PAST AND PRESENT

Steam Engines & Threshing Machines


| January/February 2004



Steamroller

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Steam and tractor historian Jack Alexander, 7795 Crews Road, Gilroy, CA 95020 (jacklee@garlic.com), has a wonderful habit of coming across interesting steam-related material. This month, Jack sends us a great postcard, and we'll leave it to readers to make of it what they will.

While on the subject of Jack, we should mention he's just published a new book, The First American Farm Tractors, Developments to 1917, that's sure to be of interest to steam and gas tractor fans. Jack's book is the result of years of research, and it contains references to hundreds of manufacturers and would-be manufacturers. Much more than simply a listing or a 'Who's Who' of inventors and builders, Jack's book is a compelling look at America's drive to develop mechanized cultivation as the frontiers of the country steadily gave way to the farmer's plow. It's an interesting and effective chronology of agricultural innovations, and an important work to anyone interested in steam, gas and agricultural history. As for the postcard, Jack writes:

I can't help but smile every time that I see this card, which falls in the class of fantastic steam powered inventions from the 1800s and early 1900s. The back side is plain, so it may not have been a postcard perhaps a show premium? Enjoy.

Pierce Photo #1: George Schaaf's 1890 Case return-flue at the 2003 17th Annual Case Exposition. Case return-flue engines were straw burners, available in 12 HP and 16 HP sizes.

Maumee Valley Update

Lester E. Pierce, 4998 320 St., Stanberry, MO 64489, director of the J.I. Case Heritage Foundation, chimes in this issue with a quick review of the 2003 J.I. Case Heritage Foundation Annual Exposition. Lester writes:

Antique power was well-represented at the Maumee Valley Antique Steam and Gas Association 26th Annual Show at New Haven, Ind., Aug. 14-17, 2003. A dozen or so steam traction machines of different makes were on hand, and gas tractors were lined up axle-to-axle in the tractor-pull pavilion.