July 21st, 1956, I attended the centennial Fair at Pinckneyville, Illinois, and enjoyed the Fred Lenker and Clem Bandison Steam Engine Show beyond explanation. It was the first in southern Illinois, and was enjoyed by all who attended.
Clem Bandison with his 19hp. Keck, No. 1852 on the 24' Teeter, with his son, Jim, looking on. Clem did a good job of it and drew a fine applause from the filled grandstand. You can see Old Glory above the cab, still and solemn, as though paying tribute to one of the fine old engines that have been so instrumental in building industry and agriculture.
They had four engines; one Kitten, a peerless; two Kecks; Case and a Rumely. Two loads of wheat were threshed which made a familiar scene and music to the ear. My, how sweet as compared to the rattle and noise made today by the modern machines.
I was 22 when we quit steam and went to gas. I was against the tractors but had to give it up, however, the old steamer stuck with me and I can't help it. I live 35 miles from Mt. Vernon, Indiana, where Keck-Gonnerman was built. I grew up over there and it is a sad sight to pass the factory and see everything gone. Many memories haunt the grounds there to me yet.
I am a subscriber to your ALBUM and think it is fine so much that I want to send it to a friend for a birthday present. In the Nov.-Dec. issue, page 20, there is a picture and short description of Flinchbaugh Tractors of York, Pa. Is this company any relation to the York Tractor Company of York, Pa.? If so I will be looking forward to your story. My Dad used to have a 25hp. York two cylinder, it would run in either direction, weighed 13 tons and was buillt in 1913. I have a few snapshots of this tractor I would be glad to send if you would Want them.
My father and I attended the Reunion at Bird City, Kansas, and enjoyed it immensly.
In the Jan.-Feb. issue a Mr. J. Arthur Andrew made a statement. 'Case Company never built a 38' steel machine', yet on page 10 of the same issue there is a picture sent in by J. J. Huston of Holdrige, Nebraska, of a Case 25-75 steamer and Case 38-58 thresher. Where am I???
WILLIAM P. SWANSON, Jr. ,Cambridge, Nebraska
I want to tell you that I enjoyed two days at the reunion or show at Gales-burg, Michigan, this summer, very much.
I am 56 years old and have been around steam most of my time. And it sure was nice to hear those engines working and cutting off so even considering the age of them. Some of the men were sure old-timers, and of course, were just new and real interested in the old time power, which I still think can't be beat much for quiet, smooth lasting power.
There is just one thing that I could not figure out at the reunion at Gals-burg and that is haw a stranger like me could be of some use with 23 years of welding experience around boilers and all kinds of repair work. I even had several hand tools in my car at the time but I couldn't make the men realize I knew what I did about welding. It seemed funny to me for around Alpena, I am preferred to other men for this kind of kork.
Now, what I have reference to is this: I was sitting on a Port Huron engine Friday morning talking to a man about the Port Huron and saying what a good steamer it was. The only thing I said was, they generally went bad in the ash pit. Oh; he said, this engine is as sound as the day she came out of the factory. I said, oh, she might be I wouldn't say till I looked her over. And believe it or not before noon a hole blew out near drawbar casting. Now if I'd had my welder there the hole could have been fixed in a short time. I offered to weld it for him free if there was a welding machine near we could use. But no dice. So I see experience means nothing unless you are known to the party who needs help. Still I enjoyed being with so many nice people, and another thing, was that there was no beer or whiskey showed up at all.
I think it was wonderful to be with them, and if I live I certainly want to see another steam show next year.
W. J. FRENCH, Alpena, Michigan
You have a fine magazine. I would rather pay twice as much for twice as much, than to receive it 6 times a year. You had some very good features from time to time that have been omitted, perhaps because someone put the pressure on you that such items were a waste of time, material and what not. That, in my opinion, is getting on the border line of being narrow. Many of us old timers who were nursed on steamers in our diaper stage may now be tool and die makers, precision machinists, engineers, designers, experimental and laboratory technicians, but we still love and admire steam as it was in its swad-ling clothes, and now is, therefore, when you devoted a few pages of such items of engines and boiler specifications (Russell), various types of valve gears and motions (drawing, etc.,) or other mechanical details; those things were of special interest to me as Well as others, for numerous reasons, such as, to revive and perpetuate old memories and for the model builders that want to develop ideas of his own, perhaps a stepping stone to future developments in steam power, or for the purpose of reproducing scale models that are more convenient to lug about the country from one convention to another, thereby creating greater interest and attendance at such gatherings.
May I say to those who do not like one section or item, or whatever it may be, just skip that page, let those that want it enjoy its benefits. We have many different types of people, ideas, likes and dislikes, tolerance also pays along with other virtues.
Our Rocky Mountain Steam Traction Engine Society, of Denver, Colorado, is growing in membership and is very active in locating, restoring abandoned steam power that eventually falls into the hands of the junk men unless we beat him to it. In so many cases the junk men have arrived there first. One such case was a 20hp. Rumley; the top part of the engine was taken off, leaving the front and rear axles with wheels and gearing from the differential on down, two-thirds of the rim of the left driver gone, nearly all of the barrel gone, with the firebox section remaining. What can be salvaged we hope to have available for parts for someone that needs them.
MARTIN A. ZEBAL, 3156 S. Clarkson, Street Englewood, Colorado