Article In March/April Issue Draws Heated Response


| May/June 1986



In our March/April 1986 issue, we reprinted an article entitled 'The Good Old Days' on pages 10 and 11. The article was a verbatim reprint from the journal of the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors, and appeared with a photo of a steam traction engine mishap purported to have happened 'last year.' In the text, it was claimed that the accident had been fatal to the engineer and his grandson. Publication of this article has drawn heated resonse from numerous subscribers, and we shall attempt here to report on that response and the results of our research which followed it.

Our first phone call on the subject came from John J. Holp, Jr., of 7543 Delisle-Foreman Rd., Arcanum, OH 45304, who was of considerable assistance in getting the true facts associated with the tale. John noted that the photo in the picture had appeared in an earlier issue of IMA, and that the incident therefore could not possibly have happened 'last year' as the article stated. Later, in a letter, John stated his opinion of the article, which was that:

'The article and boiler law suggestions made us all look like idiots and I, for one was not impressed. My personal opinion is that we are attacking the safety problem in the wrong manner. True, there are a few boilers that need some attention and should be taken care of. However, our primary objective should be to educate the new or inexperienced operators in proper boiler safety. This article has definitely hurt our hobby, so let's pull together and get to the bottom of this.'

The Accident Picture

Because Mr. Holp had a news clipping identifying the source of the accident in the photo as Mitchell, South Dakota, we were able to get the true details of the accident from both the local newspaper, the Republic, and from the owner of the 20 HP Case engine involved in the unfortunate mishap.

The accident occurred on July 17, 1971, during the first annual Corn Palace Stampede and Rodeo Parade, in Mitchell, South Dakota. No one was killed in the accident, but Arnold 'Creepy' Janssen, then 53, and his son Terry, then 18, of Emery were critically injured. In addition, 7 others were injured and listed in good condition, and 2 men were treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital. The accident occurred at 806 N. Main Street in the Firestone store parking lot while Janssen was getting ready for the parade.