By Staff
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Forney Photo #1: Twisted wreckage, possibly a Case.
2 / 13
Small Photo #4: 25 HP double cylinder M. Rumely.
3 / 13
4 / 13
5 / 13
6 / 13
Forney Photo #3: Front axle separated from engine.
7 / 13
Forney Photo #4: 1922 25 HP Russell after a 1925 bridge collapse in Nebraska.
8 / 13
Forney Photo #2. Rear driver & traction gears visible.
9 / 13
Hitchcock Photo #1: Bowen & Quick Wide Awake thresher.
10 / 13
Yaeqer Photo #1: Montana stack.
11 / 13
Small Photo #1: 1911 32-120 HP American-Abell.
12 / 13
Small Photo #2: 26 HP Advance compound.
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Small Photo #3: 25 HP and 10 HP Gaar-Scott engines.

Log Hauling Update

Derek Rayner, 9 Beagle Ridge Drive, Acomb, York
YO24 3JH (, alerts us to an error
in the contact information at the end of his excellent article in
the May/June 2003 issue, Log Hauling in California in the
We inadvertently dropped out a digit in his phone
number, which should read: (00 44) 1904-781519.

DeLoach Mills

Regular contributor Thomas Downing, R.R. 3, Box
149A, Ellwood City, PA 16117, sent us a brief follow-up on his
article on DeLoach Mills that appeared in the March/April 2003
issue of Steam Traction.

Tom says he was contacted shortly after the article appeared by
Fred E. Wilder of St. Petersburg, Fla., who told him that a left
hand DeLoach sawmill belted to a stationary steam engine is on
display at the Georgia Agarama in Tifton, Ga. Fred says the sawmill
is still functional and is used in demonstrations and for some
custom sawing.

Traction Troubles

John Forney, 4131 E. Road, Bellwood, NE 68624,
sends in pictures showing the aftermath of 1915 engine explosion
and a Russell that fell through a bridge in 1925. John writes:

My father gave me these pictures some 50 years ago. The first
three photos show a shelling outfit that blew up somewhere in
western Nebraska. The crew was inside eating dinner, so nobody got
hurt. I can’t say for sure what kind of engine it was. If you
look at the wheels, particularly the one that’s resting on the
cob pile, it does look a lot like a Case. Maybe someone can
identify it.

The last picture is of a 1922 25 HP Russell; the thresher is a
Minneapolis 36-64. Note the rope coming off the Russell’s
flywheel and the Hart-Parr tractor on the other end of the rope.
When Mr. Shrader bought this thresher he ordered it with an
extra-heavy tongue, and he told me years later, ‘I’m sure
glad I did, it saved my life.’ They had to cut the drawbar pin
out with a hacksaw. This all happened in 1925. I bought this
thresher years later and pulled it with a 50 HP Case, and it gave
that old 50 all it wanted.

Thanks for the new title for our great magazine. I knew Elmer
Ritzman, and he did a great job over the years keeping the spark

Thoughts on Groton and Reeves Power Ratings

Lyle Hoffmaster, 1845 Marion Road, Bucyrus, OH
44820, writes in with thoughts on the Groton pictured in the
March/April 2003 issue and information on Reeves power ratings.
Lyle writes:

The pictures sent in by Brad Vosberg, Gary Yaeger and Melvin
Kestler were all great! However, Vosberg’s picture the Groton
engine was the real gem! Now, I have never seen one of these
engines or even a catalog, just pictures, but this picture is the
most revealing I have ever seen. It’s the gearing!

The crankshaft pinion apparently meshes with the larger gear
just behind and back of the flywheel. This larger gear must be
keyed to a shaft, which appears to go over the top of the boiler,
where another pinion on the far end of this shaft must mesh with
the larger gear just in front of the left hand of the man who is
standing on the platform. This gear does not appear to have a
differential in it, so the differential must have been on the rear
axle, and a key in the rear axle must have driven the right-hand
drive wheel. Does anyone have one of these engines or a catalog
that would tell us just how it really was?

Taking the power from the main shaft by means of a pinion was
nearly a universal practice, power then driving a larger gear
called by one of several names, such as an idler, intermediate or
first reduction gear. I will hereafter just call it an intermediate

This intermediate gear almost always meshed with the master gear
of the differential, which caused it to mesh with these two other
gears twice per revolution. It pivoted on a cast iron bracket,
bracketed to the boiler. If the gear teeth on the intermediate were
diametrically opposite when loaded the gear tooth pressure on the
pivot bearing was doubled. The gear, being made generally of cast
iron, was not very hard, further adding to the heat. That, plus
marginal lubrication, caused it to be a hot-running gear.

A 25 HP straight-flue Avery came to our farm in Illinois to
straighten some waterways using a 10-foot blade. The intermediate
gear got so hot, heavy grease would run off like thin motor oil.
They never finished the job.

The Groton’s intermediate gear driving through the shaft cut
the load (or rather divided it) between the bearings on the cross
shaft, and having only one meshing of teeth was much better. If
they had just put the differential on the cross shaft it would have
been a very superior geared engine.

The list on the following page is taken from Emerson-Brantingham
Parts List No. 133 for Reeves engines. Published in May 1917, it
states: ‘We have established new ratings on Reeves Steam
Traction Engines, and give below both the new and old ratings. For
the convenience of our customers we have used the old ratings in
the descriptive matter of this list.’


Regular or State-Style

Canadian Special and High Wheel Engines (with A.S.M.E.

Old Rating

New Rating

Old Rating

New Rating

16 HP

50 HP

16 HP

60 HP

20 HP

60 HP

20 HP

75 HP

25 HP

75 HP

25 HP

90 HP

32 HP

100 HP

32 HP

120 HP

40 HP

140 HP

During the two or three years the old Reeves Company made the
Canadian Specials they used the same rating as used with the
State’s-type, which they had been making previously. The dual
rating used by Emerson-Brantingham was of EB’s own doing.

Spalding Photos

Charles E. Hitchcock, 3412 State Road 90,
Aurora, NY 13026, writes in about the Stevens engine in Spalding
Photo #3 in the January/February 2003 issue of Steam
Charles writes:

I read the comments several people made about that picture. One
was puzzled about the water tank, so I took another look at my
Stevens engine. It doesn’t have a water tank, but it does have
two large tag bolts in the side of the boiler that could have been
used to mount a tank. I can see no other use for them, and they
have been on the boiler a long time. The rear wheels are the same
as those on my Stevens rims, with the lugs all cast together. I am
sending you a copy of a circular from Bowen & Quick, in which
you can read about the connection of Stevens and Wide Awake. Please
note the arch in the frame that allows the front wheels to turn
without hitting the frame. I know of no other machine made like
that. I have a Wide Awake machine in my shed to make a

The last Wide Awake was made in 1911, just 11 years before I was
born. On the day I was born a life-long friend of mine was
threshing buckwheat for my father on the farm where I now reside.
His name was Henry Gosline and he used a Birdsall traction engine;
I now have that old engine.

As you may have gathered, I have been interested in old
machinery for quite some time. In fact, we held the Spring Grove
Steam Show for quite some time. We would have several thousand
people over a weekend, until insurance became a problem. No one
ever got hurt, but people would bring in alcohol, and that was a
no-no with our insurance. We threshed grain, baled hay with horses
and steam power, husked corn, threshed beans, ground flour,
threshed clover seed and had a steam boat on the pond. Everything
but the steamboat is still here on the farm.

As you can see I am not a writer. I am just an old farmer who
likes old machinery. You’ll note I made no comment about any of
the rest of Mr. Spalding’s pictures. If I had, it would have
been guess work. We don’t run steam engines with guess

Steam Popcorn

James C. ‘Pop Corn Jim’ Elliot, 19475
County Road 146, New Paris, IN 46553, writes:

I want to wish you every success with Steam Traction. I
have run a steam popcorn wagon for the last 22 years, and depended
on Iron-Men Album to keep in touch with the steam hobby.
There are so few of us with steam poppers we have no kind of
organization, and I know of no one else running regularly.

I hope you do not limit your material to steam traction engines
only, or I will be chopped off. I do represent a part of
American’s steam history, and steam poppers were made in the
U.S. only.

Curious Kitten

Some months ago Kitten steam engine fan Jerry
R.R. 2, Box 6, Slaton, TX 79364, sent in a
photocopy of an ad for an ‘Improved Traction Engine’ built
by F. Kitten’s Machine Works, Ferdinand, Ind., builders of the
well-known Kitten return-flue engines. Jerry bought the ad at an
engine show last year, and it was marked as having come from the
Feb.15, 1892 edition of the Ferdinand News. This in itself
is a curiosity, as it turns out the Ferdinand News
didn’t start publishing until 1906. Kathy Tretter, editor and
co-publisher of the Ferdinand, Ind., paper, suggests it may have
appeared in an earlier local paper, but attempts to confirm that
have been unsuccessful. The ad, featuring two cuts of the engine
from different perspectives, is clearly genuine, but we’d still
like to know more.

Jerry notes several curiosities with this Kitten, not the least
of which is its engine mounted so it extends beyond the rear of the
boiler. Note also that the smoke stack is in the center of the
machine, with the firebox appearing to almost sit on top of the
boiler. Jerry notes the ad’s mention that ‘the fire returns
two times,’ and this is a big clue concerning the boiler’s
construction. In 1889 Kitten patented a two-pass boiler, one in
which heat from the firebox made two passes through the firebox
before exiting through the flues. The shell extending to the front
is a water reservoir plumbed to an injector for replenishing the

Jerry was also curious about the issue of the small legend –
‘R.J.H. Smith-CO. Cin.O’ appearing under the left front
wheel in the lower cut. Steam historian Robert T. Rhode confirmed
our suspicion the name referred simply to the engraver of the cut,
but Bob was also interested in the engine, noting he has a
photograph of a Kitten with the smoke stack at the very front, not
the rear as per standard Kitten return-flue practice.

The advertised engine is noted as a 12 HP unit, and advertised
as weighing 7,800 pounds, with water. We have yet to find any
confirmation that this engine was ever built, and it’s possible
this was a one-off that failed to attract any prospective buyers.
If anyone can shed further light on this unique traction engine,
we’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, we hope to have
more to share on this curious Kitten in the next issue.

Gladkowski and Spalding Photos

Kevin M. Small, EO. Box 92, 1279 Perry Highway,
Portersville, PA 16051, read Ed Gladkowski’s request for
identification on a photograph we first ran in the
November/December 2002 issue of Iron-Men Album, and again
in the May /June 2003 issue of Steam Traction. Kevin says
he knows what the engine is, and he also has thoughts on the photos
sent in by John Spalding and published in the May/June 2003 issue
of ST. Kevin writes:

I would like to identify the nice photos sent in by Ed
Gladkowski and John Spalding in the last issue. Ed’s photo on
page 22 is of a 12-16 HP Frick. It is a center-crank engine, and it
is unusual in that the rear drive wheels have round spokes instead
of the flat, strap-steel spokes used on all their later traction
engines. This engine was probably built around 1895-1900.

John’s photos really had me stumped for a while. Photo #1
looks like a center-crank Case. However, the Sawyer Massey Company
of Hamilton, Ontario, also built some early center-crank engines
that look very similar to the Case. I am going to leave this one up
to our friends Lyle Hoffmaster and Chady Atteberry.

Photo #2 is a 22 HP Gaar-Scott return-flue compound. The
thresher also looks like a Gaar-Scott with Garden City wing
feeders. How many years did Gaar-Scott build these engines? Are
there any left?

Photo #3 is an 1892 16 HP Phoenix built by C. Aultman Company.
This engine is a water front return-flue straw burner. It has a
balanced slide valve and Stephenson link reverse. There is a
picture of this engine in the September/October 1965 Iron-Men
This engine is at the late Joe Rynda’s yard in
Montgomery, Minn., along with many other rare engines. Thanks for
sharing your photos, John.

My first photograph shows a 1911 32-120 HP American-Abell built
in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is a cross-compound, rear-mount
plowing engine. The photo was taken at Birnie, Manitoba, Canada, in
1912. Notice the extension wheels on both front and rear axles.
American-Abell used flatstrap steel spokes on both front and rear
wheels on the 32 HP engine. These front wheel extensions have round
spokes. American-Abell used a longer front axle to accommodate the
extensions. I cannot tell if they have skid rims or not they look
like Advance Company wheels to me.

The rear drive wheel extensions give the engine a total width of
16 feet. This engine also has a boiler jacket, intercepting valve,
steam reheater and straight-line balanced valves. The 32 HP engines
were built from 1909 to 1912, & there known; one in Rocanville,
Saskatchewan, one in Saskatton, Saskatchewan, one in Wetaskiwin,
alberta. John Spalding sent in an excellent photograph of a 32 HP
American-Abell that appeared on May/June 2002 Iron Men

The next three photographs were taken at the National Threshers
Reunion in Wauseon, Ohio. The 26 HP Advance compound belongs to
Graham Sellers of Coldwater, Mich. This engine gets a good workout
on the sawmill and prony brake.

The 25 HP Gaar-Scott rear mount belongs to John Schrock of
Mason, Iowa, and the 10 HP Gaar-Scott belongs to Bill Roberts of
Somerset, Va. This rare little engine was built in 1884.

The last picture shows a 25 HP double-cylinder Rumely owned by
Dennis Rupert of Hillsdale, Mich. Justin Rupert is the engineer,
getting ready to go to work on the prony brake. The National
Threshers will be hosting the Rumely Product Collectors Expo, June
26-29, 2003. It will be the largest gathering of Rumely products
ever. Thanks for a fine magazine.

Gladkowski and Spalding Photos and Other Thoughts

Like Kevin Small, regular contributor Gary
1120 Leisha Lane, Kalispell, MT 59901 (yaegerg® was also intrigued by Ed Gladkowski’s and John
Spalding’s photos. Gary writes:

I was looking at the photo of the ‘unknown engine, possibly
Frick,’ owned by Mr. Gladkowski and decided to join in on the
identification process. I went to friend Jack Norbeck’s book,
Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction Engines, for
clues. This engine has the same smoke stack as the 1885 Daniel
Boone Frick shown in Jack’s book on page 116. The steam dome
size and placement on the boiler barrel is classic Frick. This
engine has a curved spoke or dogleg flywheel like the early Frick
engines had, and a right side flywheel and left side steering wheel
was a common Frick feature on their earlier engines. It has an
early shim ring change, speed-type Pickering governor with the
large diameter drive pulley and cylindrical shaped leather belt,
common to (I believe) all Frick engines.

The control levers lay on their sides, which was a common Frick
feature, and the clutch pulley and mechanism is consistent with
some Frick engines. The front wheels and hubs are definitely the
same as all early Frick engines after the wooden spoke type was
discontinued. The rear hubs have several square holes, which were
quite common on Frick engines, although they varied the number of
holes due to hub diameter. The most unusual item on these driver
wheels is the use of round iron spokes. I don’t think I have
ever seen a Frick with round spokes in their driver wheels. The
side water tank with hand-hole cleanout is also non-typical.

I would bet that if we could go back to the many steam traction
engine builders in this country, we would find that as problems
arose or someone had a better idea, they made changes as required
or desired. As an example, my dad had a 20 HP Reeves Highwheeler
built in 1916. That engine was created by Emerson-Brantingham
Company, purchaser of Reeves & Company, due to an excessive
contracted purchase of 96-inch driver wheels from contractor
Illinois Steel Company, intended for the slow-selling Reeves 40-65
HP gas tractor. The 16 HP Reeves Highwheeler served the same
purpose for an excess of 90-inch 25-50 HP Reeves gas engine wheels.
Reeves’ genius head engineer, Harry Clay, designed these
engines, which in use (not sales), were a huge success. With that
said, my vote is the engine in Mr. Gladkowski’s photo is
definitely an early Frick engine.

Since I have already opened this can of worms, I’d like to
report what my dad said regarding the Reeves 20 HP Highwheeler
Canadian Special he and his brothers owned. They hooked their
Highwheeler onto the same plows (six sections of six-disk Emerson
plows cutting a swath of 36 feet on the level) that they pulled
with their Reeves 32 HP cross-compound Canadian Special. Dad said
the Highwheeler would easily pull the load on the flat, but they
had to drop a plow in the hills due to slippage, not power loss.
The large diameter wheels provided more ground contact and larger
gearing provided lower tooth pressure, enabling the 20 HP
Highwheeler to pull a much greater load than a standard wheel type
20 HP double-simple Canadian Special Reeves.

I am going to attempt to guess Mr. Spalding’s return-flue
traction engine photos in the May/June 2003 issue.

At first I was sure that Photo #1 was a Case center-crank
return-flue engine, possibly a 16 HP. I had even written down a
list of features that supported my thought on this matter, but then
I received a letter from Tom Stebritz informing me the engine was
actually an Ames. I went to Norbeck’s book, and there it was on
page 63. It’s definitely an Ames, built by Ames Iron Works,
Oswego, N.Y.

Mr. Spalding’s second engine is easily identifiable as a
Gaar-Scott side-mounted, Woolf compound return-flue engine. My
Gaar-Scott catalog shows only a 30 HP, but they may have built
other sizes of single-crank, tandem-compound engines. The Big Forty
Gaar-Scott had a double-tandem compound engine. The return-flue
engine pictured has the later type of smoke stack top casting, in
which the upper casting mounted outside the steel stack tube. On
the earliest type of Gaar-Scott return-flue smoke stacks, the
casting went inside the steel stack. The faint Gaar-Scott company
logo, which featured a tiger on double globes, is shown at the
center of the face of the front water tank, removing much of the

Photo #3: I believe this engine could be a C. Aultman Phoenix
return-flue. The only ‘contact’ I have ever had with a
Phoenix was in an early Iron-Men Album issue, which
featured a Phoenix return-flue engine that had recently been
purchased by the late ‘Steam Engine Joe’ Rynda near
Montgomery, Minn. This may even be that engine? If I am mistaken, I
am sure there will be those who can (and will) correct me. If I am
correct, my wife would wonder how I would remember particulars of
an engine like this when it is likely I am uncertain of what I
consumed for breakfast.

Finally, I bumped into a photograph I had in my files I think
readers will enjoy. I first saw this photograph in some Montana
Centennial material published by our state in 1989. I wrote to the
address listed with the photo, and the son of Richard Redle, the
man who owned the Aultman & Taylor wooden separator pictured,
sent me this photo. The year wasn’t noted, but the straw stack
was done in one setting near Columbus, (west of Billings) Mont. Mr.
Redle never said if there were any scrawny chickens looking for
blown over grain in this straw stack. I wasn’t able to find out
how many acres were involved, but it had to be quite a few, even in
a good crop year. Of course, many of the crops grown in the old
days were bred to have taller straw aiding operators of binders, in
contrast to the shorter grains raised today for combines.

The most pleasant surprise, in my request to copy Mr.
Redle’s photo, was his father’s J.I. Case thresher and
steam engine operators field pocket guide, which he donated to my
personal collection. The notes hand written in such books by old
timers are so very interesting.

Steam Siren

Ron Baer, R.R. 1, Port Colborne Ontario, Canada
L3K 5V3 (, has come into possession
of an old steam siren, and wonders if anyone knows more about it.
Ron writes:

The Inco Metal Company gave me a self-acting siren when I
retired two years ago. It was used until the 1980s, when it was
taken out of commission. They used it to signify shift changes,
fire calls and the 9 p.m. curfew for the city of Port Colborne. I
have not been able to find much information about it. The brass tag
on the whistle reads: R Brown Patent Self-Acting Siren,
Manufactured by the A&F Brown Company, New York U.S.A. Possibly
someone might have information on it and when it was made?

The whistle was actuated by steam produced from the
company’s furnaces, which always had an excess supply. The
whistle has a 3-inch feed line and required large amounts of steam
to work. When blown, it could be heard for up to five miles.

Threshing Returns to Vigo

After a six year hiatus, threshing returned to the Vigo County
Fair Threshing Show, which is held in conjunction with the Wabash
Valley Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Show at the Wabash Valley
Fairgrounds in Terre Haute, Ind. Reader Tom
1728 S. 8th St., Terre Haute, IN 47802, writes
in with a quick look at last year’s show. Tom writes:

Champion Photo #1: Mike Weir (left) and Tom Champion make
repairs to the old canvases for the McCormick-Deering binder.

We finally had enough volunteers to restart our wheat threshing
and baling operation. The shutdown came after we lost our core
threshing men: John Greene (baler), Bob Johnson (Baker steam engine
pro), Burll Bogart (Huber steam engine pro), and Henry Youngblood
(Case steam engine pro). They have all passed away except Henry,
who retired for health reasons, and they made our show (which
started in 1988) a great success.

During the past four years we put together a new group to give
us a fresh start. We started baling hay with our 1923 John Deere
baler, with David Pigg’s John Deere A supplying power the first
year and my John Deere B and Kenny Nordmeyer’s John Deere A the
following year. The Porter family of Terre Haute, Ind., brought
their Advance steam engine to power the baler in 2001, and we put
on a good performance that year at the fair.

Champion Photo #2: Tiffany Weir feeds wheat bundles into the
bailer at the Vigo County Fair.

For 2002 we didn’t have a steam engine and to think there
are six of them within 20 miles of the show! Instead, we had Mike
Weir’s John Deere 60 tractor belted to the Belle City
separator, loaned to us by Francis (Tootie) Bogart of Merom, Ind.
We had to shut the separator down four times for repairs during the
show, but Tootie and his repairman, Warren Cole (also from Merom,
Ind.) and Dewayne Moss, Farmersburg, Ind., managed to keep it
going. Leroy and Jason Nenerman of Pimento, Ind., also helped, and
Joe Minnis, Minnis International Inc., the Terre Haute Case
International dealer, transported the separator to the grounds.
John Curry, co-owner of I.C.E., a Terre Haute-based structural
company, got the separator safely home. This type of help is what
makes the show a success.

Last fall I tried getting new canvas for the wheat binder, but
the two Amish groups I contacted told me they no longer use binders
and no longer made the canvas. I took some oak out of my stock and
cut new strips – 18 for the lower platform and 10 for the back
elevator. I was able to get new 14–pound canvas from the Main Tent
Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, and Mike Weir and I started the
reconstruction of the binder canvas. The canvas came from the
company two inches too wide, so my wife, Barbara, sewed an overlap
in the center to get the width right.

I have met with Mike Weir and his family, and they have agreed
to help produce the threshing show from now on. Old Father Time has
closed in on me, and it’s time to turn things over to the next
generation. I am confident Mike can handle it all, and I will be
happy to accept the honorary title of emeritus director. The 2003
show will be held July 5-6, and Coen Hutchinson can fill in more
details. You can call him at (765) 832-6730 or e-mail at:

We must all try to keep this kind of history alive, and we
should all remember if we don’t preserve what we know and have
for future generations, it will be gone forever.

Spalding’s Corner

John Spalding, 112 Carriage Place,
Hendersonville, TN 37035, sent us a treasure trove of vintage
photos of traction engines but with a twist.

John won’t identify the engines, instead, he wants readers
to test their knowledge and identify the engines in his pictures.
This issue’s traction teaser has some clues, and the first
person to correctly guess its identity gets a free copy of
Steam Engine Guide by Professor P.F. Rose.

If you have a comment, question or reminiscence for past
and present, please send it along to : Steam Traction,
1503 S.W 42nd St., Topeka, KS 6609-1265, or e-mail:

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment