R. R. 1, Maple City, Michigan 49664.
After reading the Jan-Feb 1972 issue of Iron-Men Album several times, I ran across a letter that I may be a little help on. The letter was from Arthur A. Zuhn, 117 Hilton Court, East Peoria, Illinois 61611 asking about a Baker traction engine.
Now, Abner Baker did not call that a traction engine. It was a steam tractor that he built and came in two sizes. If I remember right, one was about a 20 HP and the other was about a 25 HP. But I do remember one carried 600 pounds of steam and the other 800 pounds. They had a self-feeding stoker that held about a bushel of slack coal (which was the cheapest coal you could buy) and about 15 gallons of water that was supposed to run the tractor for ten hours.
It had a condenser or big radiator with a fan on the front end that condensed the exhaust back to water and was used over many times. But this did not work as there was no way of getting the steam cylinder oil out and it went back to the boiler and soon would eat the boiler up so that did not work out so well.
We lived about 35 miles from Swanton back in the steam threshing days so were down there 3 or 4 times a year for parts and repairs. At one time there was a long line of these tractors there at the Raker plant, but I guess they were junked in time. I got some back issues of the ALBUM from Earlene last summer at Wausseon and in one was a picture of one of these tractors at a show.
I was at Swanton one time and the shop foreman told me it was time for the 20th Century Limited Train on the NYC to come through and that engine on the train had just had a new Baker valve gear put on and that Lou Baker, Abner's son, was riding the engine to check the gear. Well, when that train came through the engineer started to blow the whistle about two miles before he got to Swanton and could not let go until he was a mile out on the other side of Swanton.
I think that train picked up all the loose newspapers and scrap paper in Swanton and took it to New York with it. It would have taken my hat if I had not grabbed it and I was at least 60 feet away from it.
Now maybe Mr. Arthur Zuhn can get some more information if he will write to one of your ads on page 56 of Jan-Feb. 1972 Album-Scottdel, Swanton, Ohio.
In a back issue on page 50 of Sept-Oct. ALBUM 1966, there is a picture of a steam engine and it is called a Case. Well, there is only one engine in the world that has a steering wheel as big as that one and that is a Greyhound made by Danting Mfg. Co. of Toledo. That engine is a 24 HP Greyhound and owned by William and Edgar Flowers of Adena, Ohio.