SOOT IN THE FLUES

Russell

16 HP Russell shown by Jim Lashaway, Bowling Green, Ohio.

Mark Corson

Content Tools

It's hard to believe that summer has about come and gone by now, and soon it will be time to gather for Thanksgiving again. As schools seem to start the year earlier and earlier, we are reminded that there was a time when most of America's children were needed to help at harvest time and school could not begin until late in September. Fortunately, we have the many engine shows to remind us of how much hard work went into producing food in an earlier time. As Americans have moved away from the farm and into the TV room, an engine show becomes more and more necessary as an educational tool for our children. We're proud to be a part of promoting the preservation of antique farm machinery and the demonstration of life the way it was earlier in this century.

Don't forget to send us your show reports, as it is great publicity for your club, and helps bring new people out to your show. If you are one of our' show contacts,' who take care of giving us information for our annual directory, you'll be hearing from us soon. This will be our 25th edition, and we're hoping to make it a real keepsake. If you have photos of early shows or special events from past years, please send them to us now, and specify that they are for the 1999 Show Directory. Also, if the show contact has changed, and you think we might not know about it, please drop us a line as soon as possible we DON'T want to miss you!

And now, on to the letters:

DOUGLAS M. SCHEETZ, president of The National Russell Collectors Association, 561 29th Street, N.W., Massillon, Ohio 44647, writes, 'A group of Massillon, Ohio, area owners of Russell & Company-built equipment have organized The National Russell Collectors Association.

'Until it was sold at auction in 1927, The Russell & Company was one of the largest producers of industrial and agricultural equipment in the nation. This company helped put Massillon, Ohio, on the map.'

'The association's goal is to locate and document, by serial number, owner and past history, as many pieces of Russell equipment and related items as possible. By doing this we hope to prevent some of these items from being lost forever. In addition, the association will become a network for all who are interested in The Russell & Company and the preservation of its history and equipment.'

'For an annual membership fee of ten dollars, members will receive a certificate, signifying charter membership in The National Russell Collectors Association. This certificate will be embossed with an original Russell & Company seal. Additionally, members receive a membership card, a complete membership list and a quarterly newsletter. This newsletter will create a forum for Russell owners and enthusiasts to share stories, photos, blueprints, original documents, services and experience.'

And a related testimonial from GLENN CHRISTOFFERSEN of 15 Winston Way, Redwood, California 94061, comes with this invitation: 'I hope that all of you fanciers of The Russell and Company noticed and responded to the ad in the September-October issue of IMA, which invited your participation in the newly formed National Russell Collectors Association. I played a tiny part in the establishment of this new organization, and I really enjoyed a recent trip to the Tuscarawas Valley Pioneer Power Show in Dover, Ohio, where I had the opportunity to meet and get acquainted with the young fellows who are responsible for getting this thing started. The guys in the enclosed photos are vice president Todd Young of Strasburg, Ohio, on the left, president Doug Scheetz of Massillon, Ohio, in the center, and charter member Joe Harrison of Scio, Ohio, on the right. (Todd is a grandson of the late Francis Young, who in my mind has always been 'Mr. Russell.') Yes, those are real tattoos. Yes, they are the Russell Bull, 'The Boss.' Yes, folks, the future of our Russell family is in good hands!'

EDWARD HUTSEL, 25944 Aud Road 812, Mexico, Missouri 65265 writes: 'After reading Mr. Andy Rob-son's article (pages 13-14, July/August 1998 Soot), I recall in the winter of 1930-31 there was a 21 Advance compound sawing ties about a mile north of Mineola. I do not know how much pressure they were carrying, but they bypassed the small cylinder. That engine really barked loud.

'One year this engine pulled a 36x56 Red River Special and they used spike pitchers.'

'About a mile from this saw set was another mill using a Keck Gonnerman 19 double No. 1694. After listening to the above Advance, it sounded as if the Keck was having it easy.'

JAMES C. ELLIOTT, 19475 County Road 146, New Paris, Indiana 46553-9656 writes, 'This letter does not concern steam engines or belts or threshing machines, but the people who ran them. It was told to me by my mother-in-law, who was one of the 'neighbor ladies' who helped prepare the noon meal. This incident happened a half mile north of the farm home where Margaret was born.

'The neighbor and his wife had no clear cut understanding about the job of filling the wood box for the kitchen stove. On threshing day it was empty!'

'At noon whistle the men washed in laundry tubs on bushel crates in the back yard and dried on one of many clean towels hung on the clothesline, then went in to eat. The stove was cold, the food was raw, the pies not baked.

'She said, 'Men, I'm sorry about this meal but I've done my part. The food is here. I had nothing to burn in the cook stove.'

'Her husband was the last person to get a look at the table. He turned without a word and headed for the wood pile.'

'Everyone went back to work hungry. After threshing two more hours the 'noon' whistle sounded again. By then everyone was really hungry!'

'The men washed again and went in again. This time the meal could only be described as a feast!'

CHRIS GREAVES, P. O. Box 583, Guilford, Connecticut 06437 sent a request for any or all information on restoring the Monarch steam road roller made by the American Road Machinery Company of Groton, New York.

Thanks to Jack Norbeck, author of Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction Engines, we have this to offer on the Groton Manufacturing Company:

Two brothers, Lyman and Charles Perrigo, started in business in Groton, New York, in 1849. They manufactured agricultural machinery, under the firm name of C. & L. Perrigo. Lyman was an inventor of a spoke planer, and a first-class machinist. He was an organizer of the bank and a stockholder in the Southern Central Railroad.

Later, William Perrigo also moved to Groton, and eventually a threshing machine business he had purchased combined with Charles Perrigo & Company to form Groton Manufacturing Co., which made the Groton steam traction engines and the Monarch steam road rollers.

This picture from GEORGE LUEBBE, 651 Manor Drive, Apt.+ 204, Seward, Nebraska 68434, shows, 'a 40 HP Case and a 60 HP Case moving a barn for Mr. John Lindner. My uncle Fred is on the lead engine. Martin Willers on the 40 HP was the Case dealer in this part of the country.

'The trucks under the barn were steel wheels, so it pulled pretty hard. When they got in the wheat stubble, they had to use a block and tackle to winch it along.'

'This picture was taken in the summer of 1922. I was 13 years old at that time.'

Thanks to MARK CORSON, 9374 Roosevelt Street, Crown Point, Indiana 46307-1840, we have these great shots of the National Threshers Association 1998 Show.

32 HP Reeves owned by the Marvin Brodbeck family of Ottawa Lake, Michigan, as seen by Mark Corson at the NTA 1998 show.

GERALD R. DARR, 2220 Bishopsgate Drive, Toledo, Ohio 43614-2006 sends some compliments: 'There were a lot of very nice pictures in the last IMA (September/October 1998). People are to be commended who saved all those fine pictures. They bring back a lot of good memories to those people.

'I noted two pictures of plowing in North Dakota. Perhaps that was turning the ground for the first time. It resembled gumbo to me. I bet some very fine wheat was grown on that prairie ground.'

'So many steam shows yet to come these coming months. A lot of good ones over Labor Day weekend. I regret I cannot attend any of them My back could not stand that much walking and things at home would not permit me to be gone away for several days. Lucky are the people who can attend several shows in different states and make a nice trip of it.'

'There is quite a variation in the price of admission to shows. Some small shows there is no admission charge. The price of $7.00 for the large shows is well worth it. To assemble all that machinery in one place is no small task. Hats off to those people who work diligently to make up these fine shows. What do other readers think?'

'Hats off to the young brother and sister on the cover of the September/October issue. Go for it. Also, hello to Amos Rixmann and your fine story and eulogy for Lyman Knapp.'

This letter comes from ELLIOTT SKEEN, 1084 Old Camp Road, Denton, North Carolina 27239, 'I am writing to y'all for the first time (I should be ashamed). I've been a subscriber since 1978 when I was in 5th or 6th grade, and I am just now writing. I was one of those folks who always meant to write and send in pictures but, I just never took the time. I am going to try to do better, and become a regular.

'I am needing some HELP! Enclosed with my letter is a drawing of a smoke box door I need, or I need to borrow, to have a new one cast. I am also looking for the proper wheels and for any information on this engine, (in particular or in general). The engine is an Ajax/Farquhar 7' x 10', engine number 8668. I hope to restore the engine to tip-top shape, for it is my first non-stationary engine.'

Picture #3: Just a few of the Steam Team at Southeast Old Threshers. Left to right, Elliott Skeen, Trenton Lowe, Tim Tuck and Barker Edwards.

'I have been wheel barrowing wood and dragging water hoses to engines at shows around here since I was five years old. I have operated and worked on many different kinds (Frick, Reeves, Westinghouse, Peerless, Kitten, Case, Advance Rumely). I don't really have a single favorite, but yes, I like some better than others. There are a lot of other brands out there that I have not operated yet, but I hope to.'

'I have enclosed a picture of my Ajax engine and also some pictures from the show here in Denton's Southeast Old Threshers. Hope y'all enjoy the pictures and any help anyone can give me on my Ajax will be greatly appreciated.'

Awhile back, we received a copy of a poem from a subscriber whose name was very difficult to read, but we think it is J. T. Macialek. In any case, he enclosed a poem, which had been delivered at an annual meeting of the Central States Thresher men, but no author's name was given. We wrote to Jim Haley to see whether he could help us to identify the author, since we didn't want to publish the poem without giving proper credit.

Picture #2: Left to right: 20 or 22 HP Advance Rumely #15740, owner Jack Johnson; Frick portable 7Vi x 9', owner Southeast Old Threshers; Frick 6' x 9' double cyl. #17999, owner Rick Hogan.

This took place back in 1996, and we are pleased to say that this summer, we heard from the author, himself, so we can now print the poem and give him his proper credit. Thank you to all who were involved here!

The letter comes from HERB BECKEMEYER of 1123 County Rd., 900 E, Champaign, IL 61822:

'I guess you can say I put this poem together with a lot of help from other old steam engine men many years ago, so I suppose one can call me the author.'

'Attended the Wauseon, Ohio, show June of this year. All those engine fellows, young and old, sure got on me to write articles like the one you published in your last IMA, July/August 1998. Yes, I have a lot of memories, but it is hard for me to put them on paper. I think you can tell by my handwriting.'

'I poured a concrete pad out here beside my driveway and have a drive wheel off a 22-45 Aultman-Taylor tractor painted and ready to be set and bolted down. When the traffic goes by they can say, 'There's where the wheel setsI mean 'lives.'ha!

'Keep up the good work! Sure enjoy the IMA, and I'll try to help by putting my memories on paper and sending them on to you.'

And now, here's that poem as it was delivered to the Central States Thresher men:

'Memories of an old steam engine man. Words that have been put together and I said I would never put them to print. I have recited them before a few people, at a few get-togethers and at our last annual meeting of Central States Thresher men. Everyone begged me for a copy so I'm finally breaking down, and here it is the title. . .'

'Might I, May I, Lord'

Might I have my wishes as memories come back,
May I once again hear steam exhaust up the stack,
May I once again smell the smoke and hot oil,
And hear little things like water a-boil?

Might I again have the pleasure, satisfaction, and fun,
May I work to get up steam in the old son-of-a-gun,
May I fill the grease cups, squirt oil here and there,
As I work around here with soot in my hair?

Might I crack that old throttle when at last she is ready,
May I warm her up slowly, slowly, but steady,
May I blow the sweet whistle and let them all know,
That finally at last we are ready to go?

Might I once again thresh some grain so bright and yellow,
May I once again hear that exhaust at a bellow,
May I once again watch as the smoke goes so high,
Drifting up there, curling up in the sky?

Might the flues be all clean, and the fire so bright,
May the steam be so dry, and the water just right,
May the bearings stay cool, and the belts run true,
Not a cloud in the sky, black smoke in the blue?

Might I always take time and get a small boy,
May I take him up here and tell of my joy,
May I take enough time to explain all to him,
And fill up his day clear up to the brim?

Might I keep my memories so bright and so clear,
May I always remember that life is so dear,
May I run the good race, and after it's ran,
Then remember me Lord the old Steam Engine Man.

Thanks, Herb for a fine poem! As it's time to wrap up another issue, and again, we encourage you to write to us and send us your pictures. Old or new, our readers are always happy to see steam traction engines, past and present! If you've been telling yourself you are going to get around to writing us a letter or sending us some pictures, please do it now!

This summer our local show, the famous Rough and Tumble Engineers in Kinzers, celebrated its fiftieth year, which is a real tribute to the sustainability of engine collector groups. Surely the originators of that fine show, and so many others, would be pleased to see the way shows have continued to thrive and grow through the years.

So, let us know about what's new at YOUR show, and with YOUR collection! Remember, that YOU (the reader and the author) are the critical ingredient in this magazine! Let's hear from you!

Steamcerely, Linda and Gail