Letters

By Staff
1 / 15
My wife and I just before take off for Mt. Pleasant, Iowa to attend the Old Settlers & Threshers Reunion which I have attended every year. Yes, I have made them all and hope to make a few more. Courtesy of E. R. Dugan, 436 N. Library, Waterloo, Illinois.
2 / 15
Harry Forshee of Arkon, Michigan and his 20 Advance Rumely.
3 / 15
The 'John Fowler Plow Van' cook and bunkhouse at Bletsoe Rally, August 3, 1963.
4 / 15
The Burrell Single Crank Compound Engine at the Church Stratton Rally on August 5, 1963.
5 / 15
An English water wagon at Bletsoe Rally on August 3, 1963.
6 / 15
This picture was taken at Loucks Museum on July 4, 1958.
7 / 15
There is no name or number on this engine. If any of your readers recognize it will you kindly send me the name and any information you may have about it? This will be published in the Album for the benefit of the clan.
8 / 15
All Advance outfit owned by Ira Patterson, dark lad with cap, on top (engineer) and D. Holmes on front trucks, sitting down. End of run, 1905.
9 / 15
Courtesy of W. J. Kaufman, 3330 E. 4th.,Hutchinson, Kansas. See Mr. Kaufman's letter.
10 / 15
Here is a picture of my 18 hp Avery engine that I have had about 9 years. We had 280 pounds of cold water test on it. Courtesy of Stanley Ellington, Christine, North Dakota.
11 / 15
Yarbrough's Machine Shop 1423 E. Courtesy ofKearney, Springfield, Mo.
12 / 15
Here is a picture of a Direct Plough Engine (Superheated) by J. & H. McLaren, 140 B.H.P., Leeds, England. (Sorry, but we don't have address of Mr. Pratt - Anne Mae). Courtesy of R. G. Pratt.
13 / 15
Here is a picture of Mr. D. C. Hackett and his unrestored Wallis & Steevens at Church Stratton Rally., August 5, 1963. Mrs. Hackett is on the left in the picture. Courtesy of Frank Hamata, P.O. Box 431, Schuyler, Nebraska.
14 / 15
Ransom's, Sims and Jefferies Portable Engine at Church Stratton Rally on August 5, 1963.
15 / 15
The Clayton & Shuttle worth Engine owned by Mr. W. M. Salmon. This was taken at the Church Stratton Rally on August 5, 1963.

E. R. Dugan writes………

You’ve heard it said, ‘close the door. Where were you
born – in a saw mill?’ Well, that’s about where I came
from. At the age of eleven I chopped slabs and fired a 13 hp Scott
behind the saw mill. Dad ran the saw mill when the slabs were green
and water soaked and I had a hard time keeping up steam until one
day we got some coal to fire with the slabs. Then I made the little
13 hp Gaar Scott bark like a grey squirrel.

When spring opened up we graded roads. Then came threshing and
clover hulling.

We lived on a farm near the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. There
was an old locomotive engineer called Jim on this railroad that
could quill the whistle like I never heard before or since. He
could make it talk or cry. We used to receive a newspaper from the
Nichols Shepard Threshing Machine Co. In it I saw a picture of a
threshing outfit owned by Charles Harmon of Buffalo, Oklahoma. I
wrote to him and asked him for a job running his engine. He
replied, ‘come on, the job is yours. We have a wonderful crop
this year.’

One nice morning in June I heard old Jim coming up the railroad
whistling as usual and I said to Dad, ‘I am going to the Pan
Handle to run a black monster.’ That whistle of Jim’s got
me in a roaming mood.

I was seventeen years old then. I met Mr. C. Harmon at Buffalo,
Oklahoma and ran his 25 hp Nichols Shepard for several seasons.
That started the ball rolling. I slept in every straw pile and hay
stack from the Pan Handle to Moose Jaw, Canada. I followed this for
about twelve years, and I have run them all.

I was running a 25 hp Reeves at Pettibone, North Dakota, for
Ernst Hornung. Finally, I took his daughter and left. Now we live
here in Waterloo, Illinois. I have an airplane to fly as a hobby
and fly to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa every year to the Old Settlers and
Threshers Reunion. I have made them all and can’t wait until
September to attend the next Mt. Pleasant reunion.

Elmer, if you remember, you rode around in the Cavalcade of
Power with me. I was running Wm. O. Saters’ return flue Avery.
I am sure if all my old steam buddies could hear old Jim quill that
whistle once more, they would all agree we could float away into
space on the vapor of that whistle to a new planet of steam
engines.

E. R. Dugan, 436 North Library, Waterloo, Illinois

Muron Tombaugh writes………

I was born in Livingston Co., I11. in 1880. The first steam
engine I remember used in threshing, was a Monitor, 6hp with
vertical boiler, operated by George Koontz, a life-long machine
man. This was in the late 80’s.

I started firing a steam engine in 1903. Some of the steamers we
have worked with are the Advance; Aultman-Taylor; Case, single;
Case, tandem compound; Russell, compound; Avery undermounted and
Reeves, double.

In 1914 I owned an Avery, return flue engine and Avery Separator
40′.

In 1917 I organized a company, known as the ‘Sandy Ford
Threshing Co.’ of Grand Ridge, I11. I was engineer for both our
Case ’60’ and new Case ’50’ pulling a 32′
Aultman-Taylor separator. Bought my first gas tractor, an Avery
12-25 in 1913 and have been operating tractors continuously until
1959.

My father J. L. Tombaugh was born in Washington County,
Pennsylvania in 1840, bought his farm in Illinois in 1870 and died
1919.

Muron Tombaugh, 124 W. 14th, Lamed, Kansas

W. J. Kaufman writes………

Here is a picture of myself and the 3′ Case engine which I
built in my basement. I started on this a little over a year ago
and finished it last spring. It is a model 3 inch to scale of the
65 hp Case. I have also completed a one inch case of which I may
send a picture of at some later date.

I purchased the castings for the 3′ Case from Mr. C. E.
Jack) Kauer, 2511 N. Waco, Wichita, Kansas. And just one word about
Jack, I have found him to be one of the nicest men that I have ever
dealt with, he is honest and dependable, and a very fine machinist,
I would suggest any one needing model castings to see Jack.

Well, so much for that, and now back to the engines. It has been
a nice pass time job working in my basement. The 3′ boiler I
built 1\4‘ coded firebox steel, I have
given the boiler a 400 lb. hyro test. The water to the boiler is
fed by a pump or a 1\4’ Penberthy injector which works very
well, the whistle is one that I patterned after a large one which I
had.

I and my boys enjoy running the engines and have many
compliments on them and even though I am a jeweler by trade that
does not keep me from taking time out for building and enjoying the
model engines.

W. J. Kaufman, 3330 E 4th., Hutchinson, Kansas

From Yarbrough’s Machine Shop . . .

The Album brings to mind many events of days gone by. Not that
they were all enjoyable events, but it takes us back to a day when
people had time to live and a little time to spend with and for one
another.

Here is a picture of a Case Engine that blew her crown sheet
with not over 90 lbs. of steam, killing my cousin, Louis Yarbrough,
who was trying hard to get her hot; and before you readers say what
I know you are thinking, a witness says there was water in the
glass. This engine blew the dry ash pan off, the rear end went over
the front and came to rest on the sawmill it had been pulling. You
will also note in the picture a man standing between the belt wheel
and the drive wheel, the position he was in when the steam began to
clear away. He is Fred B. Yarbrough, who was off bearing at the
time and had just returned from a trip around behind the engine
with a load of firewood. The old wagon, used to haul the sawmill
from one set to another was sitting in the background and probably
proved to be the fatal instrument for my cousin. When he came down
out of the air, of who knows where, his head struck a belt in the
tongue of this wagon. This accident happened in February, 1926 in
the vicinity of Strafford, Missouri.

We attended the reunion at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa in 1961 and were
reminded of this accident when we stood near an old Russell that
was leaking at the seams and spewing hot cylinder oil on bystanders
and the exhaust sounded like the blower was on. However, the
engineer kept her popping off and, in our opinion, was not
promoting safety. Don’t mean to be digging the owner, but the
time for safety is before, not after, the explosion.

Frank Hamata writes………

Last August I attended 1-1/6 Traction
Engine Rallies (what we call reunions) in England. I started at
Bletsoe which is north of Bedford and was scheduled to be a 3 day
show and by the display on the first day it should have been a good
show, but the fellow in charge of the ‘rain’ department had
other ideas. I stayed about a half a day, part of that time under a
tent, after I decided I was wet enough I returned to Bedford.

The next day I proceeded to Ross on Wye and the Hackett
farmstead. On Monday we drove to Church Stratton about 52 miles
from Ross where we had a good day for the show. By mid-afternoon
the grounds were crowded with enthusiastic visitors and the drivers
put on a good show. There were three showmans engines nicely
restored and well kept. In the afternoon two of them were connected
to a showmans fair organ. There were other exhibits such as small
models of stationary engines, model locomotives and miniature
traction engines. There were one or two steam lorrys (trucks to
us), antique automobiles, including g an expertly restored 1912
model T Ford. There were also old time motorcycles and ladies
handicraft exhibit. The army also provided an exhibit.

Engine number 10, which is a Burrell, is unusual in that it is a
compound with both the high pressure and low pressure cylinders
side by side. Both piston rods are connected by a bar which in turn
is connected to the crosshead. Both pistons travel together in the
same direction at the same time. It appeared that the Stephenson
link was the only valve gear used on English traction engines. I
don’t recall seeing any side crank engines in England. Their
engines are more like our center crank and cross compound types.
The cylinders are mounted over the center line of the boiler and a
jacket in the cylinder casting serves the purpose of a ‘steam
dome.’

Mr. Hackett has other engines including an 1881 Marshall
portable fully restored and now has a like new appearance. He has a
Horns by Traction, 8 HP, new in 1889. This engine appears to have
been exceptionally well cared for. Then there is an Eddington
Portable which required the ‘magic touch’ of Bishop Bros,
of ‘Burley, who do some of the world’s finest restoration
work on neglected and worn steam engines.

There are a number of old time gas tractors in the Hackett
collection. These are mainly English makes and English versions of
the U. S. makes. All of the Hackett collection has cover except the
Eddington Portable which up to the time of my visit had to
‘roost’ under a tarpaulin.

While at Bletsoe I met Mr. Fred Rice of London and I learned
that he had spent 16 years in Manitoba and Saskatchewan in the
steam era. He is a ‘dyed in the wool’ steam fan and has a
broad knowledge of steam engines.

Also I met Charlie Olson of near Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Charlie
is stationed in Holland with the U. S. Air Force. He went over the
Channel and ‘over several hills’ to take in Bletsoe Rally.
It was a pleasant surprise to meet a steam fan from the U. S. at an
English Rally.

Mr. Frank Hamata, P.O. Box 431, Schuyler, Nebraska

J. Rex Haver writes……..

I am enclosing a picture of a small air-cooled gas engine I
found in a junk yard near Bellefonte, Penna., October 19, 1963 All
of the parts were there except the fan and gas tank. After putting
it on the truck and doing a little tinkering I had it running. You
can get some idea of the size of the machine by the ruler under the
cylinder.

See Mr. Haver’s letter.

Hope someone writes that he has a catalog I can buy!

A friend of mine found one at a farm sale near Carlisle,
Pennsylvania about the same time. His is a size smaller than
mine.

J. Rex Haver, 643 Bellefonte Avenue, Lock Haven,
Pennsylvania

Ray Harmon writes………

I would like to add a few shovels of coal to Mr. Blaker’s
views on the Woolf Compound Port Huron Engine. I was in threshing
for 17 years. We had Russells, Advances, J. I. Cases, Bakers,
Peerless and Robisons. Regardless of the different engines, I have
run the Russell, Case, Baker, Advance, Port Huron and my favorite
engine is a Port Huron. The first two Port Huron engine, 19
compound, came in our neighborhood about 1908 and were so
economical that in about 10 years we had 8, 19 Port Hurons in the
scope of 20 miles, which I think was a pretty good record for the
Port Huron Compound, all 19hp. But two, one was a 24 hp and one a
22 double which was a peach to run.

I think what made the difference with the 19 hp Port Huron and
the others was that I could do a hard days threshing on two 8 lb.
tanks of water, while pulling a 32×56 Advance Separator, where it
took 3 tanks with the other 18 and 20 hp engines. That was why the
boys went for the Port Huron Engine.

Ray Harmon, R. 2, Box 325, Elkhart, Indiana

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