Soot in the flues

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Hi, Wonderful Friends of so many years another chance for me to greet you and share your excitement as you trek the highways to the reunions and shows and please don't forget to share the happiness of the trips and miles that you travel this summer of 1986.

Before we get into the letters, I have a story from Wellsprings of Wisdom entitled 'The Sparrow'. (It's more about love, though):

'I was returning from hunting, walking along the avenue of the garden, my dog running in front of me. Suddenly she took shorter steps, and began to steal along as though tracking game.

'I looked down the avenue, and saw a young sparrow, with yellow about its beak and down on its head. It had fallen out of the nest (the wind was violently shaking the birch trees in the avenue) and sat unable to move, helplessly flapping its half-grown wings.

'My dog was slowly approaching it, when, suddenly darting down from a tree close by, an old dark throated sparrow fell like a stone right before his nose, and all ruffled up, terrified, with despairing and pitiful cheeps, it flung itself twice towards the open jaws of shining teeth.

It sprang to save; it cast itself before its nestling all its tiny body was shaking with terror, its note was harsh and strange. Swooning with fear, it offered itself up!

'What a huge monster must the dog have seemed to it! And yet it could not stay on its high branch out of danger a force stronger than its will flung it down.

'My dog, Tresor, stood still, drew back clearly he too recognized this force. I hastened to call off the disconcerted dog,-and went away full of reverence.

'Yes, do not laugh: I felt reverence for that tiny heroic bird, for its impulse of love. Love, I thought, is stronger than death or the fear of death. Only by it, by love, life holds together and advances. 'Ivan Turgenev.

And now on to the communications:

RAY APPRILL, 310 S. Washington Street, Oconto Falls, Wisconsin 54154 writes: 'When I received the Jan-Feb issue of IMA, I glanced at the front cover and something caught my eye, and I tipped the magazine over to the back cover and something caught my eye again. Some beautifully restored engines which the owners and the ones that restore them can really be proud of.

'The man standing by the rear wheel of the Garr Scott also on the deck of the Case engine is very becoming with the antique engines and his blue denim bibbed overalls and old felt hat.

'I am an elderly man and can remember years ago when my grandfather wore the bibbed overalls and felt hat when threshing and sawing lumber when working with and around the steam engines.

'I attend many steam shows every year and am a member of several shows and would like to see more of blue denim overalls and felt hats on the operators of the steam engines, and also when they run old tractors and other antique equipment.

'Let's not forget the old gas and kerosene two flywheel one-lunger engines. I own a scale Case steam engine.' (I'd say Ray was doing a little bit of reminiscing how about you? Get those thoughts and letters to me.)

'Herewith a little more railroad iana for the special interest of those many of our readers who enjoyed a comeuppance within the confines of the Iron Horse, as well as others who are simply interested in any steam engines,' says FRANK J. BURRIS, 1102 Box Canyon Road, Fallbrook, California 92028.

'Snap #1 is the result of a surprise encounter on a foggy morning way back in the Southeast, about 1960. when in my travels on official duty I stopped at a little restaurant along the way and saw three mammoth truckloads of old-timer locomotives, presumably retired from former lumbering operations, headed for their new home at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, where they have long since taken new breaths of life and thrilled all those who arrived each year to mix it up with the old Midwesteners. It may be seen that two of the locomotives proper are loaded on two trucks standing alongside each other while their truck masters were presumably partaking of a morning repast before continuing on with their long journey. At the rear was the third truck, which carried both tenders of these fine old specimens. As I recall, later photos of these engines, in operation during the annual shows, revealed that they were equipped with the Southern (radial type) valve gear. They really sported 'cabbage' stacks in order to suppress sparks amidst the timber stands.

'Snap #2 is that taken of a miniature 'Shay' type locomotive, which is one of the several types that are steamed up usually every Sunday at the (Hunter's, as I recall) park in Riverside, California. This miniature railway club, sporting both 6 and 7 inch gauge trackage all the way around a tremendous perimeter of the park, while being only a shadow of that at Travel town in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, is nevertheless a splendid hobby exhibit, and is found hauling visitors on its Lilliputian cars for but a small donation to help pay for the Welsh coal and oil used for fuel. The workmanship and skill involved in design and construction of these little fellows, often made from scratch without benefit of 'kits' is simply astounding.

'Photo #3 shows this particular 'Little Toot' under full head of steam climbing a grade in the course, carrying her engineer and a passenger on the attached flat car. Such little three-cylindered engines when travelling at scale speed really emit a tiny thundering staccato from being geared down that would remind a listener of a standard locomotive travelling over a hundred miles per hour. It is always a great thrill to examine these little giants and see them in action.

'#4, alas, is a picture of one of the Northwestern Pacific 2-8-8-2 simple mallet type locomotives that had rendered a faithful service over so many years but now became so unfortunate as to be forsaken to the scrap yard near Roseville, California. The diesels had simply 'done her in.' One can but wonder at such fate, for, while the old steamers did not provide the continuous availability of the diesel types, they could be converted (those that were oil-burning) into workhorses that were independent from any threats of oil shortages and rationing or cutoffs. And, while they did require more manpower for maintenance and operation, they did relieve the work shortage limitations by that much. And cost-wise, the smaller steam locos could be turned out of the factories for even as much as one-tenth the cost of their more sophisticated brethren. Even the interest on the investments, comparatively, would offset many of the other costs. And, of course, the most devastating effect upon we old steam boys, was the complete loss of romance in railroading. No more the warmth of life, the speed-related sound of stack music, nor the enchanting sounds of chime whistles and those beautiful silver-alloyed bells! I once remarked to the publishers of Railroad Magazine that the railroad engineer's life had been reduced to that of a glorified truck driver! (But they did not publish this sentiment, as they likely felt that the old engineers had already suffered a-plenty).

'I am running a bit short of old black-and-white shots of interesting hobby scenes; however I do have some 3000 35m color slides of many interesting subjects. So maybe I can fire up the Carousel, project some interesting slides upon the screen and then snap them with a black-and-white Polaroid in order to obtain suitable material for publication. I will get to this soon as possible, since this endeavor will have to be sandwiched in between my computer classes and also, my long-neglected piano practice. After all, at 82 one should be at least triplets in order to approach accomplishments of half of what he intends to do. Seems like the Sunday funny paper comes every three days, and New Years almost follows upon New Years. At least now, with the video recorder, some of these much-appreciated events may be preserved for more continual enjoyment. (Isn't it wonderful folks like Frank may get older, but they will never be old.)

'Oh yes, I should remark that while visiting the railway scrap yards, I did manage to acquire a heavy solid brass 5-tone loco whistle from the NP number 2222; a brass bell off a switcher (that 'clugs' more than it 'clangs'); a nice compound turbo headlight generator; and a 'bullseye' water gauge from one of the four Clinch field simple mallets. What a shame! Some of the largest steamers were scrapped after only four years of service! But extravagance always exacts its toll, and some rail lines have 'gone under' possibly more due to the accelerated changeover. But amongst the electric boys, is the wrongful discontinuance of electric traction in the Cascade tunnel which required a stupendous and monstrous installation of air blowers to accommodate diesel locos in the 6-mile passageway. And of course the same applied to the Milwaukee when 700 miles of electrification was abandoned together with 'free' water power out in the mountains! Some of these things simply stagger the imagination. But good bye until next time.'

'Your column has helped me and others many times, so I am asking for help again,' states EDWIN H. BREDEMEIER, Steinauer, Nebraska 'I acquired a J. I. Case Threshing Machine Co. book or year book. It has the two front pages missing. Mine starts with page five with a picture at a dock with a picture of a RR engine carrying No. 1930 and in the background is an ocean vessel and loading cargo boxes with Case in large letters on them.

Page 5 has a full color of tractors (10 x 18, 15 x 27 and 22 x 40. This was published when Case still used the green and red colors on their tractor. I would like to know what year this was published. I think some pages are missing at the back also. Last page is 106. It was bound like a book and not like an ordinary bulletin with metal staples.' (Anyone out there can you help Ed?)

'Enclosed find a picture of a portable steam engine I bought at the October 19th sale of Henry Ford Museum at Greenfield Village Museum,' says DWIGHT PATTERSON, 4066 Forest Street, Leonard, Michgan 48038.

'I can get no information from them as they kept no records in the early 30's. Perhaps some of the readers may know the make of engine. The Museum supposed it is about 1900 manufacture. It is #208 in the Sale Catalog. I cannot find any print or numbers on the engine or boiler. It is going to be a good while until I can fire it up. It was completely gone over with lots of new parts, new wood, grates.' (How about it, guys? Any information for Dwight, please let him know and us.)

WILLIAM FLOWERS, Route 1, Box 332, Adena, Ohio 43901 writes us: 'Please find picture of a steam turbine that powered the boiler-feed pump at the Federal Paper Mill in Steubenville, Ohio. It was replaced with an electric motor. The turbine delivers 5 HP at 1800 rpm and is made by the Carling Turbine Blower Co. of Worcester, Massachusetts. It carries s/n 8862.

'The stationary engineer at the plant saved it from the junk man. I will answer all correspondence concerning the turbine.'

An interesting writing comes from GEORGE PERKS, 611 East Sixth Ave., Colville, Washington 99114. George is a recent subscriber and tells us: 'The old-timers around here that I have met tell me that I have a bad case of the steam engine bug. It became an incurable case last fall when a 12 HP Russell came to live with us. Since then every spare moment has been spent on cleaning, chipping paint, sand blasting, cutting pipe and making new parts.

'We are making a photographic record of the restoration as progress is made. Right now it is setting on blocks with the front end off.

'One task was to take ultrasound readings of the boiler parts which indicated that things are in good shape after more than 70 years.

'There are many questions that I am looking for answers to including when the engine was made and who all of the previous owners were. The engine number on the smoke box emblem is 14879, the number on the engine casting is 14874. The engine was once owned by a Mr. Walters in Oregon, but I can't find out how long he owned it.

'Also I am interested in corresponding with anyone who may have operating instructions for Russells and other material that might be helpful with the project.' (There you are guys, someone just waiting to hear all the information you might have on the Russell engine he's hooked, let's keep him that way.)

We received a letter from W. M. BEATTIE, Box 397, Innisfail, Alberta, TOM 1A0 requesting some information maybe you can help.

'I would like to get a set of blueprints of a Case threshing machine, for my prototype Case threshing machine that I am building. My machine is a scale model of 1/5 the size of a 32' x 54' Case threshing machine.'

(Now, Mr. Beattie, we usually do not mention anything in this column that can be purchased it should come in the form of an ad. But since we have no blueprints, I'm throwing this out to our readers in hopes that maybe someone might know where to write for this item. If any of you happen to know, please let Mr. Beat-tie, and us, know the address. Thanks!)

'I am trying to locate information on the S.S. Messinger & Son Manufacturing Company of Tatamy, Pennsylvania and specifically, material on their threshers,' writes GENE JOHNSON, 4614 Candlestick Drive, Garland, Texas 75043.

'I have a wooden thresher which is their model Ideal No. 22 Under Shot. I would like to communicate with someone who has information on this thresher and also any history of the company.' (How about it? Anyone have the history or data of this company? Please let us hear from you, and also get in touch with Gene.)

ELMER ANAS, R.R. #1, East Carondelet, Illinois 62240 sends along this picture of an 18 HP Keck-Gonnerman engine loaded on a float to move to another area. Picture taken Nov. 9, 1955. Engine No. 1619, owners are John Arras & Sons.

I received a letter from COLONEL NORM STUCKEY, 4777 Upper Valley Road, Dayton, Ohio 45424been a long time since we heard from you, Sir. This should be in the Gas Engine Magazine and I'll see this gets to Mr. Wendel for that magazine, but I thought I'd put it in this column also as many of you pals take both magazines.

Colonel Stuckey thinks what is needed is a reference book for each make of tractor to show each model and design with a paragraph of data like in the Tractor Field book. Also he would like for someone to write in and tell him without using serial numbers, how to distinguish an Oliver-Hart-Parr 28-44, Oliver Hart Parr 28' Industrial, Oliver 90, Oliver 99, and an Oliver 99 Industrial.

'I haven't seen an Iron-Men Album Magazine for about a year and I truly enjoy steam engines so I am re-ordering,' says CRAIG DETWILER, S #3266 Hwy 13 So., Spencer, Wisconsin 54479.

'I have run my grandpa's steam engine, Greyhound 24-75 Ser. 11111. It's good running. I also worked on his 1909 15-45 Case Ser. #14126 last summer. I helped him restore it. He purchased it in Junction City, Wisconsin two years ago. There are only six Greyhound engines left as far as is known.

'Here are two pictures of Greyhounds. The Greyhound 24-75 was purchased at a sale seven years ago. The Greyhound was used in shows at Fort Wayne in 1952 (?). I enjoy the shows in summer at Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin and Iowa.'

This 21-75 HP Baker is owned by John McDowell of Plainfield, Ohio. The above picture was taken at the Darke County Steam Threshers Reunion in 1982.

LARRY GRENKO, RR 2, Box 22A, Muscatine, Iowa 52761 (phone 319-262-8872) recently purchased a very old Russell steam traction engine which needs a lot of work. As nearly as he can tell, it's an 8 HP compound engine. He would appreciate any information readers could send him about the smaller Russell steam engines. (How about it, Russell owners?)

And in closing, some thought teasers It's not the greatness of our troubles, but the littleness of our faith that makes us complain. Some people are like blotters; they soak up everything but get it backwards. A man in the right with God on his side, is in the majority, though he be alone. Lost yesterday: somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever. Till next time.