LETTERS


| November/December 1961



Sawyer Massey rear-mount plowing engine

One inch scale working model of Sawyer Massey rear-mount plowing engine the first trip out-of-doors in 1954 and yours truly, maker.

W. E. Dearing

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