William Van Atta of 26 Richard St., Johnson City, N. Y., standing beside the 12 hp Birdsell engine at the Reunion, Kinzers, Pa., 1950. That is a nice running engine too.
Ever since Bascom Clark, better known to us old timers as 'Unile Silas,' departed this life, which ultimately terminated the publishing of the American Thresherman, I have hoped that someone would again publish something for the old time threshermen. The IRON-MEN ALBUM fills the bill nicely. In fact it is just what we have been waiting for!
I had no knowledge, until about a year ago, that there was such a publication. I would very likely have remained in ignorance of this great little paper, had not my cousin, Ernest Hill, told me about it. If I should say that I am delighted with every copy I have received it would be putting it mildly. Some of the pictures and articles surely do bring back memories.
One photograph in particular, interested me very much: it was of an old Stillwater engine and a Minnesota Chief threshing machine. Just like my grand father owned at a time when this rig was the last word in modern threshing machinery.
I have followed threshing and saw milling ever since I was big enough to reach up to a fire door, and to this day there is no sweeter music to my ears than the whine of a saw, the hum of a thresher or the exhaust of a good engine.
The young fellows of today think they know how to have, fun: they don't! No one ever knew what real first class fun was who has never been bogged down in a. mud hole with a. traction engine or a hot day, preferably, when there was a storm coming up. I remember one time in particular, my father, brother and I started to move a Peerless we had to a saw set. We had about three miles to go. It was a. cold, clear morning in December and the ground was frozen solidly enough to carry us nicely when we left home, but by the time we got steam up and got underway it had warmed up enough to be good and slippery. Well, we spent the day sliding from one side of the road to the other, arriving at our destination about sundown.
Those were the days! It was a rough life, in a way, but very enjoyable. There was always a joker or two in every crew that kept things lively. I wonder how many of the 'Boys' remember the old gag we used to pull in horsing some green-horn, by offering the fireman a match if he should happen to let the steam go down? I am enclosing a sketch of this one.
The old steam rigs are all gone from our part of the country. A few threshers are still in the game but they are all powered by gas and are doing less every year as the combines are becoming more popular.
I hope your wonderful little paper continues to prosper and I hope never to miss one copy. Best of luck!
Members of the board of directors of the newly formed Antique Engine and Thresher Association inspect the Case 65 steam traction engine at the Joyland Hillside Park in Wichita, Kansas. Shown, left to right are, K. E. Roynolds, Lyman Knapp, Herb Ottaway, Chady Atteberry, E. C. McMillan and Harold I. Ottaway.