Ole Puff - after being striped by Mr. Kauffman
219 Lincoln Street Steelton, Pa. 17113
If you happen to attend one of the steam engine shows this year, be sure to look for Mervin Grubb's 1918 double cylinder Frick. It shouldn't be too hard to find because my sister (Mrs. Esther Sorg) and I are the engineers. Being the only girl engineers around, we have quite a bit of fun.
I guess Dad has had 'Ole Puff' -that's what we call her for close to 3 years. Since he operated one for Amos Brandt of Bainbridge, his uncle, during his boyhood he had always dreamed of owning one. The whole family is happy because Dad latched onto a Ole Puff now. Bill Strayer was the previous owner.
We two girls may not look like engineers, but just give us a little time and we can build steam up just as good as anyone else. Although there have been a few occasions when we needed some welcomed help from the men folk. Well! Everyone has their bad days.
I never experienced the thrill of actually running a steam engine before we had Ole Puff. Esther is really the chief engineer and I guess I'm the assistant. She really knows more about the engine's operation then I do. To tell you the truth, I'm a bit frightened of Ole Puff. You know afraid I might put her in the wrong gear, oil her the wrong place, or forget where the brakes are. I can't imagine a collision between two steam engines, but I have come pretty close. Perhaps with a little more experience I will master the skills.
Mr. Kauffman did the striping on the engine last summer. I must comment that Mr. Kauffman certainly knows what he is doing and he is quite good at it. Everything was done to make it as it was originally. I have enclosed a picture of the engine, but unfortunately the print is not too clear.
We sure are looking forward to the coming shows. One doesn't appreciate how much fun and work a steam engine show can be until he participates. Getting to see old friends again sure can be interesting too, not to mention the new ones we make.
When the engine isn't being exhibited, Dad keeps her at his service station on Cameron Street in Harrisburg. We live in Steelton, and when Dad fires Ole Puff up we can hear the whistle blow from our back porch. As cars pass by the station, many people decide to stop and take a look. The expressions on the faces of the youngsters is quite delightful. After all, Ole Puff is the first steam engine many of them have ever seen.
They didn't even know such a piece of machinery ever existed. Some old timers also stop in and they tell us stories of their younger days when they remember working the land of their farms with such engines. It sure does sound like hard, genuine work.
My son, Chris, is now 14 months old and I wholeheartedly expect to take him along with us again to the shows. In this picture he was 8 months old. Mom made him the engineering outfit. He is sitting on the back of Ole Puff at the Williams Grove Show. As he gets older I hope he develops an interest in the engine.
I won't end my letter with a good-by because I trust you'll all come to the shows and we can get acquainted.