LETTERS

By Staff
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One inch scale working model of Sawyer Massey rear-mount plowing engine the first trip out-of-doors in 1954 and yours truly, maker.
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Portable electric steam generating plant in operation at Loren M. Wade's steam threshing at Tracy, Calif., Oct. 1960. Built and operated by Glenn Weagant of Stockton, Calif. (110 volt AC)
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14 foot side hill Harris harvester pulled by 24 head of mules and horses, in operation on Ducat Bro. ranch near La Grange, Calif., in about 1927-28. My late father-in-law standing by sack chute on right, his brother driving and my brother-in-law and my wi
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'Mutt and Jeff' - 16 hp Russell belted to 2 inch scale wooden Case separator at Mikkelson's, Silverton, Oregon, Aug. 1960. In background, Leon Gifford and in front, Roy Heinrich.
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1885 - 15 hp Westinghouse engine owned by Willis Smith, Springfield, Oregon, at Mikkelson's, Aug. 1960
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Sawyer Massey 76 hp engine No. 4077 at Regina, Sask., Canada.
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16-48 Aultman-Taylor engine owned by P. A. Miller, Modesto, Calif. I am standing on left of drive wheel. Mr. Miller is on right of the driver, a friend behind him and my 8 year old twin boys seated on tool box.
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Sawyer Massey 17 hp engine No. 3854 western type straw burner, taken in 1960. Owner, W. E. Dearing.
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23-90 Baker as it is today.
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See Doern letter. Courtesy of Leo J. Doern, Portland 2, Oregon
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Condition 23-90 Baker Special was in when we bought it. Engine No. 17888 and built in 1928. Owned by Bob and Gene Drummond.
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My 30-60 Aultman-Taylor No. 4071 and 8 furrow engine plow working southwest of Ottawa, Illinois.
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See Doern letter. Courtesy of Leo J. Doern, Portland 2, Oregon
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See Doern letter. Courtesy of Leo J. Doern, Portland 2, Oregon

MR. DEARING WRITES:

The 1905 picture shown on page 23 of Mar-April 1961 ALBUM is of
an L. D. Sawyer engine, which firm was later the Sawyer &
Massey Co. and Mr. Watson’s brother William, age 85 years,
living here in Regina, is a good friend of mine. William was quite
enthused when I told him of the picture. We both have a lot in
common, boyhood steam thresher-men followed by a life of
railroading due to our mutual regard for steam. Who could not
appreciate the music of an engine with Southern valve gear, making
good time, rolling around and bouncing, with the resultant exhaust
variations? Or just as nice, a heavy, nicely-set-up engine on a
drag? We are not going to hear them any more – ever – and that
makes one sad. It is nice though that we have some dear old tractor
friends still alive which we can polish and play with when the
opportunity warrants. Sometimes it would seem that the word
‘play’ should be changed to ‘work’.

In the Nov-Dec issue on page 31 the engine shown was not a
Waterloo but either a Port Huron or a Robert Bell, made in Seaforth
Ontario, which two engines were very similar in appearance. With
reference to the ‘stack’ shown on the following page, while
far from handsome, it would serve its purpose immensely better than
the later, fancy-waisted short stack but in the early days there
were no overhead wires, not even many clothes lines, which
sometimes did not count.

During my hunts for engines back through the years, and I can
truthfully say that is over fifty years and with having found
several hundreds of same, there are a few unusual items which come
to mind, which probably none but real old-timers may recall such
as: American Abel (maybe John Abel) steam tractor with a
‘link’ valve gear and a spherically enlarged fireproof
stack.

An American Abel 20 hp side mounted Cross Compound engine, about
1895. A Sawyer Massey engine with a water bottom firebox. A Sawyer
Massey engine, the firebox sheets of which were flanged outward to
meet the outer sheets, similar to a Case, and a feature they would
later on wish they could deny.

With retirement only two years away I am looking forward keenly
to visiting various re-unions and trying to live over again some of
the old memories. Gone though are the days when we were kids and
when one’s neighbors were as of our own and there is no denying
that the use of steam contributed to this in large part. Long may
we cherish the memories!

W. E. DEARING
Chief Despatcher C. N. R.
Regina, Sask., Canada

FROM OHIO –

I am sending pictures of a 23-90 Baker Special with uniflow
valve which my brother Bob and I have owned for ten years. The
number of this engine is 17888 and it was built in 1928. Although
we are not old-timers, Bob is 26 and I am 24, we have been
interested in steam engines ever since Dad’s last year of
threshing by steam power in 1941. This outfit consisted of a 22 hp
double cylinder Peerless engine and a 36 inch Case separator.
Before that Dad ran his own outfit, an Oliver Hart Parr tractor and
a Red River Special separator, but the runs were getting shorter so
Dad and Mr. Bus-kirk, the owner of the steam rig, decided to put
their runs together. Prom time to time Bob and I got to go with Dad
to where they were threshing. The sight, sound and action at the
engine and separator I don’t think we will ever forget. It was
decided not to have a run in 1942 as most farmers were going to
combines and because of the shortage of help needed for a threshing
crew. The rig was kept at our place until the fall of 1942 when the
owner of the outfit was taken in by that lie which took so much of
the old time machinery.

In 1951 Bob heard that our uncle who is in the farm machinery
business traded a power unit for a Baker steam engine. With some
help from Dad we were able to buy the engine from our uncle. What a
dirty, naked looking monster it was, having been stripped of cab,
tanks and platform for use on a sawmill. Our idea was. to rebuild
the engine as it was when new. This we did in a period of four
years. The engine is reconditioned throughout. New flues, tanks,
cab, platform, steam and injector line were installed.

Bob and I are members of the Miami Valley Steam Threshers and
have showed our engine at the 1959 and 60 shows held at
Mechanicsburg, Ohio.

In addition to the Baker engine our Dad owns two 25-50 Baker
tractors, two Birdsell No.8 clover hullers a 30-56 Baker separator
and a 27-44 Advance Rumely separator. Dad has been a subscriber to
IMA since ’52.

GENE DRUMMOND, R. 1, Orient. Ohio

LETTER –

I have been around steam engines since I was 15 – as a straw
buck in 1905 on a Buffalo-Pitts return flue and straw carrier or
stacker as some call it. Then a straw carrier to engines and then
to fireman in 1907. Wages as fireman was $1.00 per day from 6 a.m.
to 10 p.m.

These pictures were taken by Fred L. Davies who was General
Manager for Oklahoma and Indiana territory some time between 1890
and 1900 or longer for the Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company. I
borrowed the pictures from his son, Elmer, had negatives made and
then the pictures.

The history as I can get it is this: In going through a creek
the rear wheel struck gravel and rear wheels sprung and could not
move the outfit and before they could get horses to pull same out,
the boiler exploded.

Elmer Davies, the son, is now 72 years old. It would be kind of
interesting if some of the old-timers would write may be they would
remember more about it. I think the engine was sent back to factory
for repairs.

LEO J. DOERN, Portland 2, Oregon

LETTER

Reading other men’s experiences in the Iron-Men Album brings
to mind a rather unusual experience I had in the early
twenties.

The only time I reversed an engine while pulling with full open
throttle, I was firing an undermounted Avery belted to a grain
separator. I was getting coal from a wagon close behind the engine
when I noticed the exhaust was louder than usual and saw the engine
backing up pulling the separator by the belt. I jumped onto the
platform and the reverse lever being down on the platform reversed
it just as it hit the wagon, and of course throwed the belt, then
closed the throttle.

The man that owned the machine while working on the engine had
removed the clutch that also holds the wide traction driving gear
in place as it floats on crankshaft while in the belt. This gear
worked out on the shaft until there was little more than one inch
engaged with the driven gear to heat and stick so tight to the
crankshaft that we had trouble getting it loose and back in
place.

OTIS SHUMARD, Stewardson, Illinois

FROM ONE OF OUR JUNIORS –

Mr. Whitmore has just finished making a very fine looking Baker
Pan and last Sunday I was out watching him run it with his
engine.

Two weeks ago I got Dad to take me to the Richland County Steam
Show. There were around 34 engines there. The engines were
threshing and running a sawmill, shingle mill, break, fans, and
they were grinding corn. I think it was a very good show and we had
a very nice time.

DAVID L. GIBSON, Lodi, Ohio

A FRIENDLY LETTER

Seldom if ever have I had a letter from a stranger that is like
one from a friend of long standing. If you can do it every time you
will be a success. It was very nice indeed.

I originated in Nova Scotia and from the time I can remember
until the present – lumbering has waned greatly. I can remember
when a great deal of lumber came out on wagons, and in the winter
on bobsleds, and the shipping was impressive. Even then it usually
was not the first cut on the timberland. There was one big mill
that drove the logs down the river, but for the most part it was a
steam driven portable mill that went to the wood lot. The men all
lived in camps at the mill. Now, there aren’t so many mills and
while they are of the portable size, still mostly they are located
near the railroad and the logs come to it on trucks. Delivery of
the lumber is usually by truck and very few cars are loaded. The
mills have gone diesel and the operators find they like them. True,
there is far more legislative restriction dealing with fire
prevention and a steam mill can’t operate when a diesel driven
mill can. There is less lumbering going on and it is mostly small
operations.

I don’t just recall how I got on to looking for Steam
Traction Engines. It may have been seeing one at a gasoline station
some place between here and Washington. Ultimately, I decided to go
and see it. The answer to that is that I could not find it and I
know it was there. More strange – up that way I could not find
anyone who knew of it or where it had been.

I bought some literature and tried to buy some catalogues. The
latter are not too common and when in good condition they are quite
expensive when available. I bought a catalogue of the man on the
west coast who makes models of them and learned of your publication
from it. I subscribed to yours for a year as well as another on the
west coast and I learned a lot. One thing learned was of the
activity at Kinzers.

Last fall I went to Kinzers and it was done at some cost and
trouble. I had only the weekend. One Friday night I bussed to
Washington, over nighted in a hotel and flew to Lancaster where I
rented a Hertz car. Saturday was spent at Kinzers but I
couldn’t be there early for the steam-up, but I was there all
of a very hot day. That night I over nighted at a motel and on
Sunday I visited a friend in York and flew back to Richmond in the
evening. I’m glad I did it, but it was too much to plan on
doing again.

At Kinzers I saw your set-up and except that you were busy, it
is my regret that I did not talk to you.

One thing led to another and I learned of Holbrook’s Holy
Old Mackinaw. It may be out of print, but the copy I got through
the local book store did originate from the publisher. I do think
that anyone interested in lumbering would like it. As a start on
the subject, it is fine. I think that in the back of it there is a
bibliography and I’m going to consult it with the information
you furnished. I bought two books from you on Logging and Milling
and as you say, both were excellent on account of the fine
photographs. You would have noted of course, that both books said
the best was over in the areas covered by the books. Of all the
lumbermen, Weyerhauser was as big as any and more provident than
most and seems to have built an enterprise that will stand for some
time. I think that maybe a biography of the Weyerhauser enterprise
might be rewarding.

I must confess that my interest is less in logging than in the
milling and I can’t find much in book form. Some time ago I
solicited a catalogue from the Wheland Company who advertised Saw
Mill Machinery. What I got was interesting and informative. I
gather that a mill is assembled from units – the overall plan can
vary greatly. In short, I could see the units, but could not see
the mill.

On vacation travel I ran onto a big mill in Rienelle, Virginia.
I was told that it was a really big mill and only surpassed by one
on the west coast. It had been Corliss powered, but now was turbine
and electric. The operation is big and they may have logging roads.
The name is Meadow Brook, I think. They have tours through it and I
missed on account of it being Saturday. Up in Princeton, Maine,
there is quite a mill – rotary head saw with an oversaw set up but
not running. It is an electric mill using the public utility. It is
a fast mill and big for Maine today. Their logs come down to it in
a series of lakes.

Yes, Richmond is pretty big and probably too big, but after 20
years in New York City it is in every way preferable.

You did not ask me where to go in Virginia and anyway I
don’t feel qualified to advise. There is much history in the
state and a great deal of attention is given it. You should see
Williamsburg, but in Fredericks-burg there are restorations that
are worth taking in. From observation and comment heard,
Williamsburg is almost too spotless and some of the other
restorations will give the feeling of age better. For country – the
Piedmont district is more interesting to see because of the hills.
From the Piedmont to the sea it is gently rolling and flattish. You
can hit the Skyline Drive only a short bit from the Potomac and can
follow it and a companion down the ridge of some mountains and it
is very pretty. You will miss most of the big cities and towns and
can come off it in many places to make side trips. This might be
your best bet if you have a scenic tour in mind.

North Carolina I have not penetrated to any extent and I’m
hearing it is beautiful and full of interest. There is one place
there that I would like very much to make – The Outer Banks. There
would be two good books to read if you were interested – The
Hatterasman, and The Outer Banks of North Carolina. I can’t
recall the name of the author of the first, but the author of the
second one is David (?) Stick. If you went there, you would hit
Elizabeth City, Nags Head and wind up at the Cape Hatteras Light
House. The district has been apart from the mainland and the
natives talk strangely (Elizabethian English). I was not successful
in having my informant mimic them. Off shore, I’m told there
are hulks in the sand of shipwrecks for the coast there is
hazardous to mariners.

If you were interested, in Newport News there is a really fine
Museum, the Mariners Museum. It is as good in it’s way as the
one at Mystic, Conn.

I’ve seen the VW fitted for traveling as you do and it is
very appealing. The VW is a wonderful piece of machinery and very
practical.

As to your ‘Come up and see us’, most cordial and thank
you. I have no idea when I might be in your neighborhood, but if I
am, I just might call. It would be my luck to find you fighting to
make a deadline! I would reciprocate had I any facilities at all
for entertaining you, which I have not.

I don’t know what you will think of this letter, but
I’ve had a lot of pleasure in writing it. Kindly do not
consider a reply called for.

Steam traction engines interest me and I think I got them
connected up with lumbering on account of hearing that they were
much used in connection with lumbering. I’ve read that a normal
use for an engine was in threshing in season and in a mill the
remainder of the time. Down here I guess their last stand was in
the mills and obsolescence and the diesel got them to the junk
dealers.

G. G. BURRIS, 620 N. Blvd., Richmond 20, Virginia

HISTORICAL OLD TRACTORS

Since my last letter to the Iron-Men Album quite some time ago
on the ‘Coming of the Hart Parr’, I would like to do a
little reminiscing on the early gas and oil tractors and their role
in power on the farm. I enjoy hearing some of the big ones run.

To sit under the canopy top of a 30-60 Aultman-Taylor and hear
the steady rhythm of the exhaust overhead, and then as you look
back, first your eye catches a glimpse of the 36×90 inch drive
wheel as its bright cleats come out to view beyond the fender, ever
moving forward, then you see another nine and one half feet of
black fresh earth reaching far behind. Looking forward again the
tempo is the same, the cleats are flashing in the sun. Power is at
work.

I have collected many of these old early tractors in the past
few years and have them stored in modern steel buildings. In
getting these tractors, I have driven many thousands of miles and
had many interesting experiences.

The last tractor to go into my sheds is a 1913 two cylinder
Titan. This is an interesting 45 hp piece of machinery with its
tank and screen cooling system, 360 degree crankshaft and two
flywheels.

I have two Nichols & Shepard Oil Gas Tractors, most pleasing
exhausts of any two cylinder tractor I have ever heard. I am much
interested in these tractors and would welcome hearing from any
owner or former owner of one either direct or through the pages of
the ALBUM.

I also have a 20-75 Nichols & Shepard double-rear-mounted
steam engine.

GLEN W. THOMAS, Route 4, Ottawa, Illinois

LETTER

As some of you may know, I had the misfortune of contracting a
heart condition a little over 4 years ago. It was bad enough that I
just couldn’t carry on my work anymore. My work was, at the
time, instructing new buyers, as service-man and trouble-shooter,
for a big agricultural-irrigation-equipment sales and service Co.,
handling the Peerless deep-well turbine pumps, mostly sold with
gear-head angle-drives, powered by gas, gasoline, diesel, and
butane engines up to 250 hp, direct-connected thru ‘U’
joints, never flat-belts; but, some small sizes used ‘V’
belt drives. A few were sold with electric motors directly
connected; but, with these the speed wasn’t readily variable,
as is usually so desirable in sprinkle irrigation. This speed
variation is so easily obtained by using the multi-cylinder
internal combustion engines. I never had any contact with a
single-cylinder, or double-cylinder engine being used for heavy
irrigation, recently, in and around the San Antonio area; but, I
did have years ago in the south tip of Texas where there is so much
irrigation. This company handled Continental, I. H. C., and
Waukesha engines, mostly; in the 4 and 6 cylinder types. But such
engines are of the high

speed, high-power-output models, which kinda got on my nerves
because of the high-speed roar!! Now, I’m just doing a general
Fix-It-Shop repair work and my heart condition has improved
somewhat but I’m not making much money now, either. That’s
the reason I just couldn’t attend a single antique Power
Farming Show in 1960 as I would have liked to. The only such show I
ever attended was the one at Wichita in August, 1959.

I still enjoy my old time farm gas engine collecting and
restoring hobby very, very much! And, I sure do enjoy my version of
the ‘Krueger Fan’; it is fine in applying an effective load
to all engines, steam and gas, up to 8-10 hp. I now have 15
old-model gas engines. They are:

International 3 hp. ‘M’ kero., No. B46323; Stover 6 hp,
kero., No. PX 145214; Krueger-Atlas 5 hp. gaso. No.30616; Otto 5
hp. gaso. No. 12856; International 6 hp. gaso. No. JA844E (1907);
Hercules 5 hp. kero. No. EK 280957; Associated ‘Chore-Boy’
1 hp. gaso. No.32885; Stover 1 hp. gaso. No. K94843; Lauson
‘Frost King’ 3 hp. gaso. No.7525; Samsco 5 hp. kero. No.
DB4918; Atlas 5 hp. gaso. No. 31699; Cushman, model ‘C’ 4
hp. gaso. No. 14425; Fairbanks-Morse ‘Z’ 6 hp. kero. No.
248985; Cushman model 44, 8 hp gaso.No.4607; Fuller & Johnson
‘N’ 2 hp. gaso. No. 13016.

I don’t find many more engines outside of the junk yards
here. We have 3 yards where one might expect to find a badly
broken-up engine once in a while but even the broken-up ones are
rarely found any more. I at least try to get their name plates. I
got most of my engines from farmers in this vicinity. I frequent
the junk yards quite regularly because, in this way I do often pick
up parts of gas engines such as carburetors, governor parts –
perhaps an igniter, but rarely; sometimes a pulley or conn-rod
splash-guard; muffler; etc. I usually pay 4?? lb. for the stuff but
never do find an engine in good condition at the yards. The only
engine I bought from a yard is my 3 hp Lauson with 16′
clutch-pulley, otherwise it’s just a few parts now and then. I
have not yet found a fellow who is interested in our hobby locally.
Did write to one in Raymondville, Texas, but haven’t heard from
him to date. There are two men in the Lower Rio Grande Valley,
south tip of Texas, each of whom has a Case steam traction engine
restored but I’ve never been down there to see the men or their
engines – it’s heck to be poor!!

If you have any questions or would like to write me about your
part in this hobby, feel free to write any time. I’d sure enjoy
hearing from you yes I would!!!

T. H. KRUEGER, 1615 San Francisco St., San Antonio 1, Texas

LETTER FROM CALIFORNIA

Mr. A. C. Wallis of Tracy, Calif., who is a locomotive engineer
on the Southern Pacific Railroad, and who has also had many years
experience with traction engines in saw mills and threshing in the
Midwest, located and purchased a 6-ton Austin-Western steam road
roller, minus the wheels, stack and the control levers were broken
off, in a junk yard in Stockton. The engine and machinery was in
good condition, and he also ran across a later model of the same
make roller, but powered by a gas engine. Its wheels and roller fit
perfectly on the steam powered job, so he purchased both and had
them moved over to Loren M. Wade’s place near Tracy, and he
proceeded to restore it. The job is now complete, and the enclosed
pictures tell their own story. New levers were made, a new set of
grates and ash pan were made and installed, converting it from an
oil burner to wood or coal fuel. It runs fine and is certainly a
snappy sounding engine! The engine and boiler were built by
Farquhar, with a butt-strap boiler carrying 150 psi and double,
simple 6×8 cylinders.

In August, I went up to Oregon, to assist and take part in
Harvey Mikkelson’s annual Steam Festival and threshing bee.
Went up on the train and Clarence D. Kruse met me in Portland and
took me to Harvey’s and back. Clarence has 6 engines of his
own, a threshing machine and has had many years of steam
experience. On Saturday, August 19th, Clarence and Harvey headed
for town with the 12-36 Case pulling the 22x 36 McCormick-Deering
separator, following the 16 Russell towing the 22×36 Red River
Special machine, and Carl Kirsch, of St. Paul, Oregon hauled water
with his little 6 hp Russell engine. Bringing up the rear was a man
with a fine team of horses who pulled the old 30 hp Case portable
engine. In the afternoon, Wm. Hermans coupled up and pulled the the
Red River Special machine out to a couple stacks of wheat and
belted up the Russell and threshed one stack of wheat – – the
weather was hot and a nice breeze was blowing. All of the engines
were lined up and out of their sheds and ready to go. Sunday
morning it dawned grey and it had rained during the night in
Portland. Out at Harvey’s it was cloudy but Harvey said it
would be raining before noon. It did, and he didn’t put on
threshing that day. But around noon, it cleared up, a breeze came
up and after lunch, the parade was held and threshing commenced.
Harvey and Rod Pitts coupled up the 12-36 Russell engine to the 22x
36 McCormick-Deering separator, pulled out and set the machine and
belted up to start the threshing. The 12-36 Case was belted up to
the Red River Special machine at another stack and threshing
commenced in earnest. Clarence D. Kruse and I mounted the 22
Advance engine and belted up to the big fan, and it made the
Advance really work! I fired for Clarence; he also did some
threshing later with the Red River Special machine. Rod Pitts and
his twin brother, Richard, were on their regular engine, the 20-70
Nichols and Shepard and having a great time; Norris Young was
operating the 16 hp Russell tandem compound and took his turn on
the fan. One of the star attractions of the show was the newly
restored 15 hp Westinghouse engine, owned by Willis Smith, of
Springfield, Ore. This engine was built in 1885, and is all
complete and original, even to a portion of the original leather
belt.

He told me he only had to clean and paint the engine, put some
new boiler jacket material on, and rebuilt part of the drive’
belt, as when he found the engine, it was located in a sawmill that
had fallen in, and the belt had been partially exposed to the
weather. It has only one speed, instead of the 2-speed change over
on the smaller Westinghouse engine. Who said the V-drive belt is
new? He belted it up to a fan and it ran right along.

About this time, Carl Kirsch brought out and set up his
beautiful and completely restored 21 inch Sterling hand feed
machine with slat straw carrier and belted up his 6 hp Russell to
it. A load of bundles were threshed and it worked to perfection. I
believe it threshed the nicest and longest straw of anything in
operation that day. About 3 o’clock another rousing rain came
up and brought things to a halt. But, after about an hour, the sun
came out, another nice southwest breeze sprang up and the hum of
the threshing machine was again heard. I helped pitch a load of
bundles, as some of the grain was stacked, some in the shock, and
by 5 o’clock, all the grain was threshed, belts thrown and
rolled up and everything headed for the big machine shed. By 6:00
o’clock, everything was put away, and we just sat around and
visited. Harvey always has something new at his show each year, as
well as continued activity of some kind. The crowd was estimated at
about 6,000, which was good for the weather. The 7th annual
threshing bee was a success. Harvey had shopped his 16 hp Advance
engine last winter, and has obtained an old Fordson tractor, also a
regular Farmall, 1932 model which has been completely repainted and
restored to original appearance and running order. Likewise the old
Fordson is in for similar reconditioning. A 7 hp John Deere single
cylinder engine has been restored and added to the growing
collection. Ernie Burnett, President of the W. S. F. A., was on
hand, running the 50 Case, Jeff Richardson was around for awhile,
and Roy Heinrich was around, lending a hand wherever necessary.
Leon Gifford tended separator, as he usually does. The evening
before, a Steam Fiends dinner was held in the restaurant in
Silverton with about 75 Fiends in attendance. Business was
transacted and slides shown, some of the Pio-een-era reunion in
Saskatoon, Canada, at which Jeff Richardson, Harvey Lively and
Walter Mehmke, I believe, all took part in last July, running
engines. I also showed some slides of Harvey’s 1959 threshing
and Glenn O. Nice’s last threshing. Everyone had a nice time
and I believe the annual business meeting will be held in Oregon
again this year.

The week previous to Harvey’s show, Rod Pitts held a local
threshing with just the local steam Fiends participating, using his
16 hp Advance and 32×54 Case separator to thresh with and his 12 hp
Russell to haul bundles. Carl Kirsch also did some threshing with
his Sterling and Russell engine, for a shake-down I guess. We also
got a steam threshing organized and under way here in California
too. Loren M. Wade has asked me to be on the lookout for a machine
for him, and I located a good 28×46 Case rice thresher close to
here. After getting him and the owner together, the machine was
purchased and hauled over to Loren’s place near Tracy, and
after doing some work on the machine, including changing the grain
elevator and putting on another, we belted up the 50 Case engine
and turned over the machine for awhile to limber it up. On Sunday,
October 16th, we threshed with baled oat hay as the grain, which
worked well. But, the heavy wind blew off the drive belt, and we
decided to finish threshing the grain some other time. However A.
C. Wallis was on hand with his steam roller, Glenn Weagant had his
little portable steam electric generating plant on hand and both
were steamed up and with the Tinkham boys and a friend of theirs
from Reno along, there was quite a lot of activity and fun had by
all. Loren also had his little 4 hp upright engine hooked up to
Glenn’s boiler and it ran along, with 2 other little model
engines. Glenn’s plant consists of an 110 volt AC generator, 2
hp upright automatic steam engine and small upright boiler, mounted
on a w-wheel trailer and burns coal. The trailer is wired up with
lights for night operation and furnishing a heavy load for the
engine too. Glenn is now building a little steam car, using a Loco
mobile for steam power. More on this after he gets it finished. The
Tinkham boys and Dr. Rushmore, of Reno, Nevada, held a steam
threshing demonstration last September in connection with the
Washoe County Fair, using 240 hp Case engines and a 28×46 Case
separator; also hauled the kids around in a couple of hayracks.
Glenn furnished power for the PA system too.

JACK K. WILLIAMS, 1121 Hilltop Lane, Modesto, Calif.

LETTER

I started out at 17 years of age on a 12 hp Frick, threshing
with my Uncle at 40?? a day. I only weighed 105 lbs. so I could not
handle it, only on good roads. That winter, I fired a 15 hp. Frick
in a sawmill for 50?? a day and my board. I kept on going and at 20
years I ran a new 13 hp Reeves. Boy! Was she a dandy! I kept her
shining like a gold piece.

At the age of 21, I bought an old Gaar-Scott. My brother and I
sawed wood and ran a sawmill with it. Then we got a 12 hp Advance
with a 32x 52 Advance sep. Hand Fed and then we traded it for a 13
hp Reeves and a Colean Sep. 32×52. The engine was too small and so
we traded it for a Buffalo-Pitts Double Cyl. 18 hp which was a very
good engine. We sawed a lot of lumber with this engine and then I
sold out and went to Bushnell, Illinois, and went to work for the
John M. Brant Co.

They were a jobbing house that sold Gaar-Scott, Wood Bros.,
Minneapolis, Rumely and then later the Advance Rumely and Oil Pull.
They handled a full line of oils and supplies. I worked in the shop
as a mechanic. We took down and rebuilt all kinds of engines. I
stayed with them until 1926, I saw the old steamers were going out,
so I quit and came to California where I grew lemons for 25
years.

But to get back to some of the fun I had trouble shooting – you
see I was on the road most of the threshing season. One time, I
started a man out of the shop in the winter time as we wanted to
get the rig out of the shop. It was a 20 hp Single Rumely, also a
separator, Well, he got out several miles the first day as you know
it was down around zero. Well, he called in the next morning and
said the engine wouldn’t run and so they sent me out. I took a
helper with me. You would open the throttle and she would turn over
a few revs, then quit. Reverse and same thing. I checked governor,
throttle, all OK – as you know they have a long heater on the side
of the boiler and I put my hand on it, and it was as cold as ice as
the side of the engine was on the windy side, so I told my buddy to
give me a steam hose and I held it along the heater for a five
minutes and then I told him to open the throttle and you should
have seen the ice and water shoot out of the stack. It was funny!
The engine would turn over and then bounce back on compression.

Another time they sent me to see what was wrong with a 20 hp
Advance Rumely. He said the Illinois River could not keep it full
of water. The first thing I did was to check the valve setting.
Well, it was off some, not too bad – a good warm job, steam 175, a
hot day, threshing crew waiting on you. Well, I got it set and
started up. no better, a clean bark on one end, blow on the other.
I could not figure it out, if valve bad blow both exhausts, it
sounded so queer – bark blow. I stood and looked at it and then I
said, ‘Shut her down’. He said, ‘What are you trying to
do now?’ I said, ‘Fix your engine’. You see, the
Advance has a three way cylinder cock and he had piped the live
steam from the steam chest into the cyl. cock pipe and that was
where I got the blow when I got it coupled back where it belonged.
We started up and you should have heard that engine bark. Then he
said it was funny a company would put out an engine that way. Well,
I said, ‘You are a liar, I have seen lots of Advance engines
and never one piped like that’. Then he admitted he did it to
drain the steam chest.

I surely got a thrill being back at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, last
September 1960 and seeing the old steamers once again and to get
hold of one once more.

LEROY PILLING, 611 D. Avenue, National City, Calif.

TENNESEE HEARD FROM

I live in East part of Tennesee. It’s not a big threshing
place. Steam was used to thresh and sawmill. The country is pretty
hilly. It was sure some show to see the big steamers pulling steep
grades and threshing. Most of the machines were small, about 22×36.
I have a 16 hp Prick steamer now. I use it for parade work. I go to
Kingsport, Tenn. every 4th of July Parade and parade also in
Greenville, Tenn.

We don’t have any Thresherman’s Reunions in this State
that I know of. I sure would like to see one started. I know of a
few steamers and could put on a small show to start. I believe I
could get about 6 engines together.

I was at Brookville, Ohio to steam show in 1959. It sure was
fine. I intend to see more. Let’s all try to keep up this good
work.

CLAY PHILLIPS, Fall Branch, Tenn.

A HUMOROUS MEMORY

When I was living on a small farm near Martinsburg, Iowa about
1907, I was about 11 years of age and I was really a steam engineer
and a thresher fan. I have been, since 1906 getting my collection
of steam engines and thresher, clover huller books collected.

Now, I had been writing to all the companies that made steam
engines, threshers, corn shellers, clover hullers, etc. as fast as
I could get their addresses, so among several different companies,
I wrote to the Aultman-Taylor Machinery Co., at Mansfield, Ohio for
their catalog for 1907.

In due time it arrived and later on I also got a letter from
their branch office at Des Moines, Iowa that there would shortly be
a Mr. Kelly from that office call upon me on a certain date to sell
me a machine, etc. I got sorta scared and never told my Dad, but I
told my Mother about it and soon after, in the next 2 or 3 days,
this man arrived hiring a livery rig as the auto was scarce in
those days and my Dad was gone and I hid in the bedroom.

Later Mother got me out to talk to this Mr. Kelly. He was a big
fat guy and when I came in the yard to meet him, he just laughed
and told me he would send me a catalog each year and that as soon
as I was big and old enough, he expected me to buy an
Aultman-Taylor rig from them. Well, he went off and went over about
2 miles from where we lived and sold a thresherman a return flue
Aultman-Taylor engine – so the trip paid off for them after all.
Some fun.

J. R. GORHAM, La Plata, Missouri

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment