Everything You Wanted To Know About Steam Engines. But Were Afraid To Ask!

| May/June 1986

Route 1 Danville, Iowa 52623

'If we don't start teaching people about steam engines and show them how to run them, our hobby is going to die out'... Everybody who runs or owns engines at our shows has heard or made that statement or other. We, here at Old Threshers in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, decided it was time to do something about it.'

It started several years ago sitting around an old engine one night during the Old Threshers Reunion with my good friend Chady Atteberry from Blackwell, Oklahoma, and others. Chady made the statement that someday, someone should have a school of some kind for people to learn about engines. We talked about it for a couple of years and everyone with the engines seemed to think it was a good idea. However, none of us did anything about it.

Last winter while Chady and I were corresponding, he said their group at Pawnee, Oklahoma, was considering having a school of some kind the next spring or summer. That was in December of 1984 and the next month I brought up the subject at our monthly Board Meeting at Old Threshers. I suggested that being as how the Pawnee group was starting such a school, it might be a good idea for us to try one in the future. Everyone thought it was a great idea and wanted to know if we couldn't set something up in the spring of 1985 ourselves. I was a little hesitant about doing it so soon as there was planning to be done and many other projects to finish, including our 110 Case steam engine.

After some thought, we decided to give it a try. We felt it would take about five nights of classroom work and then a 'fire-up' day after the last sessions were over so everyone could get some 'hands-on' experience. There happened to be five Monday nights in April last year so we decided April was when we would have it. I volunteered to teach the class, at least this first year, because of my background with engines; and also because no one else came forward to volunteer!

Our first concern was if there really were enough people interested to make up a class? The concern was rather short lived when class time rolled around and we had 24 people arrive. Then, we wondered where we were going to put them all.