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Traction Engines and Threshing Machines

Larry G. Creed, R.R. #13 Box 209, Brazil, IN 47834, writes:

'I would like to welcome Ogden Publications along with new Iron Men Album staff into the steam hobby. Our new editor, Richard Backus, is committed to keeping the Iron-Men Album a quality steam publication. I know Richard will welcome any ideas, questions or comments about the magazine. I believe this change will open new doors to us as both readers and contributors.

'I have picked out some of my old steam photographs for you to enjoy. Photograph #1 is of an older Reeves steam engine pulling parade wagons. The engine is a double cylinder simple, which would have built early last century. The early Reeves engines had a round water tank located under the right rear wheel. The tank was complete with a plumbed in funnel. The engine is jacketed and has a flare stack instead of the later stacks, which were straight except for the flared crown. I can easily picture Lyle Hoffmaster on the front wagon of this picture, and you would have no trouble counting all of his front teeth.

'Photograph #2 is a Kansas threshing crew enjoying some liquid refreshment. The engine is a 24 or 28 HP Minneapolis. The toolbox mounted on the right side of the engine located under the stack must be every bit of three feet long. I guess big equipment called for big tools. The wind feeders of the separator are folded back in the transport position. The inscription on the picture reads, 'Bergon & Ratzlaff crew.'

'Photograph #3 is also a Kansas threshing scene. Smoke and dust obscures part of the picture. The man on the bundle wagon is in the process of forking a bundle to throw into the feeder. Straw can be seen blown out of the blower stack. The engine is a Huber single-cylinder about 18 or 20 HP. The crossed braces at the front of the canopy are a Huber feature.

'Photograph #4 is an Ohio threshing scene. The size of the straw pile proves that some serious threshing was done in Ohio. The threshing machine is an Avery. The steam engine is hooked to the separator ready to move. The engine appears to be a Frick, judging from the position of the engine on the rear of the boiler and the flat spoke rear wheels.

'I was sad to learn of the passing of Howard Wade, who lived in Whitewater, Wis. Howard was a true steam man who liked all steam engines, but he was a dyed-in-the-wool Nichols-Shepard man. The Wade brothers have many large Nichols-Shepard engines in their collection, some being one-of-a-kind. Photograph #5 was taken in Sept. 1966 and shows Howard and Harlan Wade in front of their Nichols

Creed Photo #9: This illustration shows an 11 HP Westinghouse with the boiler removed. It only took removal of four bolts in the boiler angle plates and disconnecting the steam and exhaust pipes to remove the boiler.

Creed Photo #10: Illustration of Westinghouse's unique boiler, on which the upper section could be removed for complete cleaning of the boiler.

Shepard 30-98 single-cylinder engine. Photograph #6 is a catalog illustration of a Nichols-Shepard double-cylinder 35 HP plow engine. This was one of Howard Wade's favorite engines built by Nichols-Shepard Co.

'Recently I acquired a 1902 Westinghouse catalog and noted several features you will find interesting as compared to the more common fire tube locomotive-type boiler. Westinghouse used a water tube boiler, which could be removed from the frame by taking out four bolts and the steam and exhaust pipes. The boilers were made in two parts, which could be unbolted to clean the inside of the boiler or replace the tubes. I hope you will enjoy the differences this catalog illustrates.'

Editor's note: Our sister publication, Farm Collector, published an article on Westinghouse engines in the Sept. 2001 issue.

12 HP Greencastle

Fred Hammond of Chambersburg, Pa., sent in these photos he took of an 1885 12 HP Greencastle steam traction engine at the Cumberland Valley Antique Engine & Machinery Association

Spring Fling show in 2000. The engine, believed to be the only one in existence, is owned by Willis Abel. Greencastle engines were made by the Crowell Manufacturing Company, Greencastle, Pa. It is believed that 12 of these engines were built. Crowell went into receivership in the late 1890s, and around 1901 the Geiser Manufacturing Company of Waynesboro, Pa., bought the Crowell factory to build engines and tractors.