Letters


| January/February 1961



BOYD A. WOODARD

This is a letter to tell you of the passing of my father, Mr. Boyd A. Woodard, Jasper, Michigan, born Jan. 30, 1889, and passed away Oct. 17, 1960. He spent his entire life in that vicinity and engaged in threshing, sawing lumber, and other jobs done with steam for many years. He owned 5 steam outfits and one tractor rig in his years at this work. He taught me at the age of 12 years to operate a 24 h.p. Greyhound Engine and I shall always be grateful for this knowledge.

He made many friends and was very fond of steam as a source of power. He had 2 Port Hurons, a Nichols & Shepard, Greyhound and an Aultman Taylor. These last ten years he and I were always on the lookout for this type of equipment our last find was a 25-50 Baker Tractor. The tractor was originally bought by Everett Bradish of Adrian, Michigan, and later sold to Mr. Hurb Munger near Tipton, Michigan. We have restored it and only wish Dad could have seen it before he passed away. I got this for my son, David Woodard, as he is interested in my steam engine and other equipment.

By his son, Thomas J. Woodard, secy, Richland County, Steam Threshers Association, R.D. 3, Bellville, Ohio

FROM A READER -

I am sending you an old picture of a steam engine that probably will never have steam in its cylinder again.

Forty years ago many engines of this type were used on the rice farms in Arkansas for pumping water. Rice is grown and harvested in very much the same way as wheat except that it is necessary to keep about five inches of water on it during the growing season. On some farms the steam traction engines that pulled the threshers were also used to pump the water but generally a stationary power plant was installed. The engines used ranged from 10x10 to 12 x14 inch in size with boilers from 30 to 50 horsepower nominal rating. Oil and Diesel engines replaced steam a good many years ago but now most of the pumps are driven by electricity supplied by the public power companies.

When the steam engines were discarded most of them found a place in either sawmills or stave mills. The old engine in the picture pulled my sawmill for many years before being replaced by a larger one. It was built by the Enterprise Company, Columbiana, Ohio. It has an 11x13 inch cylinder, automatic valve gear, inertia governor and piston valve. An engine with this kind of valve and governor is supposed to use about 30% less steam than one with a plain valve and throttling governor. I doubt that there would be that much saving in all cases but the Enterprise engines performed wonderfully well and when properly adjusted were very economical with fuel and water. I now use a Skinner steam engine in my sawmill. It is of the same type as the Enterprise but somewhat improved. The Skinner has enclosed crankcase with pressure feed oiling system and oil filter. The Skinner Engine Co., Erie, Pennsylvania, still builds steam engines and will furnish repairs for Skinner engines that are in use. There are quite a few steam engines in use driving sawmills and planning mills in this part of the country. Most all the readers of the Album will agree that steam is hard to beat for power, and in woodworking mills fuel is usually free, so many people don't like to buy fuel or electricity and then spend more money to burn or haul refuse.