A FRIENDLY LETTER


| January/February 1968



By Michael D. Oswalt, 312 E. Franklin St., Crawfordsville, Indiana 47933

On page 4 of the May-June issue you show a picture of a '3 cylinder loco'. This is lovingly referred to by those of us in the craft as a SHAY. The main drive shaft was geared down to drive the engine at a speed compatible with the rough, laid in haste and with a prayer, logging roads that they were used for. Another engine that is as rare as hen's teeth is the Heisler which had two cylinders sticking out at a 45 degree angle from the drive shaft under the center of the boiler. Just a point of interest, there is a Shay still in service on the Graham County Line in North Carolina. It runs from Robbinsville to a point 12 miles away and returns. Robbinsville is about 90 miles from Asheville. I'm going down there on vacation and if the photos turn out will he sure to send you some.

Also I have been corresponding with Mr. Dealing in Canada who wanted to know the whereabouts of the Pickering Governor Co. This company has changed managements about 5 times and there has been some union trouble along with the moving. Their present location is about 50 miles from Indianapolis. I have talked to the sales department (they now make carburetor parts) and they have about $125,000 worth of Pickering governors in a warehouse. The only way in which they will sell them is for the interested party to come to the factory on a Saturday and pick out what he wants! How's that for running a business???

By the way I don't go in for a lot of hard to maintain machinery as part of my hobby. I have a small vertical stationary engine running a generating plant in my back yard.

My engine is a 5 hp Wachs built in 1908 which I have rebuilt. The original manufacturer sent me a brand new Pickering governor for it and I'm quite proud of my installation. By the way in years I am not too far along to remember the old days (31) but I find that I can have a greatly enjoyable time talking to the lads who used to run all the traction engines, sawmills, stone crushers, locomotives, generating plants and all the other pieces of machinery that made a guy go home in the evening feeling that he had done a good day's work and had earned the right to be a part of this great and glorious country of ours.

My, my, how I do run on! Thanks for listening and if you care to put any of this in your magazine feel free to do so. But don't under any circumstance squeeze out any of your correspondence from the old timers as seeing their letters in print is so very much more important to them than me seeing mine is. I also understand and sympathize with you that it is impossible to put everything you receive in print. You see my letterhead is only a sideline job with me. My real profession is installing printing presses for the largest commercial printer in the world. Which brings to mind Uncle Jake's column titled the Printer's Pie. Pie is the nickname for spilled or mixed up type. I wonder how many of your readers know that?