A BAKER AND A BUFFALO-PITTS


| September/October 1981



Engine

Reprinted with permission of New York Steam Engine Association Bulletin, Board of Directors. Submitted by Watty Wood, 3510 Laurel Drive, Holiday, Florida 33590

It all started when I asked Bob Marshall if he would let me take his twin cylinder 1912 Buffalo-Pitts out of the garage and get it running. Bob had bought this 16 HP engine about five years before, but he never found time to steam it up. Without question he said, 'Go ahead.' After a few minor repairs, finishing the cab, some paint and a few 'steam-ups', things started to happen for it seemed everyone wanted us in parades or at a fair.

The first event was a parade at the Penfield Sesquicentennial, where probably the only time in recent years an engine was driven in a town with lugs on. It was our first success with more to come. After that, we went to the Monroe County Fair for five days, then on to Hemlock for another four days ending up for the big show at the New York State Fair in Syracuse.

For an engine that had been declared obsolete many years before someone was wrong for the old Buffalo-Pitts had proven she had as much 'go in her' as the day she was built.

During the winter of 1960-61 we restored the old big 1922 A.D. Baker. This process included placing rubber on the wheels since we planned to drive it on pavement. This engine is one of the most powerful in the state developing 90 horsepower which is a lot for a steam engine. 1961 found us swamped with calls wanting us to have an engine in a parade. We started the season by going to Kendall, New York on a Thursday afternoon. Bob and I worked up a little steam, unloaded the Baker, and found ourselves in the middle of a celebration which lasted several days. On Saturday, along with Luzerne Ball and John Farrell, we steamed up and took part in the parade pulling a thresher. We ended up in the Firemen's Park where we setup and threshed a load of barley for the delight of the onlookers. That evening, when we were ready to load the engine, the truck backed into a small ditch for easier loading and got stuck. You guessed it! Luzerne Ball hooked the Baker on and pulled it out with ease. An auto also backed into the same ditch at another point and we pulled that out too. The people of Kendall were gracious and hospitable and served us all a steak dinner like the old days. We'll always remember our trip to Kendall.

A short time later we were asked to bring the Baker over to a celebration in Homer Prudom's hometown of Fairport. I'm sure it was a great day for Homer since he had just come home from the hospital the day before. The parade was a long one with a large crowd. On this occasion Homer Jr. joined me and we ended up with a good old fashioned ham dinner. I might say that just about everywhere we took the engine our hosts would inevitably give us a large dinner maybe we reminded them of the old days when they used to feed the threshers!