SOOT IN THE FLUES

Soot in the flues

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Well, Happy Times are here again as you folks head down the many highways to the wonderful steam and gas shows and lots more interesting days of glorying in the 'days of yore,' reliving all the things that meant so much to all of you great followers of that wonderful era. And no matter how progress comes with each year and such great changes have occurred, it sure touches that certain inner feeling within us and brings out thoughts and memories and isn't it great to be with people who all have the same love of a certain hobby?

I'm hoping to get many letters from you folks as you come back home from the great shows and let me in on some of the personal conversations and fun that goes on when good friends get together. And by the way, thank you all so much for responding to my request for material. And don't get discouraged as every communication will be published, but I can't put them all in one or I won't be ready for the next issue. BUT, please keep the letters coming and we'll keep SOOT IN THE FLUES!

This next writing is on GRANDPARENTSit's so true and interesting and so this will pertain to a great percentage of Iron-Men followers: 'GRANDPARENTS They like to hold you in their laps, they don't get mad when you don't eat your vegetables. They boost your confidence. They like kids, and dogs, and cats. They really know how to tuck you in at night. They're not in such a hurry. They listen to funny music. They have the nicest smelling house. They always buy what you're selling. They don't mind when you make noise. They help with homework. They don't always know the answers, but they try. They never say, 'Hurry up.' They give good presents for your birthday. They are the only grownups who have the time. They like to go to the park, they don't get on the monkey bars though. They think you're the smartest, cutest kid on earth. They give you money and never say it has to be saved. They like it when you sleep at their house. They understand you when you cry. They take you places in their RV. They know how to explain things to Mom and Dad. They show your picture to everyone. They never put you on hold when they get a call-waiting signal. They listen to what you say. They have some weird old toys. They don't skip parts of a story or mind if it is the same story over again. They say they knew Mom and Dad when they were kids.' Author Unknown.

CARLTON A. JOHNSON, 2256 W. Wilson Road, Clio, Michigan 48420 writes: 'I have a little article about horse drawn hay mowers. I thought you might like to share it with our readers in your column.

'Eight or ten years ago, I noticed the old mowers were fairly common yet, on farms. They had out-lived most other farm machines, being made out of cast iron. They lasted longer. I saw them beginning to disappear, so I started to pick up different makes of mowers before they were gone.

'I have 25 mowers now. Twenty are of different companies. Here are a few of the names: Walter A. Wood, Jones, Champion, Buckeye, Stoddard, Ohio, David Bradley, Oliver and Adriance Platt.

'Enclosed is a picture taken January 16, 1992.'

(I think you made a smart move, Carlton. I don't know if we have many folks doing that thank you for sending your letter).

E. DEAN BUTLER, 4325 Drake Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45243 sends this message: 'In the Jan./Feb. 1992 issue of IMA, page 24, the article on 'Conditioning Boiler Water' states that water of pH9 is twice as alkaline as water of pH8 and that water of pHIO is twice as alkaline as water of pH9.

NOT SO! Each pH step is 10 times more alkaline than the prior step. Thus, water of pH10 is 100 times more alkaline than water of pH8.

The pH scale is logarithmic and thus works just like the Richter Scale used for earthquakes.' (Thanks, good reader, for this infowe appreciate it).

A letter comes from BOB SILVA, RR 2, Box 183CC, Columbus, Nebraska 68601, who comments: 'Three years ago my brother and I purchased a steam-driven (powered) winch from a local sand and gravel company that used it in their operations. The winch was built by the American Hoist and Derrick Company of St. Paul, Minnesota. We would like to research the company mentioned before we start restoration of the winch.

'I wrote to several different places on this subject last year and the only thing I received back was a worn-out mail box hinge from no reply.

'I am a fairly new subscriber to your magazine and I am hoping that you might have a better resource to find this information than I would.

'There is a photo of a smaller version in the book Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction Engines by Jack Norbeck on page 40, the lower left hand side.'

(My best hope is that someone in our Iron-Men Family will be able to give you more particulars on this subject. Thanks for writing).

'Soot in the Flues is a dirty engine I've cleaned a lot of them out,' says PERRY WILLIS, R.D. 3, Louisville, Ohio 44641.

He continues this letter 'Once again I recall of past years of which others have shared in their lives. Getting up in the morning to a warm fire and dressing for the weather to go to the barn to do the chores before breakfast and then walking to school afterwards. Remember this was long before school buses.

'The school house still stands and is located on the top of a ridge. Someone made a home of the school house. We had over a mile to walk to school and in 20 degree below zero weather, it wasn't a pleasant walk as most times you faced the wind while walking. All of the older children helped the younger kids, whether a brother or sister or a neighbor. We don't have the harmony of the public as we had at that time.

'After school term, we planted the garden and crops, cultivating and hoeing the corn field, then the hay, then the hay had to be harvested. All of this was done by hand. It was an art to build a load of hay. We never had a loader, so we pitched the hay onto the wagon. The farm was steep and if the load was not built right, it would slide off the wagon. Then, also, the grain, oats, wheat, rye and buckwheat all had to be cut and shocked.

'We lived on a farm where the barn burned down. We hauled the grain and put it in a big stack. The wheat, oats and then the rye or reverse so the rye straw was used to top the strawstack.

'Milking machines were not in the area and all milking was done by hand. Then the day of threshing drew near. All the neighbors shared labor to do the job.

'We had a thresherman who had a Baker engine and a Russell separator. Another man had a Fordson and a Westinghouse hand feed web stacker. I would like to see the modern generation use measuring boxes and carry grain or bag it in a heavy yield. They soon would leave, as it was hard work, but a pleasure to do it.

'Then, as time of season lengthened, butchering time approached. Again, the neighbors shared this job. I have ground a wash tub of sausage and never stopped the grinder until the wash tub was full. There are a few of the older people alive who did all of this work, fine neighbors also!

'We don't have this fellowship any more in this area. I work all the steam shows I can attend, as other folks do the same.

'I met a pen pal by an error he wrote. He thanked me and I treasure the friendship as he is older and did all the things I have mentioned; from Wisconsin to Washington State.

'Being from a large family and an older boy, I had the burden of doing most plowing and all the trading of labor for harvest season. A lot of the older men cannot help at the shows, but I would like to see more take an interest to preserve the steam engines and sawmills; also the machinery their engines powered.

'In closing to alla better life to be had is by being a friend to allit pays!'

SCOTT THOMPSON, RR2, 12109 Mennonite Church Road, Tremont, Illinois 61568 writes: 'Thanks to all those who answered my request for where the serial number was located on a wooden Rumely separator! It was located on the top front crosspiece right behind where the feeder attaches. It was stamped on the end, on the left if you're facing the machine. I have a feeling Rumely stamped them different places over the years, because all the responses had it on a different place. But they all got pretty close. Thanks, again, Fellas!

'As I restore this machine I am constantly amazed at the old-world craftsmanship that went into it, from the wooden grain pans on up. There is surprisingly little wear, even though it was run hard for 25 years. Oh yes, I looked up the serial number in Charles Wendel's Allis-Chalmers book, and it turned out to be a 1916! I power it with the 20-40 Rumely Oil Pull which ran it from 1930 to 1941, when they were both run into the shed. This year the team was reunited for their 50th anniversary; 50 years since the two had worked as a team!

'Enclosed is a picture of an interesting little attachmentthis is the belt evener or leveler from the Rumely, which is a 36-60. It is manufactured by Gaswell Bros., Cherokee, Iowa and patented January 10, 1905. Does anyone have any information on this company? I had only had the thresher three weeks before our show and it fought us right up to the dinner hour before it threshed well; part of the problem being this rusted-up belt leveler. Now it's all cleaned, painted and really works slick!

'Also, if anyone has a copy of a Rumely thresher manual for the 36-60 wooden separator, and/or the 36' Heineke feeder I could copy, I would surely appreciate it!

'Enclosed find some memories passed on to me by my dad,' writes WILLIAM FLOWERS, Route 1, Box 332, Adena, Ohio 43901. 'I hope you can keep your column going. I have been enjoying IMA since 1965 and GEM since it was first published. These magazines are surely the spokesman of the hobby.

'Some old threshing tales as told by my dad, Edgar Flowers:

'While threshing in a bank barn at the John Lachendro farm, a near tragedy happened. The belt was run from high on the separator to low on the tractor. John Lachendro was forking sheaves and loose grain that had fallen over the edge of the feeder when he got his ear against the drive belt. It nearly took his ear off! He came up top my dad with an old rusty pen knife and told him to 'cut 'em off!' Of course, my dad refused and they took the man to the town doctor, who attached his ear.

'Another time, while baling timothy hay out of a big hay mow with the Ohio hay press that my dad used, three or four Polish fellows smoked 'cutty pipe.' One fellow smoked homemade cigarettes all the time he was baling. His helper sat on the tractor all day, ready to pull the baler out by the belt.

'One of my dad's competitors had a Case ensilage cutter and a Case tractor. He didn't use a distributor and had none in a tin silo. All the heavy corn went to one side and the light fodder went to the other side. They had just shut down when the silo toppled over on the Case cutter!

'When the rubber tire law came in, in Ohio, my dad didn't have enough money to buy rubber for his 22-36 McCormick Deering so he used old truck tires, bolted on the front hubs and for the rear, he made wooden blocks in four sections that would go around the rear wheels between the spade lugs. The blocks were lined with wagon tires for wear.

As soon as he left the hard-surfaced road, he would remove the blocks. In 1938, he purchased new wheels and tires from Sears Roebuck. These tires and wheels are still on the tractor.

'While going through my dad's things, I ran across some old threshing account books. They were the courtesy of Advance Rumely Thresher Company. Wheat was seven cents per bushel, oats five cents, rye eight cents, barley five cents, for threshing. How he ever made a living, I don't know! Pap passed away in October, 1990.'

'Regarding the letter about the Scheidler Machine Works; of course, the most interesting part of the Scheidler history is the sudden demise of Reinhardt Scheidler in 1903 when one of his engines under test blew down its crown sheet, and ended his life.

'I have read about this incident many times and everyone points out the reason for the firebox failure was the use of crown bars on the firebox crown sheet instead of stay bolts. It is also mentioned that the crown bars were hot-riveted to the underside of the wagon top, which of course is the wrapper sheet; if true I would like to see a cut of this. Actually, a crown bar is free standing and only attached normally to just the crown sheet and generally used only where stay bolts can't be normally used.

'Crown boxes have been used almost as long as any boiler construction, but only as mentioned in unconventional design boilers. Scheidler must have built a flaw in that boiler, certainly in 1903, carrying 115 to 120 lbs. steam, a fairly poor boiler could stand that pressure.

'To illustrate how crown bars were used in at least one unconventional boiler about 40 years ago, I put some flues in a boiler that outwardly looked like a conventional firebox, only with a very short barrel. It was about 48' in diameter. The first stage of flues were about 48' long and came from the firebox to the smoke box.

The second stage of flues came from the smoke box and extended back over the crown sheet to the firebox back head, smoke box.

'Because of the flues, only so many stay bolts could be used along with crown bars. This boiler carried about 150 lbs. steam. One can only speculate as to why that Scheidler boiler blew that fateful day in 1903. I have seen boilers that were very thin that were carrying at least 125 lbs. steam and just got phased out. Actually, a big percentage of the boilers that blew up were a fireman's fault.

'I have a reprint catalog of 1906 of Julius J. D. McNamar Company. It states also, 'Successor to John H. McNamar, formerly Scheidler & McNamar.'

'That company of Newark, Ohio, manufactured traction and portable steam engines and circular sawmills. The cuts illustrate neat, well designed engines; the cuts show stay bolts on the firebox sides, but none visible on the wagon tops, so apparently the McNamar had a crown sheet stayed with crown bars on it, seemed so in 1906.

'It is mentioned in the Scheidler article that they built engines until around 1924. One thing for certain, for many years before this date, their boilers would not have been built with crown bars, because of the formation of A.S.M.E. codes, then too, Ohio had strict codes of their own later.

'One very important point I would like settled however, how could Scheidler Machine Works build steamers yet in 1925?...When McNamar was a successor to Scheidler and McNamar before 1906. The picture in IMA shows a definitely changed Scheidler engine with an intermediate gear, also a butt strap seam boiler. Maybe someone has a late catalog. Also, a butt strap seam boiler.'

'All of this, of course, makes for interesting reading. Maybe someone could clear this up for the record.'

The above came from THOMAS STEBRITZ, 1516 E. Commercial St., Algona, Iowa 50511.

DANIEL GEHMAN, 419 E. Church Street, Stevens, Pennsylvania 17578 dropped us a short writing as follows: 'Thank you for a great magazine! I wrote the article 'Learning to Fire the Boiler,' in Nov./Dec. '91 IMA. I have received lots of co respondence, helpful points and information. Thank you one and all. There are some great people in this world! I hope we can continue to read Soot in the Flues. If Anna Mae stops we will lose a great part of IMA. PS: I now can fire the boiler okay'.

'Hi, Anna Mae! I have a question for your column. Where is a good place to send pop valves for resetting, or rebuilding? I sent two to a company that was supposed to be a precision pump and valve service center near Charleston, West Virginia. I got them back with parts missing and a haphazard reassembly that rendered a serviceable valve worthless. We used to have a local fellow, now deceased, who did a good job on safety valves, but I need to find a good service center for the steam boys in my neck of the woods. (This comes from DAVID WHITE, Unus Road, Box 356, Route 6, Lewisburg, West Virginia 24901. Can you help him?)

I'm happy to receive a letter from an old friend, FRANK J. BURRIS, 1102 Box Canyon Road, Fallbrook, California 92028. It's been awhile since we heard from him. He writes:

'One good thing does lead to another in your wonderful column, consequently herewith is a bit of fine coal, which if fired lightly, will keep down any black smoke re: the excellent response of worthy engineer Thomas Stebritz contained in IMA Mar/Apr, page 13.

'My previous article, as mentioned, was intended only to reveal the drafting layout of a common type of radial valve gear, with comments concerning the objectives of utilizing this type as compared with shifting eccentrics, links, and simple Marsh. As commonly utilized, such gear permits 'hookin' up' without changing the lead setting of the valve. Now the question arises 'What is the practical advantage of hookin' up anyway?'

'Well, quite often there may be an almost un-measurable difference when we limit the discussion to our dear old traction engine. But have no qualms if you pose that question to the fireman for a good old-time railway engineer; for he will tell you very earnestly that it makes all the difference in the world regarding aching backs. And well do I recall the bitter complaining of some of these chaps who became unlucky to heave for a hogger who seemed to have little respect for either his fireman or the drain of water from the tender. I do recall one instance, at the end of glorious 'Teens', when one good fireman became so outraged at the engineers running 'down in the corner' and indulging in excessive blowing off to 'clean the boiler,' that he finally and desperately tripped the air-operated fire door and tossed his #10 scoop into the roaring firebox! Needless to say, without a spare scoop, that load of freight came to a rapid halt; and one engineer was chastised 'on the carpet'.

'So what is the real difference between the efficiencies of a traction engine at work, and a steam locomotive, when both are fitted with variable cutoff valve gears? Well, the traction engine has something else in the steam line that the locomotive does not have! And you may not have considered it to this point, it is that peculiar necessity, the throttling governor. Of course, the locomotive requires no governor; for its internal loading cannot change more rapidly than the engineer can adjust the 'Johnson Bar' or close off the throttle. A good locomotive engineer keeps his throttle well above open for the task (to keep full boiler pressure in the steam line) and then keeps her hooked up all she will stand to maintain the train's moving on schedule.

'Now, for our old farming friend, regardless of valve gear, must operate under a combination of governor-valve-gear. If the load in this case were so heavy as to require wide-open governor, the engine would be considered overloaded and would be forced to slow down under temporary fluctuations. And if a margin of power is maintained, the steam pressure in the chest is always somewhat less than full boiler pressure. With a hookup type valve gear under these conditions, it may be readily apparent that comparatively higher steam pressure may be carried in the chest to accomplish the SAME WORK. This is illustrated in the element of the Rankin cycle (as defined in the thermodynamics relative to the steam engine; the Carnot cycle applying similarly to the internal combustion engine) which also is that shown in an indicator diagram from a working cylinder, and sketched in Fig. One herewith.

'In the illustration at left, a comparison is shown between cylinder developed powers with eight inch stroke, for example: in one instance with cutoff having finished at three inches (37 % by a hooked-up gear (solid curve A-C-D), and in another event by a fixed cutoff (often factory designed for a round 5/8 stroke, five inches as shown in sketch, 62%, depicted in broken curve B-C-D).

'Now, these curves show the cylinder steam pressure around the complete cycle, against the scale of 130 shown on the sketch, in which case the full steam pressure in the chest is 125 psi. In order to calculate the cylinder developed horsepower, we would have to determine the average steam pressure per stroke; then multiply this by the area of the piston in square inches; again multiply this product by the length of stroke in feet (because we are now going to foot-pounds); and again multiply by the number of strokes (revolutions) per minute; multiplied by two for a single-cylindered engine; and finally dividing all this grand product by 33,000. But whoop, there is only one catch so far! What is the 'average' steam pressure throughout the stroke, from looking at all the curvature of the expansion and cushioning action? To begin with, there is a slight misnomer here for 'average' is called 'mean effective'; in the parlance. But in reality, average is calculated by simply adding all the scaled verticals and then dividing by the number of verticals; the more the merrier. However, the 'mean effective' is derived by extracting the square root of the sum of the squared verticals. This can amount to an appreciable difference. For example, in exacting electrical parlance, the average value of a rectified half sine wave is 0.6 that of its peak value; while the mean effective value is 0.707, which is what we are paying for when we turn on an electric motor or other line-powered device.

'So in our case, we can either set up, say, forty scale verticals and a correspondingly sized horizontal matrix, and then start counting all the little squares under and inside the curve; adding up the little halves and fractals on the borderline to get as close total as possible. Of course, in the big shops this is all accomplished by simply tracing the vector leg of a plan meter around the entire curve; then reading the circumscribed scaled area off the drum on this wondrous device. How simple, if you have one! But now back to our comparison discussion.

'We are considering identically developed powers; therefore the shaded area 'X' under the hookup curve must be equal to that indicated by the shaded area' Y' under the fixed cutoff curve. What does this entail? Well, first, Old Papa Rankin demonstrates that, amongst several other things, the efficiency of the expansion cycle depends to some empirical extent upon the difference between the steam pressure at admittance and that at release (E vs. d' for the hookup), and F vs. d' for the fixed. Not only is this in favor of the first, but it is seen that higher steam pressure is released to the atmosphere in the latter case. Another disadvantage is found in the latter case because of more wiredrawing at cutoff (because of a slower moving gear action). Wire-drawing is a shortfall because steam is cooled by being squeezed off during expansion, as also occurs in the governor throttling valve; less of which is evident in the hookup system because of higher chest pressure. Wire-drawing areas are indicated at a - a and b - b correspondingly.

'So now, can we expect all the hookup boys to outperform the fixed boys? Well, hardly! For one thing, as we have seen, the hookups are somewhat compromised by that throttling governor, although not as badly as their competitors. Another thing, shorter stroke engines tend to have larger valve ports and shorter passages. And then, there are schools advocating larger fireboxes for the same capacity boilers. And, lest we forget, some firemen (engineers) appear to have a keener knack at handling their engines. Another item of no small concern, the simpler a valve gear is, the less maintenance and difficulty. All in all, it appears that we have a wonderful group of Yester-men out there to entertain the great host of us who do not possess one of those grand old Iron Men, as the founder of this fine magazine defined them. No doubt he had the nostalgia of the Iron Horse in mind when he took up the life of the Ninth Wonder of the World.'

'Your appeal for articles for your column has prompted me to ask for your help to enable me to find an answer to a question that has bugged me for some 70 years. I realize that my question involves steam traction trivia, but sometimes information of this sort makes interesting reading', writes JAMES B. ROMANS, 9111 Louis Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910.

'My question is simply this: Did the J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company or any affiliated Case organization ever make a 30 HP two-cylinder (double-simple) steam traction engine? These are not to be confused with the well-known, two-cylinder, tandem-compound steam traction engines. I have brought this subject to the attention of a number of steam engine 'experts' over the years and to date I have not been able to obtain a positive answer.

'This whole thing began in the 1920's when the largest steam traction engine I had ever seen came by our farm near Monroe, Iowa. I asked my father what kind of engine it was and he said it looked like a Case and that it was a two-cylinder engine. Even though I was perhaps no more than 10 years old, I was very much interested in steam engines and knew what a tandem-compound engine looked like and realized this big engine was not a compound engine. Later I learned that the engine was enroute to a nearby coal mine where it was to be used for hoisting purposes. We went to the mine later to see the engine. They had blocked the engine, raised a rear wheel and wrapped the hoisting cable around the wheel. The owner told us that the engine was a 30 HP double cylinder. I can't say if the name Case appeared anywhere on the engine.

'I had not thought about the above incident until the steam shows began to springing up all over the U.S. in the 1950s and 60s. I became a fan and participated in some of these shows some 30 years ago. I never saw an engine like I had seen so long ago and thought perhaps I had dreamed the whole thing. Then, out of the blue came an account of an interview with the late Arlo Jumey in the International Case Heritage Foundation publication, 'The Heritage Eagle' #14, page 23. Mr. Jurney had reported to Editor Arthur P. Brigham that the Jurney family had owned a number of steam traction engines over the years, including a Case 110, three Case 40's, two Case compounds and a 30 HP double-simple which he liked to operate. From the way it was worded, it appeared that the 30 HP double engine was also a Case.

In the next issue of The Eagle, #15, Editor Brigham was challenged (cover Par. 3) regarding the Jumey article in Eagle #14 by Rod Pitts of Silverton, Oregon. He felt that Mr. Brigham must have misunderstood Mr. Jumey for Case had never made a 30 HP double steam engine. He went on to say that the only doubles made by Case were sold under the Jacob Price name. Jacob Price engines are shown in Floyd Clymer's Album of Historical Steam Traction Engines and Threshing Equipment No. 1, page 26 and in 150 Years of J. I. Case by C. H. Wendel, pages 186 and 187. These Price engines had vertical boilers, whereas the engine I saw had a horizontal locomotive-type boiler.

Referring again to Mr. Wendel's Case book, page 194, there appears a picture of a 1907 Morris 30 HP double-cylinder steam traction engine of rear-mounted design. Mr. Wendel indicated that George W. Morris had been associated with Case at one time and about 1896 he had contracted with Case to build two or three heavy duty (single-cylinder) traction engines. A picture of the engine appears in Mr. Wendel's Case book, page 193. A picture of a somewhat similar plowing engine, under the Morris name is pictured in Mr. Clymer's book, page 90, though there are important differences. Mr. Wendel also reports that the Morris engine possessed many features later associated with Case traction engines. According to Mr. Wendel, Mr. Morris obtained patents on a side crank type engine along with a unique line system which supported the rear axle. From this patent, J. I. Case launched the final design of the Case steam engines, according to Mr. Wendel. It would seem that Mr. Morris was closely associated with the Case Company. Close examination of the 30 HP double-cylinder steam engine on Page 194 of Mr. Wendel's Case book shows some typical Case features, including the 'peep hole' on the crank disc side of the boiler, the feed-water heater, the stabilizing bar or brace between the boiler and front axle pedestal, the short smokebox similar to the early Case engines, and finally the rear mounted design.

'During a recent private conversation with Mr. Wendel, he indicated to me that he believed it was likely that the 30 HP double-cylinder Morris engine pictured in his Case book was probably built by Case; though he has no documentary proof of this. He bases this conclusion on (1) the known close association that Mr. Morris had with the Case Company, (2) the use of Morris-patented features in Case traction engines, (3) the fact that Case made engines for Mr. Morris earlier and (4) that evidently Morris did not have his own facilities to manufacture steam traction engines.

'I am inclined to believe that the steam traction engine I saw in Iowa years ago was probably a Morris engine and that it was indeed built by the Case T. M. Company or other Case organization. It obviously was a heavy duty engine designed for plowing. This could explain the flat-spoked rear wheels which certainly do not look like those made by Case. In my mind, yes, Case did make a 30 HP double steam traction engine. The production may have been very limited.

'I have Mr. Wendel's blessing as I attempt to find some proof that the 30 HP double cylinder steam traction engine was made by the J. I. Case Company. I am appealing to IMA readers for help in this endeavor. I would appreciate receiving any information, photographs, documentaries or the whereabouts of one of the Morris double cylinder engines as well as any evidence that this engine was made by Case. Any information I may receive will be shared with all IMA readers.

HENRY BECKER, 4700 Bay-shore Road, Sarasota, Florida 34234 writes, 'With all the articles and publicity about J. I. Case, I have not seen nor read about the enclosed Case advertising postcard (above). Hope it will be good enough to reprint, as I think your readers will enjoy it.'

'I am 14 years old and I have the three greatest hobbies that exist. I collect, read about, and enjoy vintage gas engines, tractors, steam and any related farm equipment. In relation to your magazine I'll talk about steam, ' states CHARLES DURHAM, 2930 Butternut Road, S.E., Brainard, Minnesota, 56401.

'My favorite types of steam traction engines are the huge, large horsepower, plowing engines. I suppose I should support and collect the smaller engines that were sold to smaller farms, but the monsters have more unique characteristics. They also tum out to be the rarest engines to find, and the most expensive, but they will always be my favorite.

'I wish something could be done about making parts to put that 150 HP Case back together. It would probably cost a fortune, but it sure would draw a lot of people to Rollag in '92. Even better than watching it would be being the engineer and pulling a 20-plus bottom plow or a 40x65 separator.

'My favorite types of stationary steam engines are the smaller, lower horsepower engines. I don't like the huge ones very much because not many had much to do with agriculture. The really old ones are alright and some of the Corliss ones are fine, but the others, to me, seem less intriguing.

'As of now, I own neither a traction engine, nor a stationary, but I will get to own one in no time. My dad was really fascinated by them when he was a kid and still enjoys them. 'Next summer I even have the chance to operate one and get my engineer's license. Someday I'll own a steamer and it will probably be a 110 HP Case or something even bigger!'

The following letter and pictures are sent in by DICK BURD of Burd Contracting Inc., 201 Security Building, 101 South Main, Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57102: 'While snow-mobiling in the Black Hills of South Dakota near Moskee, Wyoming, I came across this boiler up a draw. I took these photos with my friend, Jeff Hagen, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at the rear of the boiler and me in the front. The smoke box cover has a casting #9448. None of the 'locals' I spoke to even knew of its existence. Is this a Minneapolis boiler? Can anyone identify it?'

In closing, I hope you will appreciate the following called 'Who RisksIs Truly Free', Author Unknown

'To laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out for another is to risk involvement. To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self. To play your ideas and dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To live is to risk dying. To hope is to risk despair. To try at all is to risk failure . . . but risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. One may avoid some suffering and sorrow, but one simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, live, and love. Chained by one's certitudes, one is a slave, one has forfeited freedom. ONLY ONE WHO RISKS... IS TRULY FREE!!!'

And few proverbs to ponder and follow . You are a poor specimen if you can't stand the pressure of adversity. Proverbs 24:10 Worry grows lushly in the soil of indecision. Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculations brings poverty. Proverbs 21:5. That's it for this time, Folks!