Billy Byrd at the throttle of his 16-60 HP Nichols & Shepard.
(This story was sent to us by Arthur P. Brigham and is from the Case Heritage Newsletter, August, 1987 issue.)
I have been asked why I joined the J. I. Case Heritage Foundation as I am a 150 percent Nichols & Shepard man, own a 16-60 N & S engine and am a retired railroad engineer. (Note: He also 'starred' as a featured steam drivin' man on CBS' 'On the Road with Charles Kuralt' program and is an engineer for the historic Tennessee Valley Railroad at Chattanooga.)
First of all, I am a lover of old equipment, especially steam engines, with railroad locomotives, traction engines, old farm tractors and equipment in that order. I was raised in a farming community at Adams, Tennessee. The second engine in that part of the country was a 20-60 J. I. Case steam engine that was used to pull a saw mill and to steam tobacco beds. The last steam wheat threshing rig at Adams was a 65 HP Case engine, which had been rebuilt at the Keck-Gonnerman factory in Mt. Vernon, Indiana, and operated with a brand new Oliver Red River separator. I thought that engine, with its green and red paint and its boiler jacket with brass bands, was the prettiest thing I'd ever seen.
I believe in preserving our heritage. It should never be forgotten. The main reason the steam shows were started was to let the old folks relive a part of it and let the young folks see how hard the old folks had to work. I love all steam engines no matter what make; and, if I had a field full of them, I couldn't part with a one. Like my good friend (Mr. Avery) Sullivan says, 'They would all do what their designers and builders intended them to do.'
As for myself, I'm partial to the double cylinder rear mount. Good friend, Chaddy Atteberry, says he's never seen a railroad man who didn't like a double cylinder.
J. I. Case and men like him made this country what it is. They changed the labor from animal and man muscle to machine which doesn't get tired. They made the industrialization of this country possible. I feel that our generation now, as well as the ones who come before and after us, owe them a great deal for making our labor easier and for setting examples for others to follow.
The founders of the J. I. Case Heritage Foundation are to be commended for starting this great organization to recognize our heritage and to let us have a part in preserving it although I worship at the shrine that was in Battle Creek (Michigan), I'm proud to be a member of this organization. I urge others, no matter what your engine preferences, to join.
We are all in the same category. We should never forget when Steam was King.