RR#13, Box 209 Brazil, Indiana 47834
The Oklahoma Steam Threshers Annual Steam School was held on March 23 and 24, 1997 at Pawnee, Oklahoma. Sixty-seven students arrived from nine different states to attend the school. This steam school was different from the schools of previous years in that all of the courses were geared to the experienced engineer. The older members of the association who had presented classes for many years stepped aside with the result that many of the classes were taught by instructors who were 45 years old or less in age.
Some of the classes taught at steam school were: piping and plumbing of a steam engine, judging boiler condition and ultrasonic testing, lubrication needs of a steam engine, selection and characteristics of steam cylinder oil, governor repair and trouble shooting, pouring babbitt bearings, and operation of a sawmill. All of these classes contained information which was invaluable to anyone who owns or operates a steam engine.
Steve Dunn's Keck-Gonnerman 20 HP double cylinder serial #1636 fired up and pulling the sawmill at Pawnee steam school. Dale Wolf is the engineer.
Several steam school attendees were able to go on a 'field trip' the day before school started and viewed the collections of Ivan Burns, Ed Larson, Chady Atteberry and Lyman Knapp. One would be hard pressed to see a finer collection of equipment in a day's time. While viewing Ed's collection we determined that he was distrustful of one of our group as his 10 HP Advance steam engine had a huge log chain run between the spokes of the flywheel and chained to its rear wheel. We later learned the reason for Ed's precaution was the presence of Joe Graziana in our group.
Serving as instructors for steam school this year were Joe Graziana of Wood River, Illinois; Larry Creed of Brazil, Indiana; and Paul Marten of Fairview, Oklahoma.
A problem which is seen across the country at steam shows was addressed by Paul Marten and Ed Larson of Milan, Kansas. Paul and Ed presented a fashion show during which they portrayed 'modern' engineers who chose to dress in a tank top, shorts and sunglasses. Chady Atteberry discussed traditional engineer's attire which was typically bib overalls, a long sleeved work shirt and work shoes.
On Saturday night, the school met at a local restaurant in Pawnee and discovered that a 'Graziana' pizza was available which was made with 100% Illinois bull and had steam cylinder oil and sawdust for toppings!
The second day of steam school was devoted to sawmill operation and maintenance, during which logs were sawed using a Keck-Gonnerman and also a Greyhound steam engine for power.
All of the engineers, both young and old, thoroughly enjoyed steam school and the opportunity for fellowship that it gave. I would like to thank the Oklahoma Steam Threshers and Gas Engine Association for sponsoring the school and also the thoughtfulness of providing three meals at the school for the attendees.
I believe that the existence of the steam school at Pawnee and other steam schools around the country helps insure the future of the steam hobby.