SOOT IN THE FLUES

16 HP Huber

Thomas Stebritz' photo of a 16 HP Huber #4260 and Huber thresher, taken sometime before 1910.

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MENNO L. KLIEWER, 43138 Road 52, Reedley, California 93654 writes: 'I read with great interest my friend Scott Thompson's article in the May/June 1997 issue of IMA and wish to fully support his views and feelings.

'As we continue to host threshing shows let us do it as much as possible in the image of dress as was worn by threshermen in their heydays. I, for one, am still young enough to have participated with genuine threshing on the Nebraska and Kansas farms prior to World War II.

'Mr. Thompson referred to the ordinary dress of the thresherman who came to perform a hard day's work and dressed accordingly. These old threshermen did not come to work (as we so often see at shows) wearing shorts, sandals, T-shirts with fancy pictures, bare headed, or wearing a silk cap with a soft drink advertisement, carrying a can of soda while unloading bundles as we so often see today.

'A typical thresher man came dressed wearing a pair of bib overalls, a straw hat, a long sleeve blue denim shirt with sleeves rolled up, and a heavy pair of leather work shoes, all suitable to perform hard work. The steam engineer usually wore a blue denim jacket underneath his bib overalls in order to endure the extreme heat from the steam engine and had a red handkerchief around his neck to keep out the dust and chaff, and often the separator man did the same. This dress will provide a genuine threshing scene and add camaraderie to the show for the spectator to enjoy, for after all, he paid a hefty gate admission fee for himself and his family.

'As Scott also mentioned, it would be great if the bundles could be brought in with a team of horses pulling a steel wheel bundle rack, as was always the case, and not with a modern truck with an air conditioned cab, having the bundle man sit in comfort while waiting to unload his rack. Furthermore, it would also be ideal if the grain could be hauled away with a team of horses pulling a 50 bushel high wheel grain wagon. Let us not forget to place a couple of crock jugs filled with cool water on the shady side of the steam engine or tractor. If a three or five gallon jug is available, be sure to place a tin can along side, as these jugs were usually too heavy to lift up and drink out of.

'Now I fully realize that all such machinery and equipment will be impossible to obtain for a threshing show, but let us at least make an effort to make the show as original as possible. As he mentioned, it would also be nice if a binder could be demonstrated, plus shocking bundles and loading racks, if the threshing is featured near a grain field. Let us remember that the present generation has never seen these acts and they would certainly appreciate knowing how it was done during those heyday threshing days.

'I have been to many threshing shows the past 20 years and whenever possible I ask to pitch some bundles into the threshing machine feeder as 1 did during the 1930s. As long as my 75 year old body will permit me to climb on the bundle racks, I want to have the opportunity to again relive the old days of enjoyment and pitch some bundles into the feeder the proper way, with the heads first, one bundle overlapping the other. If only I could turn back Father Time into the 1930s and relive those threshing days, it would bring joy into my heart. However, I know that this is impossible, so I will do the next best thing, which is to visit summer threshing shows and spend evenings reviewing and writing articles about those GOOD OLD THRESHING DAYS of long ago.

Thomas Stebritz' photo of a 16 HP Huber #4260 and Huber thresher, taken sometime before 1910.

This photo from Thomas Stebritz shows his father, F. T. Stebritz with his new 1913 60 HP Case, #29816. His Aunt Teenie is looking around the driver. She died in 1918 from the flue.

THOMAS STEBRITZ, 1516 E. Commercial Street, Algona, Iowa 50511 sent us some pictures for the last issue and we're using some more of them this time. The one on the previous page shows F. T. Stebritz on a Huber engine built around 1897. The photo on this page is also of Thomas' father. We'll use more of these pictures in future issues.

STEVE AND SALLY DAVIS, RD 2, Box 842, West Winfield, New York 13491, sent us this, 'Shortly after we received the last issue of the IMA, we visited the Henry Ford Museum. We expected to see the lineup of steamers pictured in the last issue of IMA.

'However, the agricultural section is being pared back, the steamers are moved and roped off, and much of the machinery has been moved out. The resulting space is to be used as a Detroit ninth grade classroom and lab.

'Therefore, I would recommend contacting the museum as to the status of the agricultural section.'

We've just heard from STANLEY H. OLSEN, 639 N. Morrison, Coos Bay, Oregon 97420, who sent this wonderful photo and says: 'This picture is of my father's steam engine. His name was Carl J. Olsen and the picture was taken about eight miles south of Cando, North Dakota, about 1925. The engine was a Minneapolis and the separator was an Avery yellow fellow, 42' cylinder. I don't know the horsepower of the engine, but I am sure some of the readers would know. He used 12 bundle teams plus one team to haul water, with another hauling straw to fire the engine. Sometimes finding water fit for the boiler was a problem. Many more horses were needed to haul away the grain.

'On a still morning in the fall one could see plumes of smoke from other engines around the countryside, and sometimes hear their whistles. After dark, burning straw piles could be seen for miles around.

' The two young ladies on the right in the picture, were the cooks. The neat man to the left was my father (wearing a hat). The third man was the fireman, Henry Foss. Many of the men who worked for my father came back year after year. Some followed the harvest all the way up from Texas. They were an interesting and colorful group. We were the last stop for the season. Sometimes, before all the fields were harvested, it was getting late in the year, and rain would come, holding up the operation. Feeding 25 or more people, not being able to thresh in the rain, ate into the profits. By 1930 or so, the combines were starting to take over and that pretty much ended the steam outfits.'

This is from TELLFORD EGLAND, PO Box 157, Cylinder, Iowa 50528: 'Our town, Cylinder, Iowa was named for a government sawmill cylinder rolling off a raft on a creek nearby our town. Can anyone tell me anything about what this cylinder may have looked like? This afore-mentioned incident took place in 1853 as government troops were moving from Fort Clark, Iowa, to Fort Kedgely, Minnesota. I am looking to possibly purchase a discarded cylinder like it, whatever it was, to put in our newly formed museum. Any help will be greatly appreciated!'

FRANCIS A. ORR, 1617 32nd Street, Anacortes, Washington 98221-3382 tells us about a recent accident on a steam locomotive which he thinks should be shared with all steam hobbyists: 'I feel that one of the goals of the magazines serving the steam hobby is the promotion of safety. Things happen around the hobby that do not come to the attention of concerned people outside of the local area of the happening itself. I have been well pleased with the articles that IMA has published on boilers and some other safety aspects of the hobby and hope that you continue.

'In Washington State, a man was badly scalded and later died while working on a steam locomotive. As well as can be determined, a valve came apart under pressure. The valve was on the fountain, a major steam distribution point located on top of and at the rear of the boiler, a hard to get at spot. The locomotive was a saddle tank type with a closed in cab. The valve was on the steam line to an injector and pipe wrench marks on the valve stem would indicate that the man was trying to open a stuck valve. However, instead of turning the valve open, he unscrewed the hub of the valve which came off, enveloping him in high pressure steam.

'The point to be made to the steam hobby is that there are two types of valves: one with the hub screwed into the valve body and one with a union ring holding the hub to the valve body. The first type may be cheaper but they are no safer. Full boiler pressure can be held with the hub engaging only one thread. Opening the valve can also unscrew the hub from the valve body. With the union ring, the hub can turn in the ring without further loosening of the valve. Also, the union type valve is more likely to have indicating leaks once the union ring is loosened.

'A final point of caution. Whenever a valve is disassembled for repair or regrinding the seat, it is very important that the valve handle be turned to the fully open position before reassembly. If this is not done, it is possible to have the valve disc contact the valve seat earlier than it should and prevent the hub from being fully seated.

'The facts included in this letter were obtained from people that were on the scene of the accident and from talking with our State Boiler Inspector. The interesting part of this tragedy is that it was predicted by our previous (now retired) boiler inspector who always suggested the use of the union type valve.'

We received notice of a new museum that's going to open in California in September. The Heidrick Ag History Center in Woodland, California, will celebrate its grand opening on September 13. The Fred C. Heidrick collection of antique agriculture equipment will be the cornerstone of the museum, and antique trucks will be featured as well.

The museum is located at 1962 Hays Lane, Woodland, CA. For more information call 916-666-9700.

Another friend from the west coast, AL CROPLEY of 10780 Myers Way South, Seattle, Washington 98168, sent us a picture of the first annual Pacific Coast Hot Air Gathering that was held July 13 and 14, 1996. People from eight states and Canada attended. This year's show was held July 12 and 13.

'The BIG hot air engine show is at Lake Itaska, Minnesota, in August each year, ' he writes. 'It is always the third weekend of August. Olaf Berge of Cass Lake, Minnesota, runs the hot air reunion at Itaska.'

One final note we had a very cordial call from a subscriber in Indiana who thinks it's time to hear from non-Case collectors! He thinks we need to hear more from collectors of other steam traction engines. So, we hope that you collectors of 'the others' will do some writing and send us some pictures!

Steamcerely, Linda and Gail

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