Log Hauler Enthusiast


| January/February 1991



Box 2175 Wenatchee, Washington 98807

A friend in Wichita, Kansas, gave me a pleasant surprise by sending me a copy of the September/October 1990 Iron Men Album, which I haven't seen for many years. He got his copy from the Masonic Home in Wichita, Kansas. I saw this place while visiting Wichita about 1982, but I didn't stop for a visit.

I could follow several 'trades', such as a farmer, yard bird, rose grower, steamboat man, steam fiend, spiker, free-lance newsman/photographer, Indian historian, ex-hobo, logger, writer, collector of old items (except old women! No market for those, and always in good supply! That goes for old men, too!).

The photos of the Lombard log hauler in that issue were especially interesting as I'm familiar with the other type of log hauler. I mean the 'Phoenix' log hauler or steam skidder. There's one on permanent display at the state logging museum at Rhinelander, Wisconsin. These machines were widely used in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and it didn't always need a 'front end steerman.' Their front sleigh runners were steered by a worm gear steering mechanism and heavy chain right from the cab. It's possible some of them were converted from Shay-geared locomotives, as their boiler, cab and other parts were very similar.

A late edition of Engineers and Engines had a very nice story about a veteran logger from northern Maine, Vermont and Quebec, Canada, who used Lombards almost exclusively, along with his private logging railroad. The two types of log haulers or steam skidders were about equal in type and power. Some logging companies put water on their compact-snow logging roads and made 'ice roads' where they could haul record loads of logs.

I remember seeing or reading about Parker-made guns, and there's evidence the Colt Firearms Company built (or had built) a steam engine with about five cylinders cast in the round shape of a pistol. Very little is known of this engine but there's certain old engine collectors doing research on it at present. Only a few were built, so it's a rare engine.