| November/December 1961

Storm Lake, Iowa

I have been taking the Album since 1952 and, like all the other Album readers, I enjoy it very much. For some time I have wanted to write a letter to be printed in the Album. I have enjoyed every letter that has been printed so maybe some folks will read this one all the way through and enjoy it too.

I have been in the painting and decorating business since the spring of 1928. I was in Grinnell, Iowa, in March, decorating a new church and staying with my son-in-law, James Lang. He told me there was a steam engine about a mile out of town. We drove out there and it was a 16 hp Gaar Scott, cleaned up and painted. I didn't get to talk to the owner.

The May-June Album carried a picture of a 20 hp Reeves exactly like one I owned and run for seven years. I was not an old-timer - just a steam fan - always happy to just be near a steam engine - but other than hauling bundles to one, I never got a chance to really be near one.

I went to Harper, Kansas, in 1918 and got a job hauling water to a 30 hp Reeves Double. This machine, also 36 in. Case separator, had been shipped up from Oklahoma (I think from near Enid) by a man named Geo. McDowell. He also brought the engineer and separator man. They were brothers and I think named Peedam. Dick was the engineer. This engine had, in addition to the two side tanks, a big tank (8 bbl., I think) that was laid down crosswise behind with a coal bunker on top so that all the coal had to be cracked and shoveled up there. It fed down to platform through a chute. I imagine most of you know all about this. You had to go up onto the engine from the left side. I pulled the water tank up on the right side which is a bit unusual as all the others we run in on the left. We had 36 days threshing, 18 of shocks and 18 of headed. I'm still not sure I was 'around' that engine much while it was running as it took 6 tanks one day and 7 the next and this was a Port Huron boiler steel tank that held 14 bbl. as compared to these galvanized tanks that probably hold 10 bbl.

The next year I went to Red Field, South Dakota, and got a job hauling bundles to a Buffalo-Pitts 32 in. Separator and a 15 hp Case Engine. I don't think this one took as much water. This machine run 7 bundle racks. Three of us didn't like to change sides every time we came in, so we made a deal with the other 4 that we would keep one side going if we could have the belt side, that being the side they took the grain from. Guess I have always been a glutton for punishment. That ended the wheat threshing. Oh yeah - the owner of that machine was named Arch Miller.