Information Please

| May/June 1957

3775 Herman Avenue, San Diego 4, California

I have been a reader of your wonderful little magazine for nearly two years now and have enjoyed eve page and picture. It's the greatest since the old American Thresherman Magazine of which I was also a subscriber way back in the teens and early twenties. During all those years I was engaged in the threshing business in the wheat country of southern Minnesota where I was born and raised until the age of 40.

I began engineering at the age of 10 on an old 12hp. return flue Huber engine that was used to fill silos. Then in 1912 father bought our first thresher, a 20-70 double cylinder engine and 36-56 Red River separator and I fired for him until I was able to take the examination and received my engineers license when I took a job as engineer and manager of the rig and father bought a used outfit which he ran. We each went our separate ways as custom threshers.

After nearly 15 years in the business we had to give way to the small two-man rigs and farm tractors the hard surfaced roads had also a lot to do with putting us out of business as we could not move on them with our steel wheels and cleats. I went out of the threshing and engineering game in the year 1925 after only 12 days work in that year and have not pulled a throttle since. Sometimes around this time of year I do get a longing for the smell of coal smoke and cylinder oil once more.

Since taking your wonderful magazine I have learned about more different makes and types of old steam engines than I ever knew existed. I have made a hobby of writing to many old time threshers who have letters and pictures in the ALBUM every issue. Most have answered and sent pictures of their various engines and machines as I have done also.

Now, I want to ask through your ALBUM if there are any old engineers of about my age (59) who as a lad remembers hearing the older men at that time ever mention an old traction engine that was chain driven? I do remember when a lad of around 7 or 8 hearing the then older men tell about their experiences with them and how the chain links would break and sing through the air, and on one occasion when going down a hill and onto a bridge, at the foot of the hill, how the chain broke and made the engine go into free-wheeling. How, down the hill they flew and across the old bridge that they had intended to stop and reinforce with planks before crossing but as it turned out they had no way of stopping for such at that time. I have never forgotten that story and to me at that time was very exciting.