Soot In The Flues

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Hello, all our friends in Engine and! Hope you're all doing well and that your engines are running in tip-top condition.

Everyone must be ever so busy at the shows and steam ps, for our pile of letters has been dwindling. We know many of you miss dear Anna Maewe miss her too! She sure had style and a way with words. Probably the best way to keep her memory alive is to continue the close, personal relationships you've been able to kindle with other collectors through this column. Anna Mae's heart was always warmed by the friends who spoke to each other across Engine land through their letters to her, and although we could never match her spirit, we do want to continue as a place for folks to keep in touch. We can only do that if you write a letter once in a while. . . it needn't be anything fancy, or a full blown story. A brief hello and an update on what (or who) you've seen on travels to shows, or perhaps a tough engine question that's got you puzzled, or a crazy idea that you're wondering if it will work, or just a 'hi-howdy' will do. Drop us a line!

Speaking of what and who we see at shows, I (Gail) hope that by the time you read this I will have seen some of you myself, as my husband Kelly and I are planning a trip to Colorado and Utah in August, and will be stopping by a few shows while we're out there. The folks from here in the office usually try to get to a close-by show whenever we're traveling somewhere.

Just thinking about that upcoming vacation has got me daydreaming visions of rocky peaks, scenic mountain vistas, narrow gauge railroads, low humidity, pine-scented air, good chicken-fried steak at every restaurant. . . . Whoa! I guess I'd better move on to your letters before I lose myself in the American West!

We received this news release from Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ontario Agricultural Museum, PO Box 38, Milton, Ontario, L9T 2Y3, regarding the planned Massey-Harris-Ferguson 150th Anniversary Celebration.

'A recent meeting of well-known collectors of Massey-Harris tractors and memorabilia confirmed that the province's collecting community is optimistic about the future of the Ontario Agricultural Museum in Milton.

'The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs recently announced the closure of the well-known museum. It will face a 50% budget reduction in its 1996-97 fiscal year, and provincial funding will cease on March 31,1997. Since this announcement was made, supporters of the museum have formed Ontario's Rural Heritage Preservation Committee, with the stated purpose of 'preserving the artifacts, archives, buildings and site of the Ontario Agricultural Museum.'

'Prior to the Province's decision to close the museum, staff had begun planning a major celebration in honour of the 150th anniversary of Canada's best-known farm machinery manufacturer, Massey-Harris (more recently known as Massey-Ferguson) in 1997. The Milton Museum had been selected by an international Massey-Harris-Ferguson enthusiasts' organization as one of two North American sites to 'officially' recognize this milestone in agricultural history. A planning committee of collectors from across Ontario had been formed, but their inaugural meeting was cancelled following the news of the impending closure of the museum.

'While the future of the Ontario Agricultural Museum remains unclear, the hard work of Ontario's Rural Heritage Preservation Committee has impressed the members of the 150th Anniversary Committee, and they met recently to consider the future of their project. The result was their unanimous decision to be optimistic, and to begin the planning process for what promises to be an exciting four day event in July of 1997. 'An important milestone like this will happen only once in our lifetime,' stated committee member Ken Reichert of Ilderton, Ontario.

'The 150th Anniversary celebration is scheduled for July 17-20, 1997 as a part of the museum's annual Great Canadian Antique Tractor Field Days. It will feature scores of antique tractors, engines, implements, literature and memorabilia made over the years by Massey-Harris and related companies, including Sawyer-Massey, Harry Ferguson Inc. and Massey-Ferguson. The museum's own extensive collection of related artifacts and archives will also be showcased. The committee plans many activities sure to appeal to collectors and families alike. For further information, contact: Mr. Peter M. Ledwith, Ontario Agricultural Museum, PO Box 38, Milton, Ontario, Canada L9T 2Y3. Phone days: 905-878-8151 (voice)/ 905-876-4530 (fax). Evenings 519-856-4110 or at'

From PETE LA BELLE, 802 Shady book, Holland, Michigan 49424: 'I've recently passed one of the milestones in my life that I set for myself about 25 years ago. By being very public about the steam hobby that I've grown into, a lead came in one day and I now am the owner of a 15 HP Buffalo-Pitts steam tractor. This one was found in northern lower Michigan about 10 years ago and recently became available. It's been sitting outside since it was last driven in 1961, so you can imagine the project ahead of me. I was a year old back then.

'Russ Gelder & 'Company' and I gave it a final review last Saturday, and concluded it was a 'must have.' Now I'm in the process of clearing out my stock of extra steam stuff to help in the restoration.

'I used to laugh, but now I'm in a situation many others have written to this magazine for. I'm seeking all kinds of information on this beast: color schemes, history, others who own this type of engine, rarity, and so forth. All information will be appreciated.

'The engine is a single cylinder. From what I can gather, it's around a 1905-07 model. The builder's tag appears to have been removed from the side of the smoke box. Was the serial number stamped elsewhere? Any pertinent boiler data stamped anywhere?

'I'll be keeping you abreast on the restoration. It'll be a year or so before this one's ready to breathe again. Thanks in advance for your help!!

'P.S. My wife wormed a new couch into the bargaining talks at home. . .'

Thanks to LARRY CREED, R.R. 13, Box 209, Brazil, Indiana 47834 for the following: 'I wholeheartedly agree with Randy Schwerin's article, 'Boiler Inspections Another Viewpoint,' especially as Mr. Bouley's article left a bad taste in my mouth I feel like he was trying to scare up some boiler business.

'Using a boiler shop that has an 'R' stamp is well and good if they know how to replace threaded stay-bolts and can do hot riveting. If the shop cannot do both of these repairs, I would not let them touch any of my boilers. Pad-welding may be acceptable on commercial boilers and locomotives but is not on antique riveted farm boilers.

'I am aware of an engine that had a leaky stay bolt in the side of the firebox; a commercial boiler repair shop came in and pad-welded over the stay bolt. They thought it was a rivet. The shop charged a goodly sum to do this shoddy repair and most of us know what will happen to the patch when exposed to the heat in the firebox. This shop of course had an 'R' stamp.

'I use a shop which does not have an 'R' stamp but one of the owners is a certified welder (who by the way does an excellent job of replacing smoke boxes) and holds a boiler repairman's license from the state of Kentucky. My state, Indiana, does not have a state inspection for boilers so there is not any kind of state certification to be had.

'I have no doubt this shop would meet the standards to hold an 'R' stamp but the cost to obtain the stamp and extra insurance cost would run $2000 per year. As this shop works strictly on riveted boilers, they do not want to raise their prices just to hold the 'R' stamp. Repairing boilers is not like making money on a printing pressthey are not trying to get rich.

'Mr. Bouley's article talks about the boiler inspector using the hammer testdo they not use an ultrasonic tester in the East? A hammer test is fine, but a hammer test along with ultrasonic testing is much more conclusive. Many states, such as Tennessee, require an ultrasonic test to be performed before they will issue a boiler inspection certificate.

'As far as a boiler explosion causing all boilers over 20 years old to be condemned, most of us realize that operator inexperience or incompetence causes explosions. A bad boiler will show signs that it needs repairs such as seeping around stay bolts and dripping. A boiler is not like an atomic bomb waiting to explode, unless you inject water on a hot crown sheet. The fusible plug and safety (or pop off) valve will keep the boiler from exploding under most circumstances.

'We all need to be diligent in inspecting our boilers, especially under steam, and make proper repairs using the correct methods and materials. I plan to enjoy my riveted boilers for many years to come.'

While we're on the subject of boilers, I'll mention that we got an interesting message over the phone via AT&T's message service, from an unidentified reader commenting on the letter from Eleanor and Monte May in the last issue of IMA. The caller stated that he fully agreed with the Mays that articles about boiler explosions, like that which occurred at the Gettysburg Railroad, should be published in every steam publication, most of all ours, as he has seen an appalling degree of unsafe boiler conditions, and a general ignorance of the dangers of inattention to boiler maintenance, among members of the steam traction fraternity. Any more comments on this particular issue? Send them in, let's get a real dialogue going!

We always enjoy hearing from GARY YAEGER, 146 Reimer Lane, Whitefish, Montana 59937. Gary says, 'I received my July/August IMA. I noticed how nice and thick my favorite magazine was and was thinking I am so busy I won't be able to send a story until this winter when things slow down for me. Then I thought, if everyone is that busy we might have some skinny issues. I needed to write some letters for another project, as well as our local old iron club. While the computer is cranked up, I thought, I just might as well keeps clicking along and send something to IMA.

'I noticed my friend Larry Creed has been good and faithful to send a multitude of pictures. He has influenced me to send pictures in the same manner. I have to think and plan stories, but pictures would be simple for many of us to send you, if we're not apt to be the type to write stories about our hobby. Many of us take pictures at shows or find pictures here and there with engines on them.

'Picture number one is one of my favorite engines in the whole world: a 32 HP Reeves Cross-Compound, Canadian Special #7181. It was owned by Herman Otten of Glengarry, Montana, and was plowing, in 1920, on what is now the Lewistown Airport. I believe the two businessmen on the plows had just sold them to Mr. Otten. The Central Montana Old Iron Club is now located on this airport. Number 7181 is now owned by the Tylers at Moore, Montana.

'Picture number two is a 32 HP Reeves Cross-Compound US with a Reeves steam lift plow over in eastern Montana. Notice how they adapted another drive wheel to the rear drivers, in effect giving them a double extension, or 48' drivers.

'Picture number three is of two steam engines moving a Bucyrus steam shovel to the site for construction of the Soo Line, also in eastern Montana. The right engine could be the same Minneapolis as the one in the number four picture. They are certainly burning some coal getting this job accomplished. The left engine appears to be a Case but it's not plain enough to tell.

'Picture number four is of another eastern Montana engine. It is a Minneapolis under steam crossing the ice on the Yellowstone River near Glendive in 1910.

'Picture number five is of me at the throttle and my cousin Fred Yaeger at the steering wheel of Dad's old 1914 Nichols & Shepard 20-70 side mount. We were at the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station at Moccasin, Montana, in 1956, the year of their 50th anniversary celebration. I was almost 13 years old. To give you steam people an idea of how old that is, Randy Schwerin was born that year and may not even have been born when this picture was taken. I picked up the picture in Lewistown last Saturday. I'd asked George Brenner of the Culver Studio collection of pictures, if he had any pictures of old steam engines. He said yes, and you can imagine how excited I was to see myself 40 years later. Still in love with steam though!

'Picture number six is probably my favorite engine. The reverse side of the postcard I copied to get this picture stated: '40-140 Reeves Cross Compound. The only one left in the world. Owned by Edward and Ray Smolik at Osage, Iowa. Picture taken at Blackhawk Steam Show-Cedar Falls, Iowa, September 1963.'

'Randy Schwerin ran this engine for many of its later years at the Antique Acres Show. I got to run it in 1992. I took videos of it plowing its last round that year, which was the last it plowed before the Smoliks removed it to their museum at Osage. I remember what I was doing when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and I'll never forget August 27 & 28, 1992 either.

'Maybe this would be a good place to push the booklet I plan to put together, on the 40 HP Reeves engines, in the near future. Many of you fine people sent me pictures and articles for that project and I thank you all. If any of you out there in steam-land have anything regarding this type engine, I'd be elated to receive it from you!

'Well, I must go. Please keep up the good work at Iron Men Album. The only bad part of receiving an IMA is that I know it's going to be another two months until I receive another one! In the meantime, I read it very thoroughly. By the way, Linda and Gail, you are doing a very fitting job of putting out 'Soot in the Flues'. Anna Mae would also be proud of you two.'

Well now, by gosh, that's a letter! Thanks, Gary, for your correspondence, and your kind words, and the pat on the back. This is just the sort of letter I was talking about as I started out this month. Not overdone or scholarly, just a nice note to keep in touch and share with your fellow Iron Men. How about it? Will we hear from you next time? Until we do, enjoy yourselves and be safe at all the autumn harvest events.

Steamcerely,Gail and Linda