Iron Man of The Month


| March/April 1968



Charlie Ditmer

That elusive, overalled vertebrate known more commonly to devotees of the threshing ring circles as Ye Iron Man can and oftentimes does wind up as a sort of superman, or titular head of his own 'cult'.

Though in the eternal realms of theology there exists such divine allusions as Wise Men bearing gifts of 'incense and Myrrh', a Promised Land laden with 'milk and honey' and a Triune Deity revealed in 'Father, Son and Holy Ghost' we of the more earthy sort have quite capably incorporated a terminology most suitable to our own.

Indeed there are those who have expostulated quite lavishly upon the 'heavenly aroma' of hot cylinder-oil and coal smoke, others the 'divine symphony of stack music' and still others the 'soul satisfying wail' of the thresh engine whistle, not to mention those to whom the sight of men threshing the golden grain is assurance that God is on the Throne and all's right with the world.

But when it comes to a certain cigar-chewing Iron Man, his son and their two engines, I am moved, though not irreverently, to refer to this trinity as none other than the earthly triune of 'Father, Son and Holy Smoke'.

For when the senior patriarch and 'godhead' of his cult, the cigar-chewing Charlie Ditmer yanks whistle cord and throttle on his mighty Advance Rumely, followed suit by son, Sylvester, on the deck of his barkin' Baker and the twain head down the village streets and highways for the Darke County Threshing grounds, the 'chosen people' begin following the 'pillar of cloud' to the 'promised land' like the Bible story of old.

HOLY SMOKE TRINITY of Ditmers does everything by steam around Greenville, Ohio. Father Charlie (right) chews furiously on his ragweed as Son Sylvester yanks throttle on his bark in Baker belching 'Holy Smoke' to the high blue heavens. Verl Lawrence helps supervise (left). The old shed screeched puny defiance to the mighty Baker. Luckily a railroad strike was pending on the. PRR tracks reducing the danger of oncoming trains.