd. is located at 500 Indian Corner Road, Slocum, RI 02877 and can be reached by phoning 401-783-1859.

'Such a project is beyond me at this point, but I'd like to think it was savable.'

We welcome this letter from THOMAS STEBRITZ, 1516 E. Commercial St., Algona, Iowa 50511 who says: 'The September/October issue of the Iron Men Album was a well-rounded magazine; I have to comment on a couple of letters.

'Concerning 18 HP Gaar-Scott number 14530: A friend from Kansas saw the engine during his annual trip to the Pontiac, Illinois, show. This was in the 1960s. He sent me a picture of the engine which I still have someplace. The name has been misspelled a number of times. As I received it, the engine was owned by the Burritcher Brothers of Highland, Illinois. The late Amos Post also gave me some information about the engine. Of course, that 1937 could be right as the date of rebuilding. Well, anything is possible. However, my information from Post and others put the rebuild date at about 1929 or 1930.

'The 1937 date is really incredible. In 1937 my late father bought back 60 HP Case #29816 for $100.00. He traded this engine in1915 to a company of farmers.

'In 1937 you could buy a good engine, ready to go, for $100.00 to $150.00, so why spend $800.00 to rebuild an engine at that date, what's the answer? According to the serial number, the engine was built about 1908.

'About the letter and picture sent in by John Steel in the July/August IMA and commented on by Dr. Robert Rhode, the picture shows a complete Gaar-Scott rig of the middle 1880s. The thresher is called the 'Peerless.' That company used the name before Geyser did. Looking at the engine, it was called the Class E. My 1909 repair book states that engine was built for several years prior to 1893, and the engine pictured could have been built in 1885 or 1886, being equipped with the Plugs on the drivers. In 1887 or 1888, the Gaar-Scott Company patented the cast driver with a chilled face and herringbone-style lugs.

'Most companies' drivers evolved from the mower type lug, then the angle lug. Then most companies adopted the herringbone-style lug when the Gaar-Scott patent ran out in about 1904 or 1905.

25th Annual Barnes Steam & Power Show. Lance Barnes riding the carriage of the sawmill powered by an 80 HP Aultman Taylor portable engine. Photo by Russ Gelder.

'In the May/June IMA we had an article about the Northwest Thresher Company and about their New Giant return-flue steamer. The New Giant was a spur-geared return-flue type engine. The three pictures in the field are of the engine called 'Giant,' also called 'Minnesota Giant.'

'This engine preceded the New Giant and was a chain-drive. These engines had no head tanks and had 48' flywheels. I had a close look at the Giant in the Rynda collection in May 1998. The engine looks to be spindly, but close inspection proved that for its time it was fairly well built. The flywheel is larger than the front wheels.

'In both magazines over the last year and a half, we have been treated to three Scheidler Manufacturing histories. All three are very similar but all short of some pertinent facts. We have vague descriptions about Scheidler's ill-fated firebox design, but no one has any idea what the crown sheet in the Scheidler firebox looks like.

'A couple of years ago, someone sent a picture in to one of the magazines from somewhere in the east of a late Scheidler engine. The barrel had a butt-joint. A person couldn't judge the construction unless some clear pictures were taken of the inside crown sheet area. I'm very curious about this. Reinhardt Scheidler made a serious blunder up to 1903 in his faulted crown sheet design. However, thereafter the fault passed on to those who continued the faulted design. If this was actually true, you wonder sometimes what A.S.M.E. thought of the Scheidler boiler.

A very nice late 1890s 12 HP Nichols & Shepard engine owned by Lance Barnes. Also taken at the Barnes Steam & Power Show by Russ Gelder.

'One last thing. The center picture on pages 28 & 29 in the May/June 1998 IMA, which is unidentified, is of a very large rig consisting of an Avery thresher and possibly a 25 HP engine which is a Buffalo Pitts.

'I enclose a picture of a Gaar-Scott return-flue of 1890, which was built in 6, 8, 10, 12, and 15 HP sizes. A close look reveals the new herringbone style lugs. The Cedar Falls, Iowa, show had quite a display of Advance, Rumely, Advance-Rumely, a 25 HP Illinois steamer, and quite a number of styles of Rumely Oil Pull tractors. There was a beautiful 9/16' scale 16 HP Advance there from Missouri. In full size, there were 10 HP, 16 HP, and 22 HP Advance coal burners, 18 and 20 HP Advance Rumely engines and a 15 HP double-cylinder Rumely, and not to forget, a 30 HP double Rumely from Minnesota, I believe.'

RUSS GELDER, 6075 Bethel Drive, Manhattan, Montana 59741 says, 'Hello once again, folks. Over the summer months I have accumulated a few more engine photos. I thought I would pass a few of these photos to you wonderful folks at IMA. I know you are always interested in fillers for your great publication. One photo shows a nice late 1890s 12 HP Nichols and Shepard engine owned by Lance Barnes. The other picture shows Lance Barnes riding the carriage of the sawmill powered by an 80 HP Aultman-Taylor portable engine. Please enjoy the photos and keep up the good work.'

My grandson Maverik Bursch on our 1909 J. I. Case 15 HP #21743 after its new paint job. (Gary Yaeger photos.)

GARY YAEGER, 146 Reimer Lane, Whitefish, Montana 59937 says: 'I just wanted to drop you a quick note and send some photographs taken during my 45th steaming season. The first are of the 1998 Northwest Antique Power Association's fall show held at our show grounds at Columbia Falls this past September 12 and 13. The weather was great and the attendance was just as good. 1 had done a lot of work on and painted our 15 HP Case this summer, so I had a little more pride in it than I had in past shows. Austin Monk decided to bring his 28 HP Minneapolis and 12 bottom Verity plow, which was the bright spot of our little show. Carl and Kim Tuttle of Howell, Michigan, were there and helped Austin in the operation of that fine equipment. I don't know how many Verity plows are in use today, but Austin did an impeccable job of restoring the plow he bought near North Battle ford, Saskatchewan. He had several months' time into the restoration. I understand that Verity was bought out by Massey Harris. The plow has 'parallelogram' plow beams which remain parallel to the ground when lifting over obstacles. Our cropland at the show grounds is a real rock pile, and the plow did a fine job of plowing. Kim did such a fine job of engineering the Minneapolis engine that I am concerned that he could have possibly gotten converted? The engine had not been used for several years and needed some TLC. Kim and Carl are real fine steam people and sure knew what they were doing.