SOME COMPANY SHOULD START
Please accept my renewal to the ALBUM. I always read it from
cover to cover as soon as the mail man brings it.
I was in the threshing business from 1903 until 1932 except for
two year in the army in World War I. The last outfit I owned was a
75hp. Case, 11×11 with a 36×58 thresher. I know it was the best and
easiest machine to operate I ever owned. I have had experience with
Russell, Reeves, Nichols & Shepard and the Case. I also
operated in Missouri, Kansas and South Dakota. After reading your
late issues and noting the number of steam reunions that are
advertised, I think some company should start building steam
ROSS DIEHL, Chillicothe, Missouri
A GOOD YOUNG MAN PASSES
Mrs. Howard Kaster of Casco, Wisconsin, writes us of her
husband’s untimely death ‘Howard Kaster of Casco,
Wisconsin, died January 1st, 1956 at a Green Bay hospital of cancer
after 3 years illness. He was 33 years old; a director of the
Northeastern Wisconsin Steam Club and treasurer for two years.
‘He owned 9 old time tractions, one gas tractor, two
threshing machines and a large library of books and magazines
relating to the steam and gas engine subject.’
BEST MAGAZINE PRINTED
Here is a picture of a 20 hp. Aultman Taylor steam engine No.
9149, owned by L. R. Hampshire and son Carl, 1865 W. Division St.,
Decatur, Illinois. This engine is in fine condition. Said Mr.
‘I think the ALBUM is the best Magazine printed and get a
lot of enjoyment out of reading it. I have threshed several years
and run several makes of engines. Carl and I attend all the
Reunions that we can. Carl is only 19 years old and does not
remember much about threshing but he gets a big kick out of going
to the Reunions and looking over the different makes of engines and
watching them run. I am sure he will get more kick out of this
Aultman Taylor engine as soon as it is cleaned and painted. It is
our intentions to take it to some of the Reunions.
I SLIPPED UP
I certainly slipped up on the Jan.-Feb., ’56 issue for I
failed to notice the statement of Mr. Win. R. Benda that the
Advance Co., never made a 22 hp. side mounted engine. I usually
read every line in the ALBUM at one sitting so it was humiliating
for me to read of the correction in the May-June, ’56
During my employment in 1905 at The Advance Branch in Portland,
Oregon, and for some years after, I had much to do with the 22 hp.
engine all side mounted with the Lafever straw burning boilers. In
1905 I unloaded and reshipped some 30 and 35 hp. Advance engines
which were side mounted also.
With the two 22 hp. engines used in ‘The Traction Engine
Practice’ course I taught in 1907-08 at the Washington State
College, I have handled a total of twenty 22 hp. Advance engines.
An efficiency test was made on one of these engines by the
engineering students. About the only thing I remember of this test
is that the indicator showed the engine at 145 P.S.I, and 240
R.P.M. the hp. was 70.
The 22 was a great engine and pulled well in the belt, on the
road and hills, provided you did not try any turns on a soft
C. R. MILLER, Rt. 1, Box 3-A, Yacolt, Washington
NOT EXACTLY TRUE TO SCALE
Enclosed is a snapshot of an engine which I built. It is
patterned after the Wood Brothers engine although some of the
details are not exactly true to scale or design. I built it from
memory and the valve reverse gear is of my own design and works
perfectly, and is very snappy.
I’d like to mention that I built the engine in every detail
from scratch. I made every part of it in my own shop, even the
wheels, gears, flywheels, valves, governor, bolts, cap screws, etc.
No part of it came from the junk pile.
I made the boiler of three-sixteenths inch plate, rolled and
welded to a diameter of 12′ and 56′ long. The fire box,
made of ‘ plate, is 17′ long, 11′ deep and 10′
wide. The boiler has eighteen 1′ flues 31′ long. Front
wheels are 17′ diameter by 3 face. Rear wheels are 24′
diameter by 7′ face. Fly wheel 16′ diameter by 4′ face.
Crank disc 8’ diameter.
The engine size is 3′ bore by 4′ stroke and very
powerful at 80 lbs. steam pressure. The pop-off valve is set for
100 lbs. pressure. The boiler was tested at 220 pounds.
This engine fires nicely on coal and I have no trouble keeping
up the steam. I was five months spare time building this
The boy in front of the engine is my grandson, 3 years old. He
sure likes to ride on the engine and blow the whistle.
I am now building a small Return Flue Avery engine, which I hope
to finish in another month.
LOUIS KLINGSICK, South Main Street, Kingfisher, Oklahoma
FROM LEE ROY PILLING
I get a lot of thrills out of your wonderful magazine. I
followed the threshing game for about 25 years, starting for my
uncle at the age of 17 when I got 40 cents a day to run his 12 hp.
Frick engine. I owned four different engines, Advance, Gaar Scott,
Reeves and Buffalo Pitts.
When I quit I went to work for John Brant & Co., of
Bushnell, Illinois, who handled Gaar Scott, Wood Bros., Minneapolis
and late model Advance Rumely. I used to demonstrate the Wood Bros,
engine at the Springfield State Fair and also the Peoria Show.
The Wood engine was a mighty fine engine to handle. I see Mr.
Wood’s picture in the ALBUM occasionally. He or his brother
were down to Bushnell one time. I would surely like to see him.
Later I took on the Advance Rumely.
I see McClure-Waddill are having a threshers reunion. I did some
work for a Ralph McClure at Tennessee, Illinois, about 1925. I
worked for the Brant Co., from 1914 to 1927 and I hope to get back
this summer to go to some reunions.
I am sending a picture of my model steamer. Length of boiler
over all if: 26 inches, diameter 6 inches, seven ‘ copper
flues, carries 125 lbs. of steam, tested 150 lbs. cold water test.
One eighth inch steel drivers, 3×12’; front wheels
1-‘x8′, bore 1’, stroke one and fifteen-sixteenths
inches. Cylinder bored from a solid block of cast iron. It is
mostly a free lance job as I took most of the measurements from a
picture of a Wood Bros, engine. I tried to make their reverse gear
but could not get an accurate figure so we settled for the old link
motion. It has controlling Gar Clutch boiler feed pump. I had it up
to the San Diego County Fair and got a blue ribbon on it. I ran it
on compressed air and received a lot of compliments on it. It also
has differential gears. I bought my fittings from Mr. Chas. Cole. I
was up to his place and he is sure a fine man to deal with so I
want to give him a good word. I was about a year building this
engine and it weighs about 150 pounds. I am now 67 years old.
LEE ROY PILLING, 611 D Ave., National City, California
STEAM ON BOTH LAND & SEA
For some time I have been planning to write you and tell you how
much I have enjoyed reading the IRON-MEN ALBUM Magazine. I have
just received my sixth edition and I have read them over many
times, having spent over thirty years working with steam on both
land and sea. I feel like I’m qualified to be a steam fan. I
worked for more than 25 years with the Newport News Ship Building
and Dry Dock Company, as engineer in the Main Power House. About
three years ago I bought a small Frick portable engine that’s
about 4 to 6 h. p., which I have rebuilt the boiler and am now
working on the engine. I have removed the wheels and mounted it on
concrete in a building 20 to 30 feet in which I hope to make a
hobby shop when my farming days are over. Mr. Ritzman, I trust that
this long letter will not take up too much of your time, but there
are many inquiries I would like to make.
First: Are there any more steam fans or maybe I should say, are
there any more subscribers to your magazine in this state? If there
are, how many?
Second: I would like to know now I would go about organizing a
steam fan club in this state. That is if there are enough
Third: I would like to know if it would be possible to rent some
of the movie films of the reunions of steam fans. I would like to
show them at my club meeting, which I will explain later. I would
like to attend some of the reunions but they are so far away. I
can’t take the time off from my farm to go so far away.
There has been some talk through the papers that there might be
another Jamestown Exposition in 1957 (fiftieth anniversary-from
1907). If there is I sure would like the steam fans to be
represented and I might be able to take part myself. I was very
much interested to read about the Norfolk & Western Railway
showing a movie film. I live about four miles from the N & W
tracks and many of my friends work for the road. With all the new
inventions I believe the steam engine will be heard of for a long
Mr. Ritzman, there is lots more I would like to write but I
guess I had better stop for now. Just one more thing. Mr. W. W.
Willock, Jr., of Syosset, New York, sent me my first copy of the
IRON-MEN ALBUM. He has a Frick engine just like mine.
Enclosed you will find two dollars for my renewal to your
magazine. Hoping you and yours all the best of luck for the new
EDGAR J. BROCK, R. D. 3, Box 31, Windsor, Virginia
Ed. note: We have six subscribers in Virginia. Why not write to
Edgar and see if a reunion could be started in Virginia.
STRAIGHT FOR THE ENGINE
Enclosed is check for renewal of the ALBUM. Sure don’t want
to miss any issues. You see I used to operate one of those old
steamers, and probably would be today if they were still using
When I was a very small boy I used to go threshing with my
father and I made straight for the engine and there I sat all day
right on the engine taking in every move the engineer made. At the
age of ten I pulled my first throttle and from then on as long as
they were used for threshing I ran one. Many different makes, but
my choice was always Aultman Taylor or Port Huron. They were the
easiest engines to fire and keep up of all the engines I ever ran.
Sure wish they were still using them. You would find me on the foot
board every fall. I am 60. Not too old but old enough to have seen
some wonderful times. And I think much better than we are having or
have had for many a year back. However, they are gone and over with
and may the good Lord have mercy on us. We are sure going to need
it unless we wake up to what has been happening to us. Keep the
good work going.
O. R. MANN, Virden, Illinois
SO WE FIRED UP THE STEAMER
Enclosed are a few pictures you may be able to use. I have a
lane that needed some work done on it, so we fired up the Wood
steamer and hooked it to the grader. My son; was running the grader
and he thought the Wood was not pulling like it should, in fact he
thought it was not pulling much. So we hooked on two tractors used
for hauling four-bottom plows; one a 21-32 Twin City on steel and
an ‘M’ International. He sure got his eyes opened. I could
stall those tractors anytime with less dirt on the blade than the
Wood would handle. We had some stumps to pull, green box elder but
that did not work so good as the five-eighths cable we were using
kept pulling apart all the time.
HAROLD ANDERSON, RR 3, Washington, Iowa
McPHAIL CHANGES ADDRESS
Am writing you to have my address changed to 75 South 5th East,
Provo, Utah. I would like to have all my friends know my address
and I can be reached here after October 10th. I am moving out to
make my home with my sister as we are both alone and now living
miles apart. It seems the only thing to do, but I am sorry I did
not get a chance to say GOODBYE to all my friends at the Montpelier
reunion. I was glad to have met so many and here is farewell to the
other 29,000 who were both there and at home. To say ‘I have
enjoyed the acquaintances of this group is insufficient to express
myself as I would like to.’ I regret that I am moving so far
west that attending the reunions and meeting often will be
impossible. I look forward to such time as I can meet you
In closing I can only say, ‘Happy to have met, sorry to part
and looking forward to meeting again.’ I trust my friends will
write me at the new address.
FRED McPHAIL, 75 South Fifth, East Provo, Utah
IT’S A VERY GOOD IDEA
I was very pleased to see in the Sept.-Oct. issue of the
IRON-MEN ALBUM that you had started a Tractor Page. It is a very
good idea as there are lots of old time threshermen who are real
gas lovers and experts.
Many of them could not be steam men for various reasons. Perhaps
they never had a chance in their younger days to fire a steam
engine, or conditions, such as very alkali water, poor bridges and
the like made it that conditions for steam were not suitable, so
they pioneered with gas, the good old Rumely Oil Pull, Mogul, and
Myself, I was brought up on steam. I like them yet. Then in the
early twenties I was in Saskatchewan, the roads and bridges were
poor and the water was strongly alkali, and that as you know, Mr.
Editor, is very bad for boilers, so I started out on the old 25 hp.
I. H. C, the single cylinder gas tractor with screen tank cooling
an:’ hit and miss governors. It was a heavy old tractor and at
times was hard to start in cold weather.
I wonder if anyone has a picture of this old 1910 I.H.C. tractor
hauling a separator? If they have I wish you would publish it in
the IRON-MEN sometime.
Enclosed is a snap of an old Ford-son tractor that I used here
in B. C. for a number of years and I traded it in on a VA back in
1949: Wish I had kept it now just to play with.
Someday I hope to buy an old steam tractor or perhaps an old gas
tractor on steel wheels but there are no old steamers here anymore,
and only 2 or 3 old Fordsons.
Wishing you, your staff and the IRON-MEN ALBUM every
R. F. SOMERVILLE, R.R. 1, Haney, B. C, Canada
LONG A STEAM ENGINE MAN
Enclosed please find money order for two dollars ($2.00) for
renewal of subscription to the IRON-MEN ALBUM Magazine. I am also
enclosing two pictures in which you might be interested, of a 16
hp. Russell engine.
I have long been a steam engine man, and still like them very
much. The latter part of last year I purchased the Russell engine
shown in the pictures I and enclosing.
I have belonged to, and attended The National Threshers
Association Reunion at Montpelier, Ohio, for many years, and this
year I hope to have this Russell engine there for the Reunion.
I enjoy your magazine very much. Keep up the good work. Hope
that in the near future-you can make it a monthly magazine.
PERCY SHERMAN, Box 76, Palmyra, Michigan
AN ISSUE EVERY WEEK
Find enclosed $4.00 for two years renewal? Would like to express
my appreciation of this magazine and for your efforts to make it as
it is. I wish we could get an issue every week, but I am satisfied
as it is.
A. C. PUMP, Imperial, Nebraska
MY FATHER’S ENGINE
I am sending you pictures of my father’s engines, or those
we renewed. Three years ago we bought a 40hp. Case which was in
very bad condition with the exception of a good high pressure
boiler. There were lots of hours put in on cleaning and painting
and with the aid of a machinist we overhauled the engine, re-piped
the boiler with two injectors, also added a new canopy and new
water tanks. The picture of the 12hp. Frick was taken after the
alterations were made. About the same process was used on the Frick
as the Case. We put in 8 new flues, new grates, new bearings and a
We have been a steam family for years, my grandfather having
owned several engines, Peerless and Frick. My father saw milled a
few years ago using a double cylinder Frick, later on with an 18hp.
Frick, but as of now it is just a hobby with us and we spend our
spare time on these engines. We are relatively new subscribers to
the ALBUM which we really have enjoyed. Keep them coming.
ROBERT LYERLY, Mocksville, North Carolina
A BUNCH OF MAGAZINES
Harold I. Ottaway, of Wichita, Kansas, loaned me a bunch of
magazines known as the IRON-MEN ALBUM MAGAZINE, from. Jan.-Feb.,
number to date. This is the first I ever knew that there was such a
publication in existence. I have read them all and found them to my
liking. He also loaned the book, ‘The Album of American Steam
Traction Engines,’ which is interesting.
I am herewith sending check to pay for a year’s subscription
to said magazine.
I am the fellow who owned that old Aultman-Taylor return flue
traction engine. The picture of same appears in the Jan.-Feb., 1954
issue of your magazine, on page 8.
This engine was the first self-propelled engine or vehicle that
ever appeared in these parts. It was bought new in 1891 by one R.
W. Johnson, a Civil War veteran, who threshed and saw milled in
Mercer County, Ohio, before he came here as a homesteader. In about
1906 he gave it to his son O. B. Johnson. It was in a knocked out
condition, the top of the main flue was banged down because of low
water and a huge fire. We tore it up here at my shop and rebuilt
it. Then 1 traded for it about 1909, and kept it until 1942 when I
sold it to Mr. Ottaway to be used as a museum specimen. Junk men
wanted it but they didn’t get it. I owned it over 40 years but
used it only for feed grinding and never fired it up after the fall
of 1915. It is at least 64 years old now.
The check will get you your money but you can hold up the order
till it clears. I would like my subscription to begin with the
Nov.-Dec, 1955 number.
I always hankered for steam engines since I can first remember
anything and the traction engine was most interesting. As a boy I
always wanted to own one, and so I finally did. I hated to part
with it but I knew it would fare better in a museum, so when I
became satisfied as to what Mr. Ottaway would do with it I turned
OTTO A. WAGNER, Ensign, Kansas