Soot in the flues

Content Tools

Hi Dear Friends and Family of I.M.A.! I guess you are in your glory now with the Reunion Season in full swing and a few months to go. Enjoy it! And don't forget to pile up the memories and the good stories to let us in on later.

A while back I had a few sentences on signs of age. I promised to print some more of those funny(?) lines. Here it is in its entirety called:

Sign of Age

Everything hurts and what doesn't hurt, doesn't work
You feel like the night after when you haven't been anywhere
You get winded playing chess
Your children begin to look middle aged
You know all the answers, but nobody asks you the questions
You look forward to a dull evening
You turn out the light for economic rather than romantic reasons
You sit in a rocking chair and can't get going
Your knees buckle and your belt won't
You're 17 around the neck, 43 around the waist, 96 around the golf course
You just can't stand people who are intolerant
You burn the midnight oil until 9 P.M.
Your back goes out more often than you do
Your pacemaker raises the garage door when you see a pretty girl go by
The little gray-haired lady you help across the street is your wife
You get your exercise acting as pallbearer for friends who exercise
You have too much room in the house and not enough in the medicine cabinet
You sink your teeth into a steak and they stay there.

Aren't we strange creatures though? If you read this, you may chuckle a little, but not so much if they refer to you personally. I hope too many of them do not apply to you. I figure well; none of those are for meha! (Anyhow sounds like most of them are meant for men, don't you think so ladies, ms's and gals?) Enough of this and onto the letters:

First letter is from KNUTE KIRKEBERG, Box 1145, Cortez, Colorado 81321: 'When I received my Jan.-Feb. 1982 issue of IMA, I had to come back several times to picture No. 4 of the unclassified photos. It didn't seem possible, but the man at the controls looks like my father. If so, this picture had to be taken near Mayville, North Dakota in 1923, seven years before I was born. He came to the United States that year from Norway and worked on a farm owned by a family named Moen. Possibly some of your readers in the North Dakota area can remember and identify the engine. It looks like it could possibly be a Bird-sail. I don't know about those strange open cleats on the rear wheels. In any case, it would be exciting to positively identify my father.' (Now, there's a fellow that would really appreciate knowing the real identification of the picture. See if you can help Knute.)

TOM LIVINGSTON, Box 423, Fortuna, California 95540, phone 707-725-3177 sends this letter: 'I would like information on early steam engines, brass frames, the kind that was used in small steam buggies. I have two of this type engine. The serial numbers on them are 957 and 968. Any help in finding out what year they were made and who manufactured them would be greatly appreciated.'

Perhaps you can help PETER D.F. WIEBE, Grunthal, Manitoba, Canada R0A 0R0. Phone 434-6384. He would like any information on a Sawyer Massey steamer. He has one and he cannot find his horsepower or year of the steamer. On the chamber plate the number is L 666. Please let him hear from you.

We had a letter from CARL CUSHICK, 38174 Long Crossing Road, Leetonia, Ohio 44431. He had a letter in the Nov.-Dec. 1981 column of IMA. It was concerning a car instead of an engine. He writes: 'We are so pleased to report that we have received several letters from steam-men since our letter was printed in your magazine. Thanks again! We were surprised to receive one letter even before our magazine arrived.' (Isn't it nicethese steam men will help in any way they can. Thanks fellas.)

'I have been building on a 2 cyl. Reeves. I will have it running soon so I don't know the true colors to paint it. If anyone could send me a picture of a colored picture, sure would appreciate it.' This comes from FREEMAN MONTGOMERY, 155 Rue Grand, Lake St. Louis, Missouri 63367.

ALFRED NEUSCHAFER, Enterprise, Kansas 67441 writes regarding the unclassified photo in March-April 1982 IMA: 'On page 18, photo #1 was taken in August 1920 in Ellsworth County, Kansas. The machine in this scene is a Minneapolis engine and separator bought new that year. The owner of the machine is Fred Nieke, now deceased, standing on the separator. My brother, John and I are sitting on the grain wagon in right of picture. I was 9 years of age and my brother was 7. My father, Henry Neuschafer took the picture. I suppose my brother and I are the only persons living today from this picture. Old steam engineers would say that the engineer in the picture was wasting coal. I still remember that engineer saying that the threw in 3 or 4 shovels of coal to make this picture to make lots of smoke. I am now 70 years of age.' (We appreciate hearing from you folks on these old pictures the readers really enjoy it also.)

We have several letters on comments of the unclassified photos for Mar-Apr. 1982. This one comes from WM. W. WILLOCK, JR., Route 1, Box 650, Rolph's Wharf Road, Chestertown, Maryland 21620: 'Regarding the unclassified photos in the March-April issue, I believe #3 at the bottom of page 18 shows the dedication of the Port Huron wheel at LeRoy Blaker's farm in recognition of his founding of the National Threshers Association, and his long stint as president.

Blaker is the third from the left, with his hand on the bull gear the other gentleman I can't name, but are probably members of the Board of Directors. This event occurred some years ago; I don't recall the exact year, but no doubt it was a significant anniversary of the founding of the association. I believe it was written up in IMA at the time. Incidentally, the Blakers lived near Alvordton, Ohio. I visited them back in the 50s, and was treated to a real country dinner and tour of the sawmill and engine collection.

The next letter is information on the same picture mentioned above. It comes from WALTER J. HUFFMAN, 3-15119 U.S.-A-20, Wauseon, Ohio 43567. Walter tells us: 'On page 18 of March-April the unclassified photos at the bottom of the page. This is a Port Huron engine wheel on the farm of LeRoy Blaker, Alvordton, Ohio. This is where the National Threshers Association was founded in 1944. I would guess this picture to have been taken before 1953. The N.T.A. moved from the Blaker farm to the Williams County Fairgrounds, Montpelier, Ohio in 1953. From there to the Fulton County Fairgrounds, Wauseon in 1965 where it is still held. The wheel no longer stands.

LeRoy Blaker was president of N.T.A. for 25 years. Ernest Hoffer of Toledo, Ohio was president 8 years. Marvin Brodbeck of Ottawa Lake, Michigan is now the president.

The men in the picture as far as I know are left to right: Reverend Elmer Ritzman, Bill Benner of Clayton, Michigan, next one unknown; seated: Clyde Felger, LeRoy Blaker, Dan Zehr, Ernest Hoffer. Standing, unknown. Then: Merle Newkirk, Paul Curtiss and the last one could this be Louie Davidin sons? I hope someone will send you a complete list of names. Keep up your good work.'

The next letter comes from HERBERT E. MANN, R.R. 2, Box 46, Warsaw, Indiana 46580 and some of it is on the same picture mentioned in the above two previous letters. (I like to print them all for I know many of you are very interested in them. None of the men seem to know all the men mentioned in the letter. Perhaps if you study them all, we will come up with the complete list of names.)

Herbert writes: 'The unclassified photo #3 in the March-April issue was taken at the home of LeRoy Blaker, Alvordton, Ohio and I believe these gentlemen were the original members of the National Threshers Association. The Port Huron rear wheel was erected with a commemorative plaque to indicate that the first threshers show in the United States was held here in 1946.

I attended the first show and I remember LeRoy Blaker's 32-110 Port Huron engine, his 24 HP Longfellow in the sawmill and a couple of Baker uniflows made up the lineup. All the neighbors brought their new M Farmalls, G John Deeres and an LA Case to try out on the A.D. Baker prony brake. I had a nice visit with Mr. Baker, who was then in his 90s. He told me that the small high pressure steam tractor had to be discontinued because the steam cylinder oil in the condensed water going back into the fire tube boiler would form an insulating layer around the tubes making it very hard to keep steam up under load. They finally devised a filter by simply threading a pipe casing on both ends and packing it with straw. When the straw became saturated, you unthreaded the cap and packed in fresh straw. But, by then it was too late, the internal combustion engine had taken over.

The only men in the photo that I can identify are the Rev. Elmer Ritz-man on the far left, LeRoy Blaker sitting just left of the plaque and Ernest Paulson with his hand against the Port Huron final drive gear. Ernest and my father went to school together in Rome Township near

Onsted, Michigan. He was a lifelong friend and neighbor and considered one of the best threshermen in the area. His first tractor was a 15-30 International with the 4 cylinder horizontal engine with four separate carburetors. The neighbors would bring their grain in on Saturday to have it ground and everyone would take their turn cranking the 15-30, trying to get it started. Mrs. Pawson was a large woman and would finally get fed up with all the commotion. She would go out and crank up the 15-30 and get it started!

Ernest traded the International in 1926 for a Rumely R 25-95 Oil Pull. I remember one time the County Highway had parked an Allis-Chalmers M Crawler tractor and Russell grader right next to a long lane going back to a Mayfield. This lane went up a steep sandy hill that had washed badly, so Ernest asked the Hwy. Superintendent if they could use the Russell grader behind the Oil Pull to grade the lane. The superintendent told him to use the whole outfit, but Ernest felt safer with the Oil Pull. About half way up the hill, the Rumely spun out, and we had to chain the crawler on ahead and pull the whole works up the hill. This was my first experience in crawler superiority in poor footing.

Ernest bought a Port Huron Rusher 3 head block sawmill, with 60' main saw and 30' top saw. The Rumely would saw all day on 25 gallons of kerosene and 25 gallons of water, but it just didn't have enough power. So, the Pawsons found a 19-65 Port Huron Longfellow engine that was adequate, but still not big enough.

By this time I was 12 years old and spent all the time I could hanging around the engine, for which I would get $2.00 per day plus my meals! I could be around the engine and get paid besides. The fireman also ran the slab saw, so you were plenty busy.

After I left home and sought my fortunes elsewhere, the Pawsons sold the Port Huron engine and bought a Baker from somewhere in the Reading, Michigan area. This engine had been in a mill for sometime and the rear wheels and gearing had been sold for scrap. This was a 20th Century engine with counter-flow valve and I believe it was over 100 horsepower. I understand very few of these engines were built. Perhaps a Baker enthusiast can fill us in on this engine.

Well, I have rambled on long enough. Steam is now out of my reach, but I have a John Deere GP, McCormick Deering 15-30, Farmall F-12, Case RC and an Allis-Chalmers CA that I have picked up over the years. Keep the good articles coming.' (Thanks Herbert, and I believe the older readers will enjoy your letter.)

Our next informative letter comes from DICK HEAVEN, 155 Cross Street, Clarksville, Michigan 48815 and he comments on all the pictures:

'I would like to say what a great job you have done on a great column in a great magazine, and I like the way you clean the flues at the end. Have you made a book of the quotes over the years? (No, not really just look back through them now and then.)

I am sitting at home recouperating from surgery so thought I would give you my ideas of the pictures in the unclassified photos in the March-April IMA. Here's my thoughts as I see them:

1. A 24 HP Minneapolis and a Yellow Fellow Avery separator in the wheat country, from the look of all the good teams and grain wagons, they are hauling the grain quite a distance.

2. A nice 24 HP Minneapolis engine been doing quite a bit of belt work from the looks of the band wheel all shiney and nice. The one horsepower in front must be sitting down or his hind legs are in a deep hole.

3. These men are part of the celebration and dedication ceremonies at LeRoy Blaker's home farm at Alvordton, Ohio, the site of the first steam show in the states. The men left to right are: Rev. Elmer Ritzman, founder of our magazine. The next man comes from southernmost part of Michigan. He had a Baker engine, don't know the next nor the man sitting on the right hand of LeRoy Blaker or the man on his left, but the 7th man is Ernest Hoffer and was second president of National Thresher's Association. Following LeRoy, next man don't know. The next man is the man from Midland, Michigan that furnished the Port Huron wheel and plaque. The next is Paul (forgot his last name). I am sorry about not knowing the names. I remember the faces.

4. A nice early sawmill scene, and as was the case in those days when they knew the photographer was coming they wanted the whole family and the prize animals in the picture. I am surprised there are no dogs. The boiler seems to be bricked in with field stone. This is a 'make do with what you've got.'

5. I believe they are threshing with a 19-65 Port Huron and from the looks of the coal wagon they are nearly done. Also they are blowing the straw off the one side of the stack which seems to be topped out.

6. This engine should get some comments as I believe it is a 32 HP Port Huron, but it is a left-handed engine. Would like to know more about this engine.

7. A nice model Case and the man is proud of his engine. The little boy doesn't believe what he is seeing. The other men are wondering if they could do a job like that. Would they have time and how much did it cost? It's amazing what some people can do if they set their minds to it.

'The man who loses his head is the last one to miss it.'

R. G. JACOBY, Route 3, Marengo, Iowa 52301 writes a short letter and again on some identification of pictures. Surely March-April pictures stirred up a lot of writing and this is good. His letter tells us: 'Picture #2 is Jess Barber in a 9.55-22 Lavina, Iowa and his 28-88 Minnesota steamer and 24 year old blue stone Poney, the best roping poney in this world. #3 shows plaque of site of first steam show 1946 at LeRoy Blaker's farm. This plaque was printed on the cover of Jan.-Feb. 1960 and the cover of May-June 1969 and with the unclassified pictures of May-June 1978 photos.' (Thank you R.G., I bet a lot of men will be looking them up and they are a little different photos and captions.)

JACK ALLEN, 4404 East Harry, Wichita, Kansas 67218 needs help as he would like to know what kind of a separator is on the picture on page 9 of March-April 1982 IMA. Maybe Keith Sternberg will see this and answer Jack.

Inquiries come from BILL STAHL, 6560 W. SR 46, Columbus, Indiana 47201. Phone 812-342-4713. 'Several years ago Denis Schrank of Batesville, Indiana and I purchased an Emerson Brantingham 60 HP engine, serial #18021. We are in the process of restoring it and would like to know the proper colors and any other information one may have. We would also like to know where or at what show we could see another engine like it.' (Okay fellows, if you have an Emerson Brantingham engine at your show, please contact Bill.)

HAROLD MATTHEWS, Box 91, Pima, Arizona 85543 would like to know of any company that presently builds 50 to 200 HP steam engines, either portable or stationary. If you know, please let us here at Stemgas know also. Thanks.

Anybody out there know what city Ritchie's Weedens toy steam engines were made? Please let us know and also write GEORGE L. JACOBS, 708 Knapp Street, Wolf Point, Montana 59201.

One of our contributors to the column writes and needs to hear from some of the IMA Family please help him if you can. CARL M. LATHROP, 108 Garfield Avenue, Madison, New Jersey 07940 writes: 'Turn about is fair play I learned as a small boy. In the past I have answered quite a number of 'requests for information' type letters in your column. Now it is my turn to look for information.

I am doing a story about the African Queen and have again come across a steam engine manufacturer that I can't identify. The base of this 6 x 6 single cylinder double acting steam engine has cast into it trade O & S mark. I can't find any information about this builder in my references. I had run across the name before when I saw it on the fire-door of a boiler out in West Virginia. Certainly someone out there in Engine land has heard of O & S.'

Fellows! I tried to go back over these letters, particularly the ones on the #3 picture of unclassified photos and as far as I can come up with we 'have a name for everyone but the 8th man from 1. to r. See what you come up with and if anyone has a name for #8, please let me know.

And now in closing I'd like to leave you with a note sent to me by ROBERT F. EATON, 7850 King Memorial Road, Mentor, Ohio 44060 as he writes: 'Dear Anna Mae: I have been reading your columns Soot in the Flues and Smoke Rings for quite a few years. This is one of the first things I look for in the magazine. I appreciate your fine outlook on life and the stories on your family life. I surely do appreciate your work in keeping these most interesting magazines going.' (Thanks so much Robert, I needed that, but of course you realize I am only a little part of keeping the magazine going we have a fine staff of workers and most of the credit must go to them. We do try to please you folks, and I am sure we don't always suit everyone, but we ask you to bear with us and send us any constructive or complimentary criticisms. We honestly will try and deal with them. Also, Robert the Iron Men Family that writes in really makes the magazine as interesting as it is, we would be nothing without all of you.

And as always A man's reputation is only what men think him to be; his character is what God knows him to be. What you laugh at tells plainer than words what you are. When we depend on man, we get what man can do; when we depend on prayer, we get what God can do. Truth doesn't hurt, unless it ought to. The dictionary is the only place you will find success before work.

Bye Bye Love Ya!