Courtesy of John Goldsmith, Amery, Wisconsin 54001 Pictured is John with his restored steam engine the New Huber, Circa 1866. This is a part of John's hobbies. He is interested in steam and gas. We thank the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Wisconsin Edition for t
Sawmill, Box 72, Ray, Indiana 46737
Many men ask me and have for years what make of engine was the best all around for threshing and sawmill work. Well, of all the engines I have had and engines that I have rebuilt and handled for other men, here is what I always come up with; why I will explain later. I am not saying anything against other makes for they are all o.k.
The engine I loved the best and it did not belong to me, was a 19 H.P. Simple Port Huron, owned by Elmer Raymond, Shadyside Bird Lake, Hill is dale County, Michigan. Mr. Raymond had a Port Huron Compound that he traded in for this new 19 Simple. This all happened 60 years ago. The new engine was shipped in to Pittsford, Michigan on a flat car. As the depot did not have a dock for unloading, we used railroad ties at the end of the flat car to make a ramp, unloaded the new engine and then ran the old engine up on the flat car to be shipped back to Port Huron. Mr. Raymond and Frank Snyder had a sawmill out west of the depot. There was a shed over the mill so we removed the canopy top from the new engine and ran her in the mill. We carried the top in and wired it up above in the mill to keep it out of the weather. This was in early part of winter and Mr. Raymond was leaving for Florida for the winter. He asked my father, Bert Earl, if he would let me run and take care of the engine while he was gone. Father finally said yes and I was happy about that, only I missed some school days as I was at that time 16 years old.
As you know, at that time no coal and all slab wood to fire on. That 19 had a jacked boiler with brass bands and was that a beautiful engine. Here are a few of her points, impossible to take your steam away if you had any wood. Mr. Bud Palmer, a friend of mine and a good man and a good sawyer, tried to get me a number of times. He never made it. He would watch when I was outside buzzing slabs, then he would pour it on. I had laid away some 4-foot hard maple slabs to give me a lift. Then to make him feel real good, I would let the 19 pop. She was the best steamer I ever fired and her drive wheels the best in snow or mud. Also her governor control right handy to change speed. Also easy to handle and steer, like in barn yards and on the road and setting separator and pushing them up a barn grade with a bunting pole. Also her gears were a rather fine pitch and she sure was quiet on them. She would work on 100 pounds or 150 pounds and you could start right up on 75 pounds. It did not take her long to hit the pop. Her boiler was the best water bottom boiler I ever saw.
She has been gone many years. I wish she had belonged to me. Her exhaust sharp and true was a sound I will never forget. We would shut the mill down at noon and would come back at 1 o'clock and she would be setting right on the pop, with only a slab or two in the fire box and January weather. Also on the intermediate gear was a brake drum or brake shoe or band. This had linkage that coupled to the foot pedal on the right side of the boiler under the steering gear shaft. All right, back her in the belt, set the brake and no blocking to monkey with. She was not quite up to date as she failed to shake and shimmy and set real still while working.
Goldsmith's hobby will steam you up. The prize of his collection is a New Huber straw-burning steam traction engine, new that is, around 1866, the last patent date mentioned on its iron sides. The Huber is as cute as a child's Christmas toy only 50 times bigger and about half as large as some of the steamers that followed it. With its gaily decorated cab it is a parade stopper, and the despair and envy of every steam enthusiast that sees it.
Don't for a moment think that Goldsmith came by this prize easily. When he bought it from Elmer Severson of Spring Valley it was what the fraternity of steam hobbyists call a 'basket model.' The old steamer was 'stripped down, and everything in pieces,' Goldsmith said. It looked like a wreck and was one. In putting it together is was necessary to install new flues, a new stack and a firebox.
Yet the steamer was rebuilt within two and one-half months. Goldsmith had plenty of help. The steamer was wanted in the forthcoming Amery Fall festival and 'three or four guys came out every evening to help, and we would work until 11 o'clock,' Goldsmith said.
Since its initial appearance the Huber has been under wraps, so to speak, in Goldsmith's garage. The reason is that 'if I didn't cover it up I'd have so many visitors I'd never get anything else done,' he said.
Goldsmith's garage looks like an all-purpose rambler run wild. This is because he needs room to store his steam engine, his separators, gas engines, and a collection of antique miscellany. And obviously, it takes a room full of tools to restore all this and put it in working order.