Iron Man of The Month


| July/August 1966



20 hp Russell engine

Courtesy of Joe Fahnestock, Box 47, Union City, Indiana. Veteran Sawmiller and Thresher, John Limmer and grandson, Frank Johnson at throttle of 20 hp Russell. Neighbor boy on rear of deck also runs engine. 'A familiar fixture at Reunions'.

Joe Fahnestock

UNION CITY, INDIANA.

AN APOLOGY TO IRON MAN PERCY SHERMAN Although to my wife I have never as yet admitted to making a mistake in life the fact remains that once in a rare while the 'memory diodes' of my automatic, computer-operated typewriter get to writing things backward such as that Iron Man, Percy Sherman, is 76 years old when actually he is only 67 years young (he was born the year the first Baker was out-shopped) all of which amounts to adding 9 glorious years of throttle jerking to this tireless giant of energy at the midwest reunions. And to Jack Tucker 'the undertucker' an apology for calling his whereabouts down Lexington-way when Georgetown would have gotten him better. I don't want the 'hot breath' of the Iron Men breathing so torridly down my neck.

He looks like a burly, brawny-armed sawmill man, standing on the vibrating deck of his pulsating Russell Engine at the National Thresher's Reunion at Wauseon, Ohio, where he often shares the job of yanking whistle cord and throttle with his grandson, Frank Johnson, who's learning to fill grandpa's shoes.

Wherever you may happen to roam over the grounds of some mid-western steam threshermen's reunion, you can pick John Limmer out of the crowd over by the sawmill either helping the boys adjust the big saw-blade or a-standing up on the deck of his beloved Russell, awaiting the go ahead from the head sawyer for the next log coming up. The proverbial engineer's cap, the tell-tale moustache and day's growth of chin beard, the oily overalls and heavy clod-hopper shoes, the leather watch strap tucked into his overall bib, a heavy wrench clutched in his horny hand it wouldn't be a typical thresher's reunion without John Limmer, old-time sawmiller and thresherman milling about the engines.

Whether it's lining up for the big belt, climbing up to oil the valve gear, or standing on the deck with eagle eye for the go ahead with hand on the throttle, John Limmer is always one of the main fixtures at ye olde time threshermen's shindig. And when the big engine begins pulsating and saw bites into log, if big John Limmer isn't satisfied with the available performance of fly-wheel on belt, he has his trusty grandson by his side to take over while he climbs up with wrench in hand to coax a little extra yank from the governor of his 20 horsepower Russell.

'My grandson, Frank Johnson can run this engine as good as grandpa,' yells John over the hiss of steam and bark of stack. 'He's getting to that age in life where he usually gets whatever he wants from his grandpaand sometimes he gets to thinkin' he knows a little more. But it's a fine thing to have a young fellow learning to like steam engines and be able to take over when we older fellows will just have to sit by and watch.'