Making Recordings Of Steam Engines


| May/June 1958



Steam Engine Records

Joe Fahnestock in his studio making Steam Engine Records. It is interesting to note what equipment it takes to do this work. The studio is located at Union City, Indiana. See the article by Joe in this issue of the ALBUM

Union City, Indiana

Here is an article that we believe you will enjoy. Most of us know Joe and his efforts to give us good recordings. This is the story of it Elmer

A WORD TO ALL THOSE kind folks steam lovers all who've been sending in their orders for Steam Engine Recordings. 'It's a pleasure always to hear from each and everyone of you, most of the letters bear glad tidings from men whose hearts thrill at the pulse of laboring stack. However, now and then arrives, a slip of correspondence from a lover of the reciprocating pistons a bit anxious to receive his platters before 'we' can get them made in their due order. Please remember that these steam engine recording are not mass produced, like Elvis Pressley renditions (thank God), hence are made up individually as ordered. This entails more than merely reaching over to some shelf and plucking off a disc that some plant has fabricated by the tens of thousands.

Actually it means the re-cutting of each engine sound into a new, uncut disc, from a library of steam engine and calliope sounds which I have been compiling for over a period of seven years, since that first year Rev. Ritzman (you all know 'im) invited me to bring my recorder up to Alvord ton and see what I could take down on a disc.

First of all it is not easy to get good original steam engine sounds and a fellow's got to keep trying year after year. Believe it or not it was seven years before I got a satisfactory sound recording of a Baker engine every time I'd try previously, a leaky steam pipe or a breakdown would ruin that good, sharp bark that thresher men would walk a mile, or order a record, to hear.

And then if it isn't some pipe that's leaking, then it's the loudspeaker on the fairgrounds that louses things up causing yours truly to throw more and more of those hard-to-get record discs away time without end Amen.