LIVE STEAM CLUB STEAMED UP OVER HOBBY

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Partial view of models on trailer. It included everything from very small rocking cylinder to quite sizeable models and one steam auto engine. Photo courtesy of Lewis H. Cline
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Model engine built by Bert Stenger and Son operating a miniature saw mill. The boy is David Cline, age 7, son of Lewis H. Cline.

Most of the members are older men who retain nostalgic memories
of threshing grain with the chugging steam engine sending clouds of
smoke over the countryside. There are a handful of past and present
railroaders who consider the introduction of diesel power a
personal insult to the steam locomotive. There are professional
heating and power engineers who enjoy experimenting with the force
which so many of them harness in their daily work. And there are
men from almost every . other profession who simply enjoy watching
water boil up and handle tasks ranging from sawing logs to making a
teakettle whistle.

June was a big month for the steamers. Early in the month the
Live Steam Club held its first state field day. Staged on the
Edward McNamara farm south of Richland, the event drew 2,500
spectators and a loud and smoky collection of steam
contraptions.

McNamara, by the way, is a man who carries his hobby into his
work. He actually uses two steam traction engines in his 360 acre
farm. He operates a grain dryer and fills his silos by steam
power.

Another member who uses live steam in his work is Sam Willson of
Hickory Corners, who has operated a steam powered portable saw mill
for 50 years.

The last week in June saw about 20 Kalamazoo area members of the
Live Steam Club attending the annual national steam club convention
in Montpelier, Ohio. Just in case you wonder how many people love
steam engines, the national meeting lasted three days and drew more
than 10,000 spectators and a whole farm full of equipment.

What do they do on these field days and conventions? They just
stoke up their boilers and make steam until all the coal is burned
up. The big engines are hooked together with chains in tug-of-war
contests; others haul plows over fields or run threshing machines.
There’s no particular atmosphere of competition. A steam fan
gets as much kick out of watching someone else run an engine as he
does when he’s firing his own.

Unlike the great army of golf widows who wait for their men to
come home, most of the wives of the steam fans get right into the
act. At meetings and field days you’ll find them in the kitchen
preparing meals for the hungry engineers.

Using pressure cookers, naturally.

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