DAIRYLAND DRIFTINGS


| May/June 1966



Norman Watry

Courtesy of Gil Johnson, Route 1, Frederic, Wisconsin Dennis Andres at controls. Norman Watry checking hose connection.

Gil Johnson

This episode is just picking up some 'loose ends'. On the Johnson place, choring with cows gets to be a routine, sometimes I think monotonous. Like one man said, gotto milk cows every day and twice on Sunday. An occasional steam up and the field work takes up the more interesting slack. One thing can be said of steam, it is versatile . To find a steam-engine in a milk plant of today would be most unusual, and yet to find a plant without steam would be impossible. Steam cleans and sterilizes dairy equipment like nothing else, and heats the building to boot. In a small way I too find my steam 'jenny' applicable to our dairy set up; and of course gives me a good excuse to steam up first thing every spring and last thing every fall. On one occasion Dennis Andres and Norman Watry from the Duluth area stopped in shortly after I had filled the boiler last spring. By the way, they were both driving compacts, Dennis a red domestic with air cooled motor in rear and rear wheel drive, Norman's a black foreign compact with liquid cooled motor front mounted and front wheel drive. It was an interesting contrast to me. We had one thing in common, a desire to steam up. Thus the boys fired up the 50 Case and I fetched some steam hose and fittings to steam clean the vacuum pipeline for the milk machine. In one picture Dennis is at the controls and Norman is double checking the hose connections. My job was to manipulate the stall cocks to permit passage of steam in the process of doing a thorough job in a short time. (See picture taken in barn). Dealers that sell and service milk machines are available to do this cleansing job but they use a pump and lye solution in water that takes a couple of hours at a cost upwards of $8.00. With steam a quick job and no mess, a dry pipeline and no cost. We are paid a 70 premium per cwt. on low bacteria count milk so I find it a very worthy incentive. I believe it is possible to start a 'steam cleaning route' using an uprite portable boiler.

In my collection of clippings I have a picture of Stanley Brandenberg of Serena, Ill., using a 'steam jenny' to improve sanitation and save time and cost in cleaning hog houses. I have known of turkey raisers who also use steam boilers for the same reason. Steam has many other uses like cleaning out fertilizer attachments on grain drills, and corn planters. Some years ago we steam cleaned a Titan tractor prior to painting.

On a trip into eastern Wisconsin back in April 1958 we found Carl Kleinsmidt of Merrill making maple syrup. He was boiling down maple sap by use of steam through copper tubing in the sap pan, piped from a Nichols Shepard traction boiler. He explained by the use of this method there is no danger of ever scorching the syrup.

In May 1961, we had the pleasure of a trip to Durward Steinmetz at La Farge, to witness the steaming of tobacco beds, using his Advance engine. I have also noted several sawmills up north that saw through the winter months using a 'hot pond' which is heated by steam. Logs are dumped in these concrete vats to thaw out prior to sawing. This not only removes grit from the bark, but speeds up sawing and cuts saw maintenance to a minimum. Sawing frozen timber is timely, tricky and often expensive.

The group picture was taken last July 4 when we belted up the 50 Case to do some corn shredding. On the engine is Gary Schacht and his dad Harry from Eau Claire, who belted up the engine. Gary fed the shredder. Other visitors are Mr. and Mrs. Allen Foltz and their three boys Floyd, Guy, and Wayne. The 'boy' in the hat is great grandpa John Foltz, all local people. Next is Joe Pangerl and his grandson Dennis Olson from Pine City, Minn. John Foltz and his brother

Joseph owned a woodworking plant at Norborne Missouri in the early 1900's. They used an Erie stationary engine for power and John still maintains there is nothing quite like steam. Joe Pangerl has had steam engines for threshing and sawing since 1916. He too still loves and talks steam.