Soot in the Flues

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It's hard to believe we are already into the July-August issue time surely does fly, doesn't it? I'm always looking for good material for us all to ponder thus: To laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out for another is to risk involvement. To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self. To play your ideas and dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To live is to risk dying. To hope is to risk despair. To try at all is to risk failure BUT risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. One may avoid some suffering and sorrow, but one simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, live, and love. Chained by one's certitudes, one is a slave, one has forfeited freedom. Only one WHO RISKSIS TRULY FREE!! (Read it again I think this gives us many thoughts to ponder! Author unknown. I think it is good though, makes us do some deep thinking. And maybe it will inspire some more folks to write!)

I like the suggestions that come in this letter from PETE LA BELLE, 802 Shadybrook, Holland, Michigan 49424. He says it's his soap box speech for my column' Many readers, I'm sure, have been whining as to the shriveling size of the magazine. To my knowledge, this has always been a do-it-yourself kind of magazine, and some of the readers may not be aware of this. There's a lot of readers, young and not so young alike, that I'm sure have something to share regarding our unusual hobby. Stories from the prime years of steam, an old locomotive sitting in your town park, a factory where you work still using steam engines, marine steam vessels, a local museum, your latest restoration or creation, and the one I enjoy most, the technical side of owning, restoring and operating a steamer. There's lots of stuff to write about, and nobody expects the article quality to compete with the Top 10 Best Sellers, either. We're in need of content! So, grab a pencil and paper (or turn on your computer), shoot some pictures and get them in the mail. This slowly shrinking magazine is our fault and soon to be our loss if it ever should stop!' Thank you Pete maybe this will stir someone up. I do have a bit more this time so keep the letters rolling in, Folks!

GARNET R. FLACK, Edinburg, North Dakota 58227 sends this communication: 'I was interested in the article submitted by Lt. A. Lewis of Gray, Saskatchewan, which was in the September/October 1993 issue about shock loaders. I was surprised to learn that this use was so widespread in Canada.

'I grew up on a farm three miles south of Milton, North Dakota, and there were three threshing outfits in the Milton area that used shock loaders. The one I was most familiar with and used to see in operation was owned by one of our closest neighbors, Mr. John Wild, who had quite a large farming operation. Mr. Wild had a large Minneapolis threshing outfit, a 35 HP engine and a 40 x 64 separator. With the use of the shock loader, six bundle teams would keep this outfit going, but needless to say, the teams hauled a lot of loads in a day. Mr. Wild always had one man who followed the shock loader on foot and picked up any stray bundles that fell off. That man did a lot of walking.

'Mr. Lewis mentioned in his article how the bundle racks were built high on one side to prevent the bundles from falling over. This same method was used here, and for that reason the teams on one side of the feeder had to drive in facing the engine.

'This shock loader was wrecked in 1925, so from then on they used eight teams with two men on each rack, and a man to clean up under the feeder. I worked on this outfit when they were using this system part of the fall of 1928 and the fall of 1929 which was the last season this outfit was operated. I am sorry to say that the beautiful Minneapolis engine, in perfect working order, was sold to a scrap dealer in later years. Before that, it had been traded in to an implement dealer on a tractor.

Another of your correspondents recently referred to mechanical shockers. Another of our neighbors who had a very large farming operation, and also was an implement dealer, by the name of C. W. Plain, experimented with mechanical shockers when I was a small boy. I never saw one of these machines in operation but remember seeing some of the shocks, and they were not very good shocks and didn't stand up very well.

Flywheel side of 40-140 HP Reeves Canadian Special Cross Compound SN 6867 owned by Ed and Ray Smolik of Osage, Iowa. Taken 8/92 by Gary Yaeger.

'The way I understand it, a certain number of bundles were formed into a shock and then the shock was pushed off onto the ground. Just before this took place a twine was tied around the entire shock. There evidently was a knotter head similar to a binder as baler to tie the twine. I remember hearing that this twine was such a nuisance to the bundle haulers in threshing time, which is easily understandable.'

'I had written you earlier in the year and promised the story told me by Max Tyler about the 40 HP U.S. Reeves that his father, Charlie Tyler, almost purchased,' writes GARY YAEGER, 146 Reimer Lane, White-fish, Montana 59937. (406-862-7738).

'I had a nice conversation with my good friend, Max Tyler of Moore, Montana, here in Whitefish, Montana, over dinner. He proceeded to tell me about his father, Charlie Tyler, almost buying a 40 HP U.S. Reeves. My mind was immediately skeptical, but the more he talked, the easier it was to concur with him. I forgot where he said Charlie located it, but I believe it was in north central Montana, maybe the Havre, Montana, area.

'At first, I thought every 40 HP Reeves ever built was a 'Canadian Special' I knew in the first grade that all Canadian Reeves engines used the flat strap steel built-up wheels in the rear, in place of the cast steel of the U.S. engines. However, I was a freshman in high school when I learned these built-up wheels were also available at extra cost on U.S. Reeves engines. Hence, so much for the idea that all engines with these wheels are Canadian engines.

32-120 HP Reeves Cross Compound Canadian Special #6269. This is how it looked when the Yaeger Bros., Lewistown, MT, owned it. Taken at the Tyler Ranch when purchased by Charlie Harrison. It is now owned by Marvin Brodbeck and has a later style boiler.

'I have quite a few pictures of 40 HP Reeves engines, mostly from Montana, in my library. I also have a few copies of Tyler's original Reeves Catalog #36. This catalog states on the dimensions of the Reeves engines: 13 HP through 40 HPU.S. Design.' of this same catalog it states: 'Special attention has been given to boiler construction. It is built with plates extending back of the firebox and to which the axle and countershaft bearings are attached; also the rear saddle of the engine frame. This makes a most substantial foundation for these parts.' However, no more mention of boiler construction.

Engineer Randy Schwerin running simple (intercepting valve is allowing live steam into both cylinders) with Smolik Bros.' 40-140 HP Reeves Canadian Special Cross-Compound. Next to the Smolik Bros., Randy is probably more knowledgable on the 40 HP Reeves than anyone else alive.

'Fortunately, we still have an example of the 40 HP Reevesthe Smolik Brothers, which has recently been moved to Osage, Iowa, where it will remain in the museum. Ed Smolik is very, very knowledgeable on 40 HP Reeves engines. I visited with him for a couple of hours when I was in Cedar Falls, Iowa, in August of 1992. (I should have had my camcorder running!)

'We were 'splitting hairs' on 40 Reeves variations and agreeing, too! Their engine is only one of two late Emerson-Brantingham 40s produced with the two 45 degree angle elbows in the main steam line. I knew theirs was the only one I'd ever seen having this; although, almost all of the 32 HP Canadians had this feature.

'Every other 40 HP picture I have is of the early design, identical to the 32 HP Reeves U.S. I've included a picture of Tyler Brothers, 32 U.S. Reeves cross-compound #7888 to use a visual aid, since the boiler barrel diameter is the same size smokebox door and outer ring. (Note the late style Emerson-Brantingham door on #7888). Also, the cone type king post, which was also employed on the early 40s, as well as the flat steam dome, straight steam line with horizontal shutoff valve and pop valve on top of the large Tee' fitting.

'Now, to aid in the confusion, I'm adding another 32 HP Reeves as a visual aid . This Reeves Canadian Special 32 HP cross-compound #6269 was the engine owned by my dad and his brothers near Lewistown, Montana. I could write volumes on this engine, and maybe I'll have to send you a story of its many lives. This photo was taken after Dad traded it to Tylers for a Nichols & Shepard. This was before Tylers sold it to Charlie Harrison, whose widow sold it to Marvin Brodbeck, the current owner.

'I've included #6269 because it was another variation which must have been used on the 40 HP Reeves, but I have no way of knowing since I have no pictures or literature of a 40 HP with these traits.

'First of all it was one of the first 32 HP Canadian Specials and was the only one of this type before its final restoration, when it got a newer, round dome, ' boiler.

Paul Tyler, Max Tyler's son, and grandson of Charlie Tyler, on Tyler Bros. 32-110 U.S. Cross Compound Reeves in July 1991. S.N. 7888. Note late style Emerson-Brantingham smoke box door. It also has Baker valves and friction power guide.

'#6269 had a 7/16 boiler by Broderick Brothers, built in June of 1910. It was a butt strap type with riveted on wing sheets, instead of the one piece wagon top of the later Canadians. To achieve the 175# steam pressure rating of the Canadian government laws, they moved the centers closer together on the staybolts. The U.S. 7/16' and late Canadian ' boilers used staybolts farther apart.

'This being a butt strap boiler, it had the larger diameter boiler barrel. Reeves used the same diameter smoke box door on all 25 HP-D.S., all 32 HP engines and of course on the 40 HP. Also, they used a larger door ring, made eccentric, with the door hinged lower, to take up this barrel diameter difference. Notice the vertical shutoff valve on the straight steam line. It also had a Pickering governor instead of Mr. Clay's sliding weight 'Reeves' governor. I'm assuming this variation must have gone out of production prior to the buyout of Reeves by Emerson-Brantingham. So much for the 32 HP comparisons.

Example of an early 40-140 HP Reeves U.S. type, with lapseam boiler, King Post is bolted in waterspace, however it had wing sheets riveted behind the wagon top to support the cannon bearings and the rear of the single piece casting cross-compound motor. This engine was owned by Steve Anderson, Lewistown, MT. Photo taken near Denton, MT. It appears to me they had their own private 'tractor pull' circa 1912.

'Now, there is a super old picture of an earlier style 40 HP which was owned by Steven Anderson of Lewis-town, Montana. I love those 56' wide rear wheels and extensions.

'Now to analyze this most common type 40 HP Reeves. Note first of all, the centered smoke box door, as on the U.S. 32 HP, the cone type king post, with bolts into the water-space, and the 32 U.S. type valve and pop valve on the steam line. It does have the sliding ball Reeves governor though, and it should have riveted on wing sheets, according to catalog #36.

'The Emerson-Brantingham catalog reproduced for the Reeves Historical Society of America states, 'Reeves cross compound engine rated 40 HP regularly built with Canadian Special boiler.' The engravings of the 40 HP in this (E-B) catalog didn't help our dilemma, as they used the same engraving as in Tyler's #36 catalog.

'Now that I have myself and maybe some of you fine readers confused, let me tell you what Charlie Tyler almost purchased. It had a lap seam boiler, cast steel, round spoke, rear drive wheels with extensions; also, it had the Reeves friction disc power steering guide instead of the steam turbine guide of the standard production 40s. It did not have the two story cab, but rather the ordinary type of Reeves canopy. It did have the one piece casting 40 HP cross-compound motor, with piston valves.

'In my personal opinion, this was just an ordinary 32 HP U.S. simple double, only fitted with the 40 HP motor.

'Max did not recall whether this had the riveted on wing sheets or had the standard U.S. Cannon bearings bolted into the water space. It did have the two piece upper cannon bearing, but Yaeger Brothers' 32 HP Canadian Special also had that feature.

'Charlie Tyler's engine would be a rare one if it still existed, but it doesn't.

'Reeves and Company had a huge market here in Montana, for their larger size steam engines. Quoting Max Tyler in Haston St. Clair's book Historical Stories About Reeves Engines under #6269, Max stated: 'Four out of five engines used for plowing in the Montana Judith Basin were Reeves, and the fifth man wished he had a Reeves.'

'On that note, I think I'd better quit!

'I've collected model T Fords for over 40 years and antique Winchester firearms for about 20 years.

'You know, it seems every time I was about to bet that these companies only did things a certain way, or for only a specific time, someone usually came along and put 'egg on my face!' Anyway, Charlie's 40 HP would have been the perfect prototype'!

In reply to A. L. Michels' writing, page 15 of July/August 1993, this conclusion comes from GERALD PAYNE, 12157 McKinley Road, Montrose, Michigan 48457). 'In response to A. L. Michels writing, I'd like to say he'd better do some research. A reciprocating engine, Corliss type or Uniflow stationary engine was rated 25% efficient. Turbines are considered better than 90% efficient and are still used today!

'Approximately 50% or more electricity produced in the U.S. today is by the steam turbine.'

If you take this magazine and attend steam shows, I'm sure you like to talk and 'dicker' about your views at times. I hereby hope no one is offended, as that is not the purpose in asserting your views. (This pertains to the letter above and the following note from ED HURD, Box 283, Byron, Michigan 48418.) Ed writes: 'I see more bull-crap from former Case engine owners trying to defend them, this time from Iowa.

'I'm deeply sorry for offending Mr. Thomas Stebritz. It must be sore knees that causes him to be so short-tempered.

'I still stand behind what I said about Case engines. In fact, there is one fault that I forgot. The steering is terrible. One becomes arm-weary just trying to put one in the belt. I learned this from Tom's engine after he sold it to Graham Sellers. It is a tight engine, but saw very little traction work.

'You see, Case did sloppy work on the design of the rear suspension of the engines. The force of thrust in forward motion, the weight of the platform with contractors bunker, and draw bar were all borne by these upper links.

'Now, Keck Gonnerman used the same link and spring arrangement as Case, except they did it right. The drawbar and platform were mounted solid to the boiler. Incidentally, you never had to get down on your knees to see in their firebox.

'Here are a few rear-mounted engines that you don't have to get on your knees to fire: Advance, Rumely, Gaar-Scott, Avery, Baker and Peerless.

'About Case wheels they have flimsy spokes and under heavy traction, the spokes loosen and the wheels wobble.

'Incidentally, Mr. John Schrock of Mason, Michigan, has developed patented Schrock improvement that makes Case engines easy to fire. I wish that he would write an article on it.' (Please do John)!

'Let's face it! Case is a good engine, but it has its faults!' (Hey Fellows, I bet every engine has its faults just like we folks are all guilty of the same.)

BLAKE MALKAMAKI, 10839 Girdled Road, Concord Twp., Painesville, Ohio 44077 writes:

'For the last seven or eight years, I've been compiling a list of steam traction and portable engines in North America. So far, I have over 2500, all listed by manufacturer, serial number, horsepower, year, owner, condition, previous owner and the source of the information. Some engines lack some information.

'I would like to share this information with steam engine people, but there's no way I can send the whole list (it takes about an hour and a half to print out). If you would like a list of two or three makes, send me a S.A.S.E. I will ask that if you have additional engines or information, or if you can update my list, please send that to me later, so I can keep my list as accurate as possible. Please write to me at the above address or call or fax 216-354-4833.'

JAMES L. BROADHEAD, Box 405, Colchester, Illinois 62326 sends this letter: 'I am writing in regards to Orman Rawlings' letter in the March-April issue on page 11. The answer to his first question is something that I have spent considerable time studying. I have an engine like this; mine is #14346 built in 1915it has the butt strap boiler also. Two more of these engines I know of are as follows: one in Platte City, Missouri, which is a lap seam and one in Dewitte, Iowa, which is a butt strap. I regret that I don't have their serial numbers. Now, on to the answer.

'The reason for the engine being so far behind the dome: this boiler is a 21 HP tandem compound rear mount boiler. Advance compounds have the smaller high pressure cylinder in front of the larger low pressure cylinder, so the dome was placed next to the high pressure cylinder. Since this is a single simple, it is not as long as a compound; therefore does not reach the dome.

'Answer to question #2: standard equipment on Advance engines included one injector and one independent steam pump. This steam pump was a single cylinder marsh pump, but I cannot tell you the bore and stroke of the pump that would have come with this engine.

'In the January/February 1994 issue, Edward Hutsell wrote a reply to this letter and said that the serial number cannot be correct. I would have to agree with that statement. My guess would be that this engine is newer than mine, because the front axle pedestal is mounted under the barrel and not the smoke box. It is possible that the pedestal was moved back. It has been moved back on my engine, but I believe the later ones were made with the axle mounted as yours is made. The engine at Platte City still has the pedestal under the smoke box and the one at Dewitt has been moved back.

'Mr. Hutsell also wrote that the old Advance piped steam through boiler, smoke box and stack. Yes, they did on single simple side mount and tandem compound side mount, but not on any rear mounted engine. On this particular engine the pipe would be so long between the stack and the cylinder that it would not gain anything from the 'dry pipe.' Advance compounds were designed to run on 175 P.S.I, steam, so I imagine as soon as the superior strength of the butt strap was discovered, the wise choice for Advance was to build their high pressure boilers in this method. As far as the wheels go, I have never seen any other Advance with steel wheels, only cast iron. But, the hubs front and rear are the same as used on compound rear mounted Advance engines. I also have a 1923 Advance Rumely #15306 and the wheel hubs are completely different.

'It is my theory that the wheels were made this way for simplicity, ease of construction and lower cost. It is also my theory that this particular engine was built to cater to the majority of the engine buying public who wanted universal engines, engines that could burn any fuel (wood, coal, straw), rear mounted so they could be used for traction work when needed. It would be simple in design, but rugged when the going got tough (ADVANCE trait). This engine is just exactly what they wanted.

'I would like to say, Mr. Hutsell, that this engine IS NO BASTARD! It is the legitimate son of a rich heritage of some of the finest traction engines ever manufactured. It was designed by Advance engineers, manufactured by Advance craftsmen in Advance factories and is a close forefather of 'the best running most reliable engines that ever drew a breath,' Advance Rumely Universal.'

'In the March/April issue on , there is a picture of a machine which was thought to have been built as a stump puller. The wheels on this machine are of the same design as the wheels used on the 'Big Four' tractor built by the Gas Traction Company in 1911. There are more spokes in the wheels in your picture than are on the Big Four. The spuds on the rims are of the same style.

'On the same magazine, there is a picture of a Geiser 'Peerless' steam traction engine. You ask what model it is and also the horsepower. That engine is either a model Ul, 18 HP, or a Zl, 25 HP. It is a single cylinder engine with double drive gearing for any heavy-duty work. At that time these engines were the most powerful single cylinder engines built by Geiser. They were built in the 1909-1910 era. The engine pictured is equipped with optional canopy and a headlight.

'I have an Advance Rumely OilPull tractor. It is a model G, 20-40 HP, built in 1923. My father bought it when it was about one year old, in like new condition. The tractor was used for custom threshing of wheat, barley, oats, rye and clover seed.

'It was also used to do custom sawmill work. At home, it was also used to power a burr type and a hammer type feed grinder. It pulled a road grader some; and one time a neighbor had my father use the OilPull to remove old apple trees from a farm orchard. The trees were pulled from the ground intact with some roots. I have used it many times to pull my Farmall 450 diesel out of a soft spot in our meadow when mowing. I display the OilPull at three steam shows. At times at these shows, the tractor is belted to a thresher, which makes the OilPull bark real good. Please keep up the good work!' (I' ll try, Sir, and thanks for your letter.) This communication came from OSCAR R. STREAKER, JR., 1350 Rt. 32, Sykesville, Maryland 21784.

'I think it's about my turn to add a bit to the column,' writes JOHN STEEL, 2705 Steel Road, N.W., Dover, Ohio 44622. 'I really appreciate your thoughts in your column where you lift up the Lord and good wholesome life styles. Along those lines, I'll highlight on an article I read once about the importance of a good governor on a steam engine. The governor is considered the heart of an engine, if it be slow, the engine seems sluggish and powerless. If it be too radical, the engine nearly comes apart during the slightest sense of a load. But, there's nothing like listening to a well governed engine sawing a big oak log.

'Like with engines, people too have a governor. The operation of our human governor controls many things like our language, our tempers and our lifestyles. It should set a standard for our life and tell us if we're up to speed with God's will for our life.

'Lately, we have been experiencing some terribly cold weather as low as 30 degrees below zero no doubt a record here in eastern central Ohio. This presents plenty of challenges to keeping things going around a dairy farm. Some unusual guests this winter have been many Canadian geese which have been staying around the fields looking for corn or something to eat.

1922 Case 50 serial #35411. Nathan Steel, age 4, standing by rear wheel. 'The next Case man.' Engine owned by Terry and John Steel and families.

'I am including a picture of our latest restoration, a 50 Case. This engine carries 150 P.S.I, and is in like new condition. It is a very late engine at serial #35411. It also has as original equipment 8' extension rims.

'I am also sending a picture taken at the Algonquin Mill Fall Festival, where we have been taking our Case 65 and powering the sawmill for the weekend. Algonquin is a nice little restored village nestled in the hills of eastern Ohio, recreated around a steam-powered flour mill which began somewhere around the late 1800s. It is complete with a farm setting, two story cabin, sawmill, post office and several other buildings which swarm with people watching turn of the century craftsmen who are demonstrating along with selling their wares and crafts. Also, apple butter, cider and homemade bread are made the old-fashioned way.

'We enjoy a good sawmill crew and always make a big pile of boards from the three-day run. Nothing I like better than to pull the throttle on that old 65 and 165 P.S.I, and a nice log on the carriage heading for the saw. Keep up the column as we all enjoy reading about engines and the people and life-styles who run them!'

This communication comes from RUSS KASTEN, 815 N. Superior Avenue, Tomah, Wisconsin 54660: 'Recently, I came across one of Gramps' old steam engine books entitled The Traction Engine - Its Use and Abuse, including Gas and Gasoline Engines, plus How To Run A Threshing Rig by James H. Maggard, copyright 1898.

'I have not noticed such a title in any of your publishing ads, and I must say that it is quite interesting reading. One anecdote included is: 'It would not be fair to put the green boy on to an old dilapidated, worn-out engine, for he might have to learn too fast in order to get the engine to running in good shape. He might have to learn so fast that he would get the big head, or have no head at all by the time he got through with it. And I don't know, but that a boy without a head is about as good as an engineer with a big head.'

'This book does not contain graphs and figures, but tells of what an average engineer is likely to encounter in his daily use of a steam engine and threshing rig. Hopefully, this book is still in print and available, as it contains a wealth of information for the beginner or 'Green Boy'.' (Anyone else out there heard of this? and are they still available? Sounds interesting)!

The following communication comes from BRUCE FLATMOE, 7286 Clay Avenue E., Inver Grove Hts., Minnesota 55076 (H: 612-457-9080 and W: 612-779-6083): 'During the mid-1920s, my great-uncle purchased a Waterloo Boy tractor S/N 20274, and a plow from a dealer in Dupree, South Dakota. A short time later the tractor was resold after he was involved in a fatal farm accident with it. We have the original bill of sale. By chance, is this tractor still in existence? If it is, I'd like to hear from its owner.

'On another note: Can any Case collector tell me if rods and pistons from a 12-20 Case will fit a 10-18 Case? Will pistons from any other Case tractor fit the 10-18 Case? If you can help, I'd appreciate hearing from you.

'I'm also compiling a list of 9-18 Case owners and their tractor serial numbers. If you have a 9-18 or know who does, please drop me a line.'

HENRY J. MAST, Route 1, Box W132, Williamsburg, Indiana 47393 writes: 'Does anyone know of a used book for sale that gives reliable information how to clean a boiler on the inside?

'The letter in the January/February issue prepared by C. William Ret-tie is quite interesting to me. We have a 9 x 10 portable Frick steam engine that we have used to run our sawmill and I have found it quite interesting to fire and use things such as bark, wood chips, slab wood and other woods to make power to run a sawmill. I am glad to hear of someone who has interest in setting up a steam-powered sawmill.'

CHUCK SINDELAR, S47W-22300 Lawnsdale Road, Waukesha, Wisconsin 53186 sends this letter with a lot of information: 'Regarding the letter from Randall Sawyers of Council Bluffs in IMA January/February 1994. There is a lot of interesting history involved with the 'Baker Fan.' Recently, some (experts) have tried to discredit the fan by saying it can not do this, or it can not do that some have even gone so far as to say using the fan can harm your engine. To that, I say: Horse feathers! Why do some people try so hard to make something out of nothing? Try to make an issue when none exists? It is obvious that using the fan can do no more (nor less) than its original intended purpose. That is to put a 'load' on the engine which quite obviously was also the main intended use for the engine. Naturally, there will be some 'wear' with any moving part, but with some good common sense, and proper use of some good 'lube,' the wear will be minimal. No more nor less wear than when belted to any other piece of equipment that can exert a similar load.

'Now, to the fan itself. I think it would benefit a lot of the readers and shows to again run a complete story on construction 'specs.' I don't remember such a story in IMA, but I may have forgotten it. But, a nice interesting story was done in Engineers & Engines, February 1966! That is almost 30 years ago, and not likely available to many readers. It was written by Frank McGuffin. Some of you 'old-timers' may well recognize that name he invented an advanced design boiler fire door that was sold in the after-market. I finally got to see one of these doors just a couple of years ago, but can't seem to remember if it was on an engine at Willie Abel's at Finleyville, or if it was at Rough and Tumble at Kinzers.''([Look for it next time you are at those shows.)

'McGuffin states that it was Mr. A.D. Baker who first used such a fan at his Baker Factory in Swanton, Ohio. Every steamer was belted to this fan before it was shipped, to 'work in' the bearings, and so as to be able to adjust the engine while under load. At that time, Mr. A.D. Baker was good friends with Mr. LeRoy Blaker. All you old timers know that Leroy Blaker served as president of The National Threshers in their early years, and several of their early shows were held on the Blaker farm near Alvordton, Ohio. Mr. A.D. Baker offered to loan his factory fan (the only one in existence at that time) to Leroy Blaker for use at the National Threshers steam-ups at the Blaker farm. After a few years with this loan arrangement, Mr. A.D. Baker donated his the original-Baker fan to the National Threshers organization. In this 1966 article, McGuffin gives dimensions and specs, and includes several pictures of 'The Original Baker Fan.' He states that it is very important that the fan blades be exactly 24 inches square, and attached to the shaft so that they run perfectly balanced and in a circle of exactly 60 inches.

'Some of you will remember LeRoy Blaker as a devout Port Huron man. He devoted a lot of his time and energy to horse power testing, and economy run at those early shows, and published a number of articles on these subjects. He was a fine engineer who got his start as a steam thresherman and sawyer when steam was still king. But, he was much more than that. He knew reverse gears and valves of all types. On his famous Case 65 (engine number 33917) which he bought near Ord, Nebraska, in May of 1953, he built his own balanced valve similar to the 'Sweet Patent' as used on some Fricks, Aultman-Taylors and Reeves. He was able to get his '65' to perform as no one else could. For instance, who can today get any 22-65 steamer to match a draw bar pull of over 21,000 lbs.? This was done at the National Threshers Reunion at Montpelier with Harry Woodman see at the controls and Amos Rixman running the test. (See & August 1957.) On favorable footing, this Case 65 pulled in the same class as a D6 Cat and a TD 14 International crawler. What a show that must have been. I sure wish I had been there! I've always said that I was just born too late.

'On another subject. I hope by now all of your water gauge glasses are spotlessly clean. Has anyone tried the tip I sent in that appeared in IMA on page 14 of January/February '93 issue? I found it interesting that this tip had done some traveling. My good friend, Joe Kuester of Clintonville, Wisconsin, is a member of The National Traction Engine Trust that published the British magazine Steaming. Joe sent me a copy of their autumn '93 issue where they had reprinted this tip in its entirety. I hope, for the sake of safety, that now all water gauge glasses are clean on both sides of the Atlantic.

'Boy, winter is here in all her glory. The snow depth and wind chill factors are now falling in the 'meaningful' range. It is now time to get all those winter projects under way. Come on all you lard butts and couch potatoes if you are too whimpy to work on your old iron, try to pull your sunken chests up to the kitchen table with paper and pen in hand and write something for Iron Men to print. They can't print what you are thinking, they need it on paper. For lack of material, IMA can easily be devoured in a short evening. I'd like to see it twice as thick, and come out every month maybe every two weeks in winter. Bet this could happen if everyone would contribute even just a little bit.'

'Mead Morison of Boston, Maine, built two sizes of the Caterpillar tractors. I operated one the town of Bethany, New York, had, and our friend Dick Spink has one in his tractor collection at Varysburg, New York. How long this company manufactured these Cats and rating of HP or tonage anyone know? For heat in the cab, we had big barn lanterns lit. In other words if the light was on, you were warm.' (This short letter was hard to decipher, but I wanted to use it and the writer did not want his name mentioned).

'As a subscriber to your magazines I abhor the fact that some of the readers object to you printing stories about boiler explosions, as they feel they emphasize the dangerous aspects of the hobby. This was noted in the Editor's note box on page 22 of the May/June issue of The Iron Men Album magazine. A big favor would be given to these so-called hobbyists if more information about boiler explosions were made known to them, and I think it is the responsibility of IMA to pass on information to the readers as to the potential bombs they are playing with, believe me!

'An example of what I'm saying without going into a lot of technical talk is outlined below:



Temp at


Ft. Lbs.

Energy Liberated



















Comparison of explosives:

1 lb. Black Powder gives 960,000 ft. lbs.
1 lb. Smokeless powder gives
1,260,000 ft. lbs.
1 lb. Nitroglycerine gives 2,000,000 ft. lbs.

'The above chart is based on the sudden rupture of just a 30 gallon hot water tank at various pressures and temperatures.

At atmospheric pressure, steam occupies 1620.8708 times more volume than does water. To put it more plainly that is .01672 ft/3 of water boiled off into steam at atmospheric pressure which will occupy 26.80 ft/3 of space! A gallon of water is equal to 231 cubic inches. A cubic foot holds 7.48 gallons of water. Take these figures and boil off a gallon of water at atmospheric pressure and you can figure out the final volume that the steam produced will occupy.

'Now take a steam boiler and add potential energy to the steam being produced under pressure; one can see the violent expansion the steam would undergo when suddenly released to the atmosphere, let alone the water contents of the boiler as it flashes off into steam in our ruptured boiler due to the sudden drop of pressure that was exerted on the surface of the water.

'Let me kid you not! To keep your head in the sand as to the potential energy that steam under pressure has and the hazards involved, and to top it off by wanting to keep such articles from being printed, is not doing one much good.

'One other thing should be remembered: welcome the boiler inspector if he should come around, and work with him. He is just not looking out for your life, he is also protecting the people around your engine and boiler when it is under pressure.'

This article came from WILLIAM B. COONEY, High Pressure Steam Fireman, 1st Class, Lic. #8267, P.O. Box 566, Norton, Massachusetts 02766.

'Hi, Everyone, I may be a new contributing face! Hang On!'says REV. LLOYD C. BRONSON, (retired) 31674 I Street, Pine Grove Mills, Gobies, Michigan 49055.

'I am reaching into the farthest back corner of my memories' cupboard, to tell of my first sight of a threshing rig. Playing on our farm-home's west porch gave a view of the road westerly, which road then was a worn track with grass growing between the wheel tracks, no less! Our farm dog, Alger, was with me too. As I remember it was the summer of 1908, maybe? As I played I began to hear the sounds of teams pulling, the chucking of wagon wheels or something? Men talking and urging horses on, and as I looked I saw first from behind an Osage hedge, the first team pulling a portable steam engine. Its smokestack folded back and a man sitting on a seat ahead of the stack, showed wisps of smoke softly spiraling upward. The engine seemed hard to pull in the loamy soil of the wagon tracks and I could see lather under the harnesses. A hot day it was!

'Oh-h, there is another team a coming and it is pulling a threshing machine; don't remember now the names on the rig, but I never had seen one before, you know? Or do ye now? Well this team was working pretty hard and I could hear the horses breathing, kind a panting, no? Watching those two rigs come and then pass by I then saw to my surprise a third team and it was pulling a wagon with a wooden tank on it. A pump was on top of the tank with a big, long hose which reminded me of a big worm, eh ye say? This team wasn't working quite as hard but there was lather showing, the driver also was smoking a pipe which I could smell clear up to our porch, no less! Oh yeah, I did notice that the driver for the steam engine did spit a lot as he went by and I saw what looked like a big grape blow from his mouth and while he was yet in sight, as he rested his big team which looked like maybe they be per herons, yes? Well this driver reached into a back pocket of his overalls and took a big bite of a brown chunk of something. Any idea what it could have been, ye engineers and firemen? Oh yeah, the road past our place is a bit uphill as ye go easterly, no less and so the rig pulled harder past our farm and the grade got a lot wore further on, ye know.

'Moving along a little, just a few years, no more, a steam rig came to our place in a forenoon. Alger and I were on the west porch as usual and I was so surprised! When that steam traction engine came about to the porch Alger jumped off and to the nearest drive wheel and began growling real fierce and biting the iron spokes while yet being careful to not let the drive wheel run onto his foot, see? (How nice 'would have been to have a new-fangled video camera so I could a taped the different steamers and mills that did our grains for us, so long ago!) The ones I do remember were Huber (2), Nichols & Shepard (3); then Oil Pulls took over, but I remember as a small boy, yeah, small, of the different engineers letting me sit on the tank or bunker and I so much enjoyed the rocking of the single cylinder engine and watching the engineer fire and work the injector; be ye a knowing what that is? Well for one thing it squirts a lot of steam and near deafens me, no less! I suppose he can't help it but I liked to watch the water come up in the glass; kind of mysterious too, and oh yeah, I liked the puffing!

'The last summer at our farm was a Nichols double-simple and my Pop had me watch, me on the barn roof, for sparks but it being a double I guess no sparks? It's just too bad, I wish I had a camera away back then, you know. I am submitting three photos. One shows the Nichols going away, last time. The second one, taken by my sister-in-law, Mrs. Paul Ruth Bronson, while on visit near Rose Glen, North Dakota, in 1914 at her uncle's 'spread.' The third is of a Rumely steamer poised atop a big hill at the Van Buren Flywheeler's Show at the county fairgrounds near Hartford, Michigan, north of 1-94. I chanced to see that Rumely on top of that hill, reminded me, being again a boy when 'STEAM WAS KING!' I just praise our Lord that He has granted me this life-long experience of coming from horse and buggy to folks flitting about in space and seeing the whole earth. There is much talk about the year 2000 and if God so allows, I then will be 96, how about it? Steamers have always been a favorite with me and I for many years have hankered so much to have one. I recall a very few that could be bought for: $50, $100, $250. This last one, a nice Universal 25! One needs money, yes?'

'Here's a thought to ponder! WHAT KIND OF BONE ARE YOU? In the anatomy of every organization there are four kinds of bones: WISHBONES Who spend all their time wishing someone else would do the work. JAWBONES Who do all the talking but little else. KNUCKLEBONES Who knock everything anyone else tries to do. BACKBONES Who get under the load and DO THE WORK!! (This is something I came across and thought it worth passing on to you).'

Maren Thompson, public affairs assistant for the Baltimore, accepts a copy of IMA from Jack Norbeck, author of the Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction Engines. The cover of the magazine shows the Baltimore, a restored 1906 steam tug.

MAX C. CROTHERS, 7960 Harris Road, Marlette, Michigan 48453 sent the following:


It's kind of tough to have t' leave
So many folks you learned to know
An' have 'em grip your hand an'
tell How much they hate to see you go!
It's kind o' tough t' say good bye
To friends you've seen day after day
It's hard to break the happy
bonds O' comradeship an' move away.
It's hard to pack up all year things
An' leave a cozy home behind.
The place where joys have come t'
you Where neighbors all have been so kind.
And when at last your dearest
pal-Is try in' hard to make a bluff
At bein' brave an breaks right
down It's kind a tough, it's kind a tough.
An' if you let 'em have their way
You'll soon be feelin' right at home.
So, it's a long farewell old friends
May God be mighty good to you
Across the miles an' down the years
You'll find my friendship, always true.
And now I turn with eager heart
T' meet whatever life extends
T' greet the folks that welcome me
An' try t'make them all my friends!
Lawrence Hawthorne

Keep the letters coming Friends and that about does it until next issue. Have a good summer and keep me posted on all your events and discoveries. Love you all!