Experiences

Tacoma, Washington

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.

EXPERIENCE

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.

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