Mr. Le Roy Blaker’s article in the March-April ALBUM, in
regard to the A. D. Baker fan contest at the Threshermen’s
Convention at Wichita, Kansas, in April 1907. I was at that
convention and saw that contest. I was 24 years old at that time,
and there are some other men living here, who were at that
convention and saw the fan contest.
At every steam engine reunion at Wichita, Kansas some men come
telling about the Baker-Huber contest. Some were not old enough at
the time of the convention to tell a fan from a cider press, and
all they know is what someone has told them. I have asked them if
they were there, or if they saw that contest. They would always say
that they only knew what someone had told them.
I lived near Newton, Kansas for some years. Prairie Queen Mfg.
Co., at Newton, which is 30 miles north of Wichita, Kansas, were
general agents for A. D. Baker Co., for Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas
from 1903 until 1917 when they quit business. I knew the
superintendent from the time I was 8 years old. I was around that
place quite often. I also handled and did repair work on Baker
A. D. Baker and Prairie Queen Co., took 3 Baker engines and 2
Prairie Queen separators and the Baker fan to the 1907 convention.
I have a picture of it all loaded on the cars beside the building-a
16 hp., a 20 hp., Standard, and a 20 hp. Special. A man named
Albeck-on the 20 Standard Engine, and a man named Balderson on the
16 hp. engine. The convention was held on what was called the hay
market. I recall Mr. H. C. Miller of Cherokee, Iowa, being there,
and I am quite sure he was running an A. D. Baker Agency at
Iowa. Anyway he was a Baker Agent. His affidavit, regarding that
contest, was for the A. D. Baker Engines. I am not partial to any
one engine. It didn’t matter to me who won. Mr. H. C. Miller
has the Russell 25 hp. The Russell Co., had two 20 hp. Russell
engines on the grounds. One had a boiler compound feeder on it that
some Boiler Compound people were demonstrating feeding compound in
that engine. They put it on the fan and it blew water all over
everyone. They put the other one on the fan and it turned the fan 6
RPM more than the 20 hp. Baker Standard. Mr. Miller didn’t tell
that. The 16 hp. Huber turned the fan 730 RPM. The man on the Huber
was Le Roy Keller.
Mr. Miller’s estimation of 200 lbs. pressure, or Port
Huron’s 250 lbs. pressure on the Huber is guess. Only the Huber
men knew how much pressure was on the Huber. There are 5 men still
living that saw that Huber engine. They and I, do not recall the
Huber boiler leaking anywhere. The Huber men were not foolish
enough to put pressure enough on that boiler to make it leak. The
Huber Co., was building good boilers in those days.
I have heard the old story of how the 16 hp. Baker out-pulled a
22 hp. Advance. I also have a Baker catalogue telling how a 16 hp.
Baker out pulled a 22 hp. at a fair in 1907. I owned and operated a
22 hp. Advance. I know how it pulled on a 36×60 separator in tough,
damp bundle stacks of wheat. I also knew what a 16 hp. Baker engine
would have done if put on the same machine, without a shot in the
arm for pulling on a fan.
The story about Baker refusing Port Huron to put a 14 hp. Port
Huron simple engine on the fan is news to me. Why should Baker fear
that 14 hp. Port Huron when the 16 hp. Baker beat a 22 hp.’? I
don’t think Baker refused the 14 hp. I am quite certain the
Baker fan had a 12′ pulley. I don’t recall other pulleys or
the Baker men changing pulleys for different engines.
The Baker engines and fan were shipped back to Newton, Kansas
after the convention. Baker had the fan at conventions in Wichita,
Kansas during other years, but 1907 was the only time they had a
contest. They also took it to the Kansas State Fair at Hutchinson,
Kansas-30 miles west of Newton, Kansas. The fan was kept in the
building of the Prairie Queen Co., when or where it was taken to
from there, I don’t know.