FROM A READER
I have been a subscriber of your magazine for a number of years
and enjoy it very much. Picture with this letter is of our Advance
Compound Engine taken about 1919. The man standing just ahead of
flywheel is Rev. Wm. Sucknow, now of Center Point, Iowa, who was
The man in center is Ben Ridder of Klemme, Iowa, waterboy, and I
am standing at the rear of driver, engineer. It was my privilege to
run steam engines for quite a few years until finally the small
tractor-driven rigs took over.
I know what it is moving from one job to another at night with
an old kerosene lantern dangling from the front end of engine for
light and then get stuck in some ravine with millions of mosquitoes
to fight off and finally at about 4 a.m., by wrapping the big drive
belt around engine belt pulley and hitching the tank wagon team on
the other end of belt, we managed to inch our way to higher ground
with the engine, leaving the separator to be pulled out later.
Again on other occasions when the flues went bad it would be
necessary to pull the fire as soon as threshing for the day was
over, allowing the fire-box to cool off somewhat. Then crawl inside
and ream and pound flues until perhaps 3 or 3:30 a.m. and by this
time it was time to start firing again so as to have everything
ready for another day’s run.
These were the days never to be forgotten!
ROY I. SCHAEFER, Box 46, Klemme, Iowa
Excerpts from Jesse Connor’s letter accompanying his
I often think about when I was a kid. I’m a little past that
now in years but wood, and coal smoke mixed with steam smells just
as good. One of the things I’ll always remember is how I stood
back as an engine moved past but soon as it did get out of the way
I would run out and look at the tracks so that in case I didn’t
happen to be home when one passed I could look at the road and read
the signs, then I could tell if one had passed, what kind it was
and which way it had gone. You know, at that time cleats on the
wheels were of more kinds than you see at the shows nowadays.
Of course, about the biggest thing that ever happened was in, I
think, 1906 when my dad brought home a used square bottom 18 hp
K.G. with a jacket with brass bands around it and did they shine!
He ran that two years then traded that outfit in on a 1059, 18 hp
round bottom with a jacket of course. The brass bands didn’t
seem as shiny as the first one but she was the one and only just
like the Colt 45 – crack six times and throw rocks for 2 hours.
Well, I guess she is dead and gone but no use crying over gone
I read in the ALBUM (the best in the world) how some of these
fellows holler about their engines and I wonder if they have run as
many as I have. I don’t know how many but I can count at least
20. They are all good but some better than others. The Case is the
most over-rated. There were several came in here, but they
couldn’t take it. They were built good, pulled good, didn’t
use too much coal and water and good shape when traded off, but
they didn’t stay. Well, here I’ve been rambling on and
someone might read this besides you and he might want to whip me
for not bragging about the Case – he might not even like our old
Double Huber 11508.
JESSE CONNOR, R. R. 3, Evansville, Indiana
FROM MR. ANDERSON
I am sending a picture of my Case 80 hp taken in North Dakota
where I found it after it had set 20 years with the stack knocked
off. It fired up with make-shift grates and we had it poppin’.
It run like a top when loosened and oiled up. No leaks anywhere –
due to the clean water in these parts.
The man I bought it from says he pulled 20 bottoms, 5 and 6
inches deep with this engine right along. He also threshed and
graded roads, etc., with the engine.
Old Jim Hill, the famed ‘Empire Builder’ of the Great
Northern R.R. used to stop at the owner’s home for dinner,
years ago, and said they had the best water for the engines between
Minneapolis and the Rocky Mountains. Maybe that is why the flues
are so good.
I am also helping to restore a Minneapolis double cylinder,
double drive (no leads) that stood over 30 years and we had to pry
the flywheel loose with a 12 foot pole. With a lot of oil and 145
lbs. on the gauge it took off just like old times.
This engine shows no wear at all and I hope to thresh with it in
1959 in Western Dakota. May send a picture later. We are putting on
new tanks and painting it up. This thing can sure pull and no
better sounding engine have I ever heard anywhere when on a load.
It’s a symphony of power, strength and rhythm to listen to and
From another kid that never grows up but just gets older.
N. DAVID ANDERSON, 6029 Logan Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota