LETTING OFF STEAM

A new era in steam is dawning, and with this, the first issue of
Steam Traction, we embark on a new journey in our quest to explore
and preserve the history and traditions of the steam community.

It’s an exciting time in the steam hobby, a time to draw new
members into our ranks so we can ensure that the past we embrace is
appreciated and celebrated by a new generation of steam
enthusiasts.

Drawing from the rich tradition of Iron-Men Album, we move
forward with a new look and new name. Yes, much has changed, but
much remains the same, particularly our focus on the machines that
helped shape a nation and the community that keeps their memory
alive physically, intellectually and culturally.

One hundred years ago the agricultural industry was in a period
of rapid advancement. New devices for working the land and easing
the toil of the working farmer were introduced seemingly by the
hour, and powering many of these devices were the portable and
traction steam engines we lovingly collect and preserve today.

Steam was King, but its dominance quickly waned. Even so, it
left an indelible mark on our history, and without its decisive
influence it’s doubtful we would have come so far as a country
technologically, agriculturally or socially.

It is the steam community that keeps this heritage alive,
restoring engines and threshers, celebrating at reunions and
sharing their knowledge. That knowledge comes from a wide spectrum
of enthusiasts, all ardently working for the future while
preserving the past. Bruce Babcock’s story on building a large
Prony brake is a perfect example of this, and Harold Stark’s
article on issues of boiler safety on page 20 further exemplifies
the spirit with which the community is working toward ensuring the
heritage of steam. The importance of education likewise continues,
with enrollment in steam schools increasing yearly, and to that end
this year’s steam schools are listed in the Coming Events
section of our classifieds.

The last few years have been trying, but the future remains
bright as younger generations come into the fold, discovering for
the first time what many of you already know and understand so very
well: Steam is much more than simply a by-product of heating water
– it is an almost magical link that binds a community together.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment