I just received a sample copy of your IRON-MEN ALBUM and like it very much so I am enclosing two dollars for a years subscription. I have never been in the threshing business but am an ex-farmer and once owned an Advance 32 in cyl. separator but no engine. I have an old threshing account book kept by my grandfather in 1845 to 1851 in which he has written the names of those he threshed for and the number of bushels of grain and the threshing price. It is written in ink and is perfectly legible after all these years. In that day and age they used the old horse-power outfits to furnish power to run the separator. This old book shows that he threshed for farmers in Jersey Co., Illinois, Greene Co., Pike Co., and Calhoun Co., Illinois. His name was George W. Fitzgerald, my mother's father.
We have several steam collectors here in Oregon, one at Canby. Mr. Pike and Mr. Mickelson at Silverton, Oregon, and Mr. Schurman at Woodland. I usually manage to attend the gatherings which are very interesting to me.
CLARENCE E. DUGAN 7406 S. E. Woodward Street Portland 6, Oregon
Perhaps I should have sent you this information a little sooner, and while at it will enclose a check for two dollars for which renew my subscription to the magazine for another year. I only wish it came every month. Have you ever considered publishing every month? I don't believe you would lack for material and pictures for all these issues. Anyway, it is a fine magazine, and all three magazines are serving a need without any overlapping.
Harvey Mikkelson is going to hold his 6th annual Threshing Bee on his farm near Silverton, Oregon, August 22_23rd, 1959. He has a lot of interesting things planned from what his friends write me. Also the annual business meeting of the WFSA will be held in the Lutheran Church the evening of August 22nd, after a dinner has been served by the Lutheran Church Ladies Aid; and the election of officers and other business will be transacted and plans no doubt made for the meeting in 1960. This will be the first year since the organization was founded, that it has met away from Colton, Washington. The plans are now to alternate the annual business meetings between Oregon and Washington. I expect to be on hand to help out with the Threshing Bee perhaps run an engine and also take in the dinner and business meeting. My vacation comes at that time, so everything works out fine. Due to the distance involved, it is nearly impossible to attend any of the large fine reunions in the east and mid-west, and the one at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa particularly intrigues me. I believe it is the largest event of its kind by far, in the country. Also, the Roy Kite Show at Bird City, Kansas is a fine one.
I have been doing some work on P. A. Miller's 16-48 Aultman-Taylor engine, and hope to have it going before too long. Also have been trying to get the large single-cylinder gasoline engine going, and Sunday, got a few pops and loud chugs out of it. This engine was built by the Samson Iron Works of Stockton, California in 1890, and is still in good working order. I believe I'm safe in saying it is the oldest gas engine in the entire country still in working order. Will send some pictures and a story on it later. I also expect to go by Glenn O. Nice's home in LaGrande; Oregon and help him with his Threshing Bee on August 30th. I'll really have my fill of steam and threshing this year, and enjoy every bit of it! The Oregon fellows are a fine bunch and if it is ever possible, you should try to come out and visit with them you will never find time better spent and in finer company. They have a lot of fine engines, in top condition, and are generous in letting their friends help with their operation and supervision, and sharing their fun with others. Too bad there isn't an event like it in California. Someday, such may be possible.
Well, the steam is going down, and I must send this along with some money, and it will be a little later when I will order some of your fine books and jewelry my wife likes earrings! Good luck to you in your retirement and many long years of publishing the IRON-MEN and attending the threshing bees.
JACK K. WILLIAMS 1121 Hilltop Lane Modesto, California
I began my career of Steam Threshing back in 1912 at Morris, Manitoba, Canada by firing a straw burner, American Abel, and put in my last steam threshing run at Alva, Oklahoma in July 1920 with a good old return flue Huber. Steamed from 'Gyp Water' which is in part the cause of gray hair to a steam engineer.
The perfection of gas powered engines soon crowded our good old steamers out of the field, but nothing can erase the thrill of the good old threshing days with steam. The Combine, self propelled, has removed the manual labor problem of wheat harvest to a great extent; but the thrill and glamour of 'steam whistles and 'cook shack' still liugers in the minds of we Old-Time Threshers
ALBERT E. HARDON Atwood, Kansas
In looking over my older issues of the ALBUM, I find on page 7 of the May-June 1953 issue, Mr. C. H. Beattie of Muskegon Heights, Michigan speaks of the boiler explosion on July 31st, in Big Prairie Toy Shop, Newaygo County, southeast of White Cloud.
How well I recall that day. I was cultivating corn to help hold the moisture. I was going north with a nice gentle horse when the terrific blast came through the air. My horse dropped nearly to the ground, as if he had been shot. I spoke to him quietly and walked to his side as he stood up. Naturally I went to his head and petted him. He was quiet but his eyes were glassy and he acted as if something more could happen suddenly.
I worked until dinner time. I was nearly 24 miles straight south from where this explosion occured. However, it sounded not more than a mile away.
It was several days before we heard anything about it for there were no daily papers in farming districts and no Rural Routes in those days. There were pictures of the accident shown in the Threshermen's Review later I think I still have the copy.
I enjoyed Mr. Ole Frey's article last summer about the Advance Thresher plant in the days of years ago. They had some fine engines in their power plant. I was there several times. I was shown around by a guide.
It was an interesting sight. The big drive belt on the Corliss engine was made from the choicest and best parts of hides from a train load of cattle. Of course a train load of cattle sixty-five years ago would not company with a train of today. The Advance Company built good machinery. often wished they had never sold out I would like to know if any of the readers know anything about a Port Muron 19 hp. tandem compound engine No. 8526.
GEORGE N. HATCH Sand Lake, Michigan
I was very impressed when, upon receiving a copy of the IRON-MEN ALBUM from Richard H. Steinmetz of Lemoyne, Pa., whom I had asked to send information of where I could obtain a good reading matter and history of the old time steam threshing engine. I have always been an ardent fan of the steam railroad and steam fire engine, and it was at one of our Badger State Shows that I was asked the question 'how about steam threshing engines?' This was a challenge to me, and I busied myself with determination scouted around for history, old time pictures, advertising ads, and post cards, brochures, etc., pertaining to the steam threshing engine and have acquired a nice collection, in less than a year. I had never known that there were so many steam rodeos, threshers reunions, plowing contests, etc., in our good old United States and in Great Britian as well.
I have never owned a steam threshing engine. My father did back in 1915-1917 in Shawano County, Wisconsin, which was used in our mill yard for sawing logs and running the planer. Dad had a plate camera at that time, but those plates have been destroyed and pictures of the steam engine at work in our mill yard are no more.
I can recall those days when the steam log-hauler was used here in Northern Wisconsin, hauling from ten to twelve loads of logs at one pulling.
EDWIN B. GLAUBITZ 4150 N. 51st Street Milwaukee 16, Wisconsin