THAT MARSH VALVE GEAR AGAIN
Since the Advance is one of my favorite engines and I like the
Marsh valve gear, the recent articles by LeRoy Blaker, Edward
Hutsel and Joseph May were very interesting to me. I have
engineered two different Advance engines with Marsh gears a total
of six threshing seasons, also several different engines with Woolf
and Link gears, and I certainly will not agree that the Marsh is
the ‘worst’ valve gear.
I agree with Mr. May in that I do not think a clear exhaust or
‘bark’ is an indication of economy or efficiency. I think
engines with a short distance from exhaust port to nozzle such as
the Advance simple or Avery under-mounted will ‘talk’
louder than where the exhaust steam has to travel farther and maybe
thru a heater. The tandem-compound Advance engines have a soft,
muffled exhaust, this means to me that the expansive force of the
steam has been used in the cylinders to produce power instead of
making a bark up the stack. Advance engines are usually considered
as very economical so the Marsh gear must not be too bad. I
understand Advance Rumely tested other valve gears on their new
engine, before deciding to use the Marsh gear.
I have found the Marsh gear easy to care for and keep snug. I
believe the small number of joints and the short, easy motion
accounts for this. And in spite of the lack of extra notches for
the reverse lever the Advance seems to handle as easy or easier
than most engines, running slow ‘stiff-geared’.
The large, heavy strap and arm of the Woolf and other
single-eccentric gears, with considerably more throw than the
travel of the valve-stem, along with the sliding block, guide and
pivot all add up to many joints with possible lost motion and
noise. I am not trying to say that the Woolf is the ‘worst’
gear, I like the sound of a well-adjusted Case as well as the next
man, but I will not agree that the Marsh is the ‘worst’
valve gear either.
I agree with Mr. May, that a properly designed valve seat will
not wear uneven from ‘hooking up’. When the valve opens to
‘lead’ at one end the other end slides off the raised edge
of the valve seat, if not made this way it could possibly wear
shoulders on the seat even with fixed cut-off gears. I would be
inclined to believe that with reasonably good water and good
lubrication it would take a long time to wear a shoulder even if
the valve stopped short of the edge of the valve seat.
O. R. ASLAKSON, New Rockford, North Dakota
FROM A READER –
The IRON-MEN ALBUM Magazine is a wonderful book to read for
anyone that was brought up on the platform of one of these great
I enjoy every word written by these men who knew about and
worked with steam until gas took over.
The last four years I threshed, I used gasoline motors, out of
cars. They worked, but did not have that something that steam
To hear the whistle in the morning away off on some hill calling
the help was a great thrill to me. It would echo back and forth
between the hills days that are gone but not forgotten.
W. JENNINGS PRESCOTT, Machias, New York
At the request of hundreds of my Reunion friends throughout the
country I will try to introduce myself to the thousands of readers
of the ALBUM. I was born July 3, 1957 to a full bred Chihuahua
mother and father. I am registered in the American Kennel Club as
CHIPPY GINGERSNAP. . . So much for my history. I started following
steam engine shows last year and to date have traveled well over
15,000 miles with the Boss and the Editor of Iron-Men Album. While
at Pontiac my good friend, Leo Clarke, and some ladies in the
women’s (also men’s) hobby building stated they would like
to see my picture in the 1961 yearbook at Pontiac, Illinois, so Leo
snapped my picture and believe you me I am very proud of it and
grateful to all the nice people who requested it. I have badges and
ribbons from most shows and have been made a life member at
several. The Boss made a picture frame for me with all the badges,
cards and ribbons surrounding my picture. This is one of my
So – once again – thank you for your interest in just a little
fellow who looks forward to meeting you at the Reunions — and I
always wear my badge — and proudly, too!
Yours for bigger and better Reunions, I remain Just CHIPPY
MILLARD E. SECOR
I am on the engine in the picture above and my two brothers are
on the tank and tool box. My mother and aunt are standing in front
and my father is in front of the husker.
My father started to thresh when just a young man, long before
there were traction engines. I have heard him tell many and many a
threshing story! I was about 12 years old when I began putting in
full time during the threshing season.
I threshed until 1938, then combines began to take over. One of
my brothers did some threshing and my other brother kept away from
As well as threshing grain every fall, we successfully operated
a husker and shredder for a number of years. We did most of our
threshing in Cass County, Michigan. It isn’t considered a big
grain county, but we had a good run every fall. In those days we
had a few very small jobs. We called them ‘Set Jobs’ and
charged $3.50 for them. For several years when I started out, we
fed by hand and had no wind stacker, just the old straw carrier —
had no bagger, just the old slide boxes. I might say, it kept a man
busy sliding if the yield was anything at all! More power to the
MILLARD E. SECOR, 206 Ashland, Dowagiac, Michigan
THE ALBUM brings back memories of 1915 to 1917 when I was a
bundle-pitcher and later hauled the water wagon for the Minneapolis
Steam Engine and Minneapolis Thresher. It operated in Empire,
Forests and Taycheedah townships which are in Pond du Lac County,
Wisconsin, and seasons ran to about seventy-five days. I still
remember this one at one farmer’s place:
The owner of the steam rig carried a spare evener for the water
wagon which was usually carried on top of the grain separator. That
day, the separator man forgot to close the door above straw rack
and fell on the straw rack. The evener shook back and fell on the
straw rack and fell into the blower and everything smashed badly. A
number of large pieces went out the blower into the straw stack
which was about 16 ft. high and the farmer who was building the
straw stack got scared and jumped off. I later hauled the water
wagon and just about knew how to run the Minneapolis Steam Engine
at that time.
I’ve been a member of the Horseless Carriage Club for many
years. (Sometimes their Gazette carries pictures of steam engines
and steam cars.) If you should have interest in the car club, write
me as I can supply membership blanks and information.
NORBERT GILGENBACH, Route 4, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
BERNARD LEO DALE
BERNARD LEO DALE died June 17, 1960, at his farm home
Briercrest, Saskatchewan, Canada. He was born February 9, 1893, at
Leon, Iowa, and moved to the Briercrest district with his parents
in 1904. He resided there continuously until his death.
Bernard Leo Dale was widely known in the district where he
resided, as a musician, a hunter, a curler, a successful farmer and
as an enthusiastic hobbyist interested in steam engines, steam
railroading and pioneer western farming machinery. He owned the
last steam threshing outfit operated perhaps in Western Canada and
during later years often exhibited it at local fairs. He sold the
outfit only last fall and it is being placed in a private museum in
British Columbia. The J. I. Case carries a current certificate of
He was also active in the Western Development Museum at
Saskatoon and for the last several years attended their annual
Pion-era days, helping to operate the pioneer steam engines and
farm machinery on display. He also took a similar part in the
annual provincian fair at Regina. One of the highlights of his
steam engine career was the planned meeting of the last steam
locomotive of the Canadian National Railroad at the Briercrest
crossing and his own J. I. Case steam traction engine, arranged
through Mr. W. E. Dearing, Chief Dispatcher of the CNR at Regina.
Through their common interest in steam engines Bernard and Mr.
Dearing had become close friends and the meeting of the last two
steamers of their kind only last year resulted in widespread
He had traveled extensively in the United States and Canada and
for the last several years spent four or five weeks every summer
traveling up and down the Rocky Mountains between Banff and Jasper
National Park. Practically all of his travels were recorded by
camera and he made many friends on these trips and had planned
another trip this summer.
He was always interested in guns and hunting and had several
rifles and shotguns, not antiques, but guns that he currently used
in hunting. It was very interesting to find among his effects,
several hand written stories of various phases of his life. One was
about guns and hunting, another about his interest in steam
railroading and another about his threshing operations from the
early days down to the time he sold his old J. I. Case steamer. The
stories are remarkable in their clarity and description of detail
and the ease with which they read; and all the more remarkable
because he was never much of a pen and pencil man.
One phase of his life about which he did not write was music.
However, he was an accomplished musician, playing a number of
instruments including violin, piano, banjo, and drums. In earlier
years he always played for dances and at concerts and when he
wasn’t playing he was dancing. In fact he rarely missed a dance
in the neighborhood.
We are writing this because we know he had a lot of friends who
will wonder why they do not hear from him. We have collected all
the names and addresses we could find among his papers and will
send each of them a copy. Louise and I (his brother) were able to
leave Dubuque the morning following receipt of word and arrived in
Moose Jaw two days later. It was impossible for Lester (his brother
living in Los Angeles, Calif.) to get away. It had been raining for
two days before we arrived and it rained for two more days after,
making all unpaved roads absolutely impassable. The funeral had to
be postponed a day and transferred from Rouleau to Moose Jaw.
Internment had to be delayed till the following Monday however, the
weather the following week was very pleasant and we had an
opportunity to get a lot of necessary work done and found out how
helpful and sympathetic real friends and neighbors can be at such a
PAUL D. DALE, 1251 Adeline St., Dubuque, Iowa
SUSIE — OUR TRACTION ENGINE
In the early 1900’s our father purchased a J. I. Case
Threshing outfit consisting of a traction engine and separator. I
think the separator was perhaps made by another company–but
together it made a wonderful ‘outfit’ and everyone for
miles around would come to see it ‘thrash’ the wheat and
other grain. I can remember distinctly the picture of a scrawny
half starved chicken painted on the Separator with the caption
beneath ‘Fattened on the grain from the straw of this
separator’ indicating, of course, that very little grain was
left in the straw. Tsk! Tsk!
The threshing outfit was carried from farm to farm and the
‘patrons’ fed the crew and often served them an abundance
of fried ham, chicken, vegetables and sweets of the section and
season. Sometimes they even had to spend the night — as it was
before the age of automobiles and going home and back again next
a.m. would take up too much time.
After the wheat was fed in bundles into the separator (the bands
on the bundles had to be cut to feed it in correctly and evenly)
then it went through the process and the straw flew out the back
and the wheat poured out the side into a half bushel measure and
emptied up by the Measuring Man. The measure was pulled by a little
lever on a clock device and when the crop was completed the meter
showed the total (that is, if each measure was pulled by and
clicked the lever). A large wheat sheet was spread on the ground to
catch all that scattered.
One day a young man and his sweetheart came to watch the process
and he asked for permission to feed the Separator. He had on his
Sunday clothes even to his king-sized pocket watch. In some way the
watch was caught in the shuffle and went through the separator.
Only a few links of chain and some tiny wheels and a battered case
remained to mark the once-prized possession.
ANNIE LEE DAY, Porter dale, Georgia
Greetings to all: If I don’t owe you at the present time, I
soon will, as time has no speed limit these days. Just credit my
account and keep the wheels turning. I enjoy your little magazine
For your personal pleasure, please take a look at my drilling
rig on location since May 2 and due to complete the job in a few
days. It has been a sort of vacation job for me, but the weather
did not smile very much on me. The outfit is better each year as I
improve, renew and build up the equipment. In another year or two,
I hope to have it where all I need to do is to spend my spare time
looking at it, and sit on G.S. platform box — when it runs, the
NOISE just is not there. It is a nice machine to work around.
I’m wondering if it would be an interesting subject to ask
the readers for methods, ways, and particulars of using fuel oil
for fuel instead of coal. I’m working on it now, but I’m
not sure about the brick work needed in the firebox and other
details. I’m in town and the women are getting rough about my
smoke on wash day, etc. I would appreciate any sketches – drawings
– or particulars of anyone having oil-burning experience on a
boiler similar to the G.S. 22 hp engine.
The main thing is — I don’t want to burn up my boiler doing
any experiments. I want to be sure of the brick work in the
fire-box and the burner details. Otherwise, I’ll keep on
fighting with the women.
CLARENCE M. REED, 426 Margaret Street, Akron, Ohio
Mc PHERSON MAY DAY PARADE WAS MISSING ONE OF ITS FEATURE
ENTRIES – A STEAM CALLIOPE
When Emmit All suffered a slight heart attack two weeks ago,
something happened to the all schools’ day Parade, and folks
noticed that he and his calliope were missing from the accustomed
place. Immediately Mrs. All began to receive calls from folks who
missed Mr. All and his music box.
For the past five years, Mr. All has been putting the calliope
in the parade with Butch Wagner playing it, and it had come to be
accepted as a fixture in the line of march.
Mr. All is an old-time steam thresher who retained an interest
in the early day engines. A few years ago, he read of a steam
calliope and immediately he conceived the idea of acquiring one of
these instruments, but that was not as easy to accomplish as he
first thought for these steam calliopes have gone out of existence
that is, except for four throughout the whole United States. Mr.
All read of one and made the purchase, then he conceived the idea
of rebuilding and changing the sixteen whistles to twenty-eight. As
a result the calliope had reached the peak of perfection this year
in readiness of the May Day Parade.
Special effort was given to get the instrument in condition for
the parade. Mr. All spent much time repairing and adorning the Case
steam engine that furnishes the steam and pulls the calliope. It
was ready to go when fate intervened. The calliope had also
undergone changes with the addition of some new bells, commonly
‘I can’t get the whistles any more,’ he said,
‘and I can buy the tubing so I make the bells, and I have
overcome a lot of undesirable tones. ‘
Expressing his disappointment at the turn of events which
precluded participation in the parade, Mr. All is looking forward
to his recuperation in time to be entered in the Old Settlers’
Picnic at Marion in October. His services have been in demand in
other festivals which include the Lindsborg hyllings fest, Saline
County Pair, and on one occasion he took his calliope to Eldorado,
so it is no wonder folks around McPherson missed Mr. All and Mr.
Wagner in the latest parade.
EMMITT ALL, 520 S. Ash St., McPherson, Kansas
IT’S A MINNEAPOLIS RETURN FLUE
On page 12 of the July-Aug. ALBUM, you ask to guess the make of
engine on the top of the page. It is a Minneapolis Return Flue
engine. The reason I call it a Minneapolis Return Flue is that as
far as I know they used round spoke wheels on all of their return
flue engines. If you will notice the steam pipe from the dome to
the engine, there is but little of it outside of their boiler. It
comes up out of the top of the dome and crosses over the top of the
dome to the other side and goes down through the dome into the
boiler, back to the smoke stack a little way, then out through the
left side of the stack to the cylinder. You can see a shaft just
back of the dome on two bearings. This is a part of the Wolff
Reverse Gear that they used. The block guide is on the left end of
the shaft. Also, they had the clutch and reverse levers on the
right side of the smoke stack, the clutch lever next to the stack
and the reverse lever on the right of the clutch lever.
I had the pleasure of driving the engine in the picture below
the Minneapolis engine on page 12, owned by Mr. Andrew F. Hesse of
Marble Rock, Iowa, at the Cedar Falls Reunion of 1959.
EMIL W. MARTZAHN, Route 2, Greene, Iowa
A SUBSCRIBER WRITES:
I guess I am a poor or very careless engineer to let steam and
water get as low as I did. You know, when you get to the last
issue, that’s letting it go too far on as good a thing as the
Album. And I mean just that! Wouldn’t care to miss one issue
Yes, I threshed a little with my machine this Fall, but I have
to pull it with a gas tractor as I am not yet an owner of a steam
engine. I sure hope to have one in my possession one of these
I am enclosing some pictures taken the day we threshed (1959).
See pictures elsewhere.)
INGUARD K. HAUGEN, R. D. 1, Box 39, Hannaford, North Dakota
INDIAN – NO DUMB – HE EATS -ALSO WINS PRIZE
The Oklahoma Farmer Sportsman recently published a picture of a
dilapidated house and washed-away fields, a scene typical of the
dust bowl country. It invited its readers to write a short story in
connection, offering a prize for the best narrative.
An Indian descendent from the Georgia Cherokee was given the
reward, over 2604 entries. His story was titled, ‘Maybe Indian
Was Right After All’.
Picture shows crazy of white man, make big tepee, plow hill,
water wash, wind blows soil, grass all gone. Squaw gone, papoose
gone too. No chuck. No pig. No corn. No hay. No cow. No pony.
Indian no plow ground. Keep grass. Buffalo eat grass. Indian eat
buffalo. Hide make tepee, Mocassins too. Indian no make terrace. No
build dams. No give a dam. All time eat. No hunt job. No hitch
hike. No ask relief. No kill pig. Great Spirit make grass. Indian
no waste. Indian no work. White man heap crazy. Get more crazy all
Sent in by: JOHN J. MENCHHOFER, 3520 W. 12th St., Indianapolis,