By Staff
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Millin Bros. 26 Compound Engine and 12 roller shredder, both Advance of Patch Grove, Wisconsin. I am the only one of the brothers left. Retired at Hudson, Wisconsin, at the age of 78.
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Mr. L. C. W. Parris is the owner-driver of this very beautiful Burrell Threshing Engine seen here in the competition at Braintree on July 9th. This was called 'Setting the Drum' and the competitor had to haul the 'Drum' to an appointed
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This is a picture of a logging camp up in British Columbia, Canada, in 1915 on a Sunday morning with most of the crew in camp. The late Mr. Richard Purcell is standing next to the door of the bunk-house. I believe that is a Royal Mounted Police standing i
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Pictured is a Marion shovel on a road building job on Mt. Everett, Wash., in 1912. The late Richard Purcell was the operator and can be seen standing in edge of cab with hand on boom. This picture was taken off a picture Richard Purcell, Jr., has. I have
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This was taken of the Bucyrus shovel and 2-6-2 Locomotive, probably in a strip mine in Canada. The late Richard Purcell is the operator of the shovel (standing in the doorway next to boom). Mr. Purcell was known as a man that got a lot of work done but wa


May I offer some information in reply to Mr. William Ree’s
letter in your May-June issue. According to Mr. R. B. Gray, in his
excellent book ‘Development of the Agricultural Tractor in the
United States’, the Van Duzen tractor was built in 1894. It was
similar to the Froelich (1892), in fact, the Froelich was powered
by a Van Duzen gasoline engine.

The first Hart Parr was built in 1902 and in 1906 they were the
first to use the word ‘tractor’ instead of the longer term
‘gasoline traction engine’.

Mr. Gray’s book is a wonderful source of information on
tractors. It covers their entire development from the beginning up
to 1950.

THOMAS KEMPLING, Box 700, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada


Model steam engines and separators and old gas engines heralded
in the coming of spring at a meeting of the Illiana Steam and Hobby
Club at Pine Village, Indiana, Sunday afternoon, April 30th. The
old timers were glad to welcome Clyde Johnson and Gene Philips of
Valparaiso with their gas engines.

One of the largest displays was an exhibit by the
Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Tippecanoe featuring guns used in
the battle and arrowheads. Three people in the dress of 1811 were
there to explain the articles. Among the other exhibits were a
large collection of cross-stitched aprons made by Mrs. Wilbur
Collins of Pontiac, Illinois. Also shown were quilts, afghans,
stamps, whittling, leather work, paintings, and ceramics, featuring
mugs with a snapshot fired on of a Case 40 hp and Leonard Mann,
Ernest Cox and Merlin Warwick standing by.

After a delicious chicken barbecue supper Mr. Wilbur Graham of
Lafayette invited the Club to participate in the big Fund Raising
Event for the Home Hospital, September 15, 16 and 17.

Mrs. Margaret Horn and Mr. Thomas Lock told all about the
celebrations to be held commemorating the Battle of Tippecanoe. The
Battle was small, but it was the keystone in the settling of the
United States.

Mr. Eiffel Plasterer of Huntington, Indiana, assisted by his son
Bill, gave a splendid illustrated lecture on ‘The Grand Old
Steam Engines’.

He showed the evolution of the methods of threshing and of steam
engines, showed engines at work and at the reunions. Our memories
of the engines and the friends made at reunions are very

By MRS. LEONARD MANN, Otterbein, Indiana


Iron-Men Album for May-June carried an article written by me
about Model Building. I am not what you would call a modest fellow,
so I feel free to say it is fun to see something one has written in
print. Thanks so much for printing it. The Case Engine (pictured
with this article) was built by Eugene Dawson, 5700 First Ave.
South, Seattle, Washington, not by me as stated. I doubt that I
could build so fine an engine as this one and Mr. Dawson should
have the credit.

C. E. (JACK) KAUER, 2511 N. Waco, Wichita 4, Kansas


I was somewhat intrigued by Mr. E. G. Benson’s request in
the May-June issue of the Album, for indicator cards taken at one
of the so-called ‘Economy Runs of Steam Engines’ at one of
the steam shows of last year. I can assure Mr. Benson that such a
request is tantamount to requesting a symphony orchestra
conductor’s score sheet of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony from
an ear-playing country fiddler. I attended the two steam shows last
season where such tests were simulated and the only steam indicator
at either show (I am positively sure of this) was the one (which
was not used) that I had in my own collection. I might state
further that I have never yet seen an indicator card of a steam
traction engine.

While these tests are very commendable, as far as they go, yet
much significant and meaningful additional data could have been
acquired very easily that was completely overlooked. In addition to
the data that suggested by Mr. Benson, I would suggest a logical
method of procedure should be followed whereby the boiler and
engine of the traction engine be considered as two separate
entities, and the performances of each be considered separately
instead of combining all results of both entities as being
concomitant and in effect issuing from a single operational unit.
For instance, it is quite possible to have an efficient boiler in
combination with an inefficient engine, and vice versa.

In reference to the boiler only, in addition to what Mr. Benson
suggested it would be absolutely necessary to state in each
individual test the amount of grate surface, the amount of heating
surface, and whether the boiler is jacketed. The earliest traction
boilers, at which time when most traction engines were of the 10
h.p. and 12 h.p. class, boilers were not jacketed. However, as
grain separators passed out of the hand-fed type, separators became
larger with greater threshing capacity and equipped additionally
with such power-consuming accessories as self-feeders and
wind-stackers, thus requiring greater demands for operational
power. As larger and more powerful engines were necessary to supply
the greater power demands, the matter of operation economy, in the
power department became a noticeable and sizeable factor that was
previously quite a negligible consideration in the smaller power
units, and jacketing the boilers was a practical and an efficient
means of reducing considerably the heat loss due to the greater
radiating surface of the larger boilers. And like many other
beneficial changes, at first, there was some opposition to the
jacketed boiler among some of the farmer thresher engineers.
Through some kind of curious reasoning , it was claimed by some
that a jacket on a boiler tended to cause the boiler to ‘burn
out.’ But as traction boilers tended to become increasingly
larger, to help meet the increasing power demands, there was an
increasing tendency to have the boilers jacketed.

To judge the economic performance of the engine of a traction
engine solely on the basis of the quantity of its power output at
the belt-wheel, and the sharpness of its exhaust bark, would be to
assume a proper distribution of steam operating on each side of the
piston with an adequate and proper amount of expansion on both
sides of the piston. But empirical assumptions cannot be
substituted for absolute facts, and absolute facts are not obtained
and substantiated by mere conjecture. Of course, the amount of lap
(inside and out) is a factory determinant. However, some types of
the better and more scientifically designed valve gears will permit
an increased expansion by decreasing the valve travel without
changing the valve’s previous motion pattern relative to the
piston motion. This shortening of relative valve travel, wherever
it is feasible, is accomplished by what is commonly known as
‘hooking up’ the reverse lever.

To obtain a true picture of what is actually taking place within
an engine cylinder, a steam indicator card is absolutely necessary.
The steam engine indicator is virtually the steam engineer’s
stethoscope whereby he is enabled to obtain the ‘heart
beat’ of a steam engine in a recorded form from which data he
can arrive, through correct interpretation, at definite
conclusions, thus enabling him to make whatever amends that seem
practical and justifiable.

To recount, in general, some of the information that can be
obtained from an indicator diagram, without going too deeply into
specific details, it is well first to note the general shape or
form, of the indicator diagram so that one may recognize it upon
first sight. The shape of the diagram suggests the appearance of an
old comfortable shoe, and this type of figure is known
mathematically as a closed curve. However, if the diagram
accurately represents pressure at every part of the stroke on each
side of the cylinder, some quite varied and valuable information is

1. It tells if the valve motion is doing its duty,
admitting steam just before the beginning of the stroke, cutting
off without too much wire drawing, releasing well before the end of
the stroke, and cushioning at the proper place to completely absorb
the momentum of the reciprocating parts at the end of the

2. If the maximum pressure is very much les s than the boiler
pressure, there could be a pressure loss due to a too-small supply
pipe, or a loss due to an extreme length of supply-pipe not
properly jacketed. In the case of a throttle governor (with which
all traction engines are equipped) due allowance must be made for
boiler-pressure reduction by the operation of this accessory.

3. If the pressure in the back stroke is not nearly atmospheric,
the exhaust passage is not large enough, or else there was much
steam condensed during admission, which is now boiling away during
exhaust, and so maintains a high exhaust pressure. Those traction
engineers that have a yen for a sharp exhaust bark and a restricted
exhaust nozzle to obtain this effect, do so at a cost of a possible
lower power output and the unnecessary waste of extra fuel

4. The shape of the expansion curve in the diagram provides much
valuable information, especially if it should deviate too radically
from the standard adibatic curve. The numerous data resulting from
the varying aberations of this curve are too voluminous to be
considered here.

5. Last, but not least, the indicator diagram enables one to
calculate the indicated horsepower of the steam engine, and by a
comparison with the brake horsepower we are able to obtain the
mechanical efficiency of a steam engine which can be expressed in
terms of a percentage. I might add that this list is only a few of
the important items about which indicator diagrams can contribute a
great deal of useful and important information that takes place
within the cylinder of a steam engine.

ORRIN G. SEAVER, Ypsilanti, Michigan


I have enjoyed the last ‘Album’ as I do all of them. I
am at loss to give you much information about the engine and
thresher on Page 6 of the last issue, but it would be my guess, an
early Gaar-Scott. I hope some other old timer can give us a sure
answer to this one.

Being a Case fan, I was interested in the photos of the two Case
Compounds plowing in South Dak. on Page 10. How about those rear
wheels looks like they (the extensions) were made of wood and
cement, Huh? As you will note the front engine has one of the old
Case plow engine tenders. I have a 1904 Case plow engine catalog
that shows this tender. It held about 8 barrels of water and a coal
bunker on top, and had sort of a triangular frame around it to
hitch the plows to.

I enjoyed Mr. E. J. Mathews letter on Page 9 too as I too had
some experiences with those old two wheel Case engine tenders. We
had one on an old Case 15 H.P. 1905 and then, after trading the
Case for an 18 H.P. Huber, we put the tender on it, and if you
didn’t keep those steering rods and chains singing tight, it
was sure a job to back an engine with it. We also had a Parsons
tender, made in Newton, Iowa. It was a half round wooden affair and
was as hard to handle as the Case. The only difference in the two
was, the Case we had, had a straight axle and the steering chains
had to be crossed.

The Parson’s had an axle like the front wheels of a car and
used straight chains. Backing that old Huber around to line up, the
tender wheels would sometimes plow furrows a foot deep, and the
Huber with its little 59 inch rear wheels, was pretty clumsy
without the tender. We finally gave up and took the thing off.

HOWARD MOYERS, 309 East 7th Avenue, Cheyenne, Wyoming


860 N. LaMay Avenue, Ypsilanti, Michigan

I really don’t have too much information on the pictures of
Mr. Purcell but am lucky enough to work with his son who permitted
me to take the pictured and have copies made. Mr. Purcell died
quite a few years ago and his son was young then and he doesn’t
remember much about his Dad.

As I remember the old N & S engine on the one picture, it
was built in 1898. Anyway it threshed and shredded corn, threshed
beans and clover seed, filled silo until 1927. The lugs wore off
the wheels and they thought they needed a different engine, so for
1928 they got a 20 hp Port Huron with a cab, but most everybody
started hollering. They didn’t want to get coal to thresh with,
so they traded it for a 40-60 Huber tractor.

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