A. V. Wright writes.........
I started to thresh in 1921 with a George White side-mounted steam engine, 20HP then 2years old. I used this engine for 10 years until we changed to a 35 HP Rumely. We threshed in those days for about 75 days on grain barn threshing mostly, then we would thresh clover for maybe 50 days into the winter. Those were the good old days.
Here is a picture of the engine we use now for shows and to thresh our own crops here at Strathroy, Ontario, Canada. It is a John Goodison, built at Sarnie, Ontario, 45 miles west of here on the U. S. border. Port Huron is just across the St. Clair river. The engine was new in 1922 and we have repaired it to carry 145 lbs. steam. When new it carried 175 lbs. This picture shows it threshing on our farm on August 16,1961. I am standing beside it. I have 8 engines in all and several tractors. I also have a Geo. White engine exactly like the one on top of page 28 of the January-February 1961 issue. It is a George White and Son's 2025 Rear Mount Lopp Joint, 9-10 cylinder on 25 HP boiler. Mine is almost like new, it was always kept inside. My sawmill was new in 1924, carries 150 lbs.
A. V. Wright, Box 654, Strathroy, Ontario, Canada
C. R. Dickinson writes........
I will tell you about a joke the farmers told on us. In the fall of 1916, we pulled into thresh for a farmer who had a good sized crop of wheat, bad weather was setting in, we threshed part of one day then it rained, we did not get to thresh again for five days. The four of us, with the rig stayed with the farmer. They fed us on chicken twice a day.
The next year we went back to thresh for him again. When we were about a mile from the farm, I blew the whistle to let them know we were coming. When we got there they had a good story going. Said the old red rooster took a good long listen, turned to the hens and said 'Come on gals, head for the hills. Here comes that darned thresher crew again.'
C. R. Dickinson, Box 33, Richfield, Wisconsin
Ernest L. Dix, Jr. writes.......
NICK NAME: 'FRANK JR.'
The old steam pumper was named after Mr. Frank Talbott, a member of the City Council at the time of purchase and promoted the idea. 500 gallons per minute. 1898 Model (about)
Water was kept hot in the boiler at all times with a gas heater while the pumper was in the station.
Manufactured by the American-La France Corporation, Elmira, N.Y.
In the early 1920s when the Danville Fire Department became motorized, the old horse drawn steamer, despite 25 years of valiant service, was out dated. Its new home became the city garage where for many years it sat doing nothing but watching the grass grow and the rain fall around it.
But early this year, the Jaycees thought of pulling it out of inactivity and putting it to use as a monument to the city's past. City Council agreed with the idea and the Danville Fair, celebrating its 50th anniversary, also liked the idea.
The Jaycees and workmen at the garage went about the job of cleaning the old fire-fighter up. It took some doing but now it is as spic and span as the day it first arrived in Danville.
Despite the years of inactivity when it stood in the weather its wood spokes, wheels and tongue remain as solid as ever. 'You don't find that kind of wood anymore,' one of the workmen remarked.
With the final touches made, the old steamer, rest red to its days of glory, was taken to the Fair where it was the chief attraction of the Fire Prevention exhibit.
It has a proud history and it should be a reminder to the city's thousands of citizens that their town too, has a fine past.
Ernest L. Dix, Jr. Danville, Virginia
R. Benj. Hayes writes........
The picture is one of my last threshing outfits, which was taken in the fall of 192 6. It is my 30 x 60 Rumely Oil Pull, Model S, 1925 and my 36 x 60 Nichols & Shepard, all steel and roller bearings, 1925. In this picture, we are threshing wheat on the F. A. Stuart Farm near Marshall, Michigan. This was a nice setting; 2,000 bushels.
As you can see, the blower pipe appears to be a little short for the height of the straw stack. You can also see the 20 foot extension feeder carrier, which keep the wagons and teams back away from the separator and dust. Also the pitchers could do a better job of getting the bundles on the carrier straight.
The cab on the tractor was taken off of a Bates & Edmons tractor, made in Lansing, Michigan about 20 years before. It was all steel, of a locomotive type. Of course, I had to do some cutting and fitting to get it mounted on Mr. Rumely.
Iran this outfit for 21 years, until the combines took over. I then bought a Co-op, 12 foot, self-propelled combine and combined grain for about 4 more years. Then I decided that the combine wasn't for me. I also had a two-row Minneapolis Moline corn picker and a Minneapolis Moline automatic wire-tie hay baler. But, I just couldn't quit working for the farmers, as I had followed the game all my life. So, I thought maybe they would bring some work to me.
As this is a very good farming community, I decided to build a Feed Mill & Elevator, which I got completed and into operation in March of 1951 and this has been very successful.
I am now 72 years old and get a big kick out of meeting the farmers every day.
My wife and I take a week's vacation once a year and take in the Steam Show at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, which we enjoy wonderfully. We also visit Steam Shows at Cedar Falls, Iowa; one near Fort Wayne, Indiana; one at Montpelier, Ohio and one at Carlton Park near Hastings, Michigan.
R. Benj. Hayes, Route 3, Homer, Michigan
E. A. (Frog) Smith writes......
Here is a snapshot of an old engine almost identical as the one built by H. F. Blandy of Zanesville, Ohio.
The curved steam pipe which entered engine through a cow-chip shaped steam chest is missing, but there are enough essential parts to run if given a working over. Flywheel has cast hub and rim with round wrought iron spokes. Bore is about 6 inches.
Closed bottom firebox is like an old-time Frick or Russell. The boiler carries a name plate between the fire door and top of the shell with the name Smith-Porter but no date. Wheels carrying it are steel with round spokes like those of a farm wagon.
The brass jacketed cylinder in left foreground belongs to an engine built by Finley Machine Company of Macon, Georgia in 1852.
The crankshaft and flywheel, shorn of its rim, in background belong to an engine that is possibly a century old and may be the one for the old Finley. I thought at first that the Finley name might be a connection with the present Finley Machine Co., Valdosta, Georgia, but Mr. William Finley of Valdosta says that there was never any connection between the two different Finley Machine Companies.
The tree in the background growing through the frame of another old-time box frame engine that bears no name but has an English looking emblem on the steam chest. It is believed to be the old engines that used to drive the planning mill of Otter Creek Lumber Company sixty years ago at Otter Creek, Florida. It had two eccentrics, one going to the steam chest and the other to the governor. When it took a notion, which was plenty often, it could skip like any single cylinder gasoline engine.
I h a v e never been able to learn where the old box-frame came from except that folks said it was taken from a steamboat in the long ago. I have heard the engineer say that he wished it was in a place well below the bottom of the ocean.
The old engines rest in the yard of the Maddox Foundry & Machine Co., Archer, Florida, where it is rumored that Mrs. Pearl Maddox, widow of the founder, intends to create a steam museum.
Mr. E. A. (Frog) Smith, 219 Hubbard Street, Fort Myers, Florida