SOOT IN THE FLUES

Railway accident

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Hi! To all my great IMA family! I feel close to all you folks as I hear from you and about you. And I know by now the wheels are turning and the Steam Shows are all planned and many of you are packing your 'duds' and anxious to get on the road to enjoy another summer of great events, wonderful people; and don't forget when you get back and settle down a bit, get that pen out and let me hear from you. Now, mind I'm counting on it. We've got to keep IMA going.

I came across the following inspirational writing and I know you will profit from it. It is called:

A New Day

This is the beginning of a new day. I have been given this day to use as I will. I can waste it - or use it for good!
WHAT I DO TODAY IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE I AM EXCHANGING A DAY OF MY LIFE FOR IT!
When tomorrow comes this day will be gone forever
Leaving in its place whatever I have traded for it.
I pledge to myself that it shall be GAIN. NOT LOSS; GOOD, NOT EVIL; SUCCESS, NO
FAILURE In order that I shall not regret the price I paid for this day!!!

I think this is great and I'm going to try and read it each morning. Maybe you should too, we'll all be better for it.

I have been taking art lessons for years and paint a lot of pictures for my family and friends. Not only do I profit in art from my wonderful teacher, Jeanie Moyer. but she gives much more than the proper way to do this work or hobby. She has an Indian ancestry background, and I just love her philosophy on many subjects. She not only can do any medium of the arts, but she gives much of her wisdom and caring to each of us. She, to me, is a great Blessing. I value her talents, philosophy and friendship. I got the above writing, A New Day, from her and wanted to share it with you. Hope you enjoy it and are inspired.

The following letter comes from JAMES BYRD, 1310 Via De Luna, Pensacola Beach, Florida 32561. 'We have good friends in Richmond, Texas, whom we have known for years, E. D. Lander and his wife. We became good friends the best way, in church, when we all lived in Houston, Texas. E. D. is a mechanical engineer by degree from Texas A & M.

'He and his wife came up to Adams, Tennessee in July 1992 and attended the Tennessee-Kentucky Thresherman's Reunion with us. Well, he has 'bit' into steam almost as badly as I have. He wants to take in the Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Show this coming September.

'His work, mechanically, was mostly automotive. He used to be service manager in a big Chevrolet dealer's in Houston. He also was an insurance adjuster in autos until he got into teaching.' (So, hope you all have a great time this year at the shows and welcome to Iron-Men Album, E. D. Lander and wife.)

HARRY L. SHEARER. R.R. 2. Box 70, Mifflintown, Pennsylvania 17059 writes me. The beginning is personal, but I have to share a bit with you all, as he says: 'Boy, was I surprised to learn you were acquainted and familiar with the little village of Mexico in Juniata County. Pennsylvania.' (I was born in Mexico, yea many years ago, as my mother's parents lived there, especially in the summer, and believe me you have to look real fast to go through Mexico, Pennsylvania. The main highway goes right through and when you're driving it only takes about a minute or so).

Now Harry has sent along an article 'A Silo Filling Story,' which I'm sure you'll enjoy:

'This story begins one evening in September 1957-58 when my father said to me:' Harry, Jim Book is going to fill silo tomorrow and he needs a tractor to belt up to his chopper. You can either run the tractor up there this evening or wait till tomorrow morning.'

'Well. I told him there would probably be a lot of fog in the morning, but my dad disagreed and said that I should wait until morning. I think the reason for his decision was he didn't want his shiny new Oliver Super 88 tractor anywhere but at home overnight. The reason Mr. Book needed power, his International 350 was in Warren Kohler's shop for motor work in preparation for the silo filling, but the parts were slow in coming, and this left him in an awful fix with the corn maturing so fast.

'So, the next morning, right after breakfast and with a tank full of gasoline, I climbed aboard and took off. It was foggy alright, as it is in central Pennsylvania on fall mornings. But I made it to the village of Mexico and not a single car or truck passed me. Wow! Lucky!!

'I turned left at the town square on Front Street and made my way out toward where the bridge (swept away in the 1936 flood) used to be, turned right on Foster Street, then an immediate left onto River Road. This is the back road which leads from Mexico to Port Royal and travels parallel with the still visible channel of the old Pennsylvania Canal. I passed the farm of Tom Henry, C. W. Book and Bussy Hosier and next pulled into the farmyard of Charles and Matilda Book. When I arrived, Jim (nickname for Charles) was unloading his empty milk cans off the back of his pickup truck. He had just returned from the Breyer Ice Cream Plant where he had delivered a day's production of milk. The Breyer Plant was located in Port Royal with a big bridge over the river, very close to the Book farmhouse. Incidentally, Port Royal is home to the annual Juniata County Fair during Labor Day week, with Saturday night sprint car racing held during the summer months. (Just thought I'd include a plug here for the Juniata County Agricultural Society.)

'Mr. Book asked me to take the tractor up back of the barn and back her up on those planks. I did this as he was placing the belt on the pulley. I eased the 88 into the belt and was securing the brakes when the sun broke through the early morning fog and blinded me briefly. I could see the beautiful blue sky which meant a clear day was ahead. Mr. Book told me to open the throttle on the tractor and let it run at the speed I thought it would work best. Then he reached in his pocket and produced an r.p.m. timing device, placed it on the blower shaft and checked it for a minute with his watch. The machine was running without load. After running for one minute, he told me that speed would be alright

'By the time some more help had arrived, there were two other tractors and wagons to haul corn to the chopper besides the one driven by Mr. Book himself. One was driven by Elmer Brackbill and another by Buss Hosier. Binder and tractor was driven by Harold Moyer. Bending their backs to load corn fodder in the field were Dave Aisney, Pudd Thompson and my older brother, John Shearer. What a job they did! I stayed at the barn to help each guy unload his wagon. We never had to wait for corn, not one time. By the time we would have a wagon half unloaded, another would pull in. It continued this way until noon when we shut down for the noon meal.

'What a wonderful feast we enjoyed, prepared by Jim's mother, Matilda Book, and her two daughters, Mrs. Joe Frankhouse and Mrs Myrns. After dinner the work began once again, and by 2 p.m. the big silo was full. We then tore the pipe down and set the chopper up at a smaller silo nearby. 12-20 in size. In a few minutes the chopped green feed was flowing into this structure, and by 4:30 it was full. I climbed on the tractor, eased it forward and another gentleman rolled up the belt and we were finished for the day.

'Jim told me to run the tractor over to the fuel tank and he would fill the tank before I started for home. He handed the nozzle up to me and I filled it with gasoline as he was paying the rest of the crew. When it was full, Jim said 'What, did it only hold eight gallons?' Actually, the gauge had gone around almost twice and the correct figure was 18 gallons for the day's work.

'I made my way down the river road, which was an unimproved gravel road at the time, as the sun was setting in the West, not knowing I would ever think about this day again. I hope I didn't lose too many people with this bit of history of the way things used to be on farms in Pennsylvania. It seemed almost like a perfect day to me. It's sad to me, to hardly know our neighbors anymore and certainly we don't have time to talk or visit as it used to be back then. I guess this what you call progress??' (A lot of you will remember, up around Port Royal was Elmer Ritzman's country, and he had his engines there many times.)

An interesting letter comes from JOE NIELSON, Box 23823, San Diego, California 92123: 'I have something that I know thresher people would take an interest in hearing about I do a Step-Dance Jig, to hoedown fiddling especially, and the people like it. We know the people who attend thresher shows enjoy fiddle playing and it is part of the past thresher area age.

'So. I'd like to announce if some of the shows like it, they can contact me and I'll try and attend and the fiddlers and I can put on a little entertainment and I know the show people will mostly enjoy it.' (I know I would like to see something like that, Joe).

Morris Blomgren of 10139 Blomgren Rd., Siren, WI 54872 sent us this photograph of a railway accident that occurred in North Branch, Minnesota, year unknown. 'My mother was a dress maker in North Branch at the time. This was long before I was born. She said you could hear the steam leaking from the engine all that night.' Does anyone remember this incident? Photographer was N. E. Grantham, of Detroit, Minnesota.

'We know that jigging to fiddlers has been a common occurrence years back. Yes, and it still can be enjoyed.

'As some evidence of the interest in my dancing, Jana Jea, who some of you know she had gotten the U. S. Woman's Championship Fiddler's Award and I are well acquainted and one time she asked me if I would care to go on the road with her. At that time I had a repair business and family, so I had to refuse the offer. She has been on Hee Haw and is well known. I have danced to her terrific fiddling several times since, as well as at fiddle contests, Blue Grass meets and was on Channel 10 TV here in San Diego, a bit.

'I'm writing a book called Dancing Pleasures, which I am revising; it will soon be published.

'We all know of toe tapping and hand clapping well, tap dancing goes out fully to the enjoyable hoedown fiddling we all know! I'll do my best to attend if expenses are not too great. Write to C. J. Nielson -Joe (94 years old-I'd say 94 years young, wouldn't you fellows agree?)

Here is a precious letter from DICK R. TURRENTINE, 208 Browning Drive, Kilgore, Texas 75662: 'In August of '92, I was privileged to go on a mission trip to a mission known as Rincon del Tigre, Bolivia. Our primary mission was to start building a dormitory for the girls who attend the mission school there. There are approximately 300 children who are cared for at this place. It was 60 years ago when it was established as a ranch in the early 1950s. The mission was established by Latvian missionaries who felt led by God to leave their country and ended up in Bolivia to preach His word. Sam Jansen is the second generation missionary who was raised at the mission, attended several colleges between Bolivia and the U. S., and is now the pastor of the two churches (one in Bolivia and the other Ayore [IRA] Indian).

'During our visit, it became very apparent to me what my part of this mission trip might mean. The mission is some 60 miles in the jungle from any town and is self-sufficient. They also have to produce their own electricity and power for their sawmill and gristmills. This is where they need help. At present, they are using an old 1925 stationary steam engine which was junk when they acquired it in 1955. The engine is broken and repaired all over and they are now repairing where it has been repaired before. These people need another steam engine which we can repair and ship to them in good condition.

'I have just read a letter in the Jan.-Feb. '93 IMA by Carl Lathrop of Madison, New Jersey. This is the kind of help we need if we can find a steam engine of at least 80 HP. If there is anyone out there who has or knows of a stationary steam engine which is repairable or has the drawings to build one, please contact me by letter at the above address. Our church will raise the money required to complete this mission and/or accept donations of time and love. In His Name.' (This is a terrific idea, and I for one will put you folks in my prayers and will certainly believe God will bless this endeavor. Let us hear from you again as this project progresses, and I feel it will.)

This communication comes from A FRIEND, didn't give his name, address is Hooterville? Wolverine, Michigan 49799. I thought it worthy to print. The writer tells us his wife was cranking up the automatic washer and it made him think about the old wash days and he decided to put down on paper some Old One Liners. I think you'll enjoy them: 'Who left the pump handle up? Shut up the chickens! Fill the wood box. Mailman is coming! Clean the lamp chimney. Good day to churn. Gather the eggs. Throw out the dishwater. Soup's on! Who put the tea kettle on dry? Don't forget to feed the dog. Close the gate to the lane. Split some kindling. What time did you get in last night? Don't forget to change your underwear. Wash day tomorrow! Cream's set, skim it. Couple pails of fresh water. Check the stock tank. Fill the lamps and the lantern. Pick up some bag balm. Jones lost a calf. Suckers are running. Time for school! If you don't want it, I'll throw it out. Wood, water and where have you been?' (I don't know about you, but I enjoyed this and I'll bet as you are reading this, you are thinking of a lot more 'old one liners' from long ago. Have some to add, send them along.)

A letter comes from ED HURD, Box 283. Byron, Michigan 48418, and he begins: 'As with Everett, the anti-Case Person of the Nov.-Dec.'92 IMA, this is my first attempt as a writer to your column. I have enjoyed the many replies to this Everett's letter, in other magazines as well as yours.

'However, I have been surprised by the silence concerning this Everett's maligning statements about Henry Ford's 'Rattle Trap Model T' Evidently, in his advancing years, this person has forgotten the strength, longevity and dependability of the Model T. Ford pioneered the use of vanadium steel in these cars. This allowed the Model T to be lighter, stronger and more reliable than the more expensive rigs.

'To prove this point, one should note that 10% of the original production, that is 1.5 million Model Ts, are still on the road. However, most of the so-called better rigs he mentions have been recycled and shot back at us, in the form of bullets, bombs and torpedoes, by the Japanese in World War II.

'Now regarding Case engines. We all know that all makes of engines had their faults, and Case was no exception. The monotonous growl on the feed water pump, plus the clattering of the wooden toggle block and eccentric of the reverse, caused engineers to hear this in their sleep after listening to these sounds all day. The marginal sizes of the Case firebox made it difficult, if not impossible, to fire on green slabs. The relationship of the firebox door to the platform floor caused many a Case engineer to become very proficient at standing on their heads to check the fire. Some, I hear, became quite good at manipulating the throttle and reverse with their feet. These frequent head stands also helped to relieve the bruised and battered knees which were standard equipment of a Case fireman!

'The marginal strength of the assembled wheels gave many of the larger engines fits when the spokes worked loose. This caused the wheels to no longer run true after years of heavy traction. While watching these engines, with tired legs, from the rear while traveling forward, the now wobbling wheels gave the engine the appearance of an old sow waddling the length of the pig pen.

'Finally, the platforms could have been fastened to the engines in a better manner. Sometimes with the suspension links stretched and badly worn, the rear of the platform had a tendency to sag, and gave the appearance not unlike an old 'hound dawg' with a case of worms. When reversing the engine with a sticky throttle valve (common to Case), and worn links, one had the feeling that he was being propelled over the smokestack by a giant catapult.

'But Case, like the Model T Ford, had one thing in its favor-Tough and strong, Case would consistently outperform all other engines of equal ratings, both in the belt or traction.'

'Dear Anna Mae,'' writes SCOTT L. THOMPSON, 12109 Mennonite Church Road, Tremont, Illinois 61568. 'Glad to hear new life has been breathed into 'Soot in the Flues'. However, I know that to keep it alive we must have a steady flow of material, so here's another contribution. This photo features an early Case steam engine and separator at a fair or demonstration of some sort, location unknown. In the background is a sign for Bowsher Feed Mills, South Bend, Indiana, J. B. Patterson & Sons, Council Bluffs, Iowa local dealer. That may be the location of this display.

'Note the Case factory scene banner, the bowler-hatted men and large-hatted ladies. What do you think, guys? About 1905 or so? Also, who has a guess as to the size of the engine? Also, for what use was the heavy double-hitch tongue in the foreground?

'Finally, there has been some concern about overall interest in steam at our shows as the older generation of steam men passes on. Though many young people are active, thankfully, many more are smitten by the gas engine bug. I have an idea for taking a first step to revitalize interest in steam, and the Iron-Men Album in particular. If every subscriber to IMA would send one gift subscription to one friend this year, imagine the results! IMA's circulation would double. More folks would be exposed to the steam bug. More steam people who don't receive IMA might be motivated to become more active. That means more steam support at the shows, more material and pages in IMA! Plus, more mail for Anna Mae!

'$13.50 one time per year is a small price to pay to achieve these goals! That's my challenge to all the folks out there in IMA land in '93, and here's my subscription for a friend to start it off. How about it folks? Just imagine what we can accomplish if everyone pulls together! Here's to more steam in '93!' (We certainly didn't expect a letter like this it is not of our doing, but I think it is a terrific idea! So, we'll see what happens!)

HOWARD BROVONT, 64954 CR 15, Goshen, Indiana 42526 sends this interesting letter and two nice photos.

'Although I have read your column for a number of years, this is the first time for me to write. I came along as steam was going out. I do have some steam in my blood, as my father owned 10 steam engines one time or another in his younger life, and I have several pictures of them, mostly the Advance as this seemed to be his favorite.

'He also had Wood Brothers and Buffalo Pitts engines. He was a saw miller and thresher near Lake Odessa, Michigan, for 30 years.

'In my time we had only gas tractors. Orman Rawlings' letter to Soot in the Flues is very interesting. I believe he is correct in stating all Advance steamers had the engine close to the steam dome, which I believe was called a front, a front-mounted engine. His looks more like an Advance Rumely, except the steam dome sits forward of the engine. This resembles the Rumely steamer as to the steam dome being placed ahead of the engine. Maybe Mr. Rawlings has found one of a kind. Hopefully some of the old steam men will respond.

'Also the item by A. J. Ackerman about the Baker steamer made at Swanton, Ohio: there are or were two in the Henry Ford Museum at Detroit, Michigan, a 16-30 and I believe a 25-50 HP. These never were successful because they condensed the exhaust steam and returned it to the boiler. This water contained oil which, being mixed with the water, produced an acid that ate holes in the boiler. According to history, very few if any ever left the plant.

'Since I am retired, maybe I can send some picture. I enjoy both IMA and GEM.'

GERALD DARR, 2220 Bishopsgate Drive, Toledo. Ohio 43614, sent a newspaper article that you folks might enjoy, but we can't reprint it without written permission from the publisher. When sending this sort of thing, don't forget to ask the original publisher for permission to reprint in IMA. If you send us the publisher's address, we can make the request if you haven't.

Gerald, you mentioned you and your wife both have health problems, and I understand you discovered you have diabetes. Join the club! That is one of my many ailments. I've had it for over 15 years, but wonderful things can be done--listen to what they tell you. I've been on insulin for years. You may not have to go that route, but I'm sure you can handle it!

ANDREW L. MICHELS, 302 Highland Ave., Plentywood, Montana 59254 sounds a bit upset as he writes: 'I'm bored to death with people who keep on promoting steam engines or bicycles, airplanes, cars, buses, taxis, racers, even locomotives and tractors.

'One fellow rates steam a low 3% efficiency. I know that turbines get as high as 38% efficiency, which is about the same as internal combustion machines.

'I can get over 40 mph from a gallon of gas in a modern gas auto. Last time I looked, they were getting 9 mph from steam cars. They can't use anti-freeze or plug-ins in steam. Even the flash boilers, 1 min. steam. Sure, I could have a heated garage where I could flip a switch and have the old girl ready to go, but what if the young lady I went to visit, with my old steamer outside, wanted or needed more time?

'It is conceivable that to utilize wood, straw, or corncobs one has to, for the lack of a more sophisticated plant, sacrifice efficiency and settle for 3% to 15% utilization at the given BTU's in the fuel.

'Steam is great stuff, but if you can't use it in a turbine, forget it! In the meantime, let's just play with the old beasts.

'When reading on page 3, March-April IMA, I was made conscious of the difference in American threshing and British.

'In some parts of Britain the 'thatch' is more valuable than the 'corn' all grain is called corn! It seems if you have a thatch roof, you must keep it that way, by law.

'So, it is disturbing to thresh the wheat (corn in England) leaving the straw as long and undamaged as possible. So you need a different kind of thresher. Do you believe that? I do! The threshing machine for this kind of harvest is called a drum.'

'I have a little project that I would like to see what you think about it,' writes DAVE TAYLOR, P. O. Box 705, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin 54936.

'I enjoyed the little tip on 'How To Clean A Boiler Glass' that was sent in by Chuck Sindelar, and appeared in the January/February issue of the magazine. Now Chuck is a pretty sharp fellow, and I'll bet he may have a few more tips like that up his sleeve that he might share with us.

'Then too, if Chuck has some things to share, how many others are out there, especially among those more 'experienced' readers (I dislike saying 'older,' though it is a compliment), who have little tips and tricks they have learned, used, or developed over time that could be of interest and value to those of us currently involved in the operation of steam traction engines, no matter what their size or maker?

'After reading Chuck's tip, I thought how nice it would be to create a personal notebook of little tips like that, and what better source to draw from than the readers of Iron-Men Album? I would like to ask that anyone with a tip on steam traction engineering, no matter how small they may feel it to be, please send it to the magazine in care of your column so that it may be shared, recorded, and put to good use by the rest of us. Wouldn't this be a worthwhile project, of interest to a great many steam folks?

'If you agree, then I will look forward to filling a substantial notebook during the coming months. Thanks for your interest and support.'

(Dave, I think that is a terrific idea and I hope the fellows will take you up on this idea. I'll be looking for the tips and interesting notes you folks will be sending. This magazine is growing better all the time with these suggestions and you experienced steam men. Get your pens out soon and write me).

And now in closing, I have just lost a wonderful friend, and you have too, as I know many of you knew EARLENE RITZMAN. I have known her for about 45 years. She was a wonderful person and taught some of our children in elementary classes. Then of course, later on, this is how I got into the IMA, as she and Elmer came and asked me to take over the job as secretary to Iron-Men Album and that's how it started in my home. In the beginning I used to file the envelopes on my living room floor. Later we had shelves built in the basement and etc. The business grew and later we gave birth to the Gas Engine Magazine also. I liked the job, but also it was something I could do from my home and so I was there to be with my growing family at all times. I was up many a night until the wee hours, but I loved it and you folks are so loveable, and very much like my own family.

Well, I know you mourn with me. She was a dear friend and a wonderful teacher, mother, and wife, always ready to help where needed in her lifetime. And I think I will close now before I get the column 'all wet' with tears of memories.

I feel it is appropriate to print her obituary in my column. I know you folks will cherish it. I knew Earlene thoroughly enjoyed you folks and the wonderful reunions. And sometime we will all have a great reunion on the other side won't that be beautiful?

B. EARLENE RITZMAN, 77, of 220 Brian Dr., Enola, died Sunday, March 14, 1993.

She was a graduate of the former Lock Haven State Teachers College, a retired elementary teacher in the East Pennsboro School District and a member of Emmanuel United Methodist Church, Enola, and the Order of Eastern Star Steadfast Chapter No. 479 of Camp Hill, Pa.

She was the widow of Rev. Elmer Ritzman. Surviving are a daughter, Marsha E. Wingard of Enola; two sisters, Claire Greider and Charlotte Yontz, both of Camp Hill; a grandson; and a nephew and niece.

South Carolina State Museum is interested in updating and maintaining a registry of S. C. made steam engines. Individuals or organizations owning or knowing the whereabouts of such engines are encouraged to communicate with the museum at the address below. The museum is especially interested in 19th century stationary and traction engines. Known companies that produced engines are:

Cameron, McDermid and Mustard (1850s-1860s)

Charleston, SC

Tozer Engine Works/John A. Willis (1865 until early 20th century)

Columbia, SC

Atlantic Engine Works (little is known)

Columbia, SC

Palmetto Ironworks (mid 19th to early 20th century)

Columbia, SC

Smith and Porter Engines (late 19th to early 20th century)

Charleston, SC

Science and Technology Dept., S.C. State Museum, PO Box 100107, Columbia, SC 29202. Phone 803-737-4921; Fax 803-737-4969.