1121 Hilltop Lane Modesto, California 95350
Well, it is past time that I was getting the annual West Coast report on it's way for 1969 much happened out here last year and 2 branches of the Earley Day Gas Engine & Tractor Association really got off the ground and going in a great way. Last April, at the annual Hughson, Cal. Spring Fair and Machinery Display, a number of the local gas engine collectors including R. A. Squires, Alton Rexin, Percy Goesch and myself, had ten old operating gas engines mounted on a trailer, and pulled in the parade by a restored 1928 Model John Deere tractor this float took a prize. Dick Squires was pulling a 1904 Famous IHC 4 hp. gas engine in the parade behind his 1936 John Deere model AO tractor and it's loud exhausts (of the gas engine) sounded like a cannon going off as the outfit rolled down main street.
Afterwards we set up a display out on the high school football grounds and had in addition to the above mentioned equipment a 1927 Caterpillar 60 tractor, also belonging to Dick, besides the engines which were set off on the ground and were running. They included a number of Fairbanks-Morse, Fuller & Johnson, Aermotor pump jack engine, Stover and others. Fair Board Directors said we had the largest and most crowd-attracting exhibit on the grounds that day quite a contrast was drawn by the huge Caterpillar D9 and the old Sixty both the largest of their day and probably the best.
The first weekend of May, Branch No. 6, EDGTA held their spring meeting at the Cliff Hardy place west of Woodland Equipment started coming in on Saturday and that evening a barbecue was held in Cliff's back yard and on Sunday, a total of 75 engines and gas tractors were on display or operating 65 engines and tractors were running and the rest either on display or for parts engines. Fred Heidrick had his beautifully restored 20-35 light weight model Rumely Oil-Pull on display and running. His collection of over 30 Tractors is the most authentically and beautifully restored group I have seen to date. He takes the greatest pains to restore as exactly as possible to original detail. Small groups of the crowd were taken on conducted tours through his collection located on the nearby headquarters of his large farming corporation. I believe he and his brother farm something like 20,000 acres of land in at least 5 different crops. Represented were Stover, Jaeger, McCormick-Deering, Fairbanks-Morse in different versions. Economy, Hercules Samson, and the star of the show was the beautifully restored Doak engine with a 9 x 14 cylinder and thirty horsepower @ 250 rpm. It sat on skids and with its screen water cooler and all must have measured about 25 feet overall. Had high-tension ignition, with magneto and valves actuated by side shaft drive and was built about the year 1912. It took two men to start it and it had a healthy-sounding exhaust! Darrel Farnham had his Havanna oil well engine present. It was used in the oil fields for pumping and operated off the natural gas from these wells. The annual business meeting was held in the afternoon and this report I believe was announced in detail in the later issue of Engineers & Engines the official publication. Some of the officers elected were R. A. Squires, president, Cliff Hardy, vice-president, and A. E. Rexin, secretary-treasurer. Everett Tomlinson, Francis Noeller and myself were elected directors for the ensuing term. Also decided to hold the October meeting at the Noeller farm near Hughson. The crowd was estimated at about 2-300 people. For steam we had Glenn Weagent and his portable electric steam generator plant present and in operation and it performed as well as always. There was also many other makes of engines ranging in age from 1897 to as late as 1951 in Fairbanks-Morse ZG and the IHC LB models.
In the latter part of May, my wife and I went back to my old home in Nebraska on the train what else for a railroad man for transportation? Here, we went up the way of the Wm. J. Mayberry farm in my old home county, near Niobrara and was pleasantly surprised to see what had been added to his growing collection a nice butt-strap restored 20 hp. Huber steam traction engine, an 80 Case, completely restored, a 36 x 58 Case separator that went with this engine, a Big 4 Flour City tractor restored and running and a Caterpillar Sixty tractor. His collection runs all to the bigger machines and his annual show really packs them in main feature is the horse-powered Red River Special separator operating under full power each year. Mr. Mayberry is an old-time thresherman with both gas and steam power, and even at nearly 80 years of age is still active with his farming and cattle raising. He is always glad to see visiting steam and gas fans.
I also went to an old-fashioned farm auction sale not far from my mother's home saw some old machines go for a song two or three old burr grinders sold for a dollar a piece and an old Hero burr mill was bid up by 3 collectors to about 40 dollars before selling - Lyle Wacker, of Osmond bought this grinder and I called on him the next day.
After seeing his large collection of gas engines, corn shellers and belt-powered machinery, we went over to his father's nearby farm. There in a large barn was a beautifully restored and operating 32 x 54 Case machine, upon which they had spent over 800 dollars a few years previous repairing and threshed each year with a late Model LA Case tractor for power. In another tight building, the opened doors revealed a fully restored and complete 65 Case steam traction engine boiler reflued and ready to go! They have used this engine on the machine a few times and up until about 3 years ago, had threshed about 400 acres of oats each year, cutting with a new John Deere 10-foot power binder and Case tractor and shocking, then hiring men to pitch bundles and hauling with bundle wagons pulled with tractors but guess the price and expense of labor got even too high for this way of doing it. Anyway, it was a most delightful afternoon with him and the collection.
On the first weekend in June, we again took the annual steam train ride on the McCloud railroad, out of McCloud, California. We arrived about 9:30 Sunday morning, before train departure time of 10:00 AM to look around and I wanted to see if I could again ride in the engine cab all day best I could do was a ride from the shop down to the train and then after coupling up, making the required air test, we were off in a rush of steam and thundering noise of sharp, heavy cracking exhausts as the reverse was shortened and echoed back from the tall, green timber. The train has to be worked rather hard to climb up out of the hollow where the sawmill and town set, before the engineer can ease off on his throttle. I later managed to ride part way in the cab and this day we went all the way to the end of the new line at Burney, where it connects up with the Western Pacific railroad. We had delightful weather and again it started to sprinkle rain just as the train arrived back in McCloud about 6:00 PM. The same trip is again scheduled for this coming June, but with an economy-minded management and new ownership the 2-6-2 No. 25 may not get the new set of flues and other boiler work she will need after this year. Her last flue extension runs out next December. It is too bad to tie up a fine locomotive like this one is has always had excellent maintenance and shelter between trips and just a year ago she received new driver tires, new main pin bushings and bushings on the crank pins on the drivers.
The middle of July, I went up and helped Godfrey Humann haul in the last of the bundles and stack them in preparation for his steam threshing which would take place Aug. 30-31st. Ten acres of wheat are cut for each show and this provides plenty of threshing for two machines during the two days of the show.
August saw the Harvey Mikkelson-Oregon steam up take place in conjunction with the WSFA annual business meeting at Woodburn, the weekend of August 21st. Richard and I drove up in the car. He left me off and took off for Washington where it seems he had to see a girl friend - so I stayed in a motel in Woodburn and helped the rest of the hard core Steam Fiends get things ready. Harvey Mikkelson brought in two 12-36 Russels, a 50 Case, 12-20 Oil Pull, his 22 x 38 McCormick-Deering threshing machine. Hilman Lovlien brought in his 12-25 Avery tractor - this 2-cylinder opposed tractor was in nice shape and sounded like a steam engine. Carl Kirsch brought in the Kirsch-Herman 75 Holt and his Ten Caterpillar, besides the big fan. Willis Smith brought up his 15 Westinghouse from Springfield. Bill James brought in his 20-70 double simple Nicholas & Shepard engine, 12-36 Case and the 25-75 Buffalo-Pitts with buttstrap boiler a really big engine! Al Herman had his Sterling hand-feed separator and 25 BEST crawler on the grounds. Percy Dezotell had his 12-24 Hart-Parr tractor running and from the Frank Ott stable came his 20 single cylinder IHC Mogul tractor this was a show stopper and had a loud, popping exhaust. Leonard Miller had his 14 Aultman-Taylor engine running and pulling the sprinkling wagon keeping down the dust on the roads and grounds. There were also some John Deere Model D tractors, a 10-20 Titan nicely restored, and there was Hilman's 20-40 Oil Pull and some other tractors I have forgotten, but all operating.
In the gas engine department, Tom Graves had his 20 F & J engine running, an old washing machine belted up to his Aermotor pump jack engine and his 6 hp. Foos running. My New Idea No. 2 corn sheller was belted to a 2 hp. Stover and Eugene Hill had Harvey's 5 hp. Stickney belted to his wooden roller mill. Corn was shelled in the sheller both days of the show and the ground in the old roller mill believe it was also a Stover. There were also some other gas engines running and a trailer with steam boiler and models set up and in operation. Over in the corner of the grounds, Mr. Hill's hydraulic dynamometer was giving some of the steamers and gas tractors a work out the 75 Holt turned 80 hp. and the 75 Buffalo-Pitts pulled 90 hp. solid in the drive belt. W. E. Richardson, Frank Ott, Marion Oswalt and others had just gotten the No. 2 American saw mill, a gift of Joe Richardson, of Orofino, Idaho, set up and in operation pulled most of the time by Harvey's 50 Case under the capable hand of veteran Case man Roy Heinrich of Hillsboro. At various times, Carl and the 75 Holt and Frank Ott and his 20 Mogul powered the saw mill and a large number of logs were sawed up into lumber 3 days of the show. Various sawmillers took their turn and operated the mill it worked nicely. In the large tent were refreshments and Percy Dezotell and Marion Hadley had models of a gas powered threshing rig in operation and various types of steam engine models in operation this always draws a large crowd and much comment. Secretary Jack Berry was taking dues and selling memberships and magazine subscriptions, assisted by his wife. Out in the movie house, Gene Stoller was showing old silent movies with palyer piano accompaniment it all added to the flavor!
Grain had been cut in July with a horse-drawn binder, pulled by 3 large Percheron draft horses brought in from the nearby community of Veerbordt and then the grain was hauled and stacked on the show grounds, near Gervais. These same horses hauled some bundles during the show steam threshing.
Saturday, threshing started off after the parade and I helped Bill Hermand on the 12-36 Russell for a time. This engine was belted to the McCormick-Deering separator both days and the straw threshed from the Sterling hand-feed machine was baled from the carrier by a 14 x 24 stationary baler, powered by the 20-40 Oil-Pull tractor. Percy Dezotell belted up to this machine on Saturday and the 20-70 N & S pulled it on Sunday hardly enough power for this little 21-inch wooden rig! C. D. Carlson and Dr. Mitchell crewed the Buffalo-Pitts, Rod Pitts was on the other 12-36 Russell and I helped on one Russell one day, the Case and Willis Smith's Westing house at various times, besides giving Tom Graves a hand with the gas engines. Frank Ott, Leonard Miller, Joe Richardson and Jeff Richardson presided over the sawmill most of the time both days and it turned out quite a pit full of sawdust.
Saturday evening, the WSFA annual business meeting was held in a hall in Gervais after the dinner. All officers and directors were elected for the ensuing term and such other business brought before the meeting and completed. Movies and other events furnished the evenings' entertainment and it was decided to leave it up to a committee as to 1970's meeting and show date.
Threshing, sawmilling and other activities kept both days occupied and a crowd of about 10,000 were present to take part and observe the various activities. All events went off as scheduled and weather was hot and dry perfect threshing weather. The 1970 annual meeting and show is again set for August, 1970 location to be announced later.
Carl Kirsch was putting the 75 Holt through its paces out in the middle of the grounds. He was having a ball and you should see him line up and snap this tractor into the belt in nothing flat. He also threshed some and belted up to the sawmill part of the time. This was about the first real WSFA steam threshing the tractor had to get into action since it was restored about 3 years ago. If I have missed anything, someone else can report further.
August 29th, I loaded 3 burr grinders, a 10 inch Letz, 6-inch type C McCormick-Deering and a small 3 inch burr mill size, together with drive belts and such other related equipment in the pickup and headed for Gerber and the Humann steam threshing. Upon arriving and getting located in the motel I then proceeded out to the farm and unloaded then after getting the Letz mill staked down and set, belted the 15-30 McCormick-Deering tractor to it and proceeded to grind shelled corn, milo and barley after getting the burrs adjusted. I had just finished restoring this grinder and had not had a chance to really get it adjusted and used until this time. Also helped get some of the gas engines set up to another feed grinder and otherwise help get things organized. My son Robert was along and got checked out on the Best Sixty that he was to drive in the parade Richard and he otherwise operated the 2-foot gauge steam locomotive both days and gave many people rides.
On Saturday, things started off with a rush of activity. I was running the 16 Russell as usual and threshed the first stack of grain. This was followed by straw baling with mules, then plowing with mules, steam engines and 2 gas tractors, then 2 ton Holt pulling a 2-14 bottom plow and I was plowing with the 15-30 on a 3-14 bottom size. Over under the large walnut trees, corn shelling and grinding followed, with constant gas engine activity with a Fairbanks-Morse 1-2 hp. belted to a water pump and Karl Muller of Dixon, was sawing a large log with his Ottawa drag saw. Cliff Hardy and Jack Lucas had their 25 and 20 Fairbanks-Morse YH engines in operation, together with some other smaller engines they brought in, and Dick Squires was grinding feed with my 3-inch burr mill and a 2 hp. LB McCormick-Deering part of the time. He brought up his F & J FPE engine and it drew its share of attention. After the noon whistle, lunch was served by the local 4-H group in the machine shed and at 1:00 PM, the whistles again blew, after which the daily parade took place. Leonard Miller was operating the 20 Gaar-Scott, a fellow named McGuire was operating the 20 Advance and these engines took their turn threshing out stacks of grain each day.
After the parade, steam and gas threshing again commenced, with the 16-30 Oil-Pull pulling the 22 x 36 Red River Special machine. Some of the grain from this machine, while the grain from the 28 x 46 Case machine, pulled by the steamers was bulked into a truck. The afternoon program was a repeat of the morning schedule and this was done both days of the show. With the help of Oliver Wilson, Dick Squires and others we ground nearly 60 bushels of barley, about as much milo and shelled and ground a large quantity of corn, all of which was sold. The 1929 GP John Deere tractor was belted to the 6-inch IHC hammer mill and grinding wheat that was sold for flour during the show.
Old tractors that were on exhibit included a 18-32 cross-motor Case, Fordson, 1938 Model D John Deere, just restored, 1924 Sixty BEST crawler, 2-ton Holt, 18 Yuba Ball-Tread, owned by Jack Lucas, of Durham 2 1938 IHC TD 35 Diesel crawler tractors and these were interposed with modern tractors and harvesters. The team of mules also pulled the Case water wagon around giving the engines a drink as needed and added much attraction to the show. The crowd totaled approximately 3,000 people for the two day show, largest to date since the shows started in 1963.
About a dozen gas engines were on display and in operation all of the time, most of them doing useful belt work Oliver Wilson was grinding corn using his 6-7 F-M Z on my 6-inch grinder and I adjusted the exhaust valve on his 6 hp. F-M it ran much smoother afterwards. Karl sawed with his log saw until both he and the saw just laid down and quit. The old Ottawa really had a workout sawing slabs for everyone who carried them away.
And so another successful steam threshing show closed. Monday morning, we finished up some stack bottoms, using the 15-30 McCormick-Deering in the belt on the Red River Special machine it certainly sounded beautiful to these old ears. I then went out and with Paul's help, finished plowing the piece of ground where the plowing demonstrations had been held. There will be another show in 1971.
In September, Loren M. Wade went up to his old home in Canada and after completely refluing his Canadaian 25 Reeves special traction engine, finally steamed it up he said it took right off and run like a watch. He has still to do more boiler cleaning on it and other general repair and re-conditioning. He has bought a large threshing machine to go with it and may thresh this fall (1970). He also heard from John Hall, of Cape Giradeau, Missouri, who now owns the former Chris Busch 110 Case this fine engine is now fully restored and in top running condition.
October saw the fall meeting of Branch No. 6, EDGTA held at the Noeller farm, near Hughson. This was held over a weekend, with 75 operating gas engines and about 6 old tractors in running order on display. I had my corn sheller and 6-inch burr grinder belted up to my 2-hp. KA series Stover and Dick Squires 3 hp. ZA F-M engine belted to the grinder, shelling and grinding corn, also ground corn with the 3-inch burr mill and here again were some rare makes on display. Bryce Morris of Fresno had a rare 1-2 hp. Bulldog restored and running and Leonard Ruby and his son had a 8 hp. Double Cushman upright restored and running. Cliff Hardy had his 25 hp. YH F-M and Union engine along with their accessories operated by belt power. Various other engines were belted up to water pumps and there was an old Briggs & Stratton powered Speed Queen washing machine present and running. Noeller's had their 15 F-M Oil engine running very nicely restored as was their rare 3 hp. Sterling this engine uses one curved rocker arm to operate both intake and exhaust valve. Glenn Weagent had his steam generating plant on the grounds and was smoking up a storm as usual. He also supplied steam to a very old steam pump that came from an old gold mine up in the Mother Lode. There were 2 T-20 IHC crawler tractors, an orchard model Caterpillar Thirty, built in 1929,1928 John Deere D owned by Everett Tomlinson and Dick's 1936 AO John Deere. This was the largest number of engines restored and operating since the branch organized 2 years previous. The crowd totaled about 2-300 people, on a beautiful fall day. At the short business meeting, it was decided to have the spring meeting and annual EDGTA National meeting at the Koster farm, over near Tracy June 6-7th and plans are now being made toward that end.
Loren Wade held his steam threshing in October and I helped get the Case machine and engine ready for the Sunday's event. The A-W steam road roller was steamed up and operated most of the time by Wilbur Skaar and he had help some of the time. I ran the Case 50 part of the time and we threshed baled oats and straw had a pile of straw when finished and the woodpile was smaller. This was a WSFA steam threshing and with Glenn Weagent's help and his steam plant had a great day.
In November, I again helped Godfrey with his late fall plowing operated the McCormick-Deering 15-30 2 days pulling the 2-14 bottom plow and with his IHC TD 35 crawler pulling 5-14 bottoms, a lot of ground was turned over in a short time. I enjoy running these old tractors they still do as good a work as they ever did. And with this I bring my report to a close with this note added and restored 2 more engines to my collection - a type M 1 IHC and a IHC LB 1-2 size. This now makes me an even dozen of the gas engines. I took part in a lot of events last year and 1970 promises to be more of the same. There are a surprising number of younger people getting interested in the old gas engines and steam engines out in this country and naturally we try to help them find engines and get them going with help, information and parts, if possible. This is as it should be and may it ever continue on. Next year Mt. Pleasant for sure (1970).