Rt. 1, Wellman, Iowa 52356.
I realize I should have written this letter about a year ago,
but, for some reason, I just didn’t get to it, so, I’ll
just revert to the old adage of ‘better late than never’
and write it now.
Am writing to thank you for printing the picture of my
‘Russell’ Steam Engine Mail Box and Iowa corn and the very
nice story that Mr. Joe Fahnestock wrote about me as Iron Man of
the Month in the 1971 January-February issue of the IMA. I have
received many very nice comments and compliments, both personally
and by mail, from people who read it. However, from your own
personal comment which you wrote underneath the picture of the
train load of corn, I am lead to believe you somewhat doubt my
verasity for truthfulness. Anna Mae, you have surely been
associated with ‘old threshers’ enough to know that they
never tell a lie, haven’t you?
Am enclosing a picture of that corn, for you, and will tell you
the story of it. This is a picture of some corn which I raised on a
test plot for a seed corn company, a few years ago. It was a new
variety which they were experimenting with, which they called
‘Vine Corn’. As they were never able to develop a stalk
strong enough to hold these big ears up, they grew them right on
the ground, on a vine, like a pumpkin, or water melon. To harvest
them, they would just send men out with ordinary chain saws to cut
them off, then hitch onto them with these big ‘Cat’
Tractors and drag them in. Our State Hi-way department is
experimenting with the cobs by boring them out and using them for
tubes for driveway crossings. Then, an insulation company takes the
bored out pith, dries it and sells it for house insulation. One ear
will usually make enough to insulate a six to eight room house.
Now, this story is the truth, up to a certain point and I’ll
let you be the judge as to just where I reached that point.
The state of Iowa has long been famous for growing the
world’s tallest stalks of corn. Now, with some ‘specialized
treatment’, we are also able to produce these giant sized ears.
(Yes, Fellows I know it’s a tractor and belongs in Gas
Magazine, but it goes with the letter and the article that
previously appeared in Jan-Feb. 1971 issue. There is another
picture of the corn in that issue. Anna Mae.)
David Murphy, age 13, running his Dad’s Ottaway; Howard
Murphy running his Cagney and Dan Murphy, age 11, along for
As to the Russell Engine pictured on page 54 of the March-April
1972 issue of IMA, it is a 25 HP, owned by Frickie Bros. of Mt.
Union, Iowa and was taken at The Mid-West Old Settlers and
Threshers Reunion, at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. I’m sure the man
standing by the front wheel is Charlie Frickie and the one on the
side of the engine is Lloyd Widmer of Winfield, Iowa. I don’t
know the boy sitting on the tank, unless it is one of Charlie’s
I have been a subscriber to the IMA for 21 years and enjoy it
very much. Keep up the good work.