Iron Man Of The Month


| September/October 1967



Old locomotive oil-can

MANY FRIENDS DROP BY TO CHAT WITH ELMER Joe Ernst, Grand Trunk engineer, gives Elmer his old locomotive oil-can to put in his KORN KOB MUSEUM. Ernst has also made some, threshing rigs out of wood for the museum. Courtesy of Joe Fahnestock, Union City, In

Joe Fahnestock

UNION CITY, INDIANA. of DAYTON DAILY NEWS AND Radio's 'joe's journal'

'And may this day be both pleasant and profitable to both us and to Thee, in Jesus name and for His sake we ask it, AMEN.' Thus prays the Rev. Elmer L. Ritzman at each and all the numerous steam thresher-men's conclaves and reunions throughout the length and breadth of this land of ours, whenever and wherever he is called upon to serve as honorary chaplain.

It isn't until the official Ritzman blessing has been asked, following the raising of Old Glory to the strains of our National Anthem, that steam engine stacks begin barking, whistles begin blowing and belts start to flopping ushering in another beautiful and glorious day of old-time American threshermen's get-together, reminiscent of the days when 'steam was king.'

And, as the day wears on, should you happen to stress a point most pleasing in the course of your conversation, don't be surprised if a resounding, 'A-MEN' comes forth from a certain distinguished-looking Pennsylvania Dutchman of sparse mane who happens to agree as a sort of official emphasis to the correctness of what you are saying.

'Elmer Ritzman has done more than any one man to revive and keep alive the interest in the steam engine throughout America,' confided Lyle Hoffmaster of Worthington, Ohio, after hand-shakes and well-wishes that sent the preacher-editor back to his Pennsylvania homeland at the close of the 1967 National Threshermen's Association. 'Next to him, the credit must go to LeRoy Blaker,' summed up the Hoffmaster appraisal.

The entire N.T.A. 1967 steam threshermen's conclave experienced a moral and spiritual resurgence when the usual traveling van arrived at the grounds and chaplain-editor Ritzman and his entourage began spreading out their numerous issues of IRON MEN ALBUMS, GAS ENGINE MAGAZINES and related books and pamphlets in the grand old manner. For folks had heard of his siege of illness throughout the long winter months, and were wondering if their beloved Elmer would make it this time.