Steam Cream

Steam cream made possible by Gaar-Scott Model steam traction engine providing power to White Mountain ice cream freezer

| May 2013

  • PA Steam
    This steam engine and threshing machine were photographed about a mile from the farm owned by Terry Spahr’s uncle, David Dobbs, in Upper Allen Township, Cumberland County, Pa.
    Photo Courtesy Terry Spahr
  • Loading Engine
    Loading the 1,850-pound scale model steam engine in Terry’s pickup for the trip to California.
    Photo Courtesy Terry Spahr
  • Gaar Scott Steam Engine
    Terry's 1/3-scale Gaar-Scott steam engine generates nearly 9 hp at 150 psi.
    Photo Courtesy Terry Spahr
  • Spahr
    Terry Spahr.
    Photo Courtesy Terry Spahr
  • Scale Model Engine
    Engineer Harrison Hitchcock lubricates the scale model steam engine, maintains the boiler’s water level and firebox wood supply, and monitors flywheel speed.
    Photo Courtesy Terry Spahr
  • Ice Cream Freezer
    5-gallon ice cream freezer seems custom made for the wagon that came with Terry’s scale model Gaar-Scott engine.
    Photo Courtesy Terry Spahr
  • Ice Cream
    Cinnamon sourdough french toast topped with Terry’s rum raisin ice cream – a popular treat at the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum.
    Photo Courtesy Terry Spahr

  • PA Steam
  • Loading Engine
  • Gaar Scott Steam Engine
  • Spahr
  • Scale Model Engine
  • Ice Cream Freezer
  • Ice Cream

I’m too young to remember the days when steam traction engines and threshing crews roamed the farms of southeastern Pennsylvania.

I do remember threshing crews, but tractors with gasoline engines had long since put Case, Rumely and Frick engines out to pasture. Instead of two hours or more in the morning to light the fire to get steam pressure just to move the lumbering giants, a crank or starter button started the tractor for belt work.

But steam traction engines are still around. Full-size, table-top and operating scale models are there if you look for them. At shows you can see them, talk to the engineers, smell the smoke and watch the amazing power of steam.

Flattened pennies

My earliest experience with steam was as a young lad in Cumberland County, Pa., right between the Pennsy (otherwise known as the Pennsylvania) and Reading railroads. I was so close to both in Shepherdstown that I could ride my bike to them. The Reading passed right through my uncle’s dairy farm in nearby Bowmansdale and afforded an iron bridge overhead and an underpass beneath the thundering trains hauling coal from mines in West Virginia. If you’ve not had the opportunity to stand on an open iron bridge or under a stone abutment underpass as a steam locomotive passes, you’ve missed something scary, smoky and awesome!



As youngsters, we did it all. We stared wide-eyed from the iron bridge as the locomotive approached, belching black smoke. Sometimes there’d be two locomotives pulling the grade, with what seemed like miles of coal cars. We waved to the engineers from the side of the tracks – waiting for our pennies to reappear, flattened by the heavy wheels – and then waved to the conductor in the caboose as he went by.

Rich cream and snow

Homemade ice cream is another fond memory of my childhood in the 1940s. Mom’s recipe was simple but rich and creamy with a taste not forgotten in the passing years. Our milk was the best. “Golden Guernsey” is what Harrisburg Dairies called it. Few breeds of milk cows yield butterfat content like the Guernsey. Uncle Dave and Aunt Katie, owners of a farm named “Fertility,” were our source of milk twice a week.

MerleCochran
1/16/2018 12:01:37 PM

Terrys Moms recipe reminded me so much of the ice cream my Dad made when I was a kid. Didn't use the sweetened condensed milk, but unfortunately we never wrote down the recipe before he passed away. How often I regret not doing that.




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