| July/August 1957

St. Louis 20, Missouri

Am enclosing $4.00 for two years subscription renewal to the ALBUM as it gives me great pleasure to read of other people having experiences similar to mine. I don't know what it is that makes so many people (including me) travel hundreds of miles to see steam in action, while some of us have worked in different lines of work, there is still that longing for the steam traction engine.

We all know it was a hard life, since you seldom knew just where you would be even as much as a day in advance, as the threshing business depended so much on the weather as well as other things. I was at the home of Milford Reese on July 14 when it rained us out and there Was a large crowd of people there. It was held over until the following Wednesday and I, being on vacation, made the second trip and enjoyed it immensely. On July 24 we stopped at Colchester, Illinois, and spent the day there having a nice time with hundreds of people who had driven hundreds of miles for no other reason than to spend a day around the steam traction engines. Later we visited the Drexelious Brothers at Bathalta, Illinois, and again met many friends who had traveled far to see the engines. Just as I was returning to work after my vacation I received another invitation for Chas. Humiston's threshing bee. I was not able to get off and believe me it was hard to go back to work and miss that one. I worked around a Worthington Ingersol Rand cooler engine and several turbines, but they are stationary. I don't know if that makes a difference or not, but why do people want to go long distances to be around a steam engine when the life of a thresherman was such a hard one? Most everyone who run one will agree to that.

In the central states the fields and crops were relatively small but when a person got into the Dakotas and Northwest where the farms were 4 to 7 thousand acres and some fields having 5 and 6 hundred acres in them, it did not make any difference where you were on a certain day, if the weather was favorable you threshed just the same as the day before or the week before, only when it got along about October or later you wore more clothes to keep warm and the hose or water pipe froze at night, but you threshed just the same. They used large machines in that country and always wanted the machine working to full capacity. Moving was usually done at noon and was moved so that the haul would be shortest. The help was paid by the hour and all moving was done so that the laborers would be working all the time they were paid for. Engines of 20 to 46 hp. usually furnished ample power.


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