New Year’s Eve, An Aultman And Taylor – Oh What Fun!

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The engine on the way. (This would startle you seeing this come down the road at midnight, wouldn't it?? Anna Mae) Courtesy of Ray Brubacher 1706 Mayhew Drive Wheaton, Maryland 20902
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Waiting on the ready track (This is the Aultman-Taylor engine that was out having a ''blast'' on New Year's Eve A.M.) Courtesy of Ray Brubacher, 1706 Mayhew Drive, Wheaton, Maryland 20902.
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This is my Russell engine that I purchased last November in Spokane, Washington from Albert Westerman. It is an 8 hp., 1912 with 6'' bore and 8'' stroke, No. 13967. I spent the winter restoring it. It was used in Post Falls, Idaho to saw slab wood to feed
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Midnight revery. (In these modern times I'd say this is ''Doing your own thing'' Anna Mae) Courtesy of Ray Brubacher, 1706 Mayhew Dvire, Wheaton, Maryland 20902.

1706 Mayhew Drive Wheaton, Maryland 20902

This past New Year’s eve probably saw just about every
person owning anything powered by steam with a whistle attached
sounding in the advent of the new decade with a better than average
increase in decibels of steam artistry. However, few traction
engine owners can top the special caper pulled off in upper
Montgomery county, Maryland by that devil-may-care engine owner
Billy Hall and his capable throttle artist, Edgar Adams. Hall, the
owner of a twenty-two horsepower Aultman-Taylor engine originally
purchased in 1912 by Joseph Miller of White Oak, Maryland has
always been known for his ability to put just about anything, no
matter how insane it appears, into reality. This writer was present
the other evening and wishes to share this rather unique
experience.

Bill Hall resides on a farm in Burtonsville, Md. halfway between
Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. To reach it, one must turn off of a
state route into a winding narrow dirt county road. At 7:30 p.m. on
the 3lst of December I was positioned with camera and tape recorder
several hundred feet ahead of the engine to take pictures. No
opposition was encountered as the engine moved out down the dirt
road on its way to the Burtonsville, Md. firehouse, where a New
Years party was in progress. It may be of interest to note here
that the fire chief had a wager with Hall that the engine would
NEVER make it. As the engine made its progress down the narrow
road, I encountered an automobile coming toward me and as it slowed
to a stop, the window was rolled down and a woman occupant seeing
me armed with recorder and camera asked me what was coming down the
road. With as straight a face as I could manage I replied ‘lady
there’s a train coming.’ Well, she gaped and made the
rather wry comment that there were no tracks to which I shot back
‘you know that and I know that but the engineer
doesn’t.’ Well then the driver very quickly pulled the car
off the road and at that moment engineer Eddie opened both
whistles. Even though the engine was still several hundred feet
from where we stood, the expression on the faces of the occupants
of the now abandoned automobile were priceless. Then the gentleman
mustered up enough courage to come up to me and in a rather timid
tone of voice inquired if I was crazy to which I answered ‘yes
Happy New Year!’ When at last the engine stormed by in a cloud
of steam and coal smoke we instantly had more converts to the
cause.

For the next two hours we waited by the edge of the state road
building up the courage necessary to risk being put away for life
and when the traffic had subsided, we decided to move out on
maneuver. I was to follow the engine in my car with flashers on so
that someone would not come around a curve at high speed and find
themselves feasting on hot coals and cylinder oil. Having seen no
officers of the law the entire evening and seeing that the hour was
11 p.m. we moved.

We had not been on the road more than five minutes when a car
loomed up in back of me and staring in my rear view mirror I saw
the reflection of a dome light and the white insignia of the county
police. Our hearts were in our mouths, however, the good fellows
followed for several hundred feet, each one craning

his neck out of a window not knowing what to think. At last they
pulled up beside me and stared curiously into my car and then
moving ahead they ran parallel to the engine with our two nervous
heroes holding back their urge to give it to ’em with both
whistles. Suddenly, and so help me but I’m telling the truth,
they took off in a cloud of dust and were seen no more. I can only
surmise that if they had had the courage to call the dispatcher and
report a steam engine on the road at 11:30 p.m. they would probably
have been recalled for being under the influence of new year cheer.
I am quite certain that more than one person who passed us that
night went on the water wagon and the two good officers not wishing
to become involved just plain did’t see nuthin!

When we arrived at the fire station the chief had a pretty glum
expression on his face I wonder why. After disturbing the peace and
quiet of Burtonsville we then proceeded to the local Seven Eleven
to pick up needed supplies for the party and while there managed to
stun more than a few local customers who were rather reluctant to
come anywhere near the green, red and black monster. A particularly
choice moment occurred when the pop valve let go and sent people up
trees, telephone poles and under cars. Arriving back at the
firehouse we awaited zero hour and when it came, did our part in
ushering in the steaming seventies as we like to refer to it.

Not wishing to stretch our luck and realizing that when the
party broke up there would be more than an ample share of people
feeling no pain on the road, we promptly took leave of the premises
and within twenty minutes were safely back on our snug secure nest
of county road.

I am sure that for the few moments we were there, the quiet
little community of Burtonsville shared in a rather unique
experience and one which will not be soon forgotten by those who
participated in what is I am sure a classic in the annals of steam
engine lore.

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