JACK REPORTS


| November/December 1969



1121 Hilltop Lane Modesto, Calif.

It is past time that my annual steam report and it will include some gas engines, too, was being sent in. I did very little steaming in 1969 didn't pull a single throttle and in general steam on the west coast was for the most part, rained out or no shows held for public.

I will start out with the WSFA bimonthly meeting, which was held in St. Paul, Oregon, with Mr. and Mrs. Carl Kirsch as the hosts, the weekend of April 26-27, during which, on Saturday afternoon, the Kirsch-Herman 75 Holt, newly restored had it's official showing for the public and WSFA members alike. It was on display and operation along with Carl's 45 Holt and newly restored and rare Caterpillar Ten in the widegauge model. A few gas engines were brought in and a model steam traction engine was in operation around the grounds. Carl put the 75 through her paces out in the lots behind his home in St. Paul, including the famous 'front end rearing' stunt with the front wheel off the ground. This tractor came from near Williams, California, was driven onto the lowboy that hauled it to Carl's home and then driven off under it's own power. When restoration started, it was found that 3 of the 4 cylinder heads required replacement or rebuilding. To the rescue came Mr. Hobart Corliss, of Trowbridge, Calif. He knew of 4 good Holt 75 cylinder heads, exhaust manifold and first motion chain that were for sale at a reasonable price. He notified Carl back came the word to Luy and ship to St. Paul the Holt was on it's way a new gasoline tank and radiator shield were made otherwise tractor was in very good condition. That evening, a dinner was served to about 105 members and wives in a hall in St. Paul no one walked away hungry that night!

Over the past year and a half, a friend of mine who moved into my home area with a nice collection of gas engines had purchased and nearly restored a 1925 model Sixty Caterpillar tractor since I had known him for several years and have also been collecting gas engines, we got together and added some more to the collection. So, after contacting a number of other interested gas engine collectors in the state and inviting Tom Graves, of Tigard, Oregon, and F. L. Williams, of Sebastapol, Calif., and formerly of Cordova, Ill., a meeting was held at the R. A. Squires farm near Hughson, May 19th, and Branch No. 6, Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association was formed.

A crowd of about 100 people was present and of course, Glenn Weagent of Stockton was present with his portable steam electric generating plant, furnishing juice for the coffee pot and steam for various model engines. About 35 gas engines were on exhibition and at least 30 of them were in operation. I had my IHC 3-5 LB engine belted to a 6-inch IHC burr grinder and the 2-hp KA Stover pulling the corn sheller and 3 hp ZC F-M engine belted to a rotary water pump in operation. Corn was shelled and then ground and a nice, old Famous 4 hp International portable engine was belted to the buzz saw buzzing up wood during the day at various times. Tom Graves was keeping the Wade drag saw in operation, and it took a man with 2 pairs of hands and 3 feet to keep up with it! Cliff Hardy, of Woodland, had his 3 hp Samson, 3 hp Nu-way and 4 hp Cushman upright belted to his old washing machine all in operation and holding up well in his own corner. Alton W. Rexin, of Hughson, had a nice 3 hp Fuller & Johnson newly restored had make and break ignition with coil and battery and mounted on a 4-wheel truck. This was a fine looking and running engine. Then there was a number of Fairbanks-Morse Z of different sizes and models, John Deere 1 hp, a F & J pump jack engine, Monitor pump jack engine, Stover, Ideal, Aermotor pump jack engine and many others represented. The Noeller brothers had a 2-cycle upright California-built engine forget the make right now, but nicely restored and my McCormick-Deer-ing 10-20 tractor which is undergoing restoration was on display as was my 10-inch Letz burr grinder with the nice, big balance wheel. It is now restored, with new, sharp burrs, coat of orange paint on hopper and blue paint on pulley, flywheel and frame. I managed to get all new parts needed from the Letz Company, through local John Deere dealer and some parts are still available, if anyone wishes to restore one of these fine old burr grinders. I hope to use it later this year when the 10-20 is ready to run again.

June 1st, we again drove to Me. Cloud, Calif., and took the annual steam train ride behind Prarie type 2-6-2 oil-burning steamer, last of the once large McCloud Lumber Company's large fleet of steam locomotives. I rode the cab of the engine entire trip of about 100 miles back into the beautiful mountain country east of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen, well away from any well-traveled public highways. My wife and boys rode in the train and took pictures of the various run-bys. I went up to the shop, rode back with the engine and the friendly crew, and after locking couplers with the train and making the regular air test, we were again off on a rare, beautiful trip into the green timber with it's quiet solitude, shattered only by the piercing whistle of the locomotive and the cracking exhausts as they started out, heavy and then shorter and quicker as the engineer hooked 'er up with his reverse lever. I took all water used on the entire trip, which was the first time I had done this since November of 1956 on a steam locomotive, and water was taken 3 times during the day, twice from the same tank and once at another location, where the train stopped for lunch at noon at Pondosa, a former logging camp that was also a reload area in the days of steam. Train was turned here on a balloon track and then headed back to McCloud at Bartol, we backed up another branch for about 10 miles where we stopped for a picture of huge and beautiful Mt. Shasta and other surrounding scenery you have to ride the train to get into this locality for the shot. I also fired the engine for a while and sanded out the flues as necessary they had the old sand scoop in the sand box as it should be. On the return trip to McCloud, we saw deer, a bear and other game truly a nature's paradise.