Mr. B. B. Brown of 943 Dutton Ave., San Leandra, Calif., sends us this sad word:
On May 10th, 1955, Mr. E. Hudson, who for many years owned and operated the Hudson Machinery and Supply Co., of Decatur, III., passed away at his home in Long Beach, Calif. He was about 72 years old.
Mr. Brown says of him, 'A wonderful and most generous gentleman.'
One nice morning in October my wife and I left Fulton and drove to Huntington, Indiana, to visit the Plasterers. We found them busy making sorghum molasses. They have a very nice outfit for this business. They boil the sorghum by steam and at the time we visited them they were using their Kitten Traction engine for this purpose. Mr. William Plasterer told us his father used to be in this business, then William took over and now his son Eiffel helps him.
Eiffel's wife brought the baby out to the mill in the afternoon and Eiffel said 'This is the fourth generation of Pleasterers making sorghum.' They have quite a lot of machinery; two Kitten engines, Case traction engine, Huber traction engine, a threshing machine, a tractor and other machinery. Eiffel has a nice collection of steam whistles.
GEORGE O. EVANS, Fulton, Michigan
Please change my address to * * *. I don't want to miss an issue as I have a copy of every issue and I want to get them all. My wife and I own and operate a shoe repair shop here in town, 38 miles southeast of Lincoln and we are enjoying a good business. We had a very dark Christmas in 1954 as my father died very suddenly on December 17th. He was nearly 86 years old and now another good old steam owner and operator of many years is gone from this world. Dad wasn't a machine dealer but he owned 53 different engines in his time, not to mention the other machinery that the engines were used on. He sold his last steam engine to the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club just seven months before he died. He had everything ready, even himself, because he knew he was not to be long in this world.
I still have a 50 Case, a 16hp. Russell and a late 20hp. Minneapolis setting in mother's yard just 39 miles from here. I was very much insulted a few days ago when a junk dealer stopped at my shop and wanted to buy my three engines for junk. I told him 'I did not have any junk engines and I didn't know where there were any junk engines anywhere'. He tried to argue that I did not need any steam engines to repair shoes. I informed him that in case of power failure, overdue electric bills, etc., a steam engine would be tops for power or anything and he may just as well save his breath as they were not for sale, especially for junk. I think there should be some kind of law passed to make it a criminal offense to junk a steam engine until 11 or 13 steam engine hobbyists inspect the engine and all agree it is too far gone to be reconditioned.
We took a nice trip last summer and met Schurman Bros., in Woodland, Washington, and saw their nice collection of engines. Also met Chris Busch, Colton, Wash., and looked over his collection of engines as well as Ralph Koon of Junction City, Oregon. To see so many fine engines is sure a treat and the hospitality you find among those western boys'It's Tops'. Mr. C. R. Miller, Yacolt, Wash., happened to be at Schurmans the day we were there and we were so glad to meet him personally. No use to stop in among any of those boys for just a minute regardless of how busy they are. They can make you feel like you were at home 'with your feet on the table'. They are not air compressors, either, just real steam engine men. We covered 6600 miles and only saw one little old 12hp. Case south of Yellowstone Park and an upright double cylinder Best south of Las Vegas. If I had not known Schurman, Busch, Koon and Miller, my trip would have been a failure.
It seems that Edgar Bergen has steam in his blood too, so maybe some of us could figure out a little blood relation with Bergen in this way. Don't know how he would feel about it however.
Maybe I had better let my pop valve rest a little so will close the draft. 'BANG'.
BRUCE McCORTNEY, Syracuse, Nebraska
As my hobby is steam, traction engines and steam locomotives, you might well understand my deep appreciation for the IRON-MEN ALBUM. My friend, Mr. Edson of Delevan, N. Y., gave me my first issue, then I subscribed and now have each issue since and hold them priceless. Enclosed is my subscription for another year. I too wish it was monthly.
I also take a R.R. magazine which I prize highly. I do not think any collection is complete without both. May I make a suggestion in regard to our magazines name? I think it needs a name that would identify it, say Steam Traction Engine Album. What do you say?
FORREST CUNNINGHAM R. D. 2, Harrodsburg, Kentucky
As I'm a new reader of the ALBUM I am reading every word of it with great interest especially the Case history and the histories of various engines built for plowing. It seems to me that the fellows are missing out on one of the best plow engines that was built. I refer to the Geiser Peerless built by the Old Geiser Manufacturing Company in Waynesboro, Pa. I owned two of those engines, one the UI type 20hp. which was a double geared rear mounted with excellent water facilities and adequate coal bunkers. Those Peerless engines were all fitted with fully enclosed, open hearth steel gears which run in oil. I also ran one of Geiser's double cylinder 40-180 road locomotives which were used exclusively for a plow engine. I plowed over 2,000 acres of virgin Ramrod Soil which is a native grass that grows to the height of 5 und 6 feet on Gumbo soil, and which T discovered was the toughest of plowing. We had this engine equipped with extensions on the driver wheels which made a total width of 44 inches. We found this necessary to handle the nine 16 inch bottoms which we were using for plowing to a depth of eleven inches, plus a tandem disc which we pulled behind the plow. The plow we used was a Geiser steam lift which we finally exchanged for an Emmerson, of much lighter draft.
In order to give one an idea of the tremendous load this was to pull, we carried a boiler pressure of 200 pounds and if the pressure would drop to ISO the load could scarcely be moved. So I have to pay high tribute to the fine engineering job that was done by the Geiser people in designing these fine engines.
I also owned a 65 Case built in 1923. and it was a fine engine for plowing but it would not take what the Geiser Peerless would. The cast gearing which Case had would wear very fast and their clutch would not stand the continuous abuse that a plow engine was subject to. Now Peerless had one major fault in design for a plow engine. Their boiler was much too small per horse power which reduced water capacity and in some instances hard firing under heavy loads.
I am not a very old man as far as years go, but I have had over 35 years experience in building, rebuilding and handling engines of various makes. They are about all passed on into the past, but for me I can look back and dream pleasant dreams of the smell of steam and the sound of a good clear exhaust and the smoothness of operation and fine performance. We could get a lot out of those old iron giants and my prayer is not to let those fine engines disappear completely from us. I congratulate all the fine organizations that have sprung up over the U.S.A. and the work the members and officers are doing to preserve something that is dear in the hearts of all threshermen and men that used this fine power.
Let's hear from someone who can give the history of the Geiser Peerless engines and threshers.
RAY KING, 114 N. 5th St., Louisana, Missouri