Soot in the flues

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Well, I know it is with happy hearts and high expectations that you folks have been packing and yearning to hit the road and follow the map on the Reunion Trail across this great nation of ours; my thoughts and prayers are with you for a great Steam and Gas vacation time. I know you'll come back with a lot of other types of information on various subjects, as well as with an expanded knowledge of ways to further enjoy new, and not so new, stories of this extremely interesting hobby. Just don't forget to drop me a line and share the news or bits of info found on your excursions.

I recently ran across this story form of the many food words we use in our home life vocabulary. I think you will enjoy it. It is called 'Lighter Vein,' and is taken from Uncle Ben's Quote book.

'When was the last time you said somebody didn't know beans about something, or described a fog as being thick as pea soup, or called a political speech a lot of applesauce?

'It probably wasn't very long ago, because we Americans really take the cake when it comes to using foods in our everyday figures of speech. For example, when things go right, they are in apple pie order, and life is a bowl of cherries. But when they go wrong, it's a fine kettle of fish, or a pretty pickle.

'If a man is important, he's top banana. If he's not, he may be just a meatball. If he's clumsy, he's butter-fingered. If he's cowardly, he's chick-en-livered. If he's poised, he's cool as a cucumber. If he's smart, he's an egghead. And if he's a prize fighter, he very likely has cauliflower ears. If he talks too much, he spills the beans. And if he doesn't talk enough, he clams up.

'Moreover, he doesn't earn money, he earns dough, or he brings home the bacon. And if he's working for peanuts, his wife may egg him on to butter up the boss.

'If something is good, it's a peach. If it's bad, it's a lemon. And that may lead to a rhubarb. But someone will say it's just sour grapes.

'You may think you deserve an egg in your beer, but if you're not worth your salt, you may wind up eating humble pie, and that would be getting your just desserts.

'Finally, a pretty girl is a tomato, or quite a dish, and the boys may want to spoon with her. But if one asks her to elope, she may say she cantaloupe.

'And now, just to ice the cake, I want to say that you may take most claims with a grain of salt.'

And just for fun, here's a light-hearted bit entitled, 'Letter From (Wherever) County Mother To a (Wherever) County Son':

'I am writing this slow 'cause I know you can't read fast. We don't live where we did when you left. Your dad read in the paper where most accidents happen within 20 miles of home so we moved. I won't be able to send you the address 'cause the last family that lived here took the numbers with them for their next house so they wouldn't have to change their address. This place has a washing machine. The first day I put four shirts in and pulled the chain and I haven't seen them since. It only rained twice this week-three days the first time and four days the second time, The coat you wanted me to send you, your Aunt Sue said it would be too heavy to send you in the mail because of the heavy buttons so we cut them off and put them in the pockets. We got a bill from the funeral home. It said if we didn't make the last payment on Grandma's funeral bill, up she comes! About your sister, she had a baby this morning. I haven't found out yet if it's a girl or a boy, so I don't know if you're an aunt or uncle. About your father, he has a lovely new job. He has over five hundred men under him. He is cutting grass in the cemetery. Three of your friends went off the bridge yesterday in a pickup. One was in the front driving, the other two were in the back. The driver got out, he rolled down the window and swam to safety. The other two drowned, they couldn't get the tailgate down. Your Uncle John fell in the whiskey vat. Some men tried to pull him out, but he fought them off, so he drowned. We cremated him, he burned for three days. Not much more news this time, nothing really happened. Write more often. Love, Mother.' And now, on to your letters!

'Needless to say, it was a very pleasant surprise when I flipped open the March-April issue to page 17 and saw my Brooks, Oregon display,' writes JAMES G. TUMELSON of Seattle, Washington. 'That was a really good show, and exceptionally enjoyable for me because I had the opportunity to get re-acquainted with Joe and Dale Richardson from Orofino, Idaho - that's about 15 miles from where I was born and raised.

'Enclosed are some pictures from the past. The one of the binder and the Model T Ford (above) was taken around Warren, Kansas. The woman on the binder is my Aunt Bessie Witt. Her husband, Jessie, is driving the Ford. It was taken on their farm. The photo of me and my engine (below) was taken at Toppenish, Washington 1990. The other threshing scenes (next page) were taken in Idaho about 40 miles up the Clearwater River from Lewiston on my uncle's farm. The one of the 12-36 Case with the separator belonged to my grandfather, Tom Springston. My dad is operating the engine as he did for many years while I was growing up. My dad and mom homesteaded in Idaho when it first opened up to homesteaders.'

BT2 SW LYNNE THORESON, Eng. Dept, B-Div., USS Durham LKA 114, FPO San Francisco 96663 1701, tells us: 'Thanks for the great magazine. I am in the Persian Gulf part of the Operation Desert Storm. Your magazine means a lot to me since we have been away from home for eight months. You have done a great job. I look forward to every magazine I get. Thank you for keeping my spirits up in this very difficult time.' (Of course this was received quite awhile ago and we hope by now that Lynne is back home God bless all these wonderful folks.)

PAUL RENO, 3254 Kansas Street, Oakland, California 94602 writes: 'When I received the May-June issue of Iron Men I was glad to see it was 56 pages instead of 32.' (So were we welcome all material, so send those ideas and comments and stories to me and I'll get them in the magazine.)

'As to the boiler and wheels on page 10, January/February 1991, by Ted Strain, I figured you would have gotten plenty of answers from the steam men. I believe it is a Russell of about 12 HP, but I am like C. R. Sindelar (May/June issue); I think the answer to those kinds of questions should be published.

'Mr. Edwin Bredemier wrote you in January/February 1991, on the separators running too fast at the shows. We have the same problems out here, especially with steam engines governed too fast. If they run too slow, they just clog up and then have to shut down, which is better than tearing up the separator anyway.

'Now to the May/June issue, 'Cross Country Steaming' on page 29. It is mentioned, in hilly country, the engines could break away going downhill if the governor belt broke. So the group removed the belt before going downhill to keep the governor from cutting steam off. The Daniel Best steam tractor with its vertical, which was built for going up and down hill, had a lever for overriding the governor without having to fool with the belt, but there aren't many who know how to use it.

'Over on Grand River, two miles east of Ketchum, Oklahoma where I was raised, we heard old engines going by in the middle of the night crossing the country. I never saw an engine or a mule team in a trailer until after World War II.

'The old steamers and tractors could go down into the Grand River bottom, down sawmill hill, but it took my Pappy's big mules to bring them back up. The 15-30 McCormick was the first tractor that could drag a separator up the hill, so when Grand River Lake was flooded in 1930, there were supposed to be about 40 old engines covered between the dam and Miami, and one steam well drill. Dad's same mule team pulled the Delaware County grader over the roads until replaced by a Cat 60 in the 30's. I would like to hear if there are any of the patented self-propelled separators surviving in this world, especially the Sagend Threshing Machine Company 1908 to 1912.

'My friend, M. H. Hellwinckel, sent me a picture of the model back in Minnesota. It sure looks dusty for the crew, and impractical as all get out. Sometimes the machinery that didn't make it is as interesting to a mechanic as the ones that did. Take the Hoveland Harvester, at Saskatoon, Alberta, Canada, 75 years before its time. Also, the steamers always pulled the fires to ford Grand River at Nowlins riffle at the foot of Sawmill Hollow. Nowlins Ferry was two miles east and Ketchum Ferry was two miles west. There were no bridges for miles then. Now it is all tourist country around the lake.'

'Can anyone of your readers produce a farm equipment sales contract made prior to 1877?' asks LESLIE G. MATHERLY, 6012 Chenoweth Run Road, Jefferson-town, Kentucky 40299. 'I inherited the enclosed contract, with other family records, about 20 years ago when my parents died.

'In 1983 I joined the Kentuckiana (KY-IND) Pioneer Power Club and the Gaar-Scott contract took on new meaning. The third name on the contract was my great-grandfather, E. G. Matherly.

Also included with the contract were two pictures of three men operating a sawmill on the Central Kentucky hill farm. The pictures are old and just fair quality, so I can't identify the men or the type of steam engine used for power.

'Can any of you readers identify the type of power described in the contract as 'Eight Horse Power?'

KYLE CARLIN SCHOEFF, 10520E 100 S., Marion, Indiana 46953 sends the picture at right, taken at Portland Indiana Show 1990 at the Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Show: RUSSELLS: 25 HP Russell steam engine #16977,1920, owned by Kyle Schoeff, Marion, Indiana 46953; 10 HP Russell steam engine #123966, 1906, owned by Bill Nash, Winchester, Indiana 47394; and a 20-40 Russell gas tractor Big Boss #2190, 1921, owned by Al New family, Pendleton, Indiana 46064.

'I enjoy the Iron Men Album very much and enjoy steam engine shows. I am a paraplegic, so I attend only one a year at New Centerville, Pennsylvania,' writes D. CARL THOMAS, R.D. #1, Box 404, Hollsopple, Pennsylvania 15935.

'The picture in a former issue of IMA of the Twentieth Century traction engine brought back many memories. My dad had a Twentieth Century. It was built by Miller Machine Shop in Boynton, Pennsylvania by Gideon Miller, a Mennonite minister.

'My dad took the train to Boynton to buy the engine. Then he ran this engine on its own power to our home, a distance of 40-odd miles. Steam power took him to the machine shop and steam power brought him home.

'The engine was a double cylinder and had good belt power. It was Number One built in early 1900. My dad used it to thresh and cut lumber at his sawmill. He had a Peerless threshing machine and a Geiser sawmill.

'Dad told me several men came to see this engine. They chuckled at his small engine until he started to cut lumber. Then they bought one for themselves.

'We lived near a coal mining town called Jerome. They had a breakdown and needed a timber, 12x12 x 40, which my dad furnished. My brothers hauled it up a steep hill with four horses. It was in the spring of the year and the snow was melting. The snow stuck to the horse's hooves, making it difficult for them to walk. After getting to the top of a steep hill my brother, who was quite young, took one team home. The horses he was riding stumbled. He was really scared and crying and glad to get home.

'After the running gears wore out on the engine, my dad took the boiler off and used it in sugar camp to boil maple syrup. He used copper coils, like they used to boil apple butter, which worked real well. When the syrup was done, all you had to do was close the valve and the boiling would stop. He used this for a number of years until the flues wore out.

'In the fall of 1939 I got a job in the steel mill in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and then I moved to the Johnstown and Stonycreek Railroad, a subsidiary of U.S. Steel. I would work extra until there was a steady job opening. One morning they came for me to be the fireman. I had never fired a steam engine of any kind. I shoveled too much coal in the firebox and banked the fire. The steam gauge started to go the wrong way, but the engineer showed me how to fire an engine and I was a fireman for awhile. I also learned how to run the locomotive and would take over while the engineer ate his lunch. Later I was brakeman for several years, and then conductor. I worked on the railroad for 29 years. We later got diesel, but a diesel engine just couldn't take the place of steam.'

MICKEY E. POTTER, Executive Director of R. E. Olds Transportation Museum, 240 Museum Drive, Lansing, Michigan 48933-1905; (517)372-0422, has a request: 'We are looking for anyone who has a working Olds gasoline-fired steam engine. The ones we have are not complete. The engines are missing minor things, like burners, water tanks, and gauges.

'We are supposed to be the people who know about these things, and it's embarrassing not to know anything. Any help or knowledge that you can send our way would be greatly appreciated.' (There's a chance to help someone who really needs your assistance-don't let Mickey down, Fellas!)

That is the extent of communications, and by the time this issue is well read and history, it will be back to school for our children of all ages. I thought the following, entitled 'A Mother's Prayer,' is appropriate now and at any time in the lives of our children as they grow older- 'Make me a wise Mother, O Lord. Keep me calm and give me patience to bear the small, irritating things in the daily routine of life. Give me tolerance and understanding to bridge the gulf between my generation and that of my children.

'Let me not be too ready to guide my children's stumbling feet, but allow me to be ever near to bind their bruises. Give me a sense of humor that I may laugh with them but never at them. Let me refrain from preaching with words.

'Keep me from forcing their confidences, but give me a sympathetic ear when my children come to me. Make me humble. Keep my children close to me, O Lord, though miles may separate us. And let Thy light so shine upon me that they too will perceive Thy glory. Amen.' (I have this taped on my cupboard and try to adhere to this petition).

And while you are pasting up your Mother's Prayer, here's one for many of we 'older' folks-just seems to be a companion to the other prayer. It is called:

'A Prayer For Older People'

'Father, Thou knowest I am growing older. Keep me from becoming talkative and possessed with the idea that I must express myself on every subject. Release me from the craving to straighten out everyone's affairs. Keep my mind free from the recital of endless detail. Seal my lips when I am inclined to tell of my aches and pains. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong. Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom and experience, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I want to keep my friends until the end. Amen.'

That wraps it up for this time, my dear Iron-Men Album family, and again thank you so much for caring and for your prayers and letters or cards. It really warms my heart to know many of you understand this particular time of my life since the death of my dear husband his body is now gone, but his spirit and love stays with us. And, within the last five days we have had five birthdays to celebrate, and the beautiful wedding of our grandson, Ryan Fortenbaugh, and his bride, Dawn Hutecheson they are a beautiful pair, walking with the Lord, as they begin their marital journey. I have so much for which to be thankful.