Casey Chats Again


| November/December 1971


Box 21, Wichita, Kansas 67201

Oh, that bright and cloudless morning 1890 B.C. (before combines) two black oxen by the name of Tom and Gerry seemed to be pulling a puffen' steam engine in the direction of our four round wheat stacks but neither Tom nor Gerry was pullen a pound and they knowed et. When they came to a steep place in the road the old engine was puffen louder, but didn't disturb the oxen one bit. The day of Great Mystery had arrived. There was an ingin (we called it) could pull itself. All the two big black oxen had to do was to guide it by holding up the tongue. Behind this was old Buck and Barney and George and Coley, that made two yoke pulling the separator and on the water tank pulled by Rond and Pete. The water tank consisted of a wagon with high wheels and a huge wooden box holding five barrels of water. Two empty barrels for the engine while the tank man was after another load that was dipped from the creek with two half bushel buckets that took an extra man.

The engine was a powerful six horsepower single cylinder made in Mount Vernon, Ohio. The crew consisted of Engineer, separator man, two to feed alternately and a boss, who was also an Advance man, usually chewing a yellow straw in his mouth.

Across on another hill from us was another machine with six horses horse power machine. Shucks, no fun threshing powered by horse flesh. Our machine had a whistle and the puffen, puffen of the big engine caused a thrill with every puff. This was the year 1890. I was 4 years old, and that was old enough to tell my big brother, Dave (now 95) 'I'd rather run that big engine than be president,'but alas, right there in the same neighborhood we could hear bout sundown the chime of a still louder whistle and this engine could not only pull itself but could pull the separator up the steepest hill and guided by a steering wheel. I told my big brother Dave, (not my drinkin' Brother) I'd rather run that engine than be King of the Universe.



This engine was a Springfield 8 Hp. made in Springfield, Ohio. Used tallow to lubricate the cylinder, no friction clutch. The engineer rode in a seat on the platform with two coal boxes. There were two tanks for water on the side, right and left, bout midway of the boiler there was a cross head pump and what they called an inspirator made by Hancock but not always worked. We have heard of cussen loud as an ox driver. I can say never have I ever heard such cursing as that old engineer did at that engine when the double darned old inspirator wouldn't work worth a darn. We could never imagine Hell being even tho times could be hot enough torment for such cursing and all was the matter was dirt on the screen at the end of the hose.

As time advanced, we had better engines and much better engineers who never said Damn in a season.














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