Iron Man Of The Month

| March/April 1970



At a Midwestern thresherman's reunion, he's the fellow with all the fancy cameras hanging around his neck. Back home on the high iron of the T. P. & W., he's the big fellow up in the cab racing to meet a schedule 'on the advertised'.

Whether it's at the National Threshermen's Association at Wauseon, Ohio, the reunion at Pontiac, I'll., The Old-Timer Threshers and Sawmillers near Fort Wayne, Ind., or at Mr. Pleasant, Iowa, the friendly 'Hello', the warm smile and horn-rimmed spectacles under the engineer's cap, the several cameras dangling from shoulder straps and press camera in hand all have become quite the fixture wherever men have gathered together to pay honors to 'King Steam'. And, likely as not, after briefing himself on the run's orders, comparing railroad Hamiltons with the conductor, stuffing his 'flimsies' into his engineer's bib, he might just find time to climb down from his locomotive cab with camera in hand to take an official photograph for The Toledo, Peoria and Western should the occasion demand.

Yes, you've guessed it. For that's been the work-a-day schedule as well as summer-fun pastime of engineer-photographer Leo Clark who's climbed down from his locomotive cab for the last time, after fifty-three years of service on The Toledo, Peoria and Western Railroad.

'What I'll do now?' says Clark, pondering the usual questions friends always fire at one who retires. 'Well, as an engineer I was always in a hurry to get to the next station with my train. 'The Hurrier I go, the Behinder I get'. But now I might just get me a trailer and travel the more leisurely way and, of course, take pictures wherever I go.'

For Iron Man Leo Clark, taking pictures is like breathing. Whether it's been in the official capacity of railroad photographer or just sauntering over the grounds at some Midwestern threshermen's reunion to take a picture of an old steam traction engine, the worst problem he ever had to contend with was choosing which of his several fine cameras he'd use to do the job. Should the next photo be snapped with his automatic Rollieflex, an old Kodak folding camera, a modern Japanese camera with all the gadgets and high-speed aperture, or his trusty old four-by-five Speed Graphic 'blunderbuss' which he's often pressed into service for those official railroad photographs, upon orders from the 'top brass'?