Courtesy of Mr. William T. Richards, North St., Granville, Ohio
Humor, like morality, is subject to time and place. Much that is now funny was hardly that when the event took place. Like the time my father killed the horse.
We were hulling clover for a family by the name of Pirn who still hitched, for light jobs, an old family horse.
On this occasion, the horse was hitched to a stone boat to bring the few bags of clover seed to the barn. When the hulling was finished, the engine shuffled easily back toward the huller out of its chock holes, it gave a few its head down, probably asleep. But when our McNamar started the huller out of its chock holes, it gave a few barks at which the old horse gave a startled look and fell over, dead as a mackeral. That night there was gloom at the supper table as the family reflected how meager a reward for a long and faithful life to scare this horse to death. In later years my own feeling is one of wonder that the poor creature's last earthly vision should be a McNamar engine.
Then there was the unscheduled swim in Raccoon Creek. Tom Davis, as a teenage youth, hauled water for the rig using a wooden tank, dip bucket and a team that could pull anything. Taking advantage of his good team, Tom drove the tank right into Raccoon Creek to make his dipping easy. Resultthe tank floated, lifted the front bolster and uncoupled the wagon. Tom, finding this state of affairs beyond him, ran up to the rig to get help. When the crew came in sight of the team on the bank hitched to the front wheels while the tank floated in the creek, one feeder laughed and Father paid his wages right up to date. The entire crew then went down to the creek, took off every stitch and put the pieces back together. Fortunately this preceded the Candid Camera by some years.
We had certain customers on our run that kept things from getting monotonous. One, more carpenter than farmer, built a bam with two drives through at right angles and mows in the four corners. We set one evening to thresh out of one mow and to blow the straw out back. When we unrolled the drive belt the front half of the engine would be in the barn. That night we tried to borrow a longer belt and even considered cutting the belt to splice it out longer. Finally, Father said if he was fool enough to insist on such a crazy set, we were fool enough to thresh with the engine in the barn. Next morning we loaded enough chain to connect the separator tongue to the engine front hitch, wired an old bucket loose over the stack and threshed the job without trouble. You should have seen the engine dance that old bucket since nobody was of a mind to waste time. Barn threshing is dusty but just imagine stirring in a good volume of coal smoke for good measure.
Once in the days of the old Aultman-Taylor with a web stacker the machine man played a trick on a Welshman, who spoke broken English, and stacked his own straw since none could do it to suit him. Having a sheaf of wheat handy and watching a moment when the Welshman was not looking, my uncle, who was tending the separator, threw the bundle on the stacker web. When the Welshman saw that bundle come up he had visions of something mighty wrong in the machine and bellowed out 'Richard, Richard, stop machine -one come through, she not broke.'
I recall, too, the time we leveled the separator, rolled out the belt and found that the engine would have to perch on a board pile. Father tied into that board pile like a fox terrier and was hit right between the eyes by a wasp. The first we realized it was serious was when he crawled across the separator on his knees groping for the ladder. It seemed strange to lead a man by the hand, fill the wash basin and cut meat for a pair of eyes that always put mine to shame for keen vision at a distance, but the wasp had won that day. Outside of looking like he had been in a fight, Father had no lasting trouble.
These incidents are offered in the hope of recalling similar happenings in the experiences of others for the days that were long and hard but mighty satisfying. To them may I add a modern note. We still thresh a large barn of straw, blowing the straw right over the settled hay.
During the past zero days in Ohio it has been mighty satisfying to have bedding indoors, requiring no shaking out, as with bales and yielding a great deal of chaff which we feed with the hay. As many well recall, cattle will take a straw stack apart for the chaff. We continue to thresh, not at all to relive the old days, but because I don't know of any modern harvesting method that gives me what I want in the end.
Courtesy of Mr. U.P. Rembold, R.F. D. # 1, Box 75, Rices Landing, Pennsylvania
While convalesing from a recent heart attack I was supplied with some copies of the Iron-Men Album by my buddy Don McKee. I certainly had a lot of enjoyment reading them which leads me to this letter.
In the Sept.-Oct. 1963 magazine on page 4 you have published a picture of an engine at the bottom of the page. This picture of a tractor was sent to you by Edwin L. Olson, Annandale, Minnesota. He says he knows nothing about the engine. Since I find no other Bovnton engine pictured or information concerning them I will supply you the following information.
This is a Boynton 2 cylinder engine, built at Boynton, Penna. in the years 1914 through 1918 to the best of my knowledge. Having been born and raised about nine miles from Boynton, Penna. I am very familiar with the suroundings. The building in the background is the street-car barn. The smoke stack is the Wilmont Power Generating Plant. The Boynton Machine Co. is located in the rear of car-barn. The engine looks like a new one just parked there for the picture.
The streetcars run between Myers-dale. Pa. and Salisbury, Pa. and in front of the engine is located Penna. route # 219. The power Co. has been taken over by the Penn Elect. Co.. and busses has replaced the street-cars. The buildings are being used by a lumber Co.
I am also sending along information and pictures concerning our hobby (Steam Engines). You may want to publish it in your magazine.
Since the enclosed clipping was published we have built a two cylinder 1'x1' engine and two vertical boilers. We are also planning to build a trailer to mount the engines and boilers as we can take them to different exhibitions and fairs.
Enclosed is also a snapshot of the horizontal engine driving a generator, the walking beam engine and the vertical engine. The Standard Oil can in the picture will help you compare the size.
Courtesy of H. M. Herron Lake City, Minn.
I do have a sad note to report right now and then I will report the more pleasant side. Yesterday, August 26th, I and my wife attended the funeral of Our Dear Brother-in-law, Mr. William Herpst, of Elmwood, Wisconsin. He was born at Arkansaw, Wis. in the year 1880 on the 19th day of June. He died August, 23rd, 1965 at the age of 85 yrs. He was a steam engine man all his life and he and Harold Churchill owned a Russell Double that was in perfect condition at his passing on. He was a great man and will be missed by everyone who new him. He was mentioned in the Iron-Men Album on several occasions and was in the Sept.-October issue of Dairyland Driftings.
Now for the more lighter side of this letter. Night before last. August 25, my wife and I were just about to sit down to the supper table when we saw a Cadillac Car backing into our drive way. This is not unusual as people often do that in turning around. But I saw the man was going to get out so I stepped out the door to meet him. By this time he was out of the car and I noted right away that he was a steam engine man as he had on the steam engine Cap and a few of the badges. He came up and told me that as down in our town everybody that found out he was a steam engine man told him that he should meet me. So he came to our house and I found he was a Mr. Wilbur Skaar of Alameda, Calif. He had a lot of pictures in his hand that I could see that he wanted to show to me so I invited him in and then my wife invited him to stay for supper. After supper we sat at the table looking at his pictures. At the same time I had the Iron-Men Album lying at my elbow. Then a picture in the Album attracted my attention and on examining it we found that it was a picture of Mr. Skaar's. Then on looking through Album further we found another of his pictures on page 19. He had not seen this issue of the Iron-Men Album and we got a big kick out of it that he had to come 2300 miles to find his pictures in the Album. Any way we had a great Gabfest and he stayed with me until about nine thirty that night.
Now just to top this off maybe I should tell who I am. I am a retired Automobile Dealer. I will be 70 years old on October 8th, of this year. In my younger days when I was about 20 years of age I spent several years or falls running Steam Engine threshing in Saskatchewan. We were located just northwest of Weyburn at the small town of Lang. My brother-in-law owned and operated two large outfits. One was a 28 hp Single Advance with a 44 x 70 Northwest Seperator. The other was a 35-120 Double Nichols & Shepard and a Red River Special 44 x 70 Seperator. I ran both of these outfits at different times. One fall we had short straw with large heads of wheat and it was running heavy. We were running from 3600 to 38 hundred Bushels a day with the Big Rig. One day my brother-in-law, George Black, told me that if we made it 4000 bushels the next day he would buy a half barrel of Beer for the gang the next Saturday. On this rig I had 14 bundle teams and three Spike Pitchers. The next morning we had the wheels a rolling as soon as it was day light. We moved and set five times that day and when we stopped that evening we had made 4130 bushels of wheat. To this day I have not heard of a larger run for one day. We were just 18 days cleaning up the run for that fall. After that I ran steam engines in Wisconsin and Minnesota and am still at it every fall. I have been taking care of a 50 Case for Archie Stevens at Millville, Minn. He lives in what is called Peaceful Valley and has been putting on a show every year but due to a flood last Spring that took out the main Bridge accross the Zumbro River and has not been replaced he has decided not to put on a show this year.
Well I guess that is about it for now. I am rewooding an old 1874 Perry Reeper in my back yard now. Hope to have it done for a show next year.