51Years Experiences


| January/February 1967


Box 162, Cottonwood, Minnesota 56229

Can a Reeves threshing engine boiler make steam faster than the pop-valve can let it out? This question has puzzled me ever since the year 1915. But let me start at the beginning.

I was born in 1895 at Renville, Minnesota, and all my childhood I was interested in seeing wheels go around. when I was about 4 years old I got a Weeden toy steam engine with vertical boiler. My dad ran it for me, and I wonder who had the most fun, him or me? When I was about 6 years old, my uncle (mother's brother), bought a Gaar-Scott threshing rig. The engine was a return flue, with a mud-drum below the belly of the boiler, where the blow-off valve was located. I don't remember the separator, but it had a picture of a farmer with a straw-hat, with the name 'Happy Farmer'.

My dad ran the engine, and my uncle tended separator, and when not too far from home, I always hung around the engine. I remember one time when 'we' were threshing in Grandpa's yard, my dad acted a little excited and told me to get a stick of stove wood from the wood pile. I gave it to him and he bumped the side of the pop-valve, and then it popped-off O. K.

Along about this time those old German Preachers used to thunder at the congregation that Hell was a place of 'Fire and Brimstone'. Keep this in mind, because it fits in later in this story.

Of course I had to go to school like all the rest, so there is not much more to tell until I got old enough to 'work out'. In 1906 we moved to Marshall, Minnesota. For several years I worked on various farms around Marshall, but the nearest I got to threshing was hauling bundles. In 1914 I got the job as fireman at the Marshall Milling Company, furnishing the steam for an Allis Chalmers, 750 H.P., cross-compound, Corliss engine, turning out 1000 barrels of flour a day. Then came 1915, and through a friend of mine I got the job of 'Water-Monkey' out at Kidder, South Dakota.






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