426 Margaret Street Akron 6, Ohio
The rice is cut by hand with a sharp little hook affair used in one hand. When a bundle is in hand it is tied with a band of rice straw same as many of us poor Eastern people have done in our wheat fields, during past years. The big fellows, out west, used other tools about which we never knew much until we read the ALBUM. In Luzon, there are many threshing floors where rice is tramped by animals and beat by hand to accomplish separation of grain from straw. However, there are some threshing machines. All machines I ever saw in the Philippines were McCormick. I. H. C. has a good agent in Manila, I suspect. There is some choice in tractors, I. H. C. - Deere - Allis Chalmers, etc. The picture of the tractor and operator in charge of the tractor tell a long story about machinery in the hands of South East Asian people. If the tractor comes to a standstill due to lack of water in radiator - fuel in tank or oil in crank-case, you can be sure the operator will come awake and step on the starter to see if it will start rolling again. It is not necessarily the lack of mental ability - they can learn to care for and repair equipment as well as anyone. There are two classes of people - the very rich, who do not need to work and the very poor, who own nothing and have nothing to gain by doing a good job of looking after tools and equipment. The thresher and and tractor are government owned. If it wears out or falls apart the government has a rich uncle by name of SAM who can buy another rig. Or they can tramp the rice out by foot, no one seems to care what happens. Perhaps it is not correct to say, no one cares; there are a few dedicated people in all governments. But the record indicates far too many spend their time and energy trying to secure personal gain at the expense of their country. We are not free of all 'bad apples' and bad conditions in our country, but you have to see other countries in order to know how unbelievably lucky you are to be given the priceless right to live in our wonderful land, the U. S. A.
Here in Ohio, I have run my steam drill - the Star-Gaar-Scott combination for 40 continuous days this season of 1961. It is now in mothballs awaiting next year. Each year, I put electric lights inside the firebox and hold a water test of 265 pounds. I get a company superintendent and anyone else who cares to do so, to watch while I pick around various places with a hammer. They tell me the boiler will last longer than I will, but they don't know how long I expect to be here. Anyhow, I'm scared of a boiler and I wish to play the game safe, if I understand how to do so. I carry 155 to 160 pounds of steam. In other words the test is 100 pounds over my working pressure. The boiler was manufactured by the Murray Iron works in 1929. The plate is 7/16 shell and 1/2 around the firebox and flue sheets. There has been some rusting and scaling from hard water. A hole cut in the bottom of smoke box showed 3/8 of plate thickness. I never cut into the boiler any other place. Some of my old thresher friends, in whose judgment I have great confidence, tell me the boiler is in splendid condition. I like to think they know whereof they speak. (Speaking of the Gaar-Scott 22 hp).
The drilling machine has been completely rewooded, restored and some improvements added, like better bearings and high grade alloy shafting. I think it is a better piece of equipment than it was, when new in 1924. This year a new drive belt was installed. Size 10' wide, 5 ply, 31' long. The invoices show that the new belt cost a little over 3 times what the same belt cost in 1938. That tells you something about what World War II (The war to insure peace) did to the value of our dollar. I'm not hurting, I can charge 3 times for my work. The bad part of it is, if this present day trend continues, our grandchildren will need a bushel basket of dollars, to buy a pair of shoes. Then everyone can understand that Grandpa was a spendthrift (to speak kindly of the old fellow.) We have such a wonderful country, I would like to see it remain that way.
Other years I have sent you pictures of my equipment. Picture X is similar, showing the outside flow of water when the final test was in progress. A valued and loyal helper, Mr. Louie Racick, worked with me on this work for 8 or 10 years. He has graduated to watchman position. Some people get older, you know. I'm quite a little younger than 10 years ago. Picture Y is the drill power plant. It is rated at 11 hp under 85 pounds of steam. It is quite active with 150 pounds. Since the exhaust steam returns to the boiler, young folks sometimes watch it run for a time and then ask me: 'What makes that thing run?'
Picture Z was made just as the drill was being spotted for storage under canvas. I make a few extra turns around the parking ground, whenever I move. It keeps the gears shined, you know !
The Dodge (1942) Army truck was bought in 1946. It has run about ten thousand miles all told. It is on the original tires which were rethreaded some years ago. Painted a fire engine red, same as drill frame. It is nice to drive to town, Saturday afternoon. The young hot-rods are so polite, they would not just crowd the old man for anything. If there was anything wrong with the Dodge, that I knew about, it would soon be repaired. It is in nice shape. If you wish a ride in it, Elmer, please don't come in January. The side curtains are not extra tight.
This year I had hopes of again seeing you, Elmer. The ball did not bounce that way. I guess neither one of us are seeing the conventions we wish to see. I got into the Mansfield hospital the last day of July. An operation and three weeks time has brought me home where I'm sitting around reading and writing to pass the time, while nature makes final repairs on flues and water pump.
Wishing the best to you and your family.....