Soot in the flues

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Hi! And a Happy Summer to you as I know you are all busy, busy, busy -planning Steam Show trips - and weeding the garden and painting the last dabs on that engine - and doing those summer chores that must be done around the house and dreaming and thinking of the smell of steam and the good times that will come your way at the Shows. You know what I mean -more dreaming and steaming and scheming, than keeping your mind on your work.

Well, take a minute off and take a look at the magazine - notice anything different? Sure 'nuff the magazine has changed hands and office location. The home base is now in Lancaster, as Earlene Ritzman has turned 'the reins' over to Gerald S. Lestz, the new editor and publisher of Iron-Men Album Magazine.

As before, Mr. Lestz plans to keep the magazine much as it has been, and it is only fair I give you a little date on the new 'head of our family.' I haven't know Gerald Lestz very long, but if first impressions count we'll be a big happy family as always. He's quite versatile and no 'greenhorn' in the literary field, as you'll see in forthcoming issues. He has been a newspaperman in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for 33 of the past 38 years. He writes for the Lancaster New Era and is editor of Baer's Agricultural Almanac and serves other publications in editorial capacity. He has written several books and many articles. His latest work is entitled 'Amish Beliefs, Customs & Discipline.' He is a past president of the Fine Arts League Of Lancaster and of the Friends of the Lancaster County Library, and of the statewide Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. He also gives lectures on old houses.

And as I mentioned in the Gas Engine Magazine, Gerry is a celebrity in the field of writing (which puts me in left field, so I'll have to shape up and get in the 'ball game'.) From the short time I've known him though, I can tell you it's very pleasant working with him. He is understanding, amiable and quite a likeable person - methinks we will be 'steaming along' pretty well.

When I first heard of the magazines being sold, I must admit I had mixed emotions as I prepared the materials to be turned over to the new owner. After all, I've been with the Ritzman's 15 years to the day. I started on September 16, 1957 and my job was terminated March 16, 1973 - how about that? When you've lived with something like that day in and dya out all those years, it becomes a part of you and although I probably don't know enough about STEAM yet, I've learned a lot of the terminology and better yet, I've made a lot of good friends through these pages. I know I'll never meet many of you folks, but believe me your names are familiar and I feel we're all part of thy ALBUM Family. Anyhow much to my surprise, Gerry has asked me to stay on with the magazines so I expect to continue for the time being.

Helen and Jim Ament will be handling the business end of the magazine and although we've not had too much time to get acquainted, they are a great pair and just give us all a little time to 'make the move.' Treat us as you would one of your 'kin' and be a little patient - it will be worth it.

And from the mailbag comes a few writings you will be interested in

EDWARD M. STAUFFER, R.D. 2, East Earl, Pennsylvania 17519 has a questions for you steam buggs - 'I have often wondered if someone has ever tried to help steam up a boiler with using steam from another boiler. As fast as a steam siphon will heat the feed water that an injector will not work, it would seem to me that if steam were taken from an already fired boiler and piped to the drain valve on the boiler to be fired, and the steam left to rise through the cold water, while a fire is being built, a head of steam could be gotten a lot quicker. It would be wise to put a check valve on the drain valve in case of a break in the steam line. The only problem would be the metal would expand to fast.

I would like to hear from people who have tried this and with what success, or any reason why it would not work.' (What about this Fellows? Will it work or not and why not? Seems to me it wouldn't be feasible, but then I'm no expert - only the go-between for the magazine and you friends of the ALBUM).

Some information needed by one of our younger members - MARK N. REIHART, R.D. 1, Alexandria, Pennsylvania 16611 (Avid steam fan). His item states: 'I'm 17 and never had any experience with steam engines, so I don't know much about them. I would like any information on different types of valves. I have seen mentioned in the Album several times, a valve called a Corliss type. What type of valve is it and how does it operate? Also I have heard mention of a buttstrap boiler - what is that?

Several people from my school and I have organized an antique machinery club and plan to attend several shows this summer, provided we can get transportation. So far the membership has reached four. Not one of the biggest organizations around, I'd say. (Maybe not Mark, but that's a pretty good beginning, don't give up!)

My father is an avid gas engine fan and has quite a few engines, mostly restored and running. I'm more of a steam fan though and spend most of my time at the shows at the traction engines. I would appreciate any information on the care and operation of them. (Help him out, Guys, don't let this interested enthusiast get away - it's his kind that must carry on for the future.)

A story of yesteryear comes to us from HISLE LUTES, 300 East Broadway, Winchester, Kentucky 40391. 'Once when I was a little boy a steam engine passed down the road by our school. All of us kids could hear it real plain a-puffing up the hill before it got to the schoolhouse and we were most anxious to get to see it pass. When it was almost in front of the school, the teacher said, 'The first one of you kids that turn abound to look out the window will get a taste of this hickory switch'.

We didn't get to see the steam engine pass, but the teacher looked out the window all the while. I reckon that must have been the biggest of steam engines from the sound of it a clinking and puffing by, but nobody got to see it but the teacher. That teacher was the meanest person I ever saw. (You know, by golly Hisle, I agree - but the teacher's loss was greater than yours that was a most opportune time to share a satisfying experience with the pupils -I imagine that teacher missed many things in life that would have been rewarding to class and teacher. Teacher could have tied the experience in with studying, fun and would have been much more of a friend to the students - right?).

In one of the issues of one of the magazines, someone inquired as to where the 'Wolfsville Ruritan Club' is located. It is South of Hagerstown, North of Frederick, Maryland. The answer came from R. Dayton Nicols, 6128 Route 5, Stafford, New York 14143. Thanks.

From LAWRENCE MARTIN, Route 2, Auburn, Michigan 48611 comes this writing: 'Dear Friend: There has been snow, rain, sleet and too much cold wather that started here the second week of December, so due to having Multiple Sclerosis I have been inside most of the time rereading the I.M.A. books I have since May 1956 and all G.E.M. books since it started.

'After again reading the story in the 1962 I.M.A. Jan-Feb., about the 33 whistles blow at Tell City, Indiana on August 1, 1960, I contacted Joe Fahnestock about some recordings or C 60 cassette tapes of the whistle blow. After several weeks I received a letter from Joe telling me he and his wife had been real sick this winter and almost died of the London Flu. He did say that he was not in Tell City at the time and does not have any tapes or recordings of that whistle symphony, so I'm wondering if someone in your midst could tell me the name of anyone in Indiana that might have recorded this particular event. There are no steam railroad engines, no steam thresher steam thresher engines around here any more, so no steam whistles.' He's hoping to hear from you out there I'll bet someone recorded it.

The Antique Mechanics Club of the University of California at Davis is attempting to list all makes of gas and steam engines manufactured in California. C.S. GOODNER, Antique Mechanics, 2020 Regis Drive, Davis, California 95616 is writing to ask for any information you might be able to provide. They would greatly appreciate the following information about any engine you might have built in California. They, in turn, will send you a copy of the California Early Engine List. They would like to know the Name, Manufacturer, Address of Manufacturer, Model, Ignition Type, Patent date and year, Horsepower, No. Cylinders, Series Number, Fuel and your name.

The Antique Mechanics organization is a group of University of California students devoted to the restoration and preservation of agricultural machinery. Their goal is to bring together a collection of items depicting a history of California agriculture. The collection has grown to over 200 donated items, many of which have been restored to original operating condition.

Your help in this endeavor is greatly appreciated and we wish them much success in their efforts.

I think it's about time I sign off and as we are about into summer - do have fun and I'm sure you'll make some wonderful new friends at the reunions -and when you come back, let us hear from you, the reports, pictures and stories - we'll be waiting to hear from you.