Content Tools

Hi! to my precious friends in the IMA Family Can it be?? Another November/December issue, which means we can't be far from Thanksgiving and Christmas. But I realize while I am trying to make interesting conversation to you, many are still on the trails of the steam shows and enjoying your wonderful partners interested in the same hobby. Hope you have a lot of interesting stories and happenings of this past summer. Please sit down and write me. Even if you do not think it's worthwhile, it is, and I'm glad we made it as far as material for another year. But I have to keep reminding you I pray that you will sit down and write those letters you mean to write but keep putting off.

Since this is the Thanksgiving and Christmas Season, I'm going to give you a little remembrance of each. Here is a poem called Fill Your Heart With Thanksgiving, by Helen Steiner Rice; I'm sure that's a familiar name to you.

Take nothing for granted, for whenever you do,
The 'joy of enjoying' is lessened for you.
For we rob our own lives much more than we know
When we fail to respond or in anyway show
Our thanks for the blessings that daily are ours
The warmship of the sun, the fragrance of flowers
The beauty of twilight, the freshness of dawn
The coolness of dew on a green velvet lawn
The kind little deeds so thoughtfully done
The faces of friends and the love that someone
Unselfishly gives us in myriad of ways
Expecting no payment and no words of praise
Oh, great is our loss when we no longer find
A thankful response in things of this kind
For the joy of enjoying and the fullness of living
Are found in the heart that is filled with thanksgiving.

You know, we need to sit down now and then and read something like this to make us think on some of our past memories and of some things we can do for others in the future.

And a few humorous quips for the season: Thanksgiving is a day set apart every year to acknowledge God's favor, especially by parents whose sons have survived the football season. After Thanksgiving dinner, the man who has trouble making ends meet ought to get himself a longer belt. Thanksgiving is a day off that's usually followed by an off day.

An interesting communication comes from BARRY L. DAVID, 944 Woodlawn Ave., Everett, Washington 98203-3201, (206) 258-0460. Perhaps you will want to write him. 'In reading IMA, I've been very impressed with how helpful the members of the IMA community are to those seeking information on a related subject.

'Recently, my antique steam gauge collecting (Bourdon-Spring type) has taken on a different twist. I've started to research the possibility that the serial numbers used on these gauges were sequential. Only a couple of makers used serial numbers consistently in the early years (1850-1920). The Ashcroft Mfg. Company and Crosby Steam Gauge & Valve Company both used serial numbers.

'I've written to all the surviving old time gauge makers and have discovered that no records remain from those times.

'The only source left to determine the dates when certain gauge serial numbers were used is to tie the gauge to a machine that has an established date. For this purpose I would like to engage the readers of IMA.

'If anyone has an engine or boiler with the original gauge that was sold with the machine, I would love to know about it. It would be very beneficial to my search to have a close-up photograph of the gauge and another of the engine or boiler. Also, if they could write the serial number of the gauge and the year of manufacture of the engine or boiler on the pictures, this would help tremendously.

'Eventually, the information may benefit all those who are searching for an authentic year of gauge for their future projects. Perhaps I can make this information available in a future article.'

(Please do, Barry, as I'm sure many would appreciate your contribution).

'I hope there are those out there who can help me with this search.'

GEORGE IRVING, Virginia Indonesia Company, P.O. Box 1551, Houston, Texas 77251-1551 writes: 'I'm responding to questions posed by Carl Lathrop of Madison, New Jersey, in the May-June 1993 issue about the device shown on page 16. I think that I can make a few meaningful comments, because while growing up on a farm in North Idaho in the 1940s and 1950s we had what I remember as the identical device. It was moved in a shed and no longer in general use, but I am familiar with its operation.

'Mr. Lathrop is correct in guessing that there should be a rod connecting the small gear and the angle attached to the shaker box. The machine was hand-driven with a crank on the large gear.

'My understanding is that the machine was used mainly for cleaning grain for seed. The grain was put in the hopper at the top and flowed onto a screen in the shaker box. The cleaning action was from a strong flow of air from the fan attached to the small gear to remove chaff, and the shaking action of the screen to remove dirt and weed seeds. I believe that the machine was called a fanning mill.'

'Having not been a subscriber to your magazine for quite awhile, I hope I have not gotten too far out of touch. I wish to make a reference to Vol. 21, No. 2, November-December, 1966.

'In the section called 'Iron Man of the Month,' they talk about Cecil (Kilowatt) Klopfer engine and 'Queenie' the dog 'fireman.' I like the article and everything to go with it, However, on page 8, bottom, where Cecil has belted up to a baler of about 2' - 3' scaleI need drawings, pictures, measurements, etc., of a baler of this size. Would someone please help me?''

This letter comes from ANDREW WIGHTMAN, 4854 Hernandez Drive, Guadalupe, California 93434. I feel sure that you will get a reply on this topic, Andrew. And by the way, the magazine is still being published, but founder Elmer Ritzman died in 1971. His second wife, Earlene Ritzman just died this past March. Also, I hope you know of our Gas Engine Magazine which has been doing well since the first issue of January-February 1966.

RAYMOND W. KORN, R.R. 2, Cashton, Wisconsin 54619 sends this communication and tells us: 'I never figured I would be writing to you, but here goes. In the May-June issue of IMA, page 10, picture sent in by Carl Lathrop of Madison, New Jersey. I know what it is, as we use one just like it every year. We use it to clean the oats from the combine or thresher that we are going to use for seed in the spring to seed oats.

'Yes, the crank is missing; also the rod that goes from the small gear to the angle attachment to make a shaking action. The small gear is also on a shaft, with a fan on it to make wind blow out the chaff and small pieces of straw and the light oats out of the grain. It is called a fanning mill. The one I have is in real good shape as it has always been in the shed. It has the original paint and rare mauling on it yet. This is printed on the fan housing 'Great Western Grain Fan Improved Feb. 12, 1874, Hart & Norton Manufactured La Crosse, Wisconsin.' With different sieves it can be used to clean barley, oats and wheat. We have them all.

'I believe it was bought new by my great-grandfather. In 1974 he homesteaded this farm that I live on now. We live just 20 miles from LaCrosse, Wisconsin.'

I received this information from DEAN ALLING, Box 10264, Bur-bank, California 91510. 'I recently picked up a Lippincott Steam and Supply Company indicator for a steam engine. This model has a 1900 patent date and I need some information on how it goes together. There appears to be two or three pull strings used and I need their routing and such. Would anyone have an owner's manual or other information?'

(Please help Dean, fellow subscribers. I'm sure he will be looking for an answer.)

'Greetings from the far North. You said in your last issue that your stack of letters is getting short, so we thought that we'd put one on the pile.' (Thank you!)

'I have been lax in writing because my handwriting is difficult to read, but I recently bought a computer that makes things a lot easier.

'I am the secretary of a club that is currently restoring an 1898 vintage Porter steam locomotive. In the research we have done on the railroad that used this little engine, my group has discovered all sorts of old steam power equipment. Evidently, the cost of bringing this equipment out of the woods to scrap it during the war was too much, so it was left there. We have found many boilers and steam hoists that were used by the early miners. The hoists are primarily American Hoist and Derrick horizontal, and Little Giant vertical. If anybody in the Iron-Men family has information on these companies, I would appreciate hearing from them.

'While I'm asking for help, I need to find out just how to get a Pioneer Power Association started. Here in Alaska, there are many restoration projects waiting for someone to find them, and every once in a while I find another steam bug, but I need help in getting an organization started.' (Now, Fellas, here is a great thing you could do for one of your buddies and all the IMA subscribers who want to know more. It seems to me this could become quite an advancement for this hobby PLEASE LET HIM HEAR FROM YOU!)

He continues: 'To the old-timers, there are more and more young folks like me who are being infected with the steam and oil bug, but we need your input. Please, if you see a youngster like me (35) at a show, scratching his head and wondering what that thing is and what it is for, let him know. (And Anna Mae, don't stop writing, as I learn something new every month reading 'Soot in the Flues).' (Also, Rich did you know we publish Gas Engine Magazine which deals more with the OIL hobby?)

'We'll let you know in the fall what we find this summer. If any of the Iron-Men Family are coming up this way, look me up. I'd love to have some coffee and swap some tales.' I'll bet many of you are interested, but there may be a drawback, as this writer's address is RICH BARLOW, 3833 LISMORE CIRCLE, NORTH POLE, ALASKA 99705! So, I'm hoping some of you might make it up there. You might even get to visit with SANTA CLAUS! I'll be anxious also to hear what letters and ideas you may receive from this notice, Rich.

'PLEASE HELP!!' This cry comes from BUD WALTERS, Route 1, Box 186, Gravois Mills, Missouri 65037. 'I have just finished a #8 Stuart engine and now have to build a boiler, But need a flue roller for inch copper tubing.

'I did see one once at an engine show, but forgot what it looks like. Is there anyone in Engine Land who can tell me how to build a flue roller, or may have prints I can copy, or who can tell me where I may purchase same? I would be very grateful for any help. Thanks a lot!'

This letter comes to us from JOSEPH W. MOTT, 42 Trafford Road, Binghamton, New York 13901: 'My primary reason for subscribing to your fine magazine is a long time love of steam engines and a particular interest in a machine made here in New York state the Wood, Taber & Morse. In this case the Morse was my maternal grandfather. The family home was in Eaton and was sold by my brothers and I just a few years ago to the first non-family since it was built in 1802 by my great grandfather.

'At this point in time I am very interested in finding out what is known about this company and its machines. Some years back, I did take my family to Dearborn Village and looked over the two machines that they have on display. I also understand that the majority of the machines were sold in the Midwest to be used in those large farms in that area.

'In looking through your magazine, I see that there are many books written about various manufacturers. Do you happen to know of any that were written about this company? And, have you had any feature stories in any issue of IMA? And last but not least, do you happen to know of any working models in this up-state of New York or northern Pennsylvania that I might see?' (There is an article in January-February 1991 IMA, page 4, titled 'History of Wood, Taber & Morse Steam Engine Works, Eaton, Madison Company, New York' submitted by Ken Morse, P.O. Box 163, South Otselic, New York 13155).

My next communication comes from LARRY S. ENGLE, 121 E. Chestnut Street, Ephrata, Pennsylvania 17522, and he wants to tell us how he became interested in steam. 'I'm hooked!' says Larry'I can by no means boast of having lived during the 'thrashing' machine era. My dad, Clair, and Uncle Dean, on the other hand, were born right at the end of the steam era and so are familiar with using both thrashing machines and combines for grain harvesting. I grew up knowing about my dad's combine, but really knew nothing about steam, except that Uncle Dean had a tractor with big wheels and a big pipe on the front end, this tractor being a steam engine. I was about nine years old at that time.

'As my brother Terry and I got older, we started going to the Antique Tractor Show in Gratz, Pennsylvania. Uncle Dean had his engines there and so did another fellow, Sam. Since Terry was more of a 'rutch' (he was always in the tractor seat) than I was, he learned about the engine and got hooked earlier than I did. I'm not saying that I wasn't impressed by the machine or that I wasn't curious about the mechanicals of the engines, but I wasn't hooked yet. I would ask Terry questions and that would satisfy me.

'Then at the Gratz Show in the summer of '90, it happened! Terry was helping Sam with his Baker 23-90 and had permission to take it for a ride around the show. So, we started around and after a little while, we were stopping to talk to friends or answer questions or something. When we were done talking, Terry asked me if I wanted to drive it. Sure, why not?? I drained the cylinder, put it in gear and cracked the throttle. As that Baker barked to life, the steam bug came and bit me! I was hooked! Terry might as well have thrown his gloves in the firebox right then. That's how much he needed them for the rest of the show.

'Now, Terry and I have our own engine, and whenever I hear it or another engine start to bark, I think back to that first time, and for some reason, that same grin creeps back onto my face.

'P. S. I'd like to hear from the old-timers. I want to know how the threshing was done in your part of the country. Was the thresher in a barn or a field? Was the straw baled or blown in the mow loose, etc??'

This letter comes from ANDREW MICHELS, 302 Highland Avenue, Plentywood, Montana 59254.

'I hear a lot about the efficiencies of various engines, the merit of different valve gears, etc. When I was 11 years old, the only engine to consider was a Nichols & Shepard 16 HP, rear double-mounted. We had a 20 HP Case, that was the engine. Then I saw a new Advance that was great! Then I restored a 25 HP Russell. Man, what a responsive, heart warming machine!

'When people talk about an engine using 500 lbs. of coal less than another a day, let's see: quality of coal, boiler pressure, valve setting, lubrication, grate condition, grate area, draft condition of boiler, (clean jacketed) load. Some threshers run much harder than others. And some operators are better than others some get cockeyed ideas.

'I never liked a Minneapolis, but some of my friends love them to the point of getting mad. A point in mindI once told a fellow I crawled over a half dozen Minneapolis engines to get to a good engine. That doesn't mean they are not good engines. In fact, I used a 17-30 gas (1923) for many years. I loved it. It was junked in 1940.

'I got sidetracked! One of the most popular Reeves was the worst. A fellow who ran both 110 Case and 32 Reeves said Reeves was a lot more engine. At least, it cost a lot more. One of the fine engines in our community was a 20 HP Case and also a 69 HP Reeves. They walked them from Culbertson, 50 miles, as they steamed one and pulled the other. Then, they changed about the next day. I don't see how there could be any economy in that!

'A fellow was pulling a 25' with a 25 HP Case. They were trying to run on 100 lbs. Trouble was they didn't know how to fire with straw, so the Case was a poor engine. Another bought a Wencheck in Minnesota that had been cut to 100 lbs. He tried to plow with 150 lbs. and wound up with 175 lbs. Lots of power and less water.

'We ran a 20 HP Case with a broken clutch, and leaky throttle; that sharpens your skill! Many engineers thought it was poor engineering to use the clutch, called the friction by Canadians. What the heck did they put it in there for??

'That reminds me. My grandfather had a 9 HP Stillwater Giant; you turned the eccentric by hand to reverse. It would malfunction backing into the belt, so they pulled it into the belt with horses.'

I know many of you people have a painting of Sallman's Head of Christ, or have seen it. More than a hundred million reproductions of this artist's portrait of Jesus have been made and distributed throughout the world. A healing is part of the picture's creation. The following is called 'The Story Behind My Painting of Christ,' by Warner Sallman. I feel this is a tremendous story for Christmas.

'Many times I have been asked how I happened to paint the Head of Christ that has received much wide circulation since it appeared as a painting in 1940.

'Did you have a vision beforehand?' they ask.

'Did you feel Christ's presence?'

'Did you have some kind of religious experience?'

'The answer is yes to all these questions, but the real story behind the picture begins with a change that took place in my life shortly after my wedding.

'When I married Ruth Anderson, an attractive and dedicated choir member and organist, back in May 1916, I was 24 years old, was employed as an artist in the field of men's fashions and was prospering financially. In all, it seemed like a cloudless sky, but storm clouds already were forming below the horizon.

'Years before, I had had a tumor in my shoulder but a surgeon had removed it and it apparently was healed. Then came a major complication in the same area. By the following spring, 1917, the pain was acute. I went to several doctors and took various treatments, but the affliction grew worse. Finally, I consulted a specialist who made extensive tests.

'You're pretty sick, my boy,' he said kindly.

Tell me the whole truth, Doctor,' I replied. 'I ought to know what's wrong with me.'

'You have tuberculosis of the lymph glands,' he continued. 'I recommend surgery.' He hesitated a moment, took my arm, then continued. 'Otherwise, I cannot give you much hope beyond three months.'

'The physician's words jolted me severely. I left his office in a daze, and with uncertain steps made my way to a streetcar. On the car I moved up until I was close to the motorman, feeling some protection in his presence. It gave me an opportunity to do a little thinking . . .

'What shall I do?' I asked myself. 'Shall I tell Ruth the whole truth, or conceal what the doctor said until after the baby is born?' It was July, and our first little one was due in September. I feared the revelation would so upset her that serious complications might develop.

'I prayed for guidance, and I believed God was directly speaking to me when the conviction suddenly came over me that 'Ruth is brave, has a deep faith, and can take it. I'll tell her all.'

'This I did, not minimizing the 'three months to live.' Ruth received my words with utmost calm. A feeling came over me that she was like a rock and that through her the Lord would guide us aright.

'Let God's peace come into your heart, Warner' she told me, putting her arms around my neck and looking squarely into my face, her eyes aglow with love. 'We'll pray, and whatever is God's will for us, we gladly will do it. In three months we can do a lot for Him; and if it be His will to spare our life together for a longer period, we will thank Him for it and go ahead serving Him.'

'I do not remember the words we used in our prayer together, but I do know we did not ask for a longer life span. We only asked God to guide and bless us and use us. The heart of our prayer was a plea reminiscent of our Saviour's in Gethsemane: 'Dear Lord, we pray that Thy will be our will, and that in all ways Thy will be done.'

'In no manner did we forego medical or surgical help, but we felt that if the latter was to be for me, God would make it known. We continued the medical treatments as before, but no revelation came regarding the proposed surgery.

'However, something else did happen: by the alchemy of nature or in the Providence of God, the pain gradually grew less, and there were signs of amelioration of the disease. It took months, but complete healing finally took place. We did not minimize the powerful influence of mind over matter. We implicitly believe the Lord can and does heal.

'What better proof can there be than that the predicted three months have stretched into over 44 busy, fruitful and happy years with the added blessing of three sons born to our union and that now, past the 70 year mark, I feel almost as vigorous as ever, am well occupied with my work, and have the joy of Ruth's unfailing companionship?

'Yet the important part of this experience is not that I was healed, but that I learned an exciting and dynamic principle: when we turn our lives over to God, without reservation, He can and will do remarkable things through us.

'It was this personal philosophy that made it possible for me to do the Head of Christ. It began as an assignment from a small Christian youth publication in January 1924, for a cover design. I thought to do the face of Christ. My first attempts were all wrong. Finally there were only 24 hours until delivery date. I tried again and again the preceding evening, but the impressions that came to my mind were futile. I felt disturbed and frustrated.

'I went to bed at midnight, restless in spirit but did ask God once more to give me the vision I needed. Suddenly, about two o'clock, I came out of my fitful attempts at sleep with a clear, beautiful image of the Head of Christ startlingly vivid in my mind. I hastened to my attic studio to record it. I made a thumb-nail sketch, working as fast as I could in order that the details of the dream might be captured before fading out of my mind. Next morning I made a charcoal drawing from it.

'The Head of Christ hardly caused a ripple of comment when it first appeared. But years later I made an oil painting of the 'Head' and, since that time, its distribution has attained phenomenal proportions. Yet I always think of the portrayal as something God did through me.

'For Ruth and I believe that as disciples of Christ our task is primarily seed-sowing of good deeds, good thoughts and good purposes.

'Yet we are human enough to enjoy hearing or knowing of results often strange and unpredictable accompanying our labors. For instance, there was an incident in Los Angeles. A robber rang the doorbell to an apartment. When the lady opened the door he thrust a revolver in her face and snapped, 'This is a holdup. Give me your money and jewelry!'

'Just then he looked up and saw behind the woman a large picture on the wall. It was the Head of Christ. For a moment he seemed to freeze. Slowly he lowered his gun.

'I can't do it, lady,' he gasped, 'not in front of that picture.' And he turned and ran down the stairs.'

I wanted to have more for the column, but this is most of what I have. I do have a few letters that are handwritten and I'm doing my best to translate and decipher the handwriting. Understand, I am glad for them! And I realize it is quite an effort for many to write. Maybe one of the relatives or friends who has good penmanship or a typewriter could help get these out for you. I know, even for me it is hard to do too much handwriting at once. And another thing, I believe this is the first time for years that I have had no pictures sent in for my column. Maybe next time! I am really out of material again, so get writing!

I didn't get my Christmas picture yet from Billy Byrd of Madisonville, Kentucky, but I have several as he usually sends me one every year. So I'm going to send this along from one of the years. And while looking, I came across this picture that was sent to me one time when Elmer Ritzman was out attending the shows. It has a stamp on it, but no date or where it came from. Maybe some of you will recognize it. He wrote on the back 'Rain and cold. Two hot spots. Business good. Mrs. Sheaffer and Ritzman, my slavesthey do fine.' Well, we have two pictures anyway! And here is something to remember for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Advice to the thin: Don't eat fast! And advice for the heavy: Don't eatFast! Some Christmas quotes Christmas is the season when a wife gives her husband all the credit she can get. When Christmas is over, Father usually has more ties than bonds. The ideal Christmas gift is money, but the trouble is you can't charge it. (Bill Vaughn) If you want to celebrate Christmas in some way you never had before, you might try going to church.

That's it for this time and remember, I love each and every one of you, and hope you have a wonderful, fun-loving, blessed Christmas.