COMMENTS ON THE PAST

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Here we are going down Main Street in Coldwater, hauling the eagle float, at Coldwater, Michigan, during their 100 year centennial. There was mile of people, about 20,000. Notice I lost the old stack and had to weld on a Culbert tubing. Courtesy of Hope
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7 Baker Special 23 x 90, #16286, owned by Robert E. Price, Logansport, Ind. Courtesy of Hope D. Earl, Box 72, Ray, Indiana 4673
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Hope D. Earl wins hill climb with his Baker engine, 21-75, at Montplier Fair Grounds, June 24, 1955.Notice the water tank with full tank adds weight to drivers so belted made the grade. The drivers never slipped. Courtesy of Hope D. Earl, Box 72, Ray, Ind
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Avery 25-50 Mill at Pittsford, Michigan. Can you guess the power on this mill? The engine broke the crankshaft 6 years ago. I arced it and she still does her stuff. She really gives a saw a pull. I use 6 inch feed. Courtesy of Hope D. Earl, Box 72, Ray, I
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This is a sample of cars I worked on years ago. This is a 1909 Overland with a planetary transmission, cast integral with rear axle housing. Notice the carbide lights. Courtesy of Hope D. Earl, Box 72, Ray, Indiana 46737

Box 72, Ray, Indiana 46737

I have just read my January-February Album and would like to
write some in regard to things I did and things that happened in my
57 years of threshing, sawmilling and clover hulling and silo
filling and husking corn. Also will state that I had the first
garage and machine shop in Pittsford, Michigan, Hillsdale County,
along with the first gas welder and arc welder. I still have
them.

I was born December 8, 1889 and started out threshing at eight,
that is I fired my father’s 10 H.P. Russell on wood with water
monkey splitting the wood as in those days we had no coal. My
grandfather, Albert Earl, and my father, Bert Earl, were threshing
before I arrived. They had an engine horse drawn, called her old
Betsy, and they did build her over to a traction engine, the first
one in Hillsdale County, Michigan. That was before my time. The 10
H.P. Russell was the first engine that I can remember.

One time in the spring, father was getting the Russell in shape
to go threshing and early one morning, he removed the grater and
crawled into the firebox to roll and bead the flues. It was rather
warm that day and about noon, father was ready to get out. He could
not make it as he weighed about 250 and on the fat order. He rather
swelled up in that warm firebox, so to get him out, my mother had
him remove his shirt and she greased him up with lard and he
finally made it. That was the last for father. It was up to me to
do the boiler work and I have been doing that off and on for
years.

Along with my brother, Dave A. Earl, now of Coldwater, Michigan,
we ran the garage and threshed every fall. My father traveled for
Arbuckle & Ryan Toledo selling threshing rigs. At one time I
rebuilt engines for Arbuckle & Ryan at Hillsdale. E. E. Edly
was in charge of the branch at Hillsdale. In all my threshing and
sawmilling, I had the following engines: 20 H.P. Huber return flue
single with old trunions on Bull gears; a 16 H.P. Reeves single
double engine with standard boiler; a 16 H.P. single Starr; also a
30 H.P. single Russell and a 15 H.P. Huber Wolf Compound, a good
little engine. I will tell you about this.

We were hulling clover north and west of Hudson, Michigan, close
to LeRoy Blaker’s farm at the time. He lived there about 40
years ago. LeRoy saw this little engine and from then on, he wanted
to be a steam boy. I think he has made it, don’t you? Soon
after that I think he purchased a 19 H.P. Port Huron long fellow
and was in the business. Some years later he moved to his present
farm in Ohio just over the line from Michigan, or 15 miles south of
Pittsford, my home town.

My engines are all gone but one, a 21-75 Baker Counter flow that
I still have and used in on a sawmill a number of years. I use it
in parades and always on 30th of May at Pitts-ford. It is just 15
miles to LeRoy’s place and one year I ran the Baker down there
to help get the steam rally started. We all had a good time. Used
all slab wood going down and back. As we were going down to
LeRoy’s place and as we cleared a piece of timber, Harvey
Champion with me, pulled the whistle cord and just after that, I
saw a girl running down the road ahead of us. I also noticed a
tractor in the field with the motor running. That girl ran about
mile to get home. When we pulled along at their place, her folks
all out by the road with a camera and all laughing. What happened
was, she thought a railroad engine was coming down the road and she
left the tractor and ran for home. She had never seen a traction
engine.

I wish I had all the pictures there have been taken of my old
21-75 Baker. I would have a trunk full. I could write a book on all
this yet don’t want to take up too much of your space in the
Album.

I have one boy, Mark D. Earl, Pittsford, Michigan, who can
handle an engine and repair them same as I do. We like to rebuild
them. We keep the old 21-75 Baker at his farm just north and east
of Pittsford. Anyone wanting some help on engines or separators,
let us know. As of now, I have my sawmill at Ray, Indiana. The
timber at home is about all gone, yet here there is plenty. I saw
about every day weather permitting. It is hard to get help as the
workers all have a factory job.

I use my old 22-36 McD Int., a 1929 model 4 cylinder straight
gas. She does a real job, not as good as steam, yet costs less to
operate.

As tomorrow is my 77th birthday, I will bid all my thresher
friends adieu and wish them all the luck in the world and trust to
God to keep us all going.

how to test and what to do to make them safe for low steam
pressure. I would like to help them out on valve gears, their
faults and good points; also how to set valves and should they need
an engine restored, I could do it for them. Our shop is at the farm
at Pittsford, Michigan.

I will write up an article on boiler explosions in the near
future, as I might save a life for young men buying these old
engines with standard boilers must look out. I can tell them

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