Soot in the flues

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Hi! to all our good buddies, friends, IMA family and any others who might care to join us as I write this, shows, reunions, meets, rallies, whatever term you wish to apply are still going full swing into the middle of October, but when you pause to really get a look at things we are heading toward the holiday season pretty fast hope you all got some Christmas shopping done at the shows you have attended there are so many beautiful crafts presented at these affairs.

As you take this issue from your mailbox, the frost may be on the pumpkin, and I'm sure that crisp, leaf-smoked air brings nostalgic thoughts to many of us the morning ringing of school bells, the freshly carved jack-o-lantern, bobbing for apples, and tricks or treats. Then as our memory drifts a little further we can smell that luscious aroma of turkey roasting and we envision all the trimmings that go with Thanksgiving and onward to Christmas where we become so grateful for our many blessings we have been permitted down through 1984and we are filled with that yearly desire and enthusiasm to pass out a bit of the love that God gives to us every day of the year. Oh, we do a few good turns now and then through the months, but I'm afraid none of us live the way we know God wants us to every day, but that's what is so great about God he just loves us always and all ways thank you God and help each of us to try once again as the New Year rolls around to walk the way you have shown us thank you, thank you for all the blessings, and especially for the ones we take for granted.

I have a letter from JOHN SILVA, S. del Carri, 1880, 3000 Sante Fe, Argentina. John apologizes for the letter explaining he has a problem writing in the English language don't feel bad, John, I couldn't write ten words to you in your language if I had to.

He says he is an admirer of the tractor and steam engines and wishes to increase his knowledge about engines. He would appreciate pictures, old catalogs or whatever you might have of interest.

John says when he was younger he fired steam tractors and threshers equipment on a farm job, but lost his archives in floods suffered by Sante Fe City. Today, he is a locomotive engineer and instructor retired from the Sante Fe R.R. John will be very grateful for any steam information he receives.

The following letter comes from VERNON LANDHOLM, 102 North Park Avenue, Oakland, Nebraska 68045 and relates to a steam locomotive. Now, I know this magazine is primarily for steam traction engines, but many of our subscribers are, or have been, engineers and enjoy reading about anything that is steam-powered. So, once in awhile we do run a story in that category and hope you will enjoy them. By the way, why don't you let us know how you feel about articles on steam power other than the farm traction engine?

Some information on this engine is as follows: 'Steam locomotive 8444 was one of a proud group of 45 fast stepping 4-8-4's that flashed across the Union Pacific West in passenger train service. Designed by and built for Union Pacific, she was the last steam locomotive acquired by the railroad in 1944.

'Because 8444 was the last to arrive on the scene, it is only fitting that she was selected to be retained as the last operating UP steam locomotive.

'Born 844, she was placed into service in December 1944. During her career in passenger service, 844 pulled the well-known Overland Limited, Los Angeles Limited, Pacific Limited, Portland Rose and Challenger trains on portions of their runs between Omaha and the West Coast and Pacific Northwest. She handled freight trains in Nebraska between 1957 and 1959 and, in 1960, was saved from the scrap pile and held for special service.

'In 1962, 844 was renumbered 8444 to distinguish her from a diesel freight locomotive of the same number.

'Based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, 8444 has made numerous rail excursion trips since 1960 and has attracted the attention of thousands of persons in the West and in many other parts of the United States as well.

'Today, Union Pacific continues to use 8444 in railfan service.

'On September 22, 1983, this locomotive was coupled to passenger train coaches, to bring several Nebraska and Iowa dignitaries to Omaha from North Platte, Nebraska for the opening of River City Roundup days in conjunction with the Ak-Sar-Ben Livestock show and rodeo. A helicopter flew aside of the train for security reasons.'

Vernon says that he knows that he is a steam enthusiast through and through as he likes anything over everything that is steam-powered and he thought some of you folks might enjoy this item.

'I've just been bitten by the bug and am very pleased with your magazine,' says ROBERT M. HEATH, 142 Greenway Center, Ridgeland, Mississippi 39157.

'My family moved to Mississippi in 1904 from Indiana and brought with them some steam equipment. The main item was a huge steam tractor that was one of the first farm tractors in the area. The local Southerners would have nothing to do with the new Yankee Republicans from Indiana at first. When my father's grandfather rolled the tractor off of a flat car on the railroad he was met by the local sheriff and told he could not take the tractor over a river bridge that led to the farm. He said the tractor was too heavy for the bridge. While everyone was trying to decide what to do to get the tractor across the river, the old man hired a crew of men to make a road next to the bridge down to the river's edge. He fired the boiler as high as it would go and put the tractor in gear. There was enough steam to carry the tractor under the water to the opposite bank where he rebuilt the fire. All the Southerners stood around dumbfounded!'

'I thoroughly enjoyed the story of the ZZ Geiser Engine #12478 owned by Frank G. Childers which was shown on the cover of July/August issue of IMA,' comments ROYAL E. JACKSON, 600 East Crandall Street, Meadville, Missouri 64659.

'It may interest Mr. Childers to know that a ZZ Geiser like his was shown many years at the Shenandoah Valley Steam and Gas Engine Show at Berryville, Virginia and I suspect that fine engine is still owned by someone living in that area and may still show up at the Berryville show each year. We have not had the pleasure of attending that show since 1975, since we moved from Maryland to Missouri.' (Anyone out there know any more about the engine of which Royal speakslet us hear from you. That is what this magazine is all about, the engines and their owners and anything of interest pertaining to same.)

It's nice to hear from HERMAN LANFERMEIJER, Ten Katestraat 33, 2032 ZM Harlem, Netherlands, phone 023-362036 who just wrote specifically to tell us: 'Some years ago I received a gift subscription of the IMA from my cousin, Edgar Lanvermeyer, Elsberry, Missouri, for my birthday and I enjoy your magazine immensely and I am very glad with this publication.' (Thank you and how nice to write just for that purpose).

EDNA HOCHSTETLER, 559 Westfield Drive, New Holland, Pennsylvania 17557 has written this poem and requested that it be in the column her husband is an avid reader of the magazine and I assume this is her tribute to him:


From boyhood into manhood
As each stage of life unfolds,
Reveals the boy in every man
Than never does grow old.

He grew up on the farm
Where they used steam engine power,
Then he built one for himself
To use in leisure hours.

He shovels in the coal,
And drives it all around,
It relaxes pent-up feelings
As he cruises o'er the ground.

At Kinzers Rough and Tumble
It's kept both day and night,
One can hear him blow the whistle
When the steam is at its height.

I wouldn't be a bit surprised
If Heaven had an engine,
He'd be right there steaming up,
How? I can't imagine.

As the years accumulate
He ponders other goals,
Perhaps there'll be no engine there
But he never will grow old.

JOHN CWACH, Route #2, Box 154, Yankton, South Dakota 57078 sent us these three pictures of his Minneapolis 20 HP engine #8608. He purchased it in May 1957 from O. W. Clark, Nor fork, Nebraska. That summer he restored and painted it and then he threshed with it for fifteen years. The thresher in the one picture is a Minneapolis 43-54 steel. The engine was purchased new in 1927, having been manufactured in 1923.

From a serviceman comes the following letter: 'First, I'd like to extend a big Howdy!from myself. My name is CURT DUPEE, USS Brooke (FFG-1) FPO, San Francisco, California 96661, and I'm quite interested in subscribing to IMA. I have been, since I was old enough to talk, interested in steam farming equipment. I was born and raised in Morrow, Ohio, and am currently serving my country in the U.S. Navy. I am 19 years old, and finally building my own steam tractor. It will be a garden tractor to be used on my farm when I get out of the Navy. It is no particular type of engine model, but it looks closest to a Reeves or Rumely. (Thanks for writing us Curtso happy to hear from one of our younger subscribers. We wish you great success with your project and when you're finished don't forget to send us a picture and story. Keep in touch).

LOU BUICE, 306 Dove Creek Trail, Southlake, Texas 76092 needs help in identifying the horsepower, year and model of a Farquhar portable steam engine he recently purchased. It is a center crank model with the boiler having 22 flues. Per the information Lou has found, the smallest portable Farquhar built was a 10 HP containing 32 flues. The engine has been restored and runs great. Any help would be appreciated.

An interesting inquiry comes from ORIN C. KING, 5225 SW 20th Terrace, 302, Topeka, Kansas 66604: 'In 1892 Ringling Bros. Circus had a steam tractor names Hercules which was used to pull wagons from the train to the lot, and was also featured in the parade. Built over the boiler was a steam calliope. The tractor proved impractical and its use was abandoned.

As a circus historian I am interested in obtaining a photograph of the tractor Hercules. Several drawings are in existence but what I am searching for is an actual photograph. If any of your readers have such a picture, I would be interested in hearing from them.' (If anything comes of this, perhaps you could send us a story and picture, Orin. Do hope you get an answer.)

CLAUDE TROYER of Minier, Illinois 61759 sent these pictures of his engines. The first is a hoisting engine he mounted on an old truck frame then made it self-propelled with a 4-speed transmission. 'I started work on this outfit in April of 1970 and finished in time for the Labor Day show at Pontiac, Illinois. Has been used at that show to set logs on saw mill ever since.

'The other picture is a 1920 20 HP Keck Gonnerman I bought at auction in September 1982 and restored in 1983 in time for the Pontiac show.'

We received a most interesting, happy letter written in his caboose, from our good friend BILLY M. BYRD, 369 S. Harrig Street, Madisonville, Kentucky 42431. He says: 'Well, I finally did it, retired officially July 14th, 43 years to the day, but made my last working trip Friday, July 13th. It was a memorable one. The Roundhouse force had a red carpet for me to walk on to get on the engine and had the engine decorated with toilet paper.

'There is a Travel Service by the track leaving Madisonville. I would blow the whistle and the girls would run out and wave. We made a game out of it and on my last trip they had a big banner stretched across the caboose saying We love you Billy Byrd! Then when I got to Hopkinsville, Kentucky the County Judge, Mayor and about 40 people met me. The Mayor made me Honorary Mayor, the second man in the history of the town to get it, then gave me the key to the city. The County Judge gave me a letter opener. When I arrived at Madisonville that night, my wife and three daughters gave me a nice reception, which was all unknown to me. About 75 people were present. The Mayor made me Ambassador for the city, giving me a nice certificate for my contribution to the town by bringing Charles Kuralt and the folks from Disneyland here, the town getting a lot of good publicity from it.

'On July 21 at the Tennessee Kentucky Threshing Show at Adams, Tennessee, my home town, that day was proclaimed 'Billy Byrd Day' and the Mayor gave me a citation for my contribution to Adams and the threshing show So, I had a busy month!

'I'm just an old country boy, and I've had a lot of nice things happen to me, but I've had a lot of nice people helping me and I'm humble and grateful. I'm now doing what I want. If it was like when I started railroading, I wouldn't have retired, but its gotten miserable out there, so I decided to hang it up. I'm running a Southern R.R. 2-8-0 steam engine on a passenger train, 7 miles round trip, make 5 trips a day. I work a week and come home for a week. It's the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum at Chattanooga, Tennessee. We have six steam engines, five diesels and several passenger rolling stock. Also have our own shop where we overhaul the engines. We do super heater unit work and most everything. All the work is done by volunteers, so it is a labor of love. I have a high school English teacher firing for me and he's good. We operate daily through Labor Day, then weekends until October 28, then start again in April.

I really enjoy it out here in the caboose as I have numerous pictures of L & N steam locomotives, lots of books, IMAs back to early 60's, L & N Employees Magazines back to late 40's, and some in the 30's and late 20's, trains and railroad magazines back to the late 40's, so it is a sort of office and museum. Also, the only place I know in this part of the country where there is a Nichols & Shepard steam engine on one side of the house and a caboose on the other. My wife is sure an understanding woman. All I need now is a locomotive to couple to the caboose, but I'm afraid I'd have to leave them.

'I miss the men I worked with and the people I waved at every day, but I enjoy pulling the throttle on the 630 and 722. We pull four and five cars. I have three more parades with the old Nichols & Shepard then will put her to bed for the winter. You all take care and the best of everything to you.' (I'm sure you folks enjoyed reading this letter. And best of everything to you, Billy I can tell your cheerful disposition has reaped it's own reward, and I'll bet you will be meeting some of the IMA family on your runs some of these days).

HARRY MERRILL, Byron Wyoming 82412 sent these before and after photos of a 60 HP Case engine which he brought home in July of 1982 and exhibited in a parade in Lovell, Wyoming in June 1983. The engine was built in January of 1912 and Harry will was 81 last June.

'My brother, Jim, and I recently purchased a 1925 A. B. Farquhar portable steam engine S/N 21258,' writes JOHN HARBAUER, 10302 Bayer Road, Perrysburg, Ohio 43551.

'It has a 9' bore and 16' stroke. It is a return flue with a Cornish boiler which is just over 15' long. It is 43' diameter and has a 24' fire tube. It is a center crank engine with 48' and 36' flywheels. The engine has a D-slide valve. On the front side of the valve there is a ridge on the seat; on the opposite side however, it is smooth. At first, we thought this was to keep the valve in line, except for the fact that the other side is smooth. It seems too perfect to be worn that way. Does anyone know if this is how Farquhar made their valves?

Does anyone know what colors the engine and wheels were painted? I would also like to know the HP of this engine and whether there any pin striping. Thanks in advance for any assistance.'

ERNEST TESTO, R.D. 1, Girard, Pennsylvania 16417 sent us this picture of his steam train built with a 19 HP Port Huron boiler and a Gaar Scott 18 HP double cylinder engine, on an International school bus chassis. 'When filled with coal and water in tanks and boiler, it weighs 14 ton. We have a small steam engine mounted on it which runs the lights. We also have a Pennsylvania state license for when we take it to shows and parades.

'It can run to 50 miles per hour of course it's a little too fast! In the picture left to right are Todd Zuck, engineer, myself and Frank Bull, also an engineer.

'We have a large museum in Fair-view, Pa., Erie county, with about a hundred gas engines and thirteen steam engines. We have large traction engines.

'We have a boiler in the building that runs many steam engines including the Nagel engine which we prize very much.

Nagel engine which we prize very much.'

Sounds like an interesting sight to see for those of you who visit Erie County!

N. B. NELSON of R#3, Hawley, Minnesota 56549 sent us this picture of the 1/3 scale Gaar-Scott steam engine he built in the late fifties.

'This little engine has been steamed up and run at the Western Minnesota Steam Threshing at Rollag for the last 23 years. It is a replica of a 25-75 HP double cyl Gaar Scott owned by N. B. Nelson and C. H.

More information about 'Old Abe' comes from JOHN R. HEATH, Box 57-C School Street, Sullivan, Ohio 44880: 'Old Abe the Case eagle, as described in the article by Dr. C. A. Pinkenburg in IMA (Vol. 38, Jan-/Feb 1984 page 6), now has a permanent home at Ashland College, Ashland, Ohio.

'The eagle is the symbol of Ashland College, so in the past years students would take the six hundred pound eagles from area Case dealerships and bring them to Ashland College campus. Sometimes the culprits were caught, and a collection taken up by the students would usually pacify the owner of said eagle. One group of seminary students caught with an eagle in the trunk of their car, ended up in jail, and the head of the seminary had to go bail them out.

'In 1965 the college hosted a press photographers convention, and the student council wanted something big for them to photograph. The council contacted the Case regional office in Columbus, Ohio, about obtaining the big eagle that was located on the roof of the Case office. The building was to be torn down soon, so the Case officials said to take the eagle. The big eagle was taken down by a crane, and was on display at the Ashland campus in time for the convention.

'Through the generosity of J. I. Case Company, Ashland College now has clear title to 'Old Abe', and the sixteen eagles on campus. They also have the molds if any more eagles need to be cast.' (Thank you John, for sending us this story I feel it is quite interesting and informative and NOT just for the birds).

JIM COX, Pleasant Hill, California 94523 submits the following poem:


Little figure far below,
The towering trees in winter snow,
Beside the gently rocking big machine.
He sees the flywheel whirling round,
Driving belt with a clicking sound,
Sawing to the thumping of the steam.

In summertime we'd thresh the corn,
And I'd be up before the dawn
To light the fire to start old 'Onward' boiling.
My Dad come by about half past five,
And watch the engine come alive.
And then he'd start his cleaning and his oiling.

Little figure dirt all over,
In those summer fields of clover
Remember him so clearly in my dream.
I was only seven then, But the threshing crew
would love it when
I'd dance to the thumping of the steam.

For me the biggest thrill of all,
Was ploughing in the rain of fall,
With 'Onward' swaying like a ship at sea.
Her shouting smoke is flying high,
Blackening the raining sky,
Ten bottom plough and 'Onward' and me.

An oil stain upon the floor,
A gearwheel beside the door,
Old pictures in the family archives.
But I can hear her whistle still,
Remember her I always will.
Her warm iron presence in our lives.

Well, I have another recipe for you perhaps many of you know about it if not, give it a try. It's called Moist Fruit Cake:

1 cups sugar cup salad oil
2tsp. soda tsp.
salt 2 eggs 2 cups flour
1 medium can fruit cocktail

Combine sugar and oil, soda and salt. Beat in eggs. Add fruit and flour alternately, including juice. Do not beat after adding fruit. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. After it is baked, prick top with fork and pour on icing. Icing:

cup evaporated milk 1 tsp. vanilla
cup granulated sugar 1 cup nuts
lb. butter or cup oil

Boil milk, butter and sugar for two minutes. Add vanilla and nuts. Pour on cake while hot.

This recipe comes from WALTER H. DEN, 230 West Main Street, Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania 17552.

(If you have a recipe that you think is different or something you believe folks would like to try, please let me hear from you.)

Incidentally, we forgot to mention in the cover caption of the September/October 1984 issue of IMA, that the photo was sent to us by Samuel S. Hoffman of 1128 Ridge Road, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania 17022.

And that about brings us down to the ending of this column and another year and some thoughts for those pensive moments This fast age seems more concerned about speed than direction. God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him. Life is not so short but that there is always time for courtesy. Giving is the thermometer of our love. The way to get anywhere is to start from where you are. Do have a happy, blessed holiday season. Love ya all!