SOOT IN THE FLUES

Soot in the flues

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'It is with great sadness that I sit down to write this letter. I have been receiving IMA for some twenty years, and the first article I read was 'Soot in the Flues.''

'Over the years I have come to feel that I knew Anna Mae very well and hoped that someday, someplace we would meet. Her writing created a stir in me and she felt like a member of my family. I, like all of you, feel a great loss.'

'This is my first writing, although I did write a letter when Anna Mae was talking about having to pack it in if she did not receive any more letters. However, mine never got mailed. I think now I will try to look for it, change it a little and send it to you as a tribute to her.'

'Again, my heartfelt sympathy to all at IMA.'

W. LIONEL SMITH, P.O. Box 512, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada S6V 5R8.

C. J. NIELSON, 8969 Geraldine Avenue, San Diego, California 92123 writes: 'Reading your 1994-95 book on tractors, engines, threshers, etc. I notice the interest seems to be lessening.

'I was glad to see the Canada pages. Canada is more of the older methods and they take more interest in the older ways.'

'I looked for mention of old time fiddling as a draw, as I think threshing and fiddling go together, especially up in Canada. Canada is great for fiddlers.

'I played at a thresher show and I sure got a lot of nice comments. I'd hope we could get that going at thresher shows. I'd be glad to do some jigging, step dances, etc. to hoe-downs, even though I'm 87!'

We have this from GARY YAEGER, 146 Reimer Lane, White-fish, Montana 59937:

'With the loss of our dear Anna Mae, I'm kind of at a loss as to how to address my letter to you. Anna Mae had become a friend to me through the one love of my life I love to write about. I don't mean to hog the pages of IMA from anyone who sends you material. Anna Mae would say when she was needing material, and never seemed the type to turn down anything. If you need fill for an edition maybe you'd use my material. I think she'd want the Album to go on without her. How I'd love to have met her.

'I can procrastinate as well as the next person. I remember how I feared sending my first letter to IMA, thinking 'What if someone proves me wrong or criticizes what I have written?' I certainly am not a writer nor a good scholar, but I refuse to have our steam hobby wane due to my efforts. I have been privileged to know some of the old steam greats. Most of them are gone now. How I'd like to have my father back for ten minutes. Or Walt Mehmke, or Charlie Tyler, or Earl Tyler, or Shelby Bellinger. I wrote Max Tyler a few weeks ago and after asking him a question, he replied, 'I know I'm the last of the old steam men!' Some of you who know great old steam people should do with your old steam acquaintances what I did with Austin Monk on February first. I set up my camcorder on a tripod and made him tell the camcorder the many steam stories he's told me over the years. This 83-year-old friend resisted, but finally recognized what I was trying to do. I also did the same thing to another 82-year-old friend who is the oldest conductor in the Whitefish division of the Burlington (Great) Northern Railroad. I captured two hours of steam railroading. They both said something to the effect of 'Yah, you want to get it before I die!' I reminded them both that they may be attending my funeral first.

'Speaking of my friend Max Tyler, of Moore, Montana, I received the following letter from him just this week:'

I sure wish you could have been along when I visited Ben Hollenback, former Reeves Dealer, of Buffalo, Montana.

Two things he told meI forgot to tell you in my last letter. One was that the 40 HP U.S.-C.C. had a 7/16 lapseam boiler instead of ?' like the 32 U.S.-C.C. Same 150 lb. pressure.

Also that the 40 Canadian C.C. could be 'special ordered' with a ?' butt-strap boiler instead of ' regular. It used 200 lb. pressure instead of 175 lb. in the regular.

Ben had sold two 40 HP Reeves engines, one in the Stanford area and one in the Denton area of Montana. He told me their names but I have forgotten them. They were the regular 40s. He didn't know of any 'special 40s.'

The 40 boiler owned by Mark Pederson is a special 40, ?', I believe. The Smolik Bros. 40 may have a ? boiler too.

'Now, maybe I'd best get on with what my original intentions were, in writing you. In the July/August issue of IMA, I had an article about Charlie Tyler's forty U.S. Reeves. In that story, I paralleled my dad's 32 Reeves cross-compound, Canadian Special. I stated that Reeves must have built a forty counterpart, with flat dome, straight steam line and vertical main steam shutoff valve. Technically, this would be a 'second model' forty Reeves. I stated I'd never seen a picture of one. Ironically, I found a picture in a Montana Geographic Series (18) called 'Montana Farm and Ranch Life.' The second model forty was pulling a wooden combine in Hill County. Mark Pederson of Luverne, North Dakota, came to Whitefish early this year and we spent a couple of hours in a local restaurant talking about 'forty Reeves.' Mark is gathering parts to assemble a second model of a forty Reeves. He gave me three pictures of the second model forty Reeves he is trying to rebuild. My good friends Ed and Ray Smolik have put their third model (one of two produced by Reeves) in the museum at Osage, Iowa. I was fortunate enough (thanks to Dean Ballinger and Randy Schwerin) to get to run this engine on August 27th, 1992, and I'll never forget that day as long as I live! Anyway, Tom Stebritz, of Algona, Iowa, and I have become friends, in front of your subscriber's eyes. Tom pulled my 'fat out of the fire' on the article I wrote in the September/October IMA on the 40-150 HP Case. Tom 'held my hand' through one of those 'attack' periods of IMA letter writing! Tom stuck by me and I feel he cleared up any question of my inability to stand on my own two feet. In his first letter to me, however, he sent me a picture of a second model Reeves forty with all of the above specifications. It was taken during the depression in Canada (I believe Saskatchewan).

I'd better not take this much paper to describe the next bunch of pictures I've included! Number two is of a first model forty Reeves owned by Len Chapin of Fort Benton, Montana, hauling eight wagons or one carload of wheat to town. The third picture is of a first (U.S. lapseam boiler) model Reeves given me by Mark Pederson. The picture was taken in Canada. It is a brand new engine. Note the pinstripes on the side tank below 'Reeves.' This picture had to have been taken in 1910. Picture number four is of Steve Anderson's forty Reeves and forty Peerless, of Lewis-town, Montana. This forty Reeves can be seen on page 10 of the July/August 1994 IMA. This Peerless can be seen on page 11 of the March/April 1995 IMA. Picture number five is of the same Z-3 Peerless.

'The next picture (6) is of the Tyler collection 32 Reeves cross compound Canadian Special engine at Moore, Montana. This picture was taken in September 1958. I was a sophomore at Moore High School that year, and skipped school that day to watch Walter and Carl Mehmke run this fine engine plowing a 36-foot wide swath, with one way plows. Alva Stevens had Tyler's 30 HP double cylinder, double countershaft Minneapolis fired up that day also. My mother was upset. My dad was proud. I am proud. That is 80-year-old Max Tyler sitting on the lid of the Reeves toolbox, when he was 43 years old!

'The next two pictures (7 & 8) are of me on Austin Monk's 40-120, Z-3 Peerless in 1993. I just wanted you readers to see the gigantic size of that 20 bottom John Deere 14' plow, Doug McDougall and I were preparing to go open up the field. Notice a light colored shirt and a pair of suspenders below me on the fireman's deck and that is Austin Monk, owner of this fine piece of workmanship. In the next picture, I'm opening up the field with this 1913 Emerson-Brantingham engine.

'I feel fortunate to have run a few of the finest engines in the United States. A forty Reeves, a forty Peerless, a forty Avery, and I've ridden on a forty Gaar-Scott. I've run a bunch of other nice engines, too, including my 15 HP Case. I've gotten to run the 32 HP Reeves cross-compound Canadian Special my dad owned. I've run Tyler's 32 HP cross-compound U.S., and a couple of 110 HP Cases. My dad used to run Reeves #7181, back when it was done for real, and not just necessarily for fun. (He did have fun. He told me so.) He'd have rather run a steam engine than any of the seven or eight crawler tractors we ever owned.

'Hopefully, next winter I'll have another story for your fine publication. I am one who really looks forward to my next Iron Men Album! Please keep up the good work!'

CHADY ATTEBERRY, 131 Robin Road, Blackwell, Oklahoma 74631, writes: 'I am enclosing photos taken at the Major County Show, Fairview, Oklahoma, September, 1994.

'In the plowing pictures the lead engine is a 30-98 Nichols & Shepard single side mount #13147 pulling a John Deere twelve bottom plow. Engineer is Paul Martens, of Fairview, Oklahoma. The rear engine is a 20-75 double rear mounted Nichols & Shepard #13720 pulling an eight bottom John Deere plow. The engineer is Dale Wolff of Cushing, Oklahoma.

'Both engines plowed several acres using coal for fuel. The engines are factory equipped with oil pots for gear lubrication. It is our opinion that on engines being used for heavy traction work, oil is by far the best method for gear lubrication.

'Road grading was a new event for the Fairview, Oklahoma, Show. Engine #13720 pulled an Adams leaning wheeled grader. We built a road about one-fourth mile long. Dieter Mitchell of Arkansas City, Kansas, was the grader operator and road foreman.'

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