PAST AND PRESENT

By Staff
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Small Photo #1 : Lance Barnes' ''Mighty Little Nichols'' ''pulling'' the 20-bottom John Deere plow at Belgrade, Mont, in 1996.
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Hale Photo #1: A Rice & Sargent heavy-duty Corliss steam engine.
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Smith Photo #1: Craig Clark and his 19-65 HP Baker give a spark show at the 2003 Doughty Valley Show.
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Smith Photo #2: Threshing spelts with Ray Miller's 23-90 HP Baker at the 2003 Doughty Valley Show.
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Yaeger Photo #1: Buffalo-Pitts road locomotive hauling silver ore in Armstead, Mont, circa 1915.
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Yaeger Photo #2 : Postcard showing a Buffalo-Pitts road locomotive hauling granite in Fitzwilliam, N.H., in 1906.
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Small Photo #2 : Chady Atteberry's 20 HP 1913 under-mounted Avery Alberta-Saskatchewan Special.
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Small Photo #3: Daniel Anderson's 35 HP 1905 Buffalo-Pitts.
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Small Photo #4: Bill Kennedy's 25-85 HP 1915 double-cylinder Nichols & Shepard.
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Small Photo #5: Cliff Foster's 40-120 HP 1907 double-cylinder Geiser Z3.
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Small Photo #8 : Plowing at the 2002 James Valley Threshing Show, viewed from the back of the pack.
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Small Photo #6: Kevin Anderson and David Fie's 110 HP 1911 Case plowing with 14-bottom John Deere plow.
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Small Photo #7 : Plowing at the 2002 James Valley Threshing Show, Andover, S.D. What a lineup!
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Eastes Photo #1: 18 HP 1913 Keck-Gonnerman.

SMALL AT LARGE

Regular contributor Kevin Small, P.O. Box 92,
1279 Perry Highway, Portersville, PA 16051, writes in again this
issue, wondering about a Watertown engine and sending in some fine
engine photos. Kevin writes:

I’d like to comment on the Watertown steam traction engine
featured in Spalding’s Corner in the March/April 2004 issue. On
page 23 of the July/August 1956 Iron-Men Album, there is a
photo of an 1889 Watertown engine owned by Edward Rabas of Oconto
Falls, Wis.

I do not know if Rabas still owns this engine or not, but
I’m sure this engine still exists. If any readers have a
current photo of this engine, please send it to Steam
Traction.

Here are several more steam traction engine photos. I’d like
to dedicate Photo #1 to my good friend Randy Schwerin of Sumner,
Iowa, who owns a fine little 1893 10 HP Nichols & Shepard. This
engine is either a 13 HP or a 16 HP Nichols & Shepard built
around 1900 ‘pulling’ the 20-bottom John Deere plow at
Belgrade, Mont., in 1996. Dave Vanek of Lewistown, Mont., is the
engineer. Lance Barnes of Belgrade owns the ‘Mighty Little
Nichols.’ What do you think Randy? Now that’s
horsepower!

Photo #2 is a 1913 20 HP Avery Alberta-Saskatchewan Special
owned by Chady Atteberry of Blackwell, Okla. This engine spent its
working life in the Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, area. In the early
1950s, it was purchased from a Mr. Ross by the late Louis David of
Northville, Mich., and moved to Leroy Blaker’s farm in Ohio.
The engine came to Oklahoma in the 1970s, and at that time it
belonged to the late Ivan Burns. This engine is in excellent
condition Chady is very proud of it, and rightly so.

Photo #3 shows a 1905 35 HP Buffalo-Pitts owned by Daniel
Anderson of Christine, N.D. This is a big 8-l/2-by-12-inch
double-cylinder engine. The late Jacob Johnson of Christine, N.D.,
originally bought it new in 1905, using the engine for custom
threshing for some 28 years with a 41-by-66-inch Buffalo-Pitts
threshing machine. Carl and Joseph Anderson bought the engine in
1938 it is still in the family today, owned by Carl’s son,
Daniel. This photo was taken in 1996 at the Western Minnesota Steam
Threshers Reunion at Rollag, Minn.

Photo #4 is a nice 25-85 HP 1915 Nichols & Shepard owned by
Bill Kennedy. The National Threshers Association will be featuring
Nichols & Shepard steam engines in June 2004. This 25-85 is a
6-3/4-by-10-inch double-cylinder engine. It has a butt-strap boiler
and is in excellent condition.

Photo #5 was taken at the Rough and Tumble Threshermans Reunion
at Kinzers, Pa., in 1999. This engine is the 1907 Z3 40-120 HP
Geiser built by Geiser Manufacturing Co., Waynesboro, Pa. There
were only eight of the Z3 engines manufactured, all of them in
1907. This engine is the only complete Z3 Geiser with all of its
original parts. This engine was originally used for threshing. It
appeared on the cover of the September/October 1983 issue of the
Iron-Men Album, and at that time Willis Abel owned it.
Cliff Foster now owns the engine, and it is shown at Kinzers each
year. The Z3 has an 8-1/2-by-10-inch double-cylinder engine.

Photo #6 is a 110 HP 1911 Case plowing with a 14-bottom John
Deere plow. Kevin Anderson of Andover, S.D., and David Fie of
Watertown, S.D., own this engine, which was restored in 1985. Kory
Anderson is the engineer and Jim Briden is the fireman. This photo
was taken at the James Valley Threshing Show at Andover, S.D. The
Andersons are now restoring a 25 HP double-cylinder Gaar-Scott.

The last two photos were also taken at the James Valley
Threshing Show. This is one of the most impressive plowing
demonstrations I have seen. John Deere manufactured all the plows.
The lead engine is a 40 HP 1920 Case with four-bottom plow followed
by a 75 HP 1913 Case with six-bottom plow, a 75 HP 1910 Case with
eight-bottom plow, a 25 HP 1920 Advance-Rumely with 10-bottom plow,
an 80 HP 1913 Case with 12-bottom plow and the 110 HP 1911 Case
with 14-bottom plow. A total of 54 plows in the ground! My friend
Kevin Anderson said with a smile, ‘We plow until we are sick of
it.’ To which I replied, ‘Let’s go plow another
round.’ So Scott Anderson and I plowed again with the 80 HP
Case and Kory and Jim with the 110. Six steam engines and a fine
group of engineers it just doesn’t get any better than
that!

KECK -GONNERMAN  LONGINGS

Glen Eastes, 4993 Fairview, Lenoir City, TN
37772, writes in about a recent auction he attended. We don’t
think he got the machine of his affections, but he enjoyed the
event all the same. Glen writes:

This past March, I attended a sale in Morganfield, Ky., of Eugen
Bichett’s collection of tractors. Bichett was for many years an
International Harvester dealer in this part of the county. He
passed away about a year ago.

The reason I went to the sale was because he had an 18 HP 1913
Keck-Gonnerman steam traction engine for sale. It was said he had
fired the engine a couple years ago. There were a couple guys there
that wanted it, and it ended up bringing $21,000. He also had a
pretty good-looking threshing machine.

He would have certainly been an interesting man to meet. I
talked to a lot of people there and the locals all really admired
him and his mechanical ability.

OHIO’S BEST KEPT SECRET

Every year, Earl Smith, 5605 Carmont Ave. S.W.,
Navarre, OH 44662, attends the Doughty Valley Power Show, and he
tells us it’s a must-see. Earl writes:

The Doughty Valley Power Show is probably one of the best-kept
secrets in Ohio’s steam exhibits, and I would like to share my
enthusiasm for this show.

The show is held at the Mast family farm in the beautiful
Doughty Valley just south of Berlin, Ohio, in Holmes County. Coal
smoke from 11 or so steam engines on hand drifts from the valley,
luring you in and showing the way.

Abe Mast saws approximately 5,000 board feet of lumber and they
thresh 11 acres of spelts during the show. John McDowell keeps
every body busy on the ‘power eater’ and three Baker fans
run almost non-stop. The 2003 show saw the addition of J.D.
Miller’s Prony brake. The show simulates tobacco bed steaming,
and J.D. Miller also has his shingle mill humming with souvenir
branded shingles.

The thing I like most about the show is it’s clean
simplicity. For example, have you ever seen a tug-of-war between a
steam engine and a bunch of ornery steam lovers? Last year, the
Stutzman family of Middlefield had their ‘baby Baker’ (a 60
percent scale Baker) with a hay rope tied to the hitch. It was
hilarious watching a bunch of good-humored people young and old,
big and small trying to stall the baby Baker. Believe me, you had
to be there. At the end, five engines put on a great spark show
what a way to end an already great day.

The Doughty Valley Power Show is always held the third Friday
and Saturday of July. This year’s show will be held July 16-17,
2004. There is plenty of lodging and there are campgrounds close
by.

Any questions may be directed to Abe Mast at (330) 893-3576, or
Ray Miller at (330) 897-1060.

LEADER ENGINE AND CASE SEPARATOR

Leader engines are quite a rarity, and this issue James
W. Russell,
125 E. 600 Ave., Oblong, IL 62449 recalls one
such engine that threshed in the fields of Illinois. James
writes:

I know many of the readers, as well as myself, enjoy the old
pictures. I will try to send one in from time to time. This Leader
engine and Case separator belonged to Lewis and Edwin Burner. They
were my distant relatives. Their threshing run went from one end of
Crawford County, Ill., to the other. After they stopped using the
Leader, they purchased a 15-30 Model F Rumely OilPull. This tractor
stayed in our community until approximately 1940, and is remembered
well by many of the older residents.

Russell Photo #1: Burner brothers threshing rig in 1910. Lewis
and Edwin Burner are standing by the Leader engine, water boys are
Lew Vooris and Charles Clark. Picture taken near Oblong, Ill.

SOUTHERN ENGINE & BOILER WORKS

A number of readers wrote in about Mike McKnight’s article
on Southern Engine & Boiler Works (Steam Traction, March/April
2004). Among them was Clay Hale, 1403 Emmett, El
Dorado, AR 71730, who had some specific reactions to the piece.
Clay writes:

Many thanks for Mike McKnight’s article on Southern Engine
& Boiler Works. I knew about their rocking-valve engine, but
had no idea they built a Corliss.

Most builders of slide-valve engines could furnish balanced
valves. The first engine I ran pulling a sawmill was a 13-by-16
Chandler & Taylor, which had an American balanced valve. This
had a balance ring above the valve and springs, which held it
seated on the steam chest cover. A hole in the exhaust cavity
insured that only exhaust pressure was above the valve. The
Richardson balanced valve, common on locomotives, had a square
balance cavity above the valve, seated to the plate above by
spring-loaded balance strips.

The patented governor in the illustration is a Rites inertia
governor, often used as a shaft governor on automatic engines. I
saw one of these on a Corliss, which led to a frustrating
experience. This was in a beautiful sawmill powerhouse with three
Corliss engines in a row: A Filer & Stowell, which pulled the
sawmill, was not involved. The others were direct connected to
generators: A Murray with the usual Murray Porter-type governor and
a Rice & Sargent Providence Corliss, with Rites governor.

These ran in parallel and had automatic voltage regulators,
which were not very common in sawmills. The problem was that the
Providence, though smaller, hogged the load. It would be overloaded
before the Murray began to take additional load. Adjusting the
governor didn’t seem to make any difference, and the owners
decided the voltage regulators were at fault and gave up trying to
run the units in parallel. They separated them so that one carried
the electric load of the sawmill and the other that of the box
factory. It likely would have been impossible to make governors
that differed so much in sensitivity work together where the load
varied so much and so suddenly.

Filer & Stowell made a rocking-valve engine that looked much
like the Southern, but I never thought of it as being more
efficient than a slide-valve engine. It was probably less so,
because of the excessively long steam passages and resulting
clearance volume. This, of course, was not a great issue in
sawmills, where fuel was plentiful.

I used to indicate a 30-by-48 Filer & Stowell Corliss
pulling a double band sawmill. Sometimes, the men would try to get
me to stop it, but I never would attempt it. They would unhook the
valves and use the starting bar and small bypass throttle to
cushion it at just the right place, and I never knew them to stop
it on center. It must have happened sometimes, for they kept a
large chain hoist hanging where they could get hold of a spoke in
the 20-foot wheel and turn it off center, if necessary.

Again, thanks for the article. This is the kind of material that
makes a magazine enjoyable for me. Tractors, even steam traction
engines, can be overdone.

MONTANA MUSINGS

Regular contributor Gary Yaeger, 1120 Leisha
Lane, Kalispell, MT 59901 (yaegerg@in-tch.com), writes in again
this issue, with some interesting photos of what could be a 50 HP
Buffalo-Pitts. Gary writes:

Yaeger Photo #3 : A Buffalo-Pitts road locomotive. It’s
unclear if this was indeed a 50 HP engine, but note the engine has
neither a steam dome nor a flywheel.

You know how I like mystery engines! A few years back, I sent a
photo of a Buffalo-Pitts to the Iron Men Album. At the
time, I stated it was probably about a ’35 HP’ size, as
that would normally be a huge Buffalo-Pitts. The engine was hauling
silver ore to the railhead at Armstead, Mont., circa 1915.

About a year ago, I received e-mail from Beth Vanarsdall, a
forward from a friend of hers in Australia who was restoring a
Buffalo-Pitts like the one in my photo. He mentioned my photo to
Beth, and in the process I learned some things about Buffalo-Pitts
engines.

I learned it was perhaps a 50 HP engine, as shown in friend Jack
Norbeck’s Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction
Engines
. This same picture was included in T.H. Smith’s
1953 printing of The Album of American Steam Traction
Engines,
but there’s no mention of engine size.

I never realized Buffalo-Pitts built a 50 HP engine (and in fact
it’s still not clear if they actually did), and more
astonishing to me was the fact which I hadn’t noticed earlier –
that this model does not have a fly wheel or a steam dome: It was
designed as a road loco motive. I am sure old-timers knew about
such a model, but I didn’t.

Then I found a postcard of another of these engines located in
Fitzwilliam, N.H. The engine was owned by the Emerson Granite Co.
of Fitzwilliam, and it’s hauling slabs of granite on an ore
car.

LIABILITY INSURANCE

Acquiring insurance in these litigious times can be difficult,
as Gordon McLean, Box 1404, Beaverlodge, ALB,
Canada T0H 0C0, (780) 354-8283, has discovered. We don’t have
any good tips for Gordon, but we’re hoping readers do, and that
they’ll share their knowledge with the rest of the steam
community. In the near future, we’d like to run an article
giving advice and cautions on the subject, so we are particularly
interested in reader input on this matter. Gordon writes:

I really enjoy the improved quality of the photographs presented
in Steam Traction, and particularly the use of color
photographs. Good job.

My inquiry this time is a little different. Our local museum can
no longer provide liability insurance for items on loan to the
museum. This affects me directly as I keep my Waterloo and
threshing outfit at the museum. Most insurance companies have never
heard of a steam engine, and I can only find liability insurance at
a very high premium rate.

Can anyone provide me with guidance on obtaining insurance or
the name of companies that will provide coverage? Any help or
advice will be greatly appreciated.

STATIONARY STEAM ENGINE IN JAPAN

Letters from readers in England and Australia aren’t
particularly rare. We can, however, count on one finger the number
of letters we’ve received from Japan. Yasunobu
Morishita,
Nishino 206-11, Noichi-cho, Kami-gun, Kochi-ken
Japan 781-5232 (yasunobu@suninfory oma.or.jp), recently found a
stationary steam engine, and he’s hoping someone can help
identify it. Morishita writes:

Yasunobu Photo #1: Yasunobu Morishita found this stationary
steam engine in Japan. It features a Pickering governor, but
otherwise has no markings to identify its manufacture.

Yasunobu Photo #2: Yasunobu Morishita found this stationary
steam engine in Japan. It features a Pickering governor, but
otherwise has no markings to identify its manufacture.

I am writing in the hope that you or your readers can identify
and date a small, single-cylinder, horizontal stationary steam
engine I recently bought here in Japan. The diameter of the
flywheel is about 3 feet 6 inches. The engine was used to power a
small factory in Japan.

While there is no maker’s name on the steam engine itself,
the governor unit, presumably made by a different manufacturer to
the engine, carries lots of information. The governor is labeled
‘The Pickering, Portland, Conn., USA.’ Does this company
still exist? The governor has two patent dates, May 21/07, and Oct.
15/07. Does this refer to 1807 or 1907? The governor shaft
revolution is 350, and the governor carries number 488438 B.

While I have over a hundred gasoline and kerosene engines in my
collection, this is my first steam engine. I hope to get it running
one day.

UPDATES AND CORRECTIONS

Last issue we ran a brace of old photos sent in by reader
John Ross, P.O. Box 751, Hebron, IN 46341.
Unfortunately, we introduced a couple of errors into John’s
information.

Early in his letter, John talked about his first show in 1949.
The show was in Pontiac, Ill., not Pontiac, Mich. A little later,
John discussed a 60 HP 1911 Case his family had and the work
they’d done to it. We inadvertently changed John’s
reference to rebabbitting the engine’s canon bearings, noting
them as common bearings. Finally, in the fourth-to-last paragraph
of his letter, the 14th line should have read, ‘ … Forest
lived in Latty, Ohio …’

Also, reader Bob Hart, Apt. 5, 421 W. 18th St.,
Hermann, MO 65041, tells us he used to own the 12 HP M. Rumely
pictured on page 7 of the May/June 2004 issue.

According to Bob, the photo was taken in front of his house in
the early 1950s. Bob sent the photo to Al and Ella Brandt, Red Bud,
Ill., so they could have a look at the engine, which they later
bought. It’s a small world, after all.

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 66609 1265; rbackus@ogdenpubs.com

Farm Collector Magazine
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Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment