Hi -- Dear ones of I.M.A. Family --hope the year is being good to you and you are being good to everyone -- I suppose you are very busy either getting ready for the upcoming shows or basking in the memories of the past year's get-together.
Before I get on to the letters I have an Aesop story to pass on to you -- maybe some of you do not care for these items -- if so, just skip over these next few paragraphs -- I know some of you like these little tidbits-- because you have written me that you do -- This one is called Buried Treasure: A farmer on his deathbed summoned his four sons and told them that he was leaving his farm to them in four equal parts. 'I have very little ready cash, but you will find the greater part of my wealth is buried somewhere in the ground, about a foot and a half from the surface. I have forgotten precisely where.' Then he died.
The four sons set to work on the fields and dug up every inch of them, searching for the treasure the father had buried. They found nothing. But they decided that so long as they dug up all the ground, they might as well sow a crop and reap a good harvest.
That autumn, after an abundant harvest, the four boys again began digging in search of the buried treasure; as a consequence their farm was turned over more thoroughly than any other farm in the area. And of course again they reaped a fine harvest. After they had repeated this procedure for several more years, the four sons finally realized what their father had meant when he told them that his wealth was buried in the ground. (From Wellsprings of Wisdom by Ralph L. Woods.)
Now on to the letters and comments:
DENNIS GILBERTS, 17 South 1st Street, Apt. 1605, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401: 'I work for Northern States Power Company here in Minneapolis and I would like to report to your readers that steam is still alive and well and living in your utility's power plants. For example, over 90% of the electricity we produce at NSP is generated by steam. About half of that comes from coal burning boilers and the other half from the heat produced by splitting uranium atoms in a nuclear reactor. Some of the old timers might have liked to thresh grain with power like this. Two of our turbines operate with 2400 psi at the throttle, a steam temperature of 1000 degrees and each develops 950,000 horsepower. Another operates at 3600 psi. They have quite an appetite for fuel as you might expect -- our annual bill comes to about $100,000,000.
Recently we retired the units built in the 1915-1920 period. These units were equipped with reciprocating engine driven condenser air removal pumps. There are two of these machines. They operate at 225 psi. One is 23' long, has Corliss valves, a 9' flywheel and weighs about 20 tons. The other is 27' long, non-releasing valve gear, a 10' flywheel and also weighs about 20 tons. They were built by Worthington Company.
These are quite rare items and are in good condition and we would like to see them preserved as a complete steam engine pump unit. We would like to donate them to any non-profit steam museum or club that would like one for their collection. They have been dismantled and are in storage. If anyone has an interest in these machines, they should direct the inquiries to D.M. Youngdahl, plant manager, Riverside Steam Plant, 3100 Marshall Avenue, N.E., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55418.
I have been a steam hobbyist and reader of your magazine for many years. My father, Conrad Gilberts, of Sand Creek, Wisconsin, and I have built two model steam engines. The first was a free lance traction engine in about 1/3 scale and the other is a 12' gauge 10 wheeler railroad locomotive. (Send us a picture and story, Dennis.) We have enjoyed your articles very much and find the I.M.A. an excellent reference for our hobby. Keep up the good work.'
LEROY FETT, Harrisburg, South Dakota 57032 writes: 'I was surprised to see picture #4 in the November-December 1978 issue as one I sent in many years ago. The little girl on the model engine is now a Junior in high school. I built this model from scrap starting in 1959.
I enjoy reading the Iron-Men Album and keep up the good work.'
JAMES L. ROPER, 35-12th Street, N.W., Rochester, Minnesota 55901 sends along an interesting letter: 'I became interested in steam traction engines almost 20 years ago when my oldest sister, Judy, married Ed Maus of Minnesota City, Minnesota. His family owns a 26 HP tandum compound advance steam engine. The Maus family bought the engine about 1915 and it has been in use ever since.
As far as I know there was only three years that this engine was not under steam, but the steam bug got the best of the family and the engine was again put under steam and has been ever since. (Two days a year for threshing.) This year the engine made its first trip off the farm since it was bought. Ed took the engine to Mable-Hesper Steam Engine Show last Fall. The Maus family also has a very early 1900 wooden separator and a wooden clover huller; both machines are in good working condition.
I have been to a few steam shows that were not too far from Rochester. One show I really liked to get to as I can get an old gas tractor to drive around.
This George White 25 HP was bought new by my father, Lyman Mitchell, July 20, 1926 and was always operated by sons, Leo, Charlie, and Kerr. It is now operated by Charlie Mitchell, last son, and will remain in the family by only nephew, William Chamberlain. It was used for threshing, saw mill and steaming tobacco greenhouses. It is now being shows at several shows. Courtesy of Charlie Mitchell, Clear Creek, Ontario, Canada.
I also have a great interest in steam R.R. locomotives. I have a few books and have talked to a few retired railroad engineers. When I asked them which they liked better, steam or diesel--the answer was always steam.
I recall when I was in grade school in St. Charles, Minnesota, at noon hour, I would go down to the Chicago Great Western R.R. Station and if the fireman or engineer was in the cab of the engine I would climb aboard. I think I will always remember those days. Steam is gone from the farms and railroads as a whole, but thank God for those men and women who have and are working to keep a part of the steam power going.
I wish to thank the persons who put out the I.M.A. for the fine job you are doing.'
FRANK HAMATA, 1021 F Street, Schuyler, Nebraska 68661 has some information on the unclassified photos: 'No. 3 on page 33 of Jan.-Feb. 1979 I.M.A. The little fellow in the middle of the quintet has to be LeRoy Blaker of Alvordton, Ohio. No. 4 was taken at the Mount Pleasant, Iowa Show. (Big Bill Sater is adjusting the prony brake. This photo was probably taken about 1959 or 1960.')
Another letter on the unclassified photos comes from MELVIN R. GRENVIK, 115-1st Avenue N.E., Kenmare, North Dakota 58746: 'As you have been able to tell by my previous letter, I make a game of identifying the various steam engines in the unclassified photo section and elsewhere. Regarding the engines in Jan.-Feb. issue, I read them as follows: #1 Front engine make is obvious, but the one in the rear is also definitely Peerless. #2, I cannot pin this one down, but it has features to suggest a very early Geiser Peerless. #3 is an Advance, probably 25 to 30 horsepower. #4 is an Advance Rumely, very likely 25 HP.
Incidentally, in articles in I.M.A. and elsewhere, I occasionally see reference to the 22 ton 110 HP Case. Maybe this is nitpicking, but to set the record straight according to my Case catalogs, the 110 HP Case does not weigh anywhere near 22 tons. My 1913 Case catalog lists the regularly equipped 110 with boiler empty at 34, 256 pounds.
I sincerely commend you on the continuing high quality of our magazine. I hope to forward a letter soon on a subject of great importance to all model engine hobbyists which I hope you will be able to print.' (Send it along Melvin and we'll certainly try and see it is printed.)
Another discussion on unclassified photos comes from DAVID L. HARMS, 205 Leonard, Chillicothe, Illinois 61523: 'Some friends and I have been discussing the photo on the bottom of page 30, Sept. Oct. 1978 issue and have come to the conclusion that it was taken at Pontiac, Illinois in the middle or late 1950s. The first engine is a 12 HP Russell owned by Leonard Kinsinger formerly of Carlock, Illinois. He is pulling an old Canton Monitor portable. The engine behind his is a 65 HP Case owned by Wilbur Collins of Pontiac. The man far down the engine line with his left side to the camera is Fred Hassler of Tonica, Illinois. I don't know the man with his back to the camera.
I think Ray Jones of Batesville, Indiana has incorrectly identified this picture in his letter published in the Nov.-Dec. 1978 issue. Russell put the engine number on a round casting on the front of the smoke box. If you look at the number closely on the front of the engine in the photo you'll see it is not 13360. I am certainly open to comments on my identification.' (Now just friendly, constructive criticism fellows, we don't want any battles.)
The next communication is from M.B. (MILT) LANG, 1743 Oconto, Wabeno, Wisconsin 54566: 'I was surprised when I read Walt Thayer's letter in the January-February issue of the I.M.A. describing the unclassified photos in the November-December 1978 issue, when he stated quote 'Looks very much like a Steam Skidder or Log Hauler mounted on rubber tires.'
It certainly is a different type of log hauler than was used in this part of the United States, or the Eastern part either.
If you wish you may print the enclosed photograph taken from the 13th Annual Logging Exposition program held here in Wabeno.
Incidentally, I am a retired 82 year old, living my life's desire, but never was, to be a mechanic, by having a complete machine shop in my basement and by building a ? scale Case engine last year and working on a ? scale Belle City thresher from scratch. I have several small steam engines I designed and built.
A letter from G. E. SHELMAN, Union Star, Kentucky 40171: 'Please accept my thanks for publishing my pictures and life history in the September-October issue of Iron-Men Album (1978). It is a great honor to have it published -- I have gotten letters from foreign places.
My pet deer, Maybelle is still with me. She was 6 years old last May and as gentle as a kitten.
Again I certainly do appreciate you folks taking the time to bestow the honor of printing my story. The specific issue was delivered in our territory a few days before the Rushville, Indiana reunion, which I attend each year and so many folks complimented me on the set up and good work.
Wanting to set things straight -- a letter comes from CHARLEY STARK, Route 2, Box 167A, Republic, Missouri 65738: 'In the Nov.-Dec. 1978 issue of the I.M.A. regarding the Ozark writeup -- it was listed as being written by myself. This article was written by Bernard Hines of Merrillville, Indiana. I only mailed it. I thought that it might be good to mention this in your column so that Bernie gets the credit that he deserves. (No sooner written--then done.)
Next communication comes from LARMIE DAVIS, Route 2, Box 3, St. John, Washington 99171: 'I have recently acquired a Rumely Advance for refurbishing. The metal identification tag is missing and I have no idea of the horsepower. The driver wheels are seven foot by three foot and the machine weighs about 12 tons.
I need detailed pictures of at least the four different views in order to build the platform and water tank. Also would like to see color decal for pinstriping. I would appreciate being directed to back issues of Iron-Men Album or reference books or other reader's information.
At the same time I am restoring a Fairbanks-Morse stationary engine of approximately 14 HP that comes with an iron frame and wheeled wagon. Would you know the color detail?
Enclosed find two pictures of the Advance for further identification.'
Another correction comes from FRED FOX, 233 County House Road, Clarksboro, New Jersey 08020: 'In my R&T Report. I believe I stated that Hermes invented the first steam turbine. I made a mistake. It was HERO of Alexandria in 150 B.C.
Enclosed find picture of my latest model. It is a 1? scale, 7?' gauge 4-6-2 British Flying Scotsman. Picture taken in my backyard.'
HARRY H. ROBERTS, Hazelton, Kansas 67061 needs some help: 'Isn't it amazing who one will turn to when hunting something? Others do - why not me?? There were records cut by Fahnestock Studios of Union City, Indiana. The records are not for stereo and are also badly worn. I would like to contact the man who made them in hopes I can get them in stereo. (Joe's last address I have is Joe Fahnestock, 1819 LeFevre Road, Troy, Ohio 45373 -- perhaps he could help you -- I don't know if he makes records any more or not.)
I also have two records of steam locomotives that were made by Ralbar Productions, Box 212, Pottstown, Pennsylvania -- that is the address I have, but I am unable to contact them also. (Sorry Harry, I don't know anything about them -- maybe a reader can help you.)
I might add, I have taken the I.M.A. since 1954 -- I believe satisfied readers are the best renewers.'
Some information is desired by MARY CHAPPELLE, P.O. Box 193, Angels Camp, California 95222: 'We have several engines here in the Angels Camp Museum, one of Old Best -- not in running condition. She was in Death Valley, made by the Borax people in San Leandro, later was purchased by the Maneul Lumber Company of Avery for hauling lumber and logs. Would you happen to know the year this engine was built? Also what number she was? We painted her two years ago and when the men were working on the blasting to remove the old paint and rust, they never did find a number. The one in the Museum in Oakland is #185. Would appreciate any information.' (If you can help, please write to Mary.)
LYNN MORTENSON, 2417 Freeman Road E., Puyallup, Washington 93371 needs some help on identification: 'Enclosed arc pictures of a Russell steam engine, serial number 10002 compound and a Case thresher machine. I am not quite sure of the year. Could you possibly tell me the year of the model and what possible demand there is on the selling market? (Sorry, I cannot tell you that -- perhaps if you ran an ad in the WANT AD section of our magazine, someone may be able to help. You'll probably get an answer on the year of the model from our readers.)
Well that's about it for this time -- so keep working on your engines -- thinking ahead to the shows coming up this year -- and remember this little thought: 'What counts is not the number of hours you put in, but how much you put in the hours.'