Soot in the flues

Content Tools

Hi! Is everyone ready for summer? You had better believe it after the long, wintry months. And by the time you pull this issue from the mailbox, some of the shows will be underway as if you didn't know! I'll wager many of you are already packed and set up for the treks to the various shows while some of you are putting the finishing touches on the little or large beauties!

Another great little story comes from Wellsprings of Wisdom by Ralph L. Woods this one is called The Vital Link

A spider built his web in a barn, high up among the rafters, where he started by spinning a long, thin thread attached to the end of one of the beams. With this thread still attached to him, the spider jumped off the beam and spun out more thread on the way down, until he reached the place he planned as the center of his web. From the center he then spun out other threads like the spokes of a wheel, attaching each of them to the walls and other places. Finally he had an exquisitely made web, that helped him catch many fine fat flies. But he grew fat and lazy and vain.

One day he was admiring the web he had spun from the top beam and said, 'I wonder what that is for? I can't imagine why I ever put it there-it doesn't catch any flies.' And so, on a sudden impulse he broke it. But as a result the whole wonderful web collapsed. The spider had forgotten that the one thread the link to the strongest beam above supported the whole web. It is very much the same when a man breaks his link with God. (I don't know about you, but I get a lot of food for thought from these stories.)

Hearing from one of our regular contributors, this letter comes from EDWIN H. BREDEMEIER, RR#1 Box 13, Steinauer, Nebraska 68441: 'To the readers of Mar-Apr. 84 IMAA month ago I finished reading the book 'The Day of the Bonanza' by Hiram M. Drache and now on page 1, I read more about the Bonanza Farms. I recommend the book to anyone who is interested in history and especially the settlement of the Dakotas

'I'm too young at 75 to have had any experiences with steam, but one story or experience my uncle had was on Sunday P.M. he and the water boy cleaned out the boiler and refilled it and placed material in the firebox for the engineer the next morning. Uncle was separator tender. Next morning the engineer got to the engine and got a good fire started (it was dark) and he thought steam was coming up pretty fast as he heard the crown sheet buckle. He dropped the fire and turned the lantern around to water glass and found it low.

'What happed was a group of younguns started a fire with the kindling Sunday afternoon, got up steam and took a joy ride until the water was getting low and no one knew how to get more water in the boiler, so they parked it in the exact spot as they found it and left it low on water. Now if the engineer had known that the kindling was for the fire box and was used he said he would have suspected something; so it cost uncle a lot to repair it.

That is one of the stories I remember!'

This letter with poem comes from MELVIN R. GRENVIK, 115-lst Ave. N.E., Kenmare, North Dakota 58746: 'All the old steam men had their favorite engines just as we more modern folks are about cars but one engine that was so highly regarded by almost all was the big 80 HP Case. I dreamed up this poem while driving cross country, inspired by an old threshing machine rusting away alongside the highway. I think old-timers will get a kick out of it.

In days that are gone, when steam was still king
No one could possibly face
The ridiculous though that gas would replace
The big old 80horse Case.

It stands out alone amongst more of its kind
Each one has its own rightful place.
When the chips are down and the tough job looms
They bow to the 80-horse Case.

With a full head of steam, and smoke from its stack
This engine was setting the pace,
With a twelve bottom plow sacked into the hilt
Behind that wide-wheeled 80-horse Case.

Belching black smoke with an ear-splitting bark
It pulls out ahead in the race
The others can't cope with the conquering might
Of the awesome 80-horse Case.

With plenty of steam it stands ready to pull
Mt. McKinley right off from its base
With good footing beneath, there's no stopping this beast
The mighty old 80-horse Case.

Steam was the king on the threshing machine
And they set up a blistering pace
With five men pitching the bundles in
Just play for the 80-horse Case.

Most of the old engineers are gone
To a far away happier place
But each fondly looks back on the days of his youth
When he fired an 80 horse Case.

If plowing and threshing are still to be done
Way up in that heavenly place
There'll be an old engineer with a smile on his face
Still running an 80-horse Case.

Some say when St. Peter gets ready
To pull open those big, heavy gates
His right hand will be on the throttle
Of a beautiful 80-horse Case.

Of all the magazines I receive, I look forward to the Iron-Men Album most of all.'

KENNETH C. FIEGEL, Box 14, Rt. 3, Kingfisher, Oklahoma 73750 send this: 'On page 16 of the Mar-Apr, issue if IMA is a sampling of stamps from different countries which feature steam engines, published in Steaming Magazine, a British publication. Are these stamps available? If so, where? I would appreciate any help you can give. My grandson collects stamps and would like to have some of these.' (Anybody know? I'm sure I don't as I'm not much help on stamps who could give Kenneth and us the answer to this one?)

A 1914 double cylinder Peerless engine which my dad bought new with a separator. I don't know the horse power, but the picture was taken mile out of Easton, Missouri with my dad who was known as 'Bill' Herron. He did threshing around the country. During World War II the engine was sold to two men from Cameron, Missouri where it was used in a saw mill. It was left to stand and to freeze up which burst the boiler, so persumably it was sold for junk.

This communication comes from the County Antique Engine Club of Silver Creek and Stephenson Rail road, written by RON PIEPER, Director, 5478 Clover Road, Free-port, Illinois 61032. Phone 815-232 2306: 'Two years ago our club purchased a 37 ton Heisler logging locomotive and had it operational this past July. On November 27, 1983 we brought home an antique wooden caboose, formerly on the C. B.&Q. So, now we have a head and a tail!

'Our big problem lies somewhere in between. The cupola-type car has wooden truck frames reported to be the last such type the Pullman Company built. It has a bowed roof and a hardwood floor. Bunks, seats, desk, etc. are all pretty much intact.

'The past two years were spent negotiating with the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific R.R. Mostly, we lost! Our big gain was 1.67 mile of right-of-way adjacent to our 19 acre future museum site. It cost us $550 per acre and totaled 20 acres. We then tried to buy the rail in place. They asked $55,000 per mile. We negotiated more and they came down to $55,000 for the 1.67 mile stretch. Back to the 'Board' and a vote by the members, who overwhelmingly voted YES!

'Next, a letter and a call to the CM. St. Paul & P. stating our willingness to purchase. No answer. A call through our State Senator Harlan Rigney who has helped us many other times. (He is also the man who just recently got Illinois to agree to some good changes in our 'Boiler Laws'.) Their reply was that the value had gone up no deal we weren't quick enough. Their offer was no longer open, no more talking. The scrapper finished destroying our section one week before Christmas.

'This is a much simplified version of our contact with the R.R. lawyers. Later, we tried to buy the ties from the scrapper. He was impossible to deal with. Now, we are looking for 2-2 mile of rail and ties and fastenings. A part of our problem was that the line was 112# rail (112# to the yard). It will be welded together and reused elsewhere. What we need is 60-90# rail to keep the tonnage down. Anyone who can help us, please call or write.

'One lesson was learned about R.R. officials. They would rather not do business with people. They have more lawyers than workers and they are more concerned with the price of scrap than if the trains are on time.

'Our 1984 Show dates are July 27, 28 & 29. Come help us build a railroad!'

Seeking help, this letter comes from JOHN BYERS, Mathers Museum, Indiana University, 601 East Eighth Street, Bloomington, Indiana 47405: 'I am an exhibit preparator at the Mathers Museum and particularly interested in post industrial-revolution agricultural machinery. We have staged two small steam shows here, and have plans for larger ones in the future.

'Perhaps one of your readers may know if the records of the Avery Company in Peoria, Illinois are preserved anywhere. I would be most grateful to find any information about traction engine #4947.

'I enjoy your magazine very much and feel that you are performing a great service to those that wish to preserve our early power heritage.'

(Please get in touch with John if you can supply the data he needs. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the Iron-Men Family has the answer.)

TONY FRIGA, Route 3, Box 200, Willow Springs, Missouri 65793 send this: 'I have just purchased a James

Pictured is the big Case steam farm traction engine that my father once owned back in the 1920's up until 1928. We didn't thresh with this engine although we bought it form a family that did. We used this steam engine to fill silos. My father had a 320-acre dairy farm seven miles West of Denver. We had the Holstein breed of dairy animals. We had three cement stove silos of our own, 14 feet in diameter and 35 feet high. We also filled silos for other people in the neighborhood. It is 110 HP on the belt and 32 HP on the drawbar. I am the little fellow standing back by the hind wheel. My brothers are alongside me along with a boy from the family from which we bought the engine. I sure hated to see this big Case leave the farm. It was too heavy. It had a double clutch assembly that woked by two levers one on each side of the driver's seat and was geared to the main shaft that the big belt wheel.

Leffel Co, Springfield, Ohio steam engine, It is stationary, 8' x 10' #83. The flywheel is 40' x 11'; belt wheel is 28'xl2'. The base is 55'x21'xl2' about 1' thick. I think it was used to pull a sawmill. It is not stuck, but has some parts missing. If someone knows the year made and the horsepower, I would like to know. All letters will be answered.'

(There you are Fellas someone awaits your letter).

Requesting your help in search of a book, this letter comes from ROGER L. ROBERTSON, 3706 Emily Street. Kensington Maryland 20895: 'It has just come to my attention that the Jan-Feb. issue of Iron-Men Album contains an article on the Skinner engine company. For some time now I have been writing to book dealers throughout the U.S. on behalf of my friend, Paul Stephens' Stationary Engine Research Group in Bristol, England, trying to locate a copy of the following book: The Uniflow Steam Engine, by Johann Stumpf; 1st edition, 1912; Unaflow Engine Company, Inc., Syracuse, New York. It is the English translation that Mr. Stephens wants to locate and buy.

The purpose of this letter is to ask if you have any suggestions as to where a copy of this book might be located. If not, I will of course understand, since I have been quite unsuccessful so far.' (How about it anyone out there know where he might write to find out about this? I keep telling you folks not to send anything into the column that could be bought, but evidently he has searched all places he knows with ads or calls just some suggestions as to where he could write for this information).

'I have taken the IMA for many years and I think it is one of the best magazines ever published for steam engine men,' states DALLES M. FIDLER, Clarinda, Iowa 51632.

'I will try to give you a little history of the Fidler family. My grandfather, John Fidler, had a stationary sawmill at Hopkins, Missouri. One day, early in the morning, they were just getting ready to start sawing when the boiler blew. It was 20' long. When it landed, it was mile away. As I remember my father telling me, my great grandfather was the only one injured. He had his right arm and leg broken.

A PICNIC AT THE SAW MILL This picture was taken about 1915 in the upper White Oak valley above Mowrystown, Ohio. The saw mill was owned by Louis Burger, who is holding his baby daughter, Eunice. I can barely remember going up there with my parents and friends from town one day at noon and the cars were brass radiator Fords. I am the kid leaning on the log.

My grandfather, Charles, was a thresher and sawmill man, as were his sons, my father, Edd, and his brothers: Fred, Don and Jurd.

My grandmother Fidler's brother, Lem Hoskins had his sawmill at Eagleville, Missouri, My mother's father Hi Hutchison, had his sawmill in Braddyville, Iowa. So you can see why I am a STEAM ENGINE NUT!

My son, Eldon and I still run a 40 HP Case at the Eshelman's Show at Elliot, Iowa and we hove to make it again this year

'My father was a Case dealer for several years and he delighted in trading for an engine someone else couldn't run. He was one of the best steam engine men that ever lived in Southwest Iowa. He would take these old engines, fix them up and resell them.

'Following are some of the experiences our family has had My grandfather and one of his sons were going up a rather steep hill with their 10 HP Advance engine and separator. The countershaft broke, the engine rolled back into the separator, crushing it.

'When I was a baby, my father fell through the 102 River Bridge with a 12 HP center crank Case engine. As luck would have it, he was not seriously injured.

'And the most foolish stunt that I ever did was in the fall of 1924.I was running my father's 18 HP under-mounted Avery and 36' Avery separator, threshing timothy. When I finished and started home, I could either go through Clarinda, about 10 miles longer route, or cross a temporary bridge that the farmers and county had built across the Noda-way River. I decided to cross the bridge, which I did, with the whole outfit coupled together. When my father found out what I had done, he almost had a heart attack. I get a little nervous yet today when I think about what I did. The Good Lord must have had his arms around me that day.

'Another time, Dad traded a 13 HP Reeves for a 15 HP Case. As usual, I had the job of exchanging them. We were to meet half-way between places. I went about two thirds of the way before I met the man with the Case. We exchanged at the bottom of the hill. When I started up the hill, I found out why he was late. The engine would just creep along going up hill. On the level, it would move right along. I got home about dark and told my father how it had acted. The next morning, he took the top off the dome valve. The seat had come loose and lodged over the steam pipe.

'When I was about 10 years old, my father owned an 8 HP return flue Huber. I used to steam it up every chance I could and run it around the pasture. I have sawed in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Alaska. I sawed some last fall at the Mickelson Green Ridge Show at Irwin, Iowa on a mill my father had bought new in 1902. It was an Aultman Taylor engine and is now owned by Don Ferry of Irwin.

'Well, I could go on and on with these short stories but I will close the throttle and call it a day!

'I started flying in 1929, I owned two airplanes, a Lincoln Page with Q-X-5 motor. The other one was a Cavalier with a 55 HP Velie motor.'

(Best wishes to you and your wife on June 18 as you say you will celebrate your 65th Anniversary isn't that wonderful??)

'Enclosed you will find pictures of two steam engines and one gas tractor taken at Somerset, Virginia,' says HOWARD SOMERS, RR #1, Lindenwood, Illinois 61049. 'The traction engine is a 1914 16-48 Frick, owned and operated by Craig Thompson, Orange, Virginia. The stationary steam engine is a Farquhar Iron Ace, 50 HP believed to be a 1926 model. Mr. William Roberts of Somerset, Va. owns this engine along with the IHC 8-16 tractor seen below the entrance sign to the show held on his property. These are just three of the numerous engine exhibits found there.

'We were invited to the Somerset Steam and Gas Pasture Party last August. I contacted Bill after seeing a picture in IMA of a gentleman on the Frick steam engine who had the same last name as mine. At that time, Bill asked me to come and see his show. My son, his family, my daughter and a neighbor and myself journeyed eastward to visit Somerset. Regretfully, we weren't able to spend as much time as we wished.

'We found the Pasture Party unique in that it had activities, entertainment and exhibits for children as well as steam and gas enthusiasts. The warm hospitality extended to us by Bill and his wife and the rest of the show members made our small group feel part of their family. Within 15 minutes of our arrival, Craig Thompson had my son, Joe, taking the Frick for a run around the pasture.

'Although the show is only a few years old, it's been growing and has the community's support; a nicer compliment can't be given for a local show. Hopefully, in the near future we can return and spend more time in an area loaded with American history, and renew our friendship with these wonderful people. James and Dolly Madison's home is only a stone's throw away as well as Civil War battle sites.'

This short letter comes from OTHO ASH and C. BURKHART, 902 W. Jefferson, Pittsfield, Illinois 62363: 'We hope this old time photo will be of some interest to many. The original was found in a collection of old family pictures. So we know nothing about it. To us, we assume the engine is a straw burner because of the pile of straw at the rear of the engine. Perhaps some reader could tell us the make of this engine and any other information.'

This letter from MRS. EARNEST BRESSLER, Bird City, Kansas 67731, states this: 'Earnest and our son Robert of the Tri-State Antique Engine and Threshers took the 16-60 Nichols and Shepard steam engine to McCook, Nebraska the 12th to cook the corn for their Corn Days Celebration. 24,000 ears of corn were picked for the celebration. Earnest estimated that in a five hour span of time, over 10,000 had passed through the food line.

This is probably the last time this year that a steamer will leave home base. Other tractors (not requiring the large trailer) will be used for exhibiting purposes at the fairs and other tractor shows in the area.

In signing off I'll leave you with a few worthy thoughts... You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips... If it were easy, anybody could do it... A good angle to approach any problem is the TTY-angle... It also takes two to make up after a quarrel... It is never the right time to do the wrong thing... Bye Bye love you all!