HARRY HOAK'S MEMORIES OF STEAM


| March/April 1978



Harry H. Hoak

Harry H. Hoak Photo courtesy of his son, Ken Hoak.

Ken Hoak

Harry H. Hoak, of Slackwater, Pennsylvania, is an Iron-Man with many memories of steam and threshing, who could give a lot of our readers tips on solving traction engine problems.

Hoak used to fire his father's steam engine, a 1911 Avery double-cylinder undermounted. The engine is now at Williams Grove, Pennsylvania, owned by Herb Conley.

Interviewed at his home several miles from Lancaster, Harry recalled that he was 14 when he first fired for threshing. He worked with his dad, Harry F. Hoak, who threshed in Conestoga Township, where they lived, for about five miles around. The senior Hoak did not farm; he had a threshing rig and operated a small stone quarry.

'He had five men working for him on the rig,' Hoak recalled. 'The earliest for wheat was July 4; it usually was the 8th. Barley came earlier about June 25.

'He threshed anywhere from 10 to 50 acres, depending on the size of the farm. I grew up with machinery. During the Depression, I went to road construction, running a steam roller.

'Then I worked 12 years for the Arthur S. Young machine shop at Kinzersthat was Everett's dad. (Arthur S. Young was a leader in the formation of the Rough & Tumble Engineers which holds its annual reunion at Kinzers in August. His son, Everett, is an active member.)