LETTERS

By Staff
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The Russell Ring-Balanced Valve
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The Russell Universal Boiler with oil burning attachment.
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The Russell Adjustable Reverse and cut-off.
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A one-tenth Model steamer built by Lyndon Conrad, 312 North West St., Hillsdale, Michigan. It is a Case, ha messed to a light plant. You can get an idea of the size by the weatherboarding in the background

Ever since receiving your letters I have had it in mind to write
you, but being 67 years old, I find it very hard to keep up with
the things I like to do and the things I have to do.

You spoke of being amateurs in the publishing business, but I
don’t share this view, as I think you are doing a swell job on
the ALBUM magazine. I too, like it’s informality and I should
be a fair judge as I edited a small magazine for 14 years and we
weren’t too formal, either. I am surprised to learn of your
losing so many magazines in the mailing. Seems something is wrong
someplace. Have you taken it up with the proper authorities?

I fell in love with steam at the age of five when my uncle gave
me my first toy steam engine for Christmas. This was of course,
followed by othersa toy pumping engine that would put out a
sizeable fire if given time, a pile driver that would drive match
sticks into soft ground, toy steamboats, stationary engines, a
steam locomotive with cars and a circular track, etc. Then another
uncle built me a beautiful model mill engine, 11/8′ bore and a
2′ stroke and what a time my friends and I had with that. We
gave it all sorts of jobs to do until it just bogged down and
refused to pull the load. Then my father gave me one Christmas (I
was 13 or 14 then) a 1 hp. marine engine with oil fired water tube
boiler, and that laughed at everything we gave it, including a wood
lathe used to make me breathless from pedaling it. When I had this
set up (in an old chicken house), I used the model engine to drive
a small dynamo that lighted a 6 candlepower light by steam and
water gauges-just like the big ones. Then I went away to school and
then into Nordberg’s shops as an engineering apprentice, which
put an end to things at home. Nordberg’s were building steam
engines then, mostly beautiful Corliss and Poppet valve engines;
also quite a low big pumps, air compressors, and mining hoists up
to the largest ever used up to that time. My health gave out and
the doctors ordered me outdoors, so I got into construction work,
running steam pile drivers, steam rollers, pumps, etc. This was
around Milwaukee and Evanston, Illinois. In 1914 my health became
so bad that I returned to my native country.

I thought I never wanted to see a steam engine or other piece of
machinery again, but a good friend told me the old love would
return in time. He advised me not to sell my tools. I took his
advice and long years after, about 1930, I began to feel the old
love coming to life again, so I set about finding an engine and
boiler from a Stanley steam automobile. I had trouble at first but
in the end I found ten, in four different sizes. I wanted only the
smaller ones, so I gave three to the National Museum in Washington,
traded one and sold two for more than the whole ten had cost me.
This leaves me with two of the smallest sizes 2×3 and two of the
next larger size 3’x4′. I have picked up quite a few other
engines since then, and a fine boiler with about 400 half-inch
copper flues. I stored it all in my garage and attic waiting for a
place to set it up and play with it (we were living in the suburbs
of Washington then), but since moving here in 1948 there have been
so many things to take time, money and energy, that the steam power
has had to wait. Last fall I put up a little shed to house the
stuff in and nowwe’ll see.

Keep up the good work, it is nice to know we have a good
Christian man at the helm. More power to all of you.

LAURENCE J. HATHAWAY, Easton, Maryland

FROM OVERSEAS

Thank you very much for your recent letter. Since then I
received the May issues of the ALBUM, all of which have been
distributed. We, over here are delighted to know that we are still
going to get it regularly and several have written me expressing
satisfaction when they heard this.

We had a grand reunion 3 weeks ago at And over, 17 engines were
there and over 2,000 of good folk. Not a lot by your standards
perhaps, but a good gathering here where the idea is only now
catching on. Some brought their engines long distances, in steam,
to be there. One was brought single handed 74 miles, with trailer
behind, all in one day and arrived without lights having driven the
last 4 or 5 miles in the dark.

Several more rallies, as we call them over here, are planned for
later in the summer but I doubt if I will be able to get to them as
I keep a shop and Saturday is the best day for trade. These are all
arranged for Saturdays (pity me).

I was glad you had room for two photos from England in the last
issue and it is realized here that not all issues can contain
pictures from here but we do like them more when they do. It seems
to bring us into the family, if you know what I mean.

Will be sending you some photos and catalogs in a few days.

R. G. PRATT, ‘Wentlea’ Chapel of St. Marys, Ipswich,
Suffolk, England

THIS WONDERFUL ALBUM

Enclosed find my two bucks for this wonderful ALBUM. I have
received more pleasure from this magazine which encourages
restoring those ‘OLE TEAKETTLES’ which I used to operate
and did so for a number of years.

I was 14 years old when I started and used to fire with straw. I
never had a separator man wait on me. I have done everything these
old engines could do for besides pulling a separator I have plowed
many sections of land in the Dakotas and Montana, as well as
Canada. I used to ride a bicycle from Watertown, South Dakota, to
Galveston, Texas, where they threshed rice and peanuts. Then hit
for the grain belts in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, the
Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana and then Canada. I have threshed every
kind of grain and grass seed, not having operated all kinds of
engines but a lot of them. My favorite was the J. I. Case, then the
Port Huron, Gaar Scott, N I S, and the old Starr.

I am going to make the harvest again this year but won’t go
too far south. I will start in Kansas and go on to Montana but I
won’t ride a bicycle. I travel by car in which I cook, eat and
sleep. I have many invitations to return to places I have been in
the past and perhaps I will have some pictures later on. Best
wishes to all

EARL BERKSTRESSER, Bird City, Kansas

FROM FREDERICKSBURG, OHIO

Will take time off just to tell you what I think of the ALBUM.
To you steam ‘NUTS’ that read this little paper and think
it will help you get the fever down to normal, have a guess a
coming yet.

That’s exactly what I tried, but here’s what happened
instead. After reading all the advertisements in every issue for
the past eight months, I realized all at once that my fever was up
to about 106 and something had to be done at once, so I made a
hasty trip out to Minnesota. Results: Came back with a lot less
dough and two of them big black things they used to call Case Steam
Engines, one a 50 and one a 65. They are dandy engines and lots of
people ask me, ‘Where did you get those new engines?’ In
coming to a close I will do as Ralph Koon says, ‘I’ll lower
the boom’ and send you check for the following.

LEVI J. STUTSMAN, Fredericksburg, Ohio

PRESSURE GOING DOWN AGAIN

Notice that the steam pressure is going down again, so I had
better get my two bucks to you at once as losing one issue of the
ALBUM would be a tragedy to me. Might even end up in divorce as I
might be hard to get along with for awhile. Hope to see more
articles like the N & S and Case histories, also letters and
pictures from the old-timers.

By the way, I have always wondered about a machine built during
the early 1900’s. I understand it was built by a man who had
lost his arm in a threshing machine accident and as a result he
built a machine without belts and named it THE CRIPPLES REVENGE.
Wonder if any of the old timers recall it or if anyone has a
picture of it. My father, who operated a rig during those years,
told me about it and I believe I saw it advertised in the American
Thresherman. Although he may have seen it at some thresher show.
Hans Anderson mentioned it also in some correspondence with me so I
guess there was one built by that name.

Oh yes! And how about some more of those classy articles by
Marcus Leonard? I have enjoyed every one of them, even though I did
not get to subscribe to the ALBUM until after he had written some
of them. I would like to buy, borrow, or beg copies of the ALBUM
for summer and fall of 1948 as I missed those articles by him as
the first copy I received was Winter 1949 and it contained just
part three of an article written by him.

Enclosed is check to keep the steam up for another year. Best
Regards

RAY DOUBRAVA, Lorraine, Kansas

‘BEFORE MY TIME’

I am 60 years old and can remember the 10 horsepower separators,
but the two-horse treadmills is or was before my time.

I have seen quite a few of the large outfits plowing in
Saskatchewan. And many of the Hart Parr gas tractors came out with
their 20 or more dry cell batteries, such as were used in the old
wall telephone boxes. When we boys were young and herding the cows
on horseback, we often carried batteries from one outfit to another
for they just got new batteries to replace the old ones, or to pay
back some fellow from whom they had borrowed a set. Since it was
level country just slightly rolling, we could see many outfits
around us and I knew most of them by name. You just can’t
imagine how I felt when I heard the good news that we would be able
to see those fine old steam engines once again.

CHAS. F. PETZOLD, R. D. 3, Cuba, Missouri

CAN’T MISS A SINGLE COPY

Enclosed find check for my renewal. I can’t afford to miss a
single copy. I have a J. I. Case and drove it in a Centennial
Celebration at Warsaw, Indiana. I never saw such interest in
engines in my life. We were protected on Federal Road No. 30 which
is a very busy thoroughfare.

I am 72 years old and have run engines all my life. I sure got a
big kick out of that event. I also sold machinery for many
years.

I. D. HARMAN, Etna Green, Indiana

WAS MY FACE RED

In the Sept.-Oct. issue I saw one of my letters in print. Was my
face red when I saw that I made a statement limiting Port Huron and
Gaar Scott as the only makers of a double tandem compound engine.
In the same issue was reference to the same type made by
Minneapolis T. M. Co. I owe an apology for that mis-statement to my
contemporaries and fellow members of the fraternity. Best
wishes.

GORDON LEE, 632 No. Mission Rd., Los Angeles, California

FROM J. ARTHUR ANDREW

I read your January-February issue with much interest and am
indebted to Mr. Roy E. Potter of Sask. Canada, for sending me a
copy. Am enclosing money to cover a years subscription. I also
noted with much interest the pictures of the exhibits of the Sask.
Western Dev. Museum.

This museum is greatly in debted to above mentioned Mr. Potter
for the really great collection. He served as secretary of the
organization without pay to get it started, also located and
collected many of the best exhibits which is a no small chore in a
country where most of that class of machinery was nearly decimated
by the scrap iron drive of the war years. Also his unsurpassed
knowledge of all early engines did much toward their restoration.,
even to having them painted in their original colors. I myself had
a small part in locating and getting donated a few small items, but
nothing at all compared to the work of Mr. Potter. He is by trade a
city policeman in charge of maintenance of motor vehicles of the
force.

The accompanying snapshot is of a steam model built by me three
years ago. The picture is somewhat misleading as I got up real
close, lying flat down with the camera to get the picture. Not
being a photographer, I surprised myself. The actual size is as
follows: bore, fifteen-sixteenths inch; stroke, 11/8′, overall
length, 21′; height to top of spark arrester, 17′; diameter
of boiler, 3′; boiler pressure of 100 lbs. per square inch;
Wolf valve motion and reverse gears; plain D valve; alcohol fired;
water supplied by pump driven from countershaft. The model is
destined for my brother, a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army, S. W.
Andrews, of Sunland, California. He of course will not trust to
have it shipped and will at some future date come up here for it.
Should you see fit to use the snapshot and information, I would
appreciate your sending him a copy.

My parents immigrated to this district in April 1903 when I was
three years old. My youngest brother returned to the states and
enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Corps and served all through the
late war on both fronts. My other brother, whose wife was Texas
born, returned there in 1934 and I am the only Canadian left in the
family.

My father, now deceased, and two neighbors bought the first
threshing outfit in this district in 1905, a Case 25 hp. simple
engine and a 36×58 Wood separator. I note in your classified ads
one by Ray W. Kuntz; a 38×58 Case steel separator. It is a small
matter but Mr. Kuntz is mistaken, as Case Co., never built a
38′ steel machine-36′ and 40′ but not a 38 inch.

You will probably take my model for an Advance and there is a
very close resemblance, but it is an American Abell 30 hp. with
trade name ‘KING’, built at Toronto, Ontario. Of course I
mean the original engine. They were later bought out by M. Runaley
along with several American firms, Aultman, Gaar-Scott and Aultman
Taylor being the ones I remember. This was about 1913 or 1914. The
company was then known as the Advance Rumley Co., and active
manufacturers of American Abell was discontinued but sold all A.
A’s. on hand as well as parts. While in active manufacture, the
American Abell and Battle Creek Advance Co’s. both had the same
board of directors and their separators were identical. The engines
differed somewhat in boiler construction, though both with the same
idea of flues running back half-way in the firebox, but the
American Abell did not use the LaFever Patt nor in later years, the
Marsh reversing gear. A few engines were turned out at Toronto that
bore the name Advance American Abell, though how this came about I
do not know.

I have also built an American Abell rear mount 28-80, 1910 to
1912, but have not at the moment a snapshot of it. I could get one
if you care for it. This model will be on loan to the Museum this
summer, then it is to be sent to my older brother in Texas. It is a
much heavier model and uses wood for fuel. I am a farmer and only
work at modeling in my spare time in winter.

I think your ALBUM is splendid and fills a long-felt want.
Here’s wishing you every success in the future. I would also
like to say I had no specifications to go on when I built these two
models, they are of necessity entirely from memory as there are now
few left and nons around here.

J. ARTHUR ANDREW, Sivin, Sask., Canada.

DEAR ELMER & KARL

I see your front names used so lightly that I take the liberty
of doing so myself. You asked for some testimony so I will tell you
how I feel.

I just recently learned there was such a paper, the March issue
was my first issue and I think it is a well done and very
interesting paper. Keep it up.

I was to a Blow Off of the Old Time Threshers & Sawmill
Operators near Ft. Wayne, and was well pleased. One thing I saw
that did not go without being noticed was the fact that there had
been arrangements made for respectable toilet facilities.

Wishing you continued health, happiness and prosperity and to
Elmer and his bride THE BEST OF GOOD WISHES FOR A LONG AND HAPPY
MARRIED LIFE.

JONAS H. WILLIAMS, 134 N. Varsity Dr., South Bend, Indiana

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment