LETTING OFF STEAM

Since the earliest days of the hobby, the subject of the first
threshermen’s reunion has engendered more than a little debate.
Mehl Young’s interesting article on the ‘Field Days’
held by the Stark County (Ohio) Threshermen’s Association in
1939 looks set to extend that debate.

There’s been a general consensus for years that ‘Steam
Engine Joe’ Rynda in Minnesota and LeRoy Blaker in Ohio held
the first recognized reunions. I say ‘recognized’ because
there’s also a consensus that similar events were held that
weren’t billed as reunions. But the Field Days of 1939-1942
were clearly designed as reunions, and they were clearly motivated
by the same sentiments that eventually built a hobby and a network
of threshermen reunions across the country. The ‘first’
reunion may never be established, but it’s more than a little
interesting to have new information on an event that was, if not
the first, amongst the very earliest of its kind. Check the article
The First Reunion for Mehl’s excellent article.

On another note, most of you already know that Bruce E. Babcock,
a regular contributor to these pages, has a seat on the newly
formed Ohio Historical Boilers Licensing Board. In his capacity as
a board member, Bruce helps to advise and oversee how the board
operates and the scope of its oversight of historical boilers.
Drawing from his experience, Bruce has put together a booklet
detailing the rules developed by the board and giving information
on the new requirements for operators of steam engines in Ohio.

At 67 pages Bruce’s booklet, An Unofficial Guide for
Owners and Operators of Historical Boilers in Ohio,
is packed
with information, and it is information with which even those
outside of Ohio would do well to familiarize themselves. Ohio, in
the aftermath of Medina, is crafting guidelines that could become a
template for states with less defined regimes in place that want to
clarify their handling of antique boilers. So far, the board
appears to be going about its business pragmatically and fairly, an
approach that needs to be encouraged nationally.

Bruce’s booklet is available free of charge on the Internet
at www.ironacres.com/ohioboiler/ thanks to Mark Parsisson, who,
with Bruce’s great thanks, has posted the guide on his web
site.

Farm Collector Magazine
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