LETTER FROM ZOLLINGER
I have been interested in power farming all of my life. Horses
and what they could do in the way of farming never did appeal to
me. My father once said that his boys were not happy unless they
had a monkey wrench in their hands and were in grease clear to
their elbows. They would rather let the horses starve or run in the
pature all summer while they did the work with a tractor.
The tractor we used was a 9-18 case (I still have it) and we
credit the case with having kept us on the farm and not the horses.
There were seven of us and we are all farmers. We each own our own
We bought a large wheat farm in 1927 along with 125 head of
horses that went with the place. We sold them, much to the disgust
of the neighbors, the next day and bought two tractors. The
neighbors promised us we would go broke trying to farm without
horses. We went right on with the tractors and before four years
was up, there were no horses used for farming in that valley.
In 1955, after looking for some time, L. K. Woods of Hendon and
I found a 40 horse Case Tandom Compound steam engine. It was just
as good as new. It is a 1896 model engine no 13184. I was able to
buy it for $225.00. In the shed with it was a wooden Nichols and
Shepherd 36-60 Thresher which I purchased. It was also in very good
condition. It has a Hart blower and a Maytag feeder. The feeder has
a canvass conveyer in it and so does the extension conveyor for the
At the time the outfit was in its ‘hay day’ they used a
Model T Ford pick-up to do the chasing. I also bought this 1909
I am not sure but this my be one of the last complete outfits
left. The cook shack is also around.
The thresher was first hand fed, but they found it too big to
keep loaded so they put on the Maytag feeder. I still have part of
the hand-feeding table.
I bought a 1903 Smith manure spreader from the same man. It is
also in excellent condition.
I have a lot other old equipment including a 1914 Rumely
oil-pull tractor, a hand fed Nichols and Shepherd thresher with
straw carrier. It was the last hand fed thresher to be bought in
southern Idaho and was only used one season. I am still looking for
a horse-power unit to run it.
FLOYD A. ZOLLINGER, Logan, Utah
According to ‘Farm Engines and How to Run Them’ written
by James H. Stephenson and published by Mongomery Ward & Co. in
Lime may be taken out of an injector by soaking it over night in
a mixture of one part of muriatic acid and ten parts soft water. If
a larger proportion of acid is used it is likely to spoil the
A good blacking for boilers and smokestacks is asphaltum
dissolved in turpentine.
To polish brass, dissolve 5 cents’ worth of oxalic acid in a
pint of water and ‘use to clean the brass. When tarnish has
been removed, dry and polish with chalk or whiting.
It is said that iron or steel will not rust if it is placed for
a few minutes in a warm solution of washing soda.
Sulphate of lime in water, causing scale, may be counteracted
and scale removed by using coal oil and salt soda. When water
contains carbonate of lime, molasses will remove the scale.
Letter from Canada
I have been enjoying the Iron-Men Album Since 1959. I saw it on
sale at the western Ontario Steam Threshers Reunion. We were there
mostly because my brother works for a small company that builds
threshing machines. Besides that we are both very interested in
anything mechanical. If it happens to be steam propelled so much
Ernest Bros., Company, Mt. Forest, Ontario has been in business
more than 60 years. They build a very fine steel machine in several
sizes. They call it The Favorite. My brother is the Blacksmith
there. He also does sheet metal work.
It is impossible to-live a farming community and not hear
stories like the ones you publish in the Album. I always get a kick
out of them. You have written them down with lots of pictures. I
think it is a wonderful idea.
I notice a picture of a Waterloo Champion in the Jan-Feb 1962
issue. I have a couple snap shots of one of these machines in
action. I hope you will find them interesting.
I work in a Service Station so I can’t claim to know much
about Farm Machinery. I do enjoy watching it work. I know a lot of,
people who have never seen a steam traction engine at work. I think
they have missed a great deal. Modern machines are, of course, more
efficient than the old equipment but it is nor so interesting to
watch. I hope there will always be Reunion and I would like to have
more time to go to them.
Clement F. Greenfield, Box 723, Kincardine, Ontario. Canada.
Am enclosing a snapshot. Must say your magazine renews many an
instance that took place during my 56 years of threshing. My first
start was in 1906. I purchased a Birdsell clover huller and a 10
horse power Advance traction engine, then a few years later I
purchased a complete rig consisting of a 15h.p. return Minneapolis
engine and a 32 inch separator with a Minneapolis feeder and
blower. Later I bought a 20 H.P. direct flue Minneapolis engine,
with a 22H.P. boiler including heavy plow gears. I bought this
engine second hand. It was made to order at Minneapolis Thresher
Co. for a road contractor in Montana. He used it two years for road
grading, then turned it in and had a 35 H.P. made, and I must say
it was one of the best engines that traveled in this area. Drivers
were 72 inches in height and 24 inches wide. I used this engine
until the small rigs came in, then I traded it in for a small 23
inch separator and a gas tractor and ran that several years. During
all these years I lived in the township of Pleasant Valley, Eau
Claire County, Wisconsin.
In 1954, I sold the farm and moved to St. Cloud, Minn., where I
now live. It is interesting to read the experiences other
thresherman have had. Here in Minnesota I have attended some
threshermens reunions and met many old time threshermen. I love to
hear their stories.
My first experience in threshing was when I went with my father
to help a neighbor thresh. I was 11 years old, and they were using
a horse power. My job was to hold up sacks when the half bushel was
dumped into the sack. It was quite a thrill to me to be working
with the crew.
I could write a long story about those many years of
In closing, I would love to hear from some of the old time
threshers. On June 30th I will be celebrating my 82nd birthday. ( I
was born in Zurich, Switzerland, June 30, 1880.)
CHARLES SCHMIDLIN, St. Cloud, Minnesota
FRED LAWRENCE WRITES ….
I received a letter from one of your subscribers wanting to know
if putting- oil in a steam boiler wouldn’t do harm to the flues
as some one had told him it would and that they would blow out. I
have never ever heard of any flues blowing out by that
I was called one time to put new flues in a reeves engine that
had been run a good many years as he thought the bead on end was
getting to badly burned off to run another season. I cut the old
flues out and was a nasty job as I guess he had put in five gallons
of clear cylinder oil every year as the flues were just as clean as
the new ones were so good that a man having a Rumely bought them
and I put them in that mans Rumely, and If cylinder oil does damage
to they would of been to hard to work on the ends. But weren’t
hurt in the least for the oil being put in.
Was called one time to see what was leaking in a advance engine
the owner said it seems to leak inside some where. After I looked
in through the boiler I could see little drops of water inside of
flues. He had me cut out one flue and It was about the thickness of
a piece of tin they were all rusted out.
I always liked to furnish their flues as I always bought the
shelby. They were a steel drawn seamless tube and I think the best
and very easy to work on.
I was threshing one time in a very low piece of ground had
worked about three or four hours when the owner of the outfit came
down to engine said the farmers was kicking about so much cats
coming over in the straw, said he had shut off a lot of the wind
but he was still kicking, was near the pecationica river and a lot
of straw on ground. So I said I will stop and we will see what is
the trouble. So I tooted the whistle to stop the pitchers so as to
run all the straw out when we looked in at the sieve was full of
little snakes and oats were sliding over them so I had the shocks
all turned out and threshed from another field and had no further
trouble when we finished the rest. could tell of a lot more
experience but I don’t like to take up to much room in your
FRED M. LAWRENCE, 631 N. Winnebago Street, Rockford,
PICTURE HISTORY FOUND
By FRANCIS M. YOUNG, 6140 Briggle Ave., S.W., East Sparta,
Going through the May-June issue of the IRON-MEN ALBUM, I
recognized the picture on the bottom of page 16. I don’t know
who sent the picture or how old it is, but it was taken at least 16
years ago. It is the 12 horse Russell & Web stacker, ‘among
others’ owned by my cousin, F. E. ‘Emmett’ Slutz, the
engineer on the engine, of nearby Battlesburg, Ohio. The woman
checking on the young boy in the foreground, is his wife,
Elizabeth, ‘Aunt Lizzy’. I cannot identify any of the
others. They are threshing on the home place, located in the
southern part of Pike Twp., southern part Stark County, Northeast,
The trees in the foreground hide the farmhouse. The white
building is the butcher house. The buildings, cider press, feed
mill, apple butter house and barn on left side of picture are on an
adjoining farm known as John Russell Farm owned by the Slutz’s.
The barn and farm in the distance was known as the
‘Brothers’ farm. The farms have all changed hands as well
as the equipment due to deaths in these families.
The 12 horse engine is now owned by A. H. Fashnacht and his son
of North Canton, Ohio. I am not sure at this time if he owns the
thresher. Am enclosing a picture I took a short time ago of the
Slutz farm, but due to past strip mining and the planting of locust
trees, I could not get the same angle.
I own a Russell Sawmill, but power it with gas. Also, have a
6h.p. 1914 Portable Russell – picture enclosed, just recently
refueled and in good shape, which we use to buzz wood. The man on
the left is my Uncle, Charles Cameron – old-time saw miller,
thresher and steam engine operator. His helper is Charles
Would like to have some of you steam engineers explain the Wolfe
Reverse gear to me,- as I understand as all valves make four
changes in one revolution. The link Re verse seems plain to me as
the eccentrics on the shaft are both advanced. But the Wolfe with a
direct rocker or indirect rocker. As much as I know with the lead
and valve opening halves the stroke then the closing of steam part
on the last quarter of the stroke when valve closes the last thing
is the steam part. It seems to me it exhausts late- Please
Jacob P. D. Tiessen, R. R. 1, Abbotsford, B. C., Canada