Rt. 2, Avoca, Iowa
Mr. LeRoy Blaker, President of the National Threshers' Association, Inc., Alvordton, Ohio, gives us this interesting and informing letter which we are glad to pass on to you. Ed.
It has been three years since I wrote to you and sent a photo for publication in your IRON-MEN ALBUM. I have every issue since you started publishing it with the 1946-47 Winter issue.
About once a year I go through all of the back issues and spend many pleasant hours re-reading them. You have done a wonderful job publishing this hobby magazine.
Since I started thresring in 1917 when I was 28 years old, I have owned 13 steam threshing engines and 2 large gas tractors. The best of them were, 7 Port Hurons and two 22-65 Cases. At the present time I own 3 very good steam traction engines, two 24-75 Port Huron Long fellows and a 22-65 J. I. Case. All have jackets, Ohio Std. butt-strap boilers, and the Long fellows have canopy tops. I have each of them State inspected annually. In Ohio they are exempt from inspection when used for agricultural purposes, but for sawmilling and exhibition they must abide by the Ohio boiler code. My engines are all housed as I consider them too valuable to sit out doors. My oldest Longfellow that is in the sawmill has an enviable record for 37 years of useful and economical work. When new in 1917, it pulled a large loading excavator in a gravel pit for a road contractor about 100 days.
It has furnished power to thresh a million bushels of grain, fill several hundred silos, run a husker-shredder 100 days, hulled many bushels of clover seed, sawed 2 million feet of lumber, and is still a good engine. The Woolf valve and seat in it is in very good condition.
My second Longfellow is a rubber tired one I exhibit at the N.T.A. reunion. A few years ago I installed a piston valve in it to make a 11' by 10' simple, but am making it back to the original Woolf compound for economy reasons. This spring I plan to superheat it, locomotive style, and install a brick arch, and expect to win in the one hour economy run at our next reunion.
My third engine is a 22-65 Case that I bought 200 miles west of Omaha, Neb., two years ago. It was new in 1917 and has always been housed between seasons. The stack, smokebox, boiler and original tubes are like new.
I have installed a brick arch and ring balanced the original D valve like the Newton patent, and like it better than some of the other patent valves. This engine will also be in the economy run at the reunion.
Now a few words in regard to the various thresher reunions I never thought they would be so popular when I started the first one 10 years ago. It is nice that many others have started since then in other states, and interest is still growing. Thousands of new acquaintances have been made with the nicest people in the world, and hundreds of steam engines have been saved and restored. Some of them look nicer than when new.
Last spring I decided to make a large fan so we could belt our engines up to it and work them. It proved better than expected. I called on Louie Baker, son of the late Abner D. Baker, and got all the information I could in regard to the Baker-built fan they used at various state threshermeeting nearly 50 years ago. This fan is 5 feet in diameter and each of the 4 blades are 24 inches square. It is mounted in a channel steel frame similar to the Baker Prony brake now owned by our National Threshers Association. The blades are mounted on a 2' steel shaft with double row ball bearings, and a 20' diameter pulley on shaft to drive it. We use a 10' belt to run it, and the largest engines can throw off their governor belts and the engines won't run away. Louis David's big Avery 40 turned it the fastest it has ever turned-660 R.P.M's.
I am enclosing a chart showing what some steam engines and large gas tractors have pulled on it and hope you have room to print it.
Am sending photo of an engine on the Baker fan, also Jack Egbert's little 12hp. Frick on the earthen incline at N.T.A. reunion last June. This engine was the only one that could climb the steep 53% incline, but this year we plan to make it more gradual at the bottom so all engines can try it.
Also at the National Threshers Reunion at Montpelier, Ohio next June 23-24-25 we will conduct an economy test run of steam engines in addition to the regular program. Any engine may enter and will be given a fair threshing load for one hour with fuel and water carefully weighed.
A few months ago, Gilbert Cowdena steam engine fan in Detroit, Michigan, located a Henry Ford built stationery steam engine and our association bought it. It is a 75 hp. vertical run-in-oil double Woolf tandem compound. It was built for sawmilling and weighs 5 tons, and each engine is the size of a 24-75 Port Huron. This engine along with many other new entrants will be at N.T.A. reunion next June.
Avery U. M.
Avery U. M.
L. W. Blaker
J. I. Case
L. W. Blaker
Port Huron simple
L. W. Blaker
Port Huron comp
J. I. Case
Reeves & Co.
Find enclosed my check for two more years renewal to the ALBUM. Keep it coming, as I have every copy so far that you have published.
Yes, I think there is a necessary place for a Tractor Section in the ALBUM. That is the resurrection of this first open geared gas kerosene testaments. In the same breath are there any of -30-60 Aultman-Taylor's, Reeves '40' (4 cyl. gas kerosene), 40-80 Avery, or 40-80 Russell tractors still in existence. Only 5 steam engines in this section of the country that I know of and not a one of the early tractors, so for me they are really more rare.