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
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.
1 do not remember the name of these old engines, if I ever heard
it mentioned so if any of our readers of the ALBUM happen to
remember hearing any of your older brother engineers tell stories
of one of them would you write to me about it? I am collecting an
album of old engines and need something like that to complete my
collection. Would also appreciate any pictures any of you may have,
of any engine or age. I will gladly exchange pictures and swap
yarns with any thresher who cares to exchange with me.
Hoping someone will be able to furnish me with the desired
information about one of these very old engines.