I may and others may have foolish notions in their heads, but since my face and name appeared in your valuable magazine, a number of your subscribers and readers that I once knew have come to light and written me of their people buying steamers and threshers off me and some who worked for us and several different things that happened long ago and refreshed my mind of things. Several have asked for a write-up in your magazine, so I'll give a little outline of some of the things.
A boy who says he was 11 years old 51 years ago has been a reader and says he watched us unloading a new steam engine and followed us out of the town in S. W. Ohio to an old and big watering trough. A wonderful stream of water to fill the tanks. A foreign fellow, a German was plowing corn just over the fence. He let his mule stand and came up to see the new engine and how Hans and Fritz run a steamer no pull or push like this new engine in his native country. A few minutes elapsed when the pop-valve let loose with a terrific noise for the first time. It scared the mule which took off down through his patch of corn in high gear, plow bouncing up and down over the rocks. The man came back to where we were with the engine, actions were louder than words and some well expressed words followed saying, 'Who will scare my mule, ruin my corn and plow and stable door pays me $50 on the spot. 'The owner's engineer told the man he might as well forget his demand for $50. The foreigner said 'I'll sue $25. more.' Engineer said, 'Let's not argue, and let's get out of here with the engine.' The German said, 'The engine will not go a pace out of here until my loss is paid', and he sat down in front of the engine, daring them to run over him. They gave him a good shower bath which routed him and he took off for the house. The engine went on its way. I hustled back into town for a train with the 11 year old boy 51 years ago. Whether the German fellow ever tried to collect his pay, I never knew.
Another party writes me saying he was 16 45 years ago and his father bought a second-hand engine from me. A party bought a new 16 hp and traded a 10 hp in on the new engine which we expected to load on the R. R. car after the new engine was run off. A farmer a mile or so out of town wanted an engine to run a cider press and feed mill to replace a gasoline engine. He came saying he knew that old engine and if it was for sale and if cash price would deliver it to his farm. I priced it to him and he said he would give me half of what I asked. I started to run the old engine up the ramp to load it and he said he would give $50 more. I told him it would be loaded and he said to run it back, he would pay the figure I asked if we delivered it to his farm. I said, 'It's your engine'. Well, the amazing event on that trip to his farm we had to cross the railroad to his lane up to his bam lot and we saw a tramp or bum coming down the lane talking quite loud to himself. I stopped the engine. There was another bum under some bushes. He said to the bum coming down the lane,
'Did you bring me any eats?' 'No, I can't get anything to eat up at that house. That lady told me to chop some wood, then we could have something to eat. I am cutting no wood.' We took the engine up to the barn and the lady came out to see the engine and told us the dinner was ready. At the table the buyer of the engine said to his wife, 'You must have insulted that hobo.' She said, 'I must have, he asked for two hand-outs, one for him and one for his buddy. I told him to go to the wood pile and chop some wood, he threw up his hands, muttered something and started down toward the rail road. I think work and the sight of the wood pile must of satisfied his hungry spell.'
A party residing near DeWitt, Mich., writes me stating he is a subscriber of the ALBUM and if I was the party named in some of the ALBUMS - he said that he ran a 12 hp Frick steam traction engine for the fall of 1903 here in Ohio, he was then 19. I find he was a good and competent engineer and I remember him 56 years ago. We started about mid-July and if my mind serves me right, ran that season up to bleak December, almost every week day, no Holidays off or Saturday evenings and we worked from daylight to dark and likely move to the next job by night. The daily pay was less then in 1903 than an hour's pay at this time.
PAUL R. HENRY, Connersville, Indiana
My experience dates back to around 1926 when an old Gaar-Scott's whistle sounded early of a morning and I would take off in its direction. After spending all day with the engine and a 36' Advance-Rumely separator, about dark I would return home to find one more peach limb gone off the tree and Mom waiting, but it was worth it.
A few years later, I got a job with the outfit as 'oiler' helping on the separator, but every chance I had the engine was where I hung out. When the engineer went to dinner, I took over and Boy was that a thrill!
Combines eventually rooted this equipment out and not until last year when Walter Hood, a good friend of mine restored his 20 HP Double Nichols-Shepard, have I been around steam.
Walter got me interested again and though I haven't the space, since I live in Connersville, to own a steam outfit I am the proud possessor of two 1 hp Hercules gas engines, one 2cyl. 4hp Wade Drag Saw and another 2cyl. engine that came off of an old orchard sprayer and I really don't know the name of it never saw another like it. These have been restored and in perfect running condition. I'm still looking for something powered by steam, but it would have to be small.
Last year at the Pioneer Engineers of Indiana Reunion, held at Rushville, Indiana, I joined the organization and took the Wade engine as it was the only one I had at that time. I felt a little out of place for a while with all that steam around, but the 'Old Timers' made me feel at home, and welcomed me back, even though gasoline doesn't mix with steam too well. This year I hope to take all four over for three days that anyone should enjoy.