Farm Collector


‘Wentlea’ Capel St. Mary Ipswich, Suffolk, England

THE IRON-MEN ALBUM continues to make and keep friends over here
and Elmer has suggested that a paragraph or two now and again to
tell our American cousins just what we are up to, might be

I attended the annual General Meeting of the East Anglian
Traction Engine Club recently and at the class of the business part
of the meeting, we had a real treat when my friend and fellow
committee member, Arthur Clark, showed us some of the coloured
slides covering his visit to the United States last year. We
noticed a lot of things that differ between your engines and ours
(greater differences between our respective engines than between
ourselves). Quite the ‘most noticeable among these differences
is the large number of engines apparently built and used in your
country without boiler lagging (jacket) and although I can see here
a big advantage in this when it comes to having a boiler inspected,
we just cannot see how you can get the same efficiency or is it our
colder climate I am forgetting? Several of the Club members who saw
these pictures, gasped when they saw the long pipes on many of the
engines for taking the steam from the boiler at one point to the
cylinder at another didn’t this mean the steam getting
‘wet’ before it reached the place where it had to do the
work? Then you have engines with return-flu boilers quite strange
to us, as also the cast-iron rims to the wheels with lugs cast in.
The practice over here was to build a wheel up but of course we
mustn’t forget the very different conditions under which your
engines had to work. Then there are the different fuels you used.
Straw as a fuel was never used in this country nor wood fuel unless
it was in the firebox of a portable engine driving a saw at a
lumber mill whereas with the wide choice of coal available over
here, drivers would argue all night on the merits or otherwise of a
particular kind of coal from one mine as compared with the coal
from another. While on the topic of fuel, we will from now on have
to be most careful in this country, as in certain areas there are
to be smokeless zones, where no smoke is to be permitted (even
steamships going up rivers will be affected!) so as there are still
a few town councils retaining their steam road rollers, we find
them turning over to coke as fuel, as in the City of Norwich. Not
unconnected with this question of fuels is the long belt used on
all the pictures of American threshing rigs (or ‘tackles’
as we so long-windily call them). I hope to have my engine on the
Local History stand at our County Show this summer, it was built
here. It will be belted up to a threshing machine. We did this a
year or two back and I well remember the interest it caused,
particularly among a Party of American from a near-by airfield;
they just couldn’t take their eyes off the engine.

We have no enthusiast with the number of engines owned by
‘Steam Engine Joe’ (48 isn’t it?) Arthur showed us some
good shots of these but we know someone who has 32 and is still

Arthur explained that not all the slides he was showing were of
his own taking, but acknowledged some as being presented by Gilbert
Johnn, George Bedner and a Mr. Keep of New York. If any of these
gentlemen read this I want them to know how much we were able to
appreciate their kindness. Why don’t they come over and take
some of ours? We would go ‘all out’ to make ours look good
if they did.

  • Published on Nov 1, 1959
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