Dairyland Driftings


| May/June 1964



Shingle Mill

See Dairy land Driftings.

Collectors items don't grow on trees, but such items occasionally found with trees growed in. Such was a shingle mill located in a jack pine timber some 40 miles northeast of here. That birch tree could boast a 12 or 15 year grip on the framework of the mill as evidenced in the photo. Fortunately the saw blades had been removed to a distant shed. Some axe work, a jack, some planks and the winch on my truck soon had the hibernator back to civilization. This mill is so constructed to accommodate the carriage from either end, can't recall seeing another like it.

'HAPPY JOHNSON' is a retired milk plant operator but still very active. His hobby is working in his wood lot, and with his Case tractor loves to buzz up stove wood. Getting so's if he sees a pole-wood pile he stops in to ask if he can saw it up, for the fun of it.

My father, J. F. McGukin of Vinemont, Alabama, and I have been subscribers to your magazine since we learned of its existence in 1960. Before we heard of it we thought we were the only people left who liked steam. We were glad to hear that we had company. At present we have one portable, two stationary boilers, and two stationary engines. We also have one borrowed portable and are negotiating with hopes of buying a Baker traction engine of 23 hp. Here is a picture of our 9? 10 Frick Portable, Engine No. 24464. At present it is being used to pull a Corley sawmill with edger. We carry a modest 115 lbs. on this butt strap boiler. It is in excellent condition, as good as any I have seen, with absolutely no corrosion damage to the flue sheet. We believe it was built in 1923.

We had the pleasure of having the JAMES SYLLINGS from Spring Grove, Minn., visit us one week-end. Old tractors and steam was the topic of the day.

Got word from NYLE KURTH, Eau Claire, about some steam power units in said town. The next day I was on my way and he had quite a list of steamer still intact. Several high speed Brownell double cylinder units were going strong at Sterling Pulp & Paper Co. Of most concern to us was a double Cly. 16 x 36 A. C. Corliss No. 889 hooked tandem to an air compressor at the U.S. Rubber Co. where Nyle is employed. This engine, though it has performed around the clock for 3 decades, is still in near new condition but doomed for scrap. Three smaller electric powered compressors are being set up. Tragic such reliable trouble free steam power has to terminate its usefulness so prematurely. To me its a modernizing mood of some top-brass. The Railroads have gone 'modernistic' and are now struggling hard to stay intact.

A long time pre-meditated trip was realized on Feb. 6th'. Possibly two years prior to this date ART MEISNER from Stillwater, Minn., informed me of the 3 magnificent steam power units still going strong at St. Paul City Water Works. Sensing as how every year numerous stationary steam units of this type are being replaced or discontinued, I dared not spend this trip any longer. Turning us loose in a Water Purification plant nucleus's by such steam power was beyond my comprehension. Three A. C. Cross Compound Corliss Engines hooked tandem to huge water pumps have practically worked around the clock since their installation in 1922. My guess is they are good for another 40 years. In the old adjacent water pumping station still sat two E. P. Allis vertical triple expansion pump engines, amazing units indeed. Here too was an Ingersoll Rand Cross Comp. Horizontal Corliss, with tandem hook up to the air compressor. These three units were still used, as standbys up through the late 1950's.