Soot in the flues

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Hi there! Well, the holidays are all over and we're really into the year of 1986. Do you find that each year seems to have fewer days and months, or is it that we're getting up in years and the precious time is zooming by so fast? Did you ever notice how kids in school think the time goes so slowly and that that next birthday just is so far away and it seems so long until it gets here oh well!

I'll bet you avid gardeners have some seedlings in trays and are anxiously awaiting the spring days to get them out in the good earth. Isn't it great though, how each season brings with it different joys and aromas. And of course, each year we make new memories of those times especially in the summertime when we get the wanderlust in the hearts and are anxious to get out on the Show Trail and hit all the reunions that are possible. We're a restless lot, aren't we, and isn't it wonderful? God loves each and everyone of us, just as we are; just remember that, when you're down and feeling like no one cares God does, always, isn't that terrific?!

I know you all like the little stories from Wellsprings of Wisdom so this one is entitled FAITH. Read and enjoy. A blind man inched his way along the busy street during the rush hour, until he felt the curb with his foot. He paused until he sensed a person standing next to him and then said: 'May I accompany you across the street?' 'Yes, certainly,' came the reply from an elderly woman as she took his arm.

The two persons walked arm-in-arm safely across the street while cars and pedestrians swirled about them. When they came to the sidewalk on the other side of the street the blind man turned to thank his escort, but before he could phrase his appreciation, she said, 'Thanks for the safe crossing. Being blind is made bearable because of people's kindness.'

'Faith! How wonderful faith is!' exclaimed the blind man.

After reading this letter, perhaps some of you will want to write to JOHN B. TOY, 41 Himsley Green, Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, Beds., LU7 7PY England: 'Prior to my USA visit you kindly mentioned my route in IMA and I had almost 30 replies from people inviting me to see their collections of steam engines. In summer of next year, probably July-August 1986, I plan to visit Canada. Would it be possible for you to mention my interests and route, which will be: fly to and from Winnipeg, thence by hired car to Yorkton, Saskatoon, Wetaskiwin, Calgary and on to Vancouver & Expo 1986, returning via Moose Jaw and Austin.' (There 'tis, John, already mentioned. Hope you get a lot of replies and enjoy your 1986 visit.)

E. D. DEWHURST, 712 Front St., N., Crookston, Minnesota 56716 writes in regard to the Nov.-Dec. Album'A Mr. John S. Schifsky, Box 672, Willernie, Minnesota 55090 asks the question for pro and cons of under mounted engines, namely Avery.

'The good side is: easy to service engine and clean mud from boiler, handy work platform, handy fire door and easy ash removal, less wind problem with drive belt threshing.

'Not so good side is: engine was always in the ground level blowing dirt and chaff, the unguarded left side shaft was a great danger the reverse mechanism S Pringer would have been cleaner on the top or side of boiler, Stevenson link on under-mounted would have been bad too.

'Now, my story goes back 63 years ago when we lived in Sask., Canada prairie country and our own engine was a 24 HP Port Huron. No good for sod busting, but very good for threshing and we older boys (Bart, Elwood, Chester) had to learn these jobs as we grew up.

'My older brother, Bart, went far away from home ground to thresh by Bromhead, Sask. where he fired on an Avery, and also learned how to handle the engine. Well, the engineer was not a safety-minded man and did not have a guard on the left side shaft, where he got caught and was killed.

'Another point, when busting sod, the dry grass dust was always rising and dirtied the engine too, just as under mounted gas tractors of that day.'

'I had such good success from the last letter in SOOT IN THE FLUES, that I have another request,' writes NORBERT J. LUCHT, R.R. 1, Box 161, Athens, Illinois 62613. 'I would like to hear from readers who have Northwest steam traction engines. I need some snapshots for my collection. If any reader has the history of the Northwest Thresher Company, I would like very much to have a copy of it.' (How about it Fellas? We would like to hear from you too, here at the magazine head quarters get a little bit of ambition and write down those stories of interest for us many will appreciate it.)

Norbert also sent along five different engine pictures that I'm sure the steam enthusiasts will appreciate:

1. This is a 22 HP Minneapolis, #6299 which belongs to J. W. Bruening, Meredosia, Illinois 62665.
2. A 25-75 HP Gaar-Scott, D. C. #15589, town of Rockland, Wisconsin, June 16, 1930. (No name except Norbert'sI don't know if that means he owns it or just took the picture.)
3. 22 HP Keck-Gonnerman, D. C. #1592, B. F. Ray, Philo, Illinois 61864, taken January 26, 1925.
4. 18 HP Buffalo-Pitts, #7991 D. C. (Norbert's name on picture.)
5. 60 HP Frick, #21684, Kinzers, Pennsylvania (Norbert's name on picture.)

Another letter regarding the inquiry of John Schifsky, Box 672, Willernie, Minnesota 55090, who is interested in the good and bad points of the Avery under mounted engines. This letter comes from ANDY MICHELS, 302 Highland Avenue, Plentywood, Montana 59254:

'First the disadvantages are:
1. They were very heavy for their HP.
2. The engine was in the dust created by the front wheels.
3. Operator could not see working parts.
4. Belt always drug on the ground.
5. It was almost impossible to fire with straw.
6. It was the hottest engine to fire.
7. Very poor visibility.

'The advantages are:
1. Easy design to make 2-speed (called double geared) and this is misleading. The term is used to describe the 2-speed arrangement.
2. When work (a breakdown) was required, one could stand on the ground to replace parts they broke a lot of parts.
3. When crankshaft broke, one could put belt pulley on other side.
4. It was easy to put a belt on and to hold belt.

'There were two other under mounted engines, the Twentieth Century made by a preacher, and C. Aultman made some called the Star. To my knowledge, these three are the only ones to try this design.

'To quote an old saying: 'Twenty million Frenchmen can't be wrong.' so top mount must be best.'

DR. HERMAN SASS, 20 East Morris Avenue, Buffalo, New York 14214 is doing research on the Buffalo Pitts Company. He is especially interested in a gas tractor which they apparently manufactured from 1917 to 1925. The model was called the 'Do-It-All' tractor, had two wheels and one cylinder a man would walk behind it. Since Buffalo Pitts is a well-known steam engine manufacturer, I thought maybe some of you steam buffs would have some information on this. He is looking for a picture of this item, hopefully a copy of an old advertisement of some, or perhaps a catalog. (Do hope you get some answers, Dr. Herman.)

I hope you folks will enjoy these pictures from JAMES M. BUCKNALL, of P.O. Box 79, Campden, Ontario, Canada L0R 1GO.

He writes: 'These two pictures show two heavy steam traction engines and two steam shovels with clam buckets, working on the second rebuilding of the Well and Ship Canal in 1915.

'The one picture with the engine putting up the black smoke a-going away from the camera is a 40 HP Reeves cross-compound with extension rims. The water tanks had been removed as they had mule teams close at hand with the water wagon and coal, etc.

'The other picture with the two big shovels shows a 75 HP Sawyer-Massey which was built at Hamilton, about 30 miles west of this site.

'I personally knew a man by the name of Charlie Spiece who had a sawmill on the Twenty Crk. (where the Twenty Valley Golf course is now located), and I remember him telling of operating engines for contractors on the canal job like this when Dad and I would be getting logs sawed, etc.

'A former boss of mine who was the superintendent of the gravel pit that I work for served his apprenticeship as an oiler and took his test for his hoisting engineer's papers on a shovel very similar to these two in the late 20s. His name was Ken Stokes and he just passed away in March of '82.'

'Enclosed you will find two engine photos that were given to me by neighbors of mine,' states FRANK E. GOULDE, 21313 Wooster Road, Danville, Ohio 43014.

'The first one is of a Port Huron engine. I have another photo of this engine taken at the same time and they were pulling a large boiler behind it. I don't know who the man is, but I think the photo was taken in Knox County, Ohio.

'Photo number two is one that was in a postcard collection. On the back of the card it says 'A. C. Enoch, Photographer, Martins Ferry, Ohio.' The people who gave the card to me have no ideas about it. The engine has no clutch or water tanks or fuel bunker. The rear wheels appear to have been built up, not cast. The engine looks like it is a twin cylinder with one valve. It has a round steam chest. But what really puzzles me is why it has two steering wheels. One wheel on the right side has a rod that goes to the king pin. It looks like there is a spring in the pin. The wheel on the left side goes to a standard steering roll. If I can find out anything about this engine, I will let you know. If anyone has any information, please let me know 'I started taking IMA in January 1962 and have every copy. I look forward to IMA arriving wish it came more often.

'Walter Blakely used to tell me stories about threshing with steam. He is gone now and I miss him. I wish the old timers out there would send in more stories. They are so interesting. I hope you all have a good new year and God bless you.' (Thank you, Frank, and the same to you and thanks for telling the fellows to send in more material I'm always encouraging them that way and I must say, they have been doing a little better lately. Keep up the good work, men, I'm proud of you.)

I am very happy we have so many pictures for this issue and here is another. This letter comes from ELMER ARRAS, Box 197 E. Carondelet, Illinois 62240 with a picture of threshing wheat back in 1930. It is with a 32' Belleville threshing machine, propelled with an 18 HP Keck-Gonnerman steam engine. There is a large straw stack in back of the machine. Also a Model T Ford water wagon and Model T Ford coal truck and a turtle back hood International Harvester grain truck and eight bundle wagons. This is near Millstadt, Illinois. One day's work, approximately 1200 bushels.

'I have seen many threshing rigs at work at good engine shows and I thought it would be interesting to many folks to see a picture of a genuine threshing,' says Elmer.

The next letter with three pictures comes from BLAKE MALKAMAKI, 10839 Girdled Road, Concord, Ohio 44077:

1. Some of the engines at Ashtabula County Antique Club Show, Wayne Twp, Ohio 1985. From left to right16 HP Nichols Shepard (owner Mark Hissa); 14 HP Huber (owner Jim & Marilyn Malz); 22 HP Keck #1860 (owner Malz); 20 HP Buffalo Pitts (owner Howard Van Driest); 18 HP Aultman-Taylor (Malz); and 16 HP Huber (in back-owner George Nicholas). Next year's show will be July 5 and 6,1986.
2. 20 HP Buffalo-Pitts engine sawing at the 1985 Ashtabula County Antique Engine Club Show, held in Wayne Twp., Ohio. Engine owned by Howard Van Driest, Painesville, Ohio. Operated by Blake Malkamaki, Prainesville.
3. Blake doing some firebox work on 20 HP Buffalo-Pitts, with assistance from Heidi. This was in April, 1983, after grinding.

Two photos come from MERTON H. WILCH, 5140 S. E. 3rd St. Terr., Tecumseh, Kansas 66542: 'These pictures were developed from glass negatives of my deceased father's belongings. I don't know who any of these men were but the pictures would have been taken near Rich-land, Kansas about 15 miles southeast of Topeka. Real proof that those steamers had plenty of power.'

In closing, I would again like to leave you with some thought-provoking tid-bits He who parades his virtues seldom leads the parade. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Arguments never settle things, but prayer changes things. Those who deserve love the least need it the most. Instead of pointing a critical finger, try holding out a helping hand. That's it for this time, Dear Ones, get ready for the upcoming summer and do enjoy each day.