Farm Collector

Log Hauler Enthusiast

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
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

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.

It was also interesting to see that Bates Steel Mule on page 11.
These are quite rare and are similar to the old Cletracs. And,
strange but true, various types of modern tractors used in
construction businesses are duplicates of these old ones, with more
‘pitch’ or larger rear wheels than the old one. There must
be an advantage such as increased power in their type of crawler

Many years ago, while building the Garrison Dam, mechanics and
‘catskinners’ got together and took two ’30’ Allis
Chalmers ‘cats’ and took off two crawler belts, and made
one tractor out of it with dual controls and double the power. They
also built an oversize ‘dozer’ blade that could level a
load from a Le Tourneau scraper or a three or four yard truck at
one pass. Now it’s common to use these extra powered dozers
(A-C’s) on big construction jobs. Allard Peterson of
Wittenberg, Wisconsin, Home for the Aged, first told me about this,
as he worked on this job at the time the first experimental dozer
was built.

Being a collector of steam locomotive photos for 40 to 50 years,
the photos of the old locos on page 14 and 15 of the issue were
familiar to me. New Zealand and Australia used many of these narrow
gauge ‘teakettles,’ and E.A. ‘Frog’ Smith Sr., of
Fort Myers, Florida, used to be a fireman and engineer on some of
them on logging roads in Florida and Georgia. Some large sugar cane
companies had their own railroads. I have a photo from about 1900
of 13 little ‘Diamond Stack’ locos parked around and in the
D&RG Railway roundhouse at Salide, Colorado and it was also
part of their narrow gauge line. The book Narrow Gauge in the
covers all of the D&RG, RG Southern, Denver and
South Park Railways and other narrow gauge lines in and near

It’s time to ‘pull the pin’ on this line of talk and
‘close the squeaking door’ after I read the magazine
through I’ll find someone who’ll enjoy it. My friend, Perry
Willis, of Louisville, Ohio might be one of your subscribers, as he
attends engine shows all over the northeast, east, southeast, and
west into Illinois. ‘Whistlin’ for the main line.’

  • Published on Jan 1, 1991
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