Soot in the flues

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Greetings to each of our dear Iron-Men Album family and to the many new ones we hope to meet this summer. I came across this poem about farmers which fits in so appropriately with the IMA group hope you enjoy it.

To Me, My Farm Is...
My farm to me is not just land
Where bare, unpainted buildings stand.

To me my farm is nothing less
Than all created loveliness.
My farm is not where I must soil
My hands in endless, dreary toil,
But where, through seed and swelling pod,
I've learned to walk and talk with God.

My farm to me is not a place
Outmoded by a modern race,
I like to think I just see less
Of evil, greed and selfishness,
My farm's not lonely, for all day
I hear my children shout and play,
And here, when age comes, free from fears,
I'll Hue again, long joyous years.

My farm's a heaven here dwells rest,
Security and happiness
Whate'er befalls the world outside
Here faith and hope and love abide.
And so my farm is not just land
Where bare, unpainted buildings stand.

To me my farm is nothing less
Than all God's hoarded loveliness.
Author Unknown

I'm sure most of you farmers can identify with this and though you are older, some of you, I'm sure it brings back many memories and isn't that what we are making with each new day memories to thrive on in the future.

And now on to the interesting data and letters that are sent by your fellow friends.

'I have read with interest from time to time about the Case 150 HP engine. Sadly, there is not a complete engine in existence. The story in the March-April issue of IMA by Mr. Hedtke was, I believe, the most enlightening of any I've read so far. Without a doubt it would have been a great showpiece if one existed,' claims ARTHUR M. ANDERSON, 2117 E. 36th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407.

'Now I wonder if engine men know that Russell also made a 150 HP engine. So far I've not read anything regarding this engine in any of the present day publications. I first learned of the engine in Floyd Clymer's Album of Historical Steam and Traction Engines. I've had my copy for many years. There is a picture of this engine on page 54. It is known as a road locomotive and the pictures are taken from a 1905 catalogue of the Russell Company. It appears to be a center crank engine and is compound.

'I wonder if some old time engine men would know of this engine. Also it would be interesting to know if any exist and how many were made. This should add new interest to the field of 150s. By the way, on page 58 there is a good picture of the Case 150. Hopefully in a future publication we might hear something of this Russell.' (Surely hope so, Arthurhow about it fellas?)

Just a nice letter with a bit of chatting comes from W. S. WOODWARD, R. F. D. 1, Concord Road, Durham, New Hampshire 03824: 'Do enjoy reading the magazine very much. There is a great deal of good information to be absorbed. I realize how much there is to be learned and I want as much as I can hold of all these good things.

'Anna Mae has a good column. I am not very religious but sure believe in it and she does a good job to help make all of us believers. (Praise the LordI'm happy to hear that). The ability to write a column and talk almost directly to us all is wonderful.' (Thank you, W. S., for I really feel lam talking to each of youbut that is the first I ever heard anyone say it that way.)

'We run a sawmill with a diesel engine. An older man used to help us in the sawmill, who had worked in a steam sawmill. He once told a lady he had boiled more water than she had. She was some upset till she found out he had fired a steam boiler in a sawmill.

'Makes us think of so many good stories the old-timers could tell. I miss that. Now that we are getting to the old-timers stage, it helps by being able to read Iron-Men Album. The yarns are great!' (Now that ought to be enough incentive for some of you fellows just sitting there readin'get that paper and pen out and start writin'we're a waitin'.)

The following post card picture came to us from MONTY A. DOTY, 240 Orchard Drive, Box 270, Hager-man, Idaho 83332. He says he can't tell us anything about it but thought you folks would like to see it. The postmark was 1916 at Cleveland, Oklahoma. Any comments??

'Let me start by saying congratulations to Lexi Myers on the most fantastic, spectacular, beautiful picture I ever saw of a steam engine. I refer of course, to the back cover of March-April IMA. I rejoice with you, too, that you could print it in color. I'm looking for a frame that will fit it,' writes JAMES ELLIOTT, 19475 Cr. 146, New Paris, Indiana 46553.

'Margaret and I have talked for too long about having a steam powered popcorn wagon. Marg said if we have one that really runs on steam power, I think people will be interested in it. This is certainly true,they are, and we can't accept all our invitations we receive (which means they have certainly acquired one).

'People are so accustomed to seeing power run by air compressor or hidden electric motorthey really appreciate one that is, in fact, steam-driven. One doubter put his thumb on the steam line to prove it was a fake. He walked away holding his thumb in his other hand.

'Our experience would show that most people, I would guess maybe 90%, have never seen a popper run on steam power. Many never knew such machines were ever made. Well, they were made, by the thousands from 1900 to 1930 by Charles Cretors Company and Dunbar Company. They were sold nationwide and as far away as Australia.

'We get to most of the shows in the Michigan area. See you there!' (Don't forget to look for Jim and Margaret Elliottand how about a picture of this steam driven popcorn wagon?)

'I am 33 years old and afflicted with the steam bug,' says MIKE PARKER, 506 E. Burlington, Fair-field, Iowa 52556. 'I got my start as a model builderthanks to Mr. Has-ton L. St. Clair, who is now 90 years young. Haston is a promoter of the Reeves engine and of model building. He helped me and John Walker with his letters and drawings. I guess you could say we built our engines long distance as we live 315 miles apart. Haston's interest has helped many people get started in our hobby. I met Haston by accident at Mt. Pleasant seven years ago.

'Not long after we started construction on our models. Mr. Dean Schellhous heard of the models under construction and stopped in. We have become good friends and he has given me much help and knowledge. It's funny how I had to meet someone 315 miles away to know someone in my home town. I owe much to these men. We need more like them.

'I have since built a 6' scale Reeves model and am working on a 3' scale Reeves model. I also purchased a 1917 50 HP Case engine last year. It is a butt-strap Ohio Standard boiler in very good condition. As I am a younger person I feel that the condition of the boiler and that it is a butt-strap should be more of a factor than what brand it is. While I am on the subject of Case engines, can any of you more experienced men tell me why the left hand pinion gear is subject to wear more than the right? I have noticed this condition on several engines.

'I agree with the letter by the Holps in that I would like to hear from some of you fellows who made your living with the engines as to why you used a particular brand. Was cost the biggest factor? Which was the most economical to operate? Was economy sacrificed for a heavier machine? Are two cylinder engines more wasteful?

'One thing I would like to see is a comparison of engines on a brake using pressures they were designed for with a comparison of fuel and water consumption. Pressure, fuel, and water consumption seem to be factors left out of these 'which engine is best' arguments. I enjoyed Amos Rixman's article with his brake test results.

'I suppose people are getting tired of the 'which is best' articles but variety is the spice of life and I think it is making some interesting reading.

'One other thing I would like to see is more technical articles by restorers on how they have rebuilt their machines.

'In closing, I want to say keep up the good work on a great magazine.!'

No. 1Herman built this 1915 outfit in 1983. He didn't send any other description along with it, but I'm sure many of you men will know all about it.
No. 2This engine is two feet long and runs on electric. Again no description but it is a mighty nice piece of work, don't you think?
No. 3This picture was taken in 1910 on the Keefe Farm, north of Elma.

'I really enjoy reading your magazine,' writes RUSSELL W. LAMP, 5231 Wasena Avenue, Brooklyn Park, Maryland 21225. 'I would like to see more on the Pennsylvania engine companies like Frick, Geiser, Farquhar, and Eric, etc. An association should be started for these like the Case collectors have. As I have helped Robert Livinston with a Frick 14 HP traction engine, or should I say, he took me to the shows with him where I drove him crazy with questions. Now I own a Peerless L Portable and bug him more than ever. But he always takes time to set me straight.

'I am 26 years old and people like him and the ones who write letters and articles in this magazine are the any way to learn not only the mechanics of steam, but the way of life on the steam thresher, sawmills, road crews, railroads and factories.

'Back to the Peerless L Model I now own. I can't find anybody who knows the date it was made or how many are left. I also need the horsepower and where to find the serial number. The boiler is in bad shape but I have hope it can be fixed. But for now I'm sanding, scraping, and painting to get the engine to run from another steam source. I would like to have it ready for the August National Pike Steam and Gas Show in Brownsville, Pa. If anybody has any information on the engine, I would greatly appreciate it. As far as I know it is the only one. Have a good show season!'

VINSON E. GRITTEN, 100 Country Club Court, Danville, Illinois 61832 sent us quite a few interesting items to be used for your reading pleasure from time to time. This story, with pictures, is entitled 'The Steam Engine Dad Didn't Order': 'Early in my dad's threshing experience, for some reason he never told me he started using Reeves steam engines and threshers. Apparently it was good machinery, because he used it many years. He had many steam engines, a thresher or two and a gas tractor. Later after Emerson Brantingham bought the company out, Dad took the agency for E. B. farm tractors. He sold three that I know about.

'I remember three or four occasions when I visited the Columbus, Indiana factory. On one occasion he took the axle housing out of the big tractor and put it in our Model T Ford touring car and we took it to Columbus to have it re-babbitted. We opened both rear doors of the Model T and put the housing in it crossways. And it really made a load, sticking out on both sides as it must have been 7 feet long. It took us most of a day to get there, going through Indianapolis and going on mostly all dirt roads; so we were gone two or three days, a big event in my life. I must have been around six or seven at the time.

'Dad kept telling of all the steam engines that we would see on the visit that we were about to make. We got there and he had quite a lot of business to talk about in the office, which took some time. I told him that I hadn't seen any engines and he kept saying, 'Just wait'. In a little while, Dad said, 'All right, let's go see the engines', so we went out into a back warehouse and I never saw so many engines; must have been hundreds. There may not have been as many as I thought, but it looked like lots to me. They had one engine fired up that they called 'the mule'. It was used for pulling the new engines around, like from the warehouse to the railroad dock, and so on. That impressed me because they didn't have to fire the new engines up since they were without water.

'Dad must have had some input because he would tell the engineers and the company about improvements and changes that he would like to have in an engine. They had a wheel lug that they called the Gritten lug, as Dad had made some suggestion on a lug that would clean itself in the mud.

'On one occasion the company called Dad and said they were shipping him an engine that they thought would be just what he wanted. The engine came and I can remember going to the rail dock in Fithian to unload it. It was quite a chore in those days as Dad had to make sure the railroad had put the heavy planks on the car to run the engines off on. It also took some railroad ties and blocking. Then he had to take our mules with the water wagon to fill the boiler, besides the coal for fuel. Anyway, it was all Dad expected. It was a powerful engine. It was efficient and had tenders on it that would supply enough water to run a full half day without stopping. This made the engine ideal for grading roads and other road work. Dad's engines did a lot of work in the building of the early hard roads. The engine had 8 foot drive wheels which gave it excellent traction. He could hitch onto a big tree and pull it out. I am told by a Mr. Hoffmaster, who had done a lot of research on the Reeves Company that there were only ten or twelve of these engines built and they were called the Canadian Special.

'Anyway, you can guess Dad bought the engine. This must have been in the middle teens. He sold it in the early twenties to someone in Minnesota. It was the last steam engine that he owned.'

ELWOOD DEWHURST, 712 N. Front, Crookston, Minnesota 56716 writes us: 'In March-April issue, page 14, Ted S. Janson sent in three pictures for identification. The top picture is an Aultman Taylor gas tractor or oil engine. No. 2 picture is a Robinson steam engine running in the belt. And No. 3 seems to be the same Robinson steam engine hauling the threshing rig. I do not recognize the threshing machinesorry!'

Another letter comes in response to the request made by Ted S. Janson as J. R. VOUK, 703 Co. Road 2 So., St. Stephen, Minnesota 56375 tells us: 'In response to the pictures sent in Mar.-Apr. issue by Ted JansonI wouldn't want to speculate on the identity of the separator or engine, but that tractor sure looks like an Aultman Taylor on which somebody has replaced the radiator.

'I enjoy your magazine very much. I have lived in St. Stephen, Minnesota for the past 22 years. Our family and friends have been putting on the Vouk's Steam Threshing and Lumber Sawing Show here in St. Stephen. I would like to invite all your readers to our show this year on September 26 and 27.'

A letter of gratitude comes from RUSS ABENDROTH, Route 1, Greenville, Wisconsin 54942: 'Thank you for publishing my letters in your column as they generated many responses. I would also like to thank Haston L. St. Clair for his fine article and Fred Dvork, Bellwood, Nebraska and Walter F. Long, Charleston, Illinois for writing to me on the injector.'

An interesting letter comes from JACK HUFF, Wall Lake, Iowa 51466 as he brings some of his experiences to us: 'I have enjoyed the IMA for a lot of years and would like to add my two or three cents worth. It probably isn't worth more than that anyways. I just hope to help someone out there in Engine-land feel better about those poorly made engines that have been discussed and that someone always has a better one than that one.

'I have been around and run, reflued, repaired governors and injectors for a lot of engines of different kinds. And I have yet to see a bad or poorly made one. I have seen a few bad engineers, but a poorly built enginenever. They might get in bad shape through neglect or misuse. They were built to last a lifetime and most of those that are left have done better than that.

'Of course, I have my favorites. I think just about all of us are guilty of that opinion. Not because it is any better, but mainly because I have my hand on the throttle and am smelling the smoke and hot cylinder oil of this one.

'I started going threshing and hauling bundles when I was fourteen years old. And that year we were using an old Minneapolis gas tractor, and on the last day of the last job, it broke down. It was just before dinner. There we were with a half day of threshing, Saturday noon, with a tractor with a broken camshaft. But good fortune smiled upon us. A neighbor was going by with his new steam outfit and the boss went down to the road, and pretty soon he came back with good news. The neighbor didn't intend to thresh that afternoon, being it was Saturday, so he would pull our machine. It was a twenty horse double simple engine. And that afternoon I fell in love with the Reeves engine.

'The next year I hauled water for a return flue Huber sixteen horse. That was sixty-three years ago and since then I have run Minneapolis, Case, Russell, Aultman Taylor and a few others and they were all good and willing workers. So hang in there, friend. I'm sure whatever you have is one of the best. And I hope somewhere sometime we will get together and I can help you enjoy running it.

'Anna Mae, you have a very interesting part in the makeup of the IMA. We out here in Engine land meet, hear from, and about these interesting things, through 'Soot in the Flues' and the most wonderful, helpful and congenial folks I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and reading about so keep up the good work. I'm sure the good Lord will put some gold stars on your report card for your efforts.' (Just a comment now and then from one of you folks, such as yours, is quite enough reward, Jack.)

At the end of the letter Jack had an amusing comment and I thought you would like to share it. 'If you can use this, fine. If you can't, fine. I'm like Rastus with his trombone, he blew into it the most beautiful music, and the most terrible sounds came out the other end. And this is what that old typewriter did to me. Maybe it doesn't like me this is my first effort with this kind of a do-dad. I hope you have the patience to cope with it.' (7 do, Jack, and I have had much worse and encourage anyone who would like to send us a story or experience I'll figure it out. And don't you give up, Sir. I found your letter quite encouraging to the readers. Perhaps you can write another time.)

'Enclosed is a picture of my Watson Wagon it is in excellent condition and I have pulled it with a Model G Allis Chalmers tractor in many parades,' states ALVIN GUSTIN, 3880 East Hills Lane, Beaver Creek, Ohio 45432.

'My problem is that I have the parts from three different wagons which I would very much like to make into one complete wagon.

'I also have a Hercules gas engine and a McCormick mower with a three and one half sickle bar, and lots of old farm wrenches, of which I am very proud.

'I am on the Historical Committee here in Beaver Creek and we just restored a two story log house built in 1805.I put a covered wagon top on my wagon and pulled it in the parade and we collected almost $400.00 from the sidelines to help restore the log house.' (At would be very appreciative if any of you readers could enlighten him on different wagons which would make his project of building a wagon out of his different parts he has collected a success. If you can be of any assistance, please let him know.)

A chatty letter comes from GERALD DARR, 2220 Bishops Gate Drive, Toledo, Ohio 43614 and he tells us: 'The talk of which engine or separator is best could go on and on. Though I never owned an engine, I have helped thresh since I lived on a farm near Clyde, Ohio. The threshing rig that did my father's threshing was a Nichols & Shepard, Red River Special powered by a huge Aultman Taylor gas engine. Later, it was powered by a Huber tractor.

'When Dad lived north of Fremont, it was an N & S engine and a Greyhound separator made here in Toledo by the Banting Company.

'Orin Mears' description of a green straw stack a few days after a rain, was a good one. I have seen stacks with sprouting growth but not that bad. My father and other men often commented on how much grain went in the stack.

'I read recently in National Geographic in an article about North Dakota that as you are driving into the town of Napoleon, there are 15 threshing machines lined up neatly. North Dakota subscribers to IMA and a host of others have seen these machines, I am sure.

'When we took a train trip across Canada in 1981 from Toronto to Vancouver we saw a good number of rusting engines and separators. (Ouch, that hurts, doesn't it, fellows?)

'We are going to be flying before too long to Denver, San Diego and then to Sun City to visit members of the family.

'My father-in-law is in St. Paul in a nursing home and was 95 in March. He farmed in the area of Barnesville, Minnesota before moving to St. Paul where he retired from the American Hoist & Derrick Company.' (Thanks for sharing your important memories and moments with us, Gerald.)

A recent communication tells us FRANK J. BURRIS, 1102 Box Canyon Road, Fallbrook, California 92028 has been busyso we are glad to hear from you again, Frank.

'A present course of study, which will terminate this May, has precluded my adding much soot to your flues; however I do wish to commend so highly the fine article in the Mar-Apr issue by A. E. Rixman covering the outstanding features of the '86 Pawnee Show. Those chaps really did their stuff!

'In that regard, let me add a few comments for whatever they may be worth. A comparison was finally drawn between the performance of the Nichols & Shepard and the Case engines based on cylinder dimensions. It is pointed out that such conclusions should not be considered as final, in the absence of comparative cylinder indicator diagrams, and also, at least, figures for fuel consumption during such tests. The former would stake the actual generation of power based on valve action, cutoff, etc., while the latter would allow computation of efficiency factors, both of which are of primary importance in considering the overall performance of such engines. Incidentally, in the examples of engines equipped with Wolff valve gears (and possibly not all types of radial gears) it would be of interest to measure the performance of such engines in both forward and reverse motions. They are not the same, in contrast to engines equipped with such as Stephenson (link) gears. Reeves made quite a point of their having devised a geometric layout of radial gear in which the valve action was maintained to have been preserved as equalized on both ends of the cylinders; both for forward and reverse motion.

'Incidentally, I chided our good photographer-contributor Joe Fahnesstock recently for his not having his camera in readiness to capture a picture of that horrific hill climb which he so vividly described in a recent article. It was only in jest, of course, so I hope Joe will come back with more pictures. I always think of him in connection with his old home town back in Ohio, as I now dimly recall. And, as for picture taking, and although I can lay no claim to being a photographer, I have taken a few good ones while missing some of the best because Pentax never learned to incorporate a good take-up mechanism on their otherwise worldly-best cameras. Their 35mm jobs will do anything that any other similar camera will do; but do it with one-half the weight! What? Why worry about carrying the weight of a camera around your neck all day??

'Oh yes, another engine comment. I am a bit partial to good double-cylinder steamers, and wonder what a double Case would have looked like? I still have the box-frame built Monarch double engine off one of their Groton N.Y. built tractions from circa 1925. This has to be the finest engine of such type ever built. Can be mounted so easily for stationary or other use. Heavy counter-balanced crankshaft, symmetrical layout, valve stem guides, an original type radial valve gear, and all the other best features ever found in any other steam engine. It exhibits to visitors at our Vista Museum every show period, running a grist mill. Well blessings to ya!'

Time to end this visit and I know by the time you read this issue, you will be starting into the big season of Reunions and Shows, visiting museums and interested once more in what this year might bring a little different, a little better, a little moreall making memories for the long winter nights by the fires of home.

And as you travel along each day and enjoy the blessings and learn from the trials remember thisin praying we must not forget that our prayers are to be answered. Some) are answered just as we wish; some are answered in a way different from what we wishin a better way! Some are answered by giving of a greater strength to bear trials, and some by the lifting of the trials. Some at once, some in years to come; and some await eternity. I know not if the blessing sought will come in just the way I thought. But leave my prayer with Him alone whose will is wiser than my own. Assured that He will grant my quest or send some answer far more blessed. (Choice Gleanings)

And with that, Dear Onesdo have an enjoyable summer, savoring every friendly chat, every smile, each story and welcome each new acquaintance. Please let me hear from youand I must say many of you are doing much better helping to make the column so well read by your fellow enthusiasts.