Iron Man Of The Month

| July/August 1968


The quiet, pulsating rhythm of a heavy fly-wheel, the ever-restless crosshead prancing back and forth between its guides, but like a tiger in its cage going nowhere, the rod and valve gear flashing circular patterns from the dim bulb overhead, the smell of hot cylinder oil and the muffled surge of steam billowing pillars of black coal smoke from the tall brick smokestack in the high blue yonder all sights and sounds and smells I hadn't thrilled to since a wee lad.

Oh yes, I had driven past the quaint old arched-window, brick structure a thousand times. And a thousand times mine eye had gloried in the contoured beauty of the early American brick smokestack, reflecting its imposing majesty in the tranquil waters of the great Miami River, while, crossing the bridge in the northern environs of Troy, Ohio. But never had it dawned upon me that herein was a steam-operated power plant still functioning to the civic need in a modern-day American community. What more perfect haunt than this for flushing out ye Iron Man of the Month!

'I'm a stationary fireman in the old Troy Power Plant,' said Harold Baker of 327 Wood St., Piqua, Ohio, who'd dropped in one evening to place an order for steam engine recordings. 'Some-time when you're driving past, stop by and I'll show you around. It's one of the few operating steam plants for miles around.'

When I did pay a visit to the Troy Power Plant, some weeks later, mine host, fireman Baker, greeted me, saying, 'Chief Engineer, Harold Miller left early. He said I could answer all your questions about the plant anyway.'

But just as I had completed my story and was already folding it up to slip into an envelope, for Anna Mae a well-penned epistle was discovered in my mail box, giving more historical answers and facts to my queries signed, Chief Engineer, Harold A. Miller, 3525 String town Rd., Troy, Ohio.