J. V. Ober writes……..
The first threshing engine I operated was a Buffalo Pitts return
flue center crank.
Here is some information about the Buffalo Pitts return flue
engine for those who might be interested. The first Buffalo Pitts
return flue center crank engine, an 18 HP, came to Ada, Minnesota
in 1891. Later the same type engine came in 20 HP and 22 HP. In
1896 I saw the first 25 HP return flue center crank straw burner.
Straw was used universally for fuel at that time. in 1898 the
Buffalo Pitts went back to side crank engine on their return flue
straw burners. The 25 HP return flue was the biggest return flue
boiler the Pitts Company ever made. Later the direct flue engines
took over and they were made up to 30 and 35 HP single and double.
I never tried any Pitts engines for plowing or heavy hauling.
I hired out once in 1917 to go to Montana to run an engine in
springs work and breaking. The engine was a Case 110 and proved to
be a very nice engine to handle. I liked it very much. I am now 82
years old so I don’t expect to do any more plowing.
J. V. Ober, Twin Valley, Minn.
Jacob Tiessen writes……..
On page 21 of the March and April Album was a problem signed By
Elmer. I give my opinion of what I think. The man that operates the
engine has to know what he is doing, not to get hurt or else cause
damage to the engine. Experience in handling steam engines is very
important. If a stranger gets hurt any mistake could happen,
reverse an engine with a full head of steam and in gear. The man
that is in charge of the engine is to blame if a stranger got hurt
using the controls. If I was at the Reunion I would like to get
hold of the controls myself, but first of all I would ask for
permission. I’d tell you fellows what I know about steam engine
experiences if that would solve the problem.
These men are, of necessity, under order. I would be just as
particular as they are. I don’t blame you. This is for
The letter below that by Mr. Roy E. Mitchell stating in his
letter that he will stay away and not hurt himself anymore. I feel
sorry for the poor old man with all his experience about steam and
didn’t even get a ride on them. If he was capable then I
don’t see why this opportunity wasn’t granted to him.
Jacob P. D. Tiessen, R.R. 1, Abbotsford, B. C, Canada
Elmer heady writes………
I’m mailing you a saw-mill picture with some information
about it. When I was a boy, I used to have engines on my mind think
about them all day and dream about them all night. Ha Ha. Father
was a farmer and was not interested in engines, so if I wanted one,
I had to make it myself.
I built 4 out of tubing from the plumbing shop, solder, wood,
bolts, etc. have one left yet and run it some with compressed air.
I have a shop here. I worked most of my life in machine shops. I
retired 7 years ago and am now 77. I was a tool and instrument
maker for 18 years and worked on some very interesting
I was born and raised in Ohio and moved to Michigan in 1910.
This picture was taken on the Dan Urschel farm, 4 miles
Southwest of Fostoria, Ohio in 1905. The engine is a Peerless
portable 25 HP and a Geiser Mill. We were sawing a barn job for
him. Our house wagon is on the right of the picture.
Charles Urschel, pictured 4th from the left became a very
wealthy oil man in the Southwest. On July 22, 1933, he was
kidnapped from his home by the Machine Gun Kelly Gang and held for
$200,000 ransom. The ransom was paid and he was freed after nine
days of terrible agony. Two of his brothers were ministers of the
Gospel. Much prayer went up from the churches they served and with
the F. B. I. and the shrewdness of Mr. Urschel, the gang was caught
there were 21 convictions, some to life. The Argosy Magazine of
October 1957 tells a lot more about it.
Elmer Leedy, R. R. 2, Milan, Michigan
W. J. Eshleman writes……
In the Sept.-Oct. issue on page 47 is the picture of a very fine
Frick Engine owned by Clarence Nutt and listed as an 8 X 10 bearing
Ser. No. 33534.
In the first place, there must be an error in the number, since
the last Frick traction engine bears the Serial Number of 30519 and
is owned and has been restored by James Layton, Federalsburg,
Maryland. The 8 X 10 would have to be a very old engine with a
Serial number much before 20,000. Just to keep the record
W. J. Eshleman, (Frick Territory Manager), Waynesboro,