Soot in the flues

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Hi! Dear Ones in Iron-Men Family! September-October issue means schools will be open, leaves to be raked, and pumpkin pies to be made, and Halloween parades and costumes but since this magazine comes out the first of August, it really means we are still in the swing of things pertaining to engines, shows, new friends, miles to travel, as you enjoy your summer experiences with fellow friends. Did you find a new engine to work on and love or perhaps you jotted down some helpful tips that you can put to good use this winter as you repair and shine up that piece of equipment you purchased in summer of '81? Well, there's no need to tell you to enjoy yourself, for that just goes with the package of being a steam fiend and now onto our letters that you all watch for each issue for there is much to learn each time as the readers tell of their experiences or inquire for help.

The following letter is one of constructive criticism and of further knowledge; we hope it will be accepted in that manner. This column is for friends to use in acquiring data and in exchanging views about their interest in steam. HERBERT H. ELTZ, Box 109, Juniata, Nebraska 68955 writes: 'In your May-June '81 issue of IMA, page 17, Gary Kappedal has a story about generators and alternators there are several things I can't agree with and since I've been in the electrical business for almost 50 years, I'm no newcomer.

It's always been common knowledge that a motor will generate the same direction that it motors; a generator will motor the same direction it generates. If his motor generated going backwards, the brushes had to be set close to the neutral point; if so, it should generate going either way. Many impact wrenches change rotation by shifting brushes either side of neutral point.

A simple test: Take a motor, run it from a battery and it will draw current. Drive it faster with external power and a point will be reached where it draws zero power. Drive it still faster and it will generate power back to the battery. Series wound motors like heater type are poor generators.

Take a P.M field type of motor and it will generate going either way. On page 18, I don't agree that electricity and magnetism like to flow on outside of conductor. D.C. does not flow on outside or skin of a conductor, unless he is talking about lightning. If it did, we could use hollow conductors.

It's only when you get into high frequency that tubing can be used for conductors. In all large radio transmitters coils, they are either made of tubing or flat ribbon to get large surface area.

Armatures and transformer cores are always laminated and made of silicone steel or of the newer type alloys. However, field core pole pieces are best when made of solid soft iron. If they are laminated, it's because they can be made cheaper, because no machine work is needed.'

I suppose the following writing will bring back a lot of memories to many folks, not on engines, but on little boys. The following letter comes from EDWARD C. METCALF, Route 1, Floodwood, Minnesota 55736: 'Pearl Isaacson is the wife of Carl Isaacson who has been a member of the steam show at Esko, Minnesota for many years where he plays old music. Pearl, who is my sister, wrote this poem about her youngest son, who now lives near Brookston, Minnesota with his family. Pearl is now 74 years old and is in the Nopeming Nursing Home, near Duluth, Minnesota. She wrote this article when she was 29 years old. I know she would enjoy seeing this in the Album, which I surely enjoy.' (I suppose many mothers, especially, will reflect upon this and stir up a few memories.)

A letter comes to help a fellow reader perhaps it will also help you. JIM BACON, 436 Rosewal Avenue, Cortland, Ohio 44410 writes: 'A few issues back, there was an article about organizing hardware by R. N. McCray in which he mentioned a very strange screw that he had never seen before. Well, I work for a furniture manufacturing company and we use millions of the spherical-headed oddities. You see, they are used to form part of a door catch. The screw is attached to either the door or the door frame and the other part has a spring clip that snaps around the head of the screw when the door is closed.'

WALT THAYER, Wenatchee, Washington 98801 sends us some identification of the unclassified photos in May-June 1981 magazine: 'No. 1 looks like an old Case or Nichols & Shepard. No. 2 is a Case at Zehrs Threshers Reunion. No. 3 is an aeriel view of a threshing rig. Tractor probably a Case or a big Minnie and it is definitely Prairie country, looks like North Dakota or Montana. No. 4 looks like a Minnie or Garr Scott. No. 5 looks like a half size Case or Russell with rubber tires. No. 6 is a big Case, probably 90 or 110 HP. No. 7 might be a big Minnie judging by rear wheels.

On your cover photo never saw two prettier steam fiends in my life which is the Hoghead and which is the Bakehead or Tallow Pot? To you uninitiated ones, that's old time railroad lingo. Hook-A-Ma-Glook or Hobo Bill. (Some of that sounds familiar to me, but not the last two names.??)

Another comment on one of the unclassified photos, No. 4 in the May-June issue is L. K. Wood and his 10 HP Russell. His home was in Mendon, Utah. This identification comes from CARLTON JOHNSON, 2256 W. Wilson Road, Clio, Michigan 48420 and as you will notice, it differs from the above letter which also referred to the photos.

HENRY F. THOMPSON, SR., Star Route, Box 68, Ontonagon, Michigan 49953 would like to know what weight oil should be used for lubrication on a steam engine. He has a gas engine converted to steam. He will be looking for your answer in the magazine. Perhaps you could send him a letter also.

Next note is to me, but I would like to share it with you as this column and magazine touches on personal stories too sometimes. It comes from VICTOR GALLAGHER, Route 6, Box 124, Shelbyville, Indiana 46176: 'It seems like I know you really well. I guess I do, by reading your Soot in the Flues column each issue.' (I feel this way with many of you folks, though I've never met you your names have become so familiar, and then sometimes we do talk on the phone; seems like old friends.)

'I like lots of things you write, for instance, the March-April 1980 issue, about the article a man wrote about visiting Lourds, France. I also enjoyed the picture that was along with the article.' (I'm glad to print this, because we had a letter from someone who did not like that article being put into the steam magazine. I do not often print things other than steam, but sometimes when a letter comes like that, from one of the steam fans, I feel others might enjoy it too.)

While I was in Florida last fall, I had a neighbor who takes the IMA. He had some issues from the 50s and 60s that he loaned me and I read about Rev. Elmer Ritzman he must have been a wonderful man.' (He was, and I often think if each of us could leave something to the world as he has left this magazine, and the Gas Engine Magazine, how wonderful it would be here the journals are going on preserving history and making people happy and knowledgable about a worthwhile subject and friends of the same interest make more friends and wait anxiously each year to meet again. Also, Elmer loved God and spoke of him many times and when he was at the reunions, he served as the minister many times. I don't know about other hobbies, but most all these shows have church on Sunday and I believe they all start off every day with a morning prayer. Isn't that great??)

More on unclassified pictures, this letter comes from WALLACE SHANNON, R.R. 2, Tupperville, Ontario, Canada NOP 2M0: 'When my May-June IMA came, it verified to me that #5 picture in March-April unclassified is a Sawyer-Massey made in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The barn in the background and even the tractor visible over the cream can indicate it to be a rural scene in Ontario and the engine isn't new by the fact of the age of the tractor in the background. I would guess this to be a 25 or 28 HP Western engine, as many of this size were in the Canadian West.

Turn to page 15 of May-June issue and see a picture of George Hutchinson's 28-75 Sawyer Massey. I have seen this engine at shows for several years. Now, compare that picture with #5 in March-April edition. Notice the shape of spokes, hubs, etc. of front wheels. See the round connecting rod and the nameplate on the cylinder. The flat spokes of rear wheel are slightly visible. See the flange on cylinder to cross head slide.

The catwalk over back wheel of Hutchinson's engine, I think is a more recent innovation although there is a tandem compound Sawyer in Ontario with the same arrangement.

Just another guess, #7 in March-April by the smokestack looks like a Peerless. I appreciate your magazine so much. (And we appreciate your letters and comments, fellas!)

WALT THAYER, Box 2175, Wenatchee, Washington 98801 sends this writing on some photos: 'Unclassified photos in July-August '81No. 1 looks very much like an Avery, Reeves undermounted or 110 Case and it is strictly prairie country. No. 2 is a small Case, the piston, flywheel and stack identify it. No. 3 I would say is a 75 or 90 Case or a Minneapolis. No. 4 is a Big Minnie and somewhere in the midwest or east. Those big Hip Roof barns weren't seen much in prairie country probably 50 years ago.

A question from STEPHEN M. STRAIGHT, 431N. Kansas Avenue, Deland, Florida 32720 as he asks: 'Do you know when the endless chain tread mill was invented? I know it was in the early 1800s. The sweeps were ancient history.

Also, could any of you know the names of the manufacturers of the endless chain type of tread mills?' (Watch the mail, Steve as you will probably get some letters from our knowledgable readers let the column have the answer, too please.)

Some comments of the July-August issue from CLARENCE MIRK, 2362 North 85th Street, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin 53226 as he tells us: 'Picture No. 1 page 22 in the IMA is the late Elmo Mahoney of Dorrance, Kansas. That is Elmo in the cab of the undermounted Avery. His father is standing near the flywheel.

Also, the article on page 1, July-August is very good. So is the picture, a drawing at the head of the story. Beautiful work! I have been a subscriber since 1947 and I have all the numbers. I guess that tells you how I feel about IMA.' (Thank you for the comments, we like to hear from our readers as to how they feel about our magazine.)

We need the engine sleuths to uncover this answer. CECIL W. HAILEY, 412 Harper Avenue, NW., Lenoir, North Carolina 28645 writes: 'I have a vertical center crank engine, 58' high, 12 x 6. There is no name or any indication as to who made the engine or where it was manufactured. On the crosshead raised casted letters as follows C & BC. I would like to know where and by whom this engine was made.' (Answers, please.)

Can you help identify this photo? ROGER BOOTH, 712 Royal Heights Road, Belleville, Illinois 62223 sends this data: 'Find enclosed a picture of my Mother-in-law's granddad, Frank Law, who farmed in the Streator, Illinois area. The picture was taken somewhere in Kansas. Due to no work in the Streator area, sometime between 1904 and 1910, he took his rig and crew out to Kansas where this photo was taken. I thought if published in the IMA someone could give us more information on the picture. My mother-in-law's address is Mrs. Evelyn Cook, 113 North 37th Street, Belleville, Illinois 62223.

'Congratulations to Clark Alexander, Box 501, Evart, Michigan for being a beekeeper for 60 years in August 1981. He runs his operation by steam power. He will be 75 years young on September 1.

As a little boy, he always loved steam and bees. He trapped wood-chucks to be able to buy his first bee hive to get started. As a lad, he ran away from home to help a man in the saw mill, which was powered by a 65 HP Case engine. He worked for his room and board and it took nine days for him to be able to run the big engine.

In 1969 he was named the bee master of the year for being the only person in the United States to run his operation by steam power, a 9-30 Case boiler and a New York safety engine. He also owns other steam engines,' says his proud wife who wrote the above letter.

(We're happy to send along our congratulations and sounds to me there would be quite a story here, and pictures, maybe??

LOUIS H. ALTHOFF, 328 West Chestnut Street, Freeport, Illinois 61032 sends some information on the picture on page 23 of July-August IMA: 'That picture was taken on Henry Althoff s farm near Freeport, Illinois. The man on the far left is my father, Karl F. Althoff. I am the small boy he is holding. The man on far right could be my Uncle Harry Otto. The engine is a 16 HP Nichols & Shepard and picture was taken around 1916. Have no idea who sent the picture or when as neither my son, Michael L.) or myself have ever seen this picture in any of the old family albums.'

W. W. HARTGE, 402-B Cotton-wood, Edwardsville, Illinois 62025 says: 'I wrote the following poem and would appreciate it if it would be in the IMA (I read and re-read this writing and it does tell about something and I understand what Mr. Hartge is trying to get across, however, it is not consistent poetry it is also prose, especially the last grouping but I'm sure those interested sawmills will appreciate it as it is entitled 'Sawmill Fever'

Don't visit a sawmill too long or you will be itching to take
over the sawyer's lever.
For when you do, you will be hooked forever
As a boy of 10, I watched a mill operate run by a 20 horse (steam) Keck
I said to myself, some day I'll operate a mill like that, by heck!

Don't ask the reason why, there is just something about sawmilling that makes you want to try.

It's hard work, and not very clean,
Saw dust down your neck and in your shoes.
The roar of the diesel; wish we had steam!
When the saw is running true and making a straight cut,
This is music to a sawyer's ears
Let her get dull and run out of the cut
Will make you swear and even shed a few tears.
Now this is no mill with air-conditioned cab and push button control.
We just set her up at the bottom of the hill and let the logs roll.
Just a plain two head block mill no live deck.

When you custom saw, you get all kinds of logs.
Some large, some small, with nails, nice and straight,
Some are so bowed won't even roll.
In spite of it all, we somehow
Get some 2 x's and boards that are nice and straight.
After a good day's run, we tally up the board feet,
And it comes to 1300 feet, not much profit,
But it was kind of fun.


The old steam engine stands proud and strong,
Waiting for an iron man to come along,
A priceless relic of yesteryear,
That can only be run by an engineer.

The old timer remembers the days of yore,
Before the antique engine was restored.
The coal for the fire and a boiler of water;
With just the right steam to make the power.

Iron men teach your sons to be engineers,
To care for the steam engines thru the years,
And the old engines won't stand and long
For an iron man to come along.

Above is a poem written by ANNABELLE NELSEN, P.O. Box 353, Bird City, Kansas 67731 entitled 'The Iron Man'-

And that about ends this writing for this issue, but may I leave you a few thoughts to ponder. One way to break a habit is to drop it.--An old timer is one who remembers when a babysitter was called mother (ouch, that one smarts a little, doesn't it?).---You cannot lift your children to a higher level than that on which you live yourself.--Children need Models rather than Critics. The man who makes a mistake and doesn't correct it is making another mistake. Bye bye, have a super time the rest of the summer and enjoy all the reunions and shows, sorry I can't get to meet you all except through this column. Love ya.