539 Adams Ave., Huron, Ohio
At the start of the 1913 threshing season the water boy hired for the season could not come for a week, so Dad (A. J. Rhinemiller) took me, a 1254 year old, to fill in with the rig. I could handle the engine, an 18 HP Huber, while threshing but was not strong enough to pump a tank of water with the strong-arm pump on the tank. While moving I drove the team on the road.
Going into the Henry Bruns farm, Rt. 2 west of Huron, now owned and operated by his son, Lewis Bruns, something broke on the steam steering device. By using a wrench Dad got the rig set and a tank of water. He then called his brother George in Huron, who had a car to take him to Sanduskey to the Fred Hinckey black-smith shop to make a new part, about eight miles from the Bruns farm. He left me in charge of the engine and George Beatty at the separator. About 11:00 A.M. George came out and, unknown to me, opened the cross head pump wide open after I had opened it a turn or so to fill her up for the dinner hour. Of course, the boiler filled pretty fast but those pumps were often quite touchy. At dinner time I shut off and banked my fire. After dinner, stirred up the fire and shut off the pump as I had opened it. We started to thresh and everything was fine for about 15 minutes, when the engine started to pound, getting worse at every revolution. Pretty soon water started whooshing out the stack. I grabbed the whistle cord and throttle and stopping her, then taking off across the field at top speed, expecting pieces to follow. As soon as I stopped her everything else stopped.
George came running out and said, 'I forgot to tell you I opened the pump wide open before dinner.' He then shut it off and blew the water out of the cylinder and by that time the engine was still in one piece and I came back. We then went back to work, after cleaning out the separator which was pretty full from the sudden stop.
So much for 1913. In 1938, 25 years later, yours truly, now a carpenter and builder, was remodeling a brick school house across the road from this Bruns farm for a Mr. Glenn Adell. One day Glenn was there wearing a rather foolish grin. I asked him what was biting him. Of course, he said nothing. Pretty soon he said, 'aren't you the kid who took off across Bruns' field one time? ' I said yes and I was heading for tall timber. He said, 'you sure was. 'Now another 25 years have gone by since 1938, making 50 years since I filled the boiler too full.
I seldom go by the Bruns farm that I do not think of that incident and picture in my mind that skinny 12 year old kid heading for the wide open spaces. To the best of my knowledge Lewis Bruns, now 80 or 81 years, and I, 62, are the only ones living that were there 50 years ago in 1913.
When I was about 4 or 5 years old my grandfather, John F. Rhinemiller, took me to Marion to the Huber Manufacturing Company plant. The most vivid memory of that trip was the boiler room, two rows of boilers and such a noisy place. Were they riveting by hand or were they using air guns? This has bothered me for some time.