Try as we might, we never find time to hit all the shows
we’d like to see. Fortunately, plenty of you are out there
taking in shows and then kindly sharing your experiences with the
rest of the steam community.
Regular contributor Kevin Small, P.O. Box 92,
1279 Perry Highway, Portersville, PA 16051, managed to get around a
bit last year, and this issue he sends in a few photos documenting
his experiences. Kevin writes:
Enclosed are several photographs from the 2003 show season. Photo
#1 was taken at the National Threshers Association (NTA) Rumely
Expo held at Wauseon, Ohio, June 26-29. On the left is Dennis
Rupert’s 25 HP 1912 Rumely and on the right is the Western
Minnesota Steam Threshers 36 HP 1912 Rumely. Both are
Small Photo #5: Wes Roberts engineers Gil Roberts’ 25 HP
Gaar-Scott at the 2003 Steam and Gas Pasture Party in Somerset,
Photo #2, which was also taken at NTA, is a 35 HP Advance
tandem-compound owned by Graham Sellers of Coldwater, Mich. This
engine used the same boiler as the 40 HP cross-compound engine.
Photo #3 was taken at the Doughty Valley Power Show at
Millersburg, Ohio, and shows a very nice 23-90 Baker Uniflow owned
by Jonas Stutzman of Middlefield, Ohio, belted up to John
McDowell’s power eater (not visible in photo).
Photo #4 shows Jim and Marylin Malz’s 20th Century steam
traction engine loaded up on one of W.D. Kerr Trucking’s
lowboys pulled by Jim Lewandowski’s Freightliner after the
Northwest Pennsylvania Steam Engine and Old Equipment
Association’s summer show at Portersville, Pa. Jim has hauled
hundreds of steam engines, tractors and machinery for engine clubs
Photo #5 was taken at the Somerset Steam and Gas Pasture Party
at Somerset, Va. Wes Roberts was the engineer on Gil Roberts’
25 HP Gaar-Scott belted up to the Prony brake. Wes is a fine young
engineer and has run many different makes of engines.
Photo #6 shows Jim Lashaway chaining down his 22 HP Advance for
the trip home to Bowling Green, Ohio, after the LaGrange Engine
Club Show in Wellington, Ohio. Jim has shown his engines at the
LaGrange show for the last 12 years or so.
I’m looking forward to the 2004 show season, and I’d
like to see more steam engine photographs in our fine magazine!
HARRY’S LAST RUN
Regular contributor Larry Mix, 2075 Coburn
Road, Hasting, MI 49058 (firstname.lastname@example.org), chimes in again
this issue, sending along a great shot of the legendary Harry
‘Pink’ Woodmansee making his last run. Larry writes:
Mix Photo #1: Harry ‘Pink’ Woodmansee making his last
threshing run about 1971. Harry’s at the throttle while Ken
Crowley tends to steering.
This is a picture of Harry ‘Pink’ Woodmansee’s last
threshing run. We believe it to be about 1971. This picture was
taken at the intersection of Highway M-37 and Dowling Road in
Dowling, Mich., Harry’s hometown. The engine is a 16 HP Aultman
& Taylor, engine no. 8403, made in 1913. I don’t remember
what kind of separator he had. Ken Crowley is at the steering wheel
and Harry is at the throttle. For those of you who are sharp to
detail, the front wheels are from a 60 HP Case. Harry wore out the
I now own this engine and have done a lot of work to it, and
like any engine, it still needs a little work. I live just a few
miles north from where Harry lived, so the engine is still in the
Lester E. Pierce, 4998 320th St., Stanberry, MO
64489, noticed Beth Vanarsdall’s article on England’s Great
Dorset Steam Fair in the July/August 2003 Steam Traction.
Beth’s article contained several pictures of English traction
engines equipped for cable plowing, and this got Lester thinking
about similar equipment in the U.S. Although we’ve run some
information on cable plowing, most recently in the March/April 2003
issue, there’s certainly room for more. Lester writes:
A steam engine was recently pictured bearing a cable drum beneath
the boiler. This seemed to have been common practice in Europe, and
an acquaintance of mine told of such a plow that operated in the
Los Nietos area of California. I believe this may have been in the
1930s, westerly of Whittier, Calif., and I would like to see
pictures and stories of such if someone could submit them.
I’m curious about terrain, length of fields and how the plow
was guided. I would appreciate a detailed story of the operation.
Why was this system used and was it cost efficient?
Tom Downing, 460 Wurtemburg Road, Ellwood City,
PA 16117 (email@example.com), is looking for an old
Emerson-Brantingham advertisement. Tom writes:
I have been on the trail of information for some time with
little or no success, so I am appealing to the steam community at
large for some help.
The item in question is an advertisement for Emerson-Brantingham
that was reprinted somewhere, probably in a magazine. It showed the
EB logo at the top and then lines like wires coming from it to
three rows of circles below. Each circle contained the name of one
of the companies that were part of the EB conglomeration (Geiser,
Reeves and Emerson-Brantingham). If anyone knows a source where I
can find a copy of this, please let me know. Meanwhile, good
steaming to all!
SPALDING’S CORNER, MORGAN AND OTHERS
Okay boys, it happened again, you’ve been bested by yet
another youngster. Thirteen-year-old steam enthusiast
Charles Demske was the first to correctly identify
last issue’s ‘mystery’ engine shown in Spalding’s
Corner on page 14. As the first person to correctly identify last
issue’s engine, Charles will receive a free copy of Steam
Engine Guide by Prof. P.F. Rose. And to further encourage his
young love of steam, we’d like to send Charles a reprint of
Traction Engine Troubles, a wonderful little book
originally published in 1909 by the folks at American
Thresherman. Note we said we’d ‘like’ to send
Charles the books. Charles, if you’re out there, you didn’t
give us a return address, so drop us a line, and we’ll make
sure you get what’s due to you.
Hi, my name is Charles Demske. I’m a 13-year-old boy, and I
love to guess at your mystery engines. My family owns a 1914
Nichols & Shepard 20-70, and I must say I’ve been bitten by
the steam bug. This month’s engine is, I believe, an Aultman
& Taylor sideshaft or ‘Sunflower’-geared engine. If you
look closely you can see the bevel gear used in this mechanism. The
crosshead also resembles an Aultman & Taylor design, as do the
front axle, king post and rear wheels. However, the flywheel shows
that it must be of a somewhat later design. I found this
information while wandering through the Encyclopedia of
American Steam Traction Engines by Jack C. Norbeck. Thanks for
sending in the photos.
Mann Photo #1: A steam lorry manufactured around the turn of the
century by Liquid Fuel Engineering Co. (commonly refered to as
‘LIFU’) in England.
Note the obvious similarity between the Photo #1 machine and the
Morgan steam truck (above) manufactured in the U.S. by Morgan Motor
Co. of Worcester, Mass., about the same time.
Herb Mann, 2588 W. County Road 250 S., Warsaw,
IN 46580, was the second person to write in with an identification.
Spalding’s Corner on page 14 (January/February 2004) shows an
unidentified return-flue engine. My knowledge of return-flue
engines pretty much begins and ends with Huber, although many
companies dabbled in return-flue designs. Since I don’t see a
final drive gear in the left drive wheel, I’m betting
there’s a shaft drive on the pulley side: that would make it a
product of C. Aultman & Co.
On another note, I am enclosing a picture of a ‘LIFU’
manufactured by Liquid Fuel Engineering Co., which I came across
while browsing through Richard J. Evans’ booklet Steam
Cars published by Shire Publications in England. The caption
says they licensed other manufactures to build their designs
between 1899 and 1902.
Something looked familiar, and when I looked at your article on
Morgan Motor Co. (Steam Traction, July/August 2003) there
was what appears to be an identical machine. Could Morgan have been
Regular contributor Thomas Stebritz, 1516 E.
Commercial St., Algona, IA 50511, also correctly identified last
issue’s engine, writing in with information about that
photograph and including thoughts on others pictures we’ve
recently run. Thomas writes:
I imagine someone has already identified the ‘mystery’
engine as a sideshaft Aultman & Taylor. Looking at a few
features on the engine, I’d say it was built in the mid-1890s.
It should be noted that the boiler barrel is built in sections and
the valve gear is the Link style. A few years later the Woolf valve
was used on all Aultman & Taylor engines. About the large
flywheel on the engine: This was to match the small cylinder
pulleys used on the hand-fed thresher. About the steam pipe: It
looks to be a replacement, and looks cobbled up. Also, visible
under the barrel is the connected ash pit fixed to a Cornish marine
Looking back at the November/December 2003 issue at Larry
Mix’s letter, I’d like to help identify several of his
pictures. Mix Photo #5 is a 1912 or 1913 20 HP Advance rear-mounted
engine with built-up steel wheels, while Mix Photo #7 shows the
same engine hooked in front of an older Reeves (looks to be a 25
HP) with cast wheels.
Larry identified Mix Photo #6 as a 16 HP Advance compound. That
engine would be a 21 HP side-mounted tandem-compound, as Advance
never made a 16 HP side-mounted compound. A list of Advance engines
out of a 1912 catalog reads as follows: 10 HP and 12 HP simple, 14
HP compound, 16 HP simple, 18 HP compound, 20 HP simple, 21 HP
compound, 22 HP simple, 26 HP compound, 30 HP simple, 35 HP
compound, 30 HP cross-compound and 40 HP cross-compound.
The rear-mounted engines evolved from the 21 HP with cast iron
wheels. The Advance Thresher Co. started as the Case & Willard
Thresher Co., Battle Creek, Mich. The Willard Library in Battle
Creek must have been endowed by the Willard family.
Also, I’d like to add to the picture of the proposed Twin
Cities steam engine (Steam Traction, January/February
2004, page 12), as I believe in giving credit where credit is due.
Back in the 1940s a man named E.R. Potter of Saskatoon,
Saskatchewan, Canada, made copies of pictures from old catalogs of
different makes of steamers and sold these for $1 a dozen. He also
scouted for old steamers and collected a few, and sold them, as
well. The Twin Cities picture was a gift to me. Some of his engines
came to the U.S., including a nice Nichols & Shepard 30-98 that
resides out West.
I was also curious about the Bowen & Quick thresher shown in
the July/August 2003 issue and sent in by Mr. Charles Hitchcock. I
believe this type of thresher was called an ‘apron’
thresher, and most other manufacturers had abandoned this principle
before 1880. If there’s a REAL old-timer around, I’d like
to ask him what kind of work the machine did. The separating
principle seems somewhat lacking, and the whole machine looks to be
the same width end-to-end.
Steam fan Larry Tucker, P.O. Box 156, DeKalb,
IL 60115; (630) 334-8689 (larrydtucker @earthlink.net), has come
across what may be the last survivor of the once-common and
enormous steam-powered industrial steam installations of the last
century. The site is under threat, and Larry would like to see it
saved. Larry writes:
Before natural gas pipelines crossed the county supplying gas,
larger communities had plants producing a form of gas from coal.
From the early 1800s to the mid-1900s, coal was heated in
oxygen-free ovens producing a manufactured gas, coke and several
byproducts. Over 50,000 of these existed, from small backyard
operations to sites of over 100 acres. The gas was sent by pipeline
throughout the cities, the coke was used in steel-making operations
and the byproducts for various chemicals. Virtually all of these
plants have been demolished.
One of the larger manufactured-gas plants is currently being
demolished and undergoing EPA cleanup in Milwaukee, Wis. It started
production in 1905 and ceased all operations in 1983. Several large
steam engines still sit in what is called a gas compressor house.
There are three vertical steam engines in various condition and
several one- and two-cylinder Ingersoll-Rand engines.
The developer of the site has indicated he would like to see the
gas compressor house with its steam engines preserved as a museum.
The site is set to become home to new condominiums, an office
complex, a shopping area and a marina.
I am exploring fundraising and seeking ideas for preserving a
valuable artifact of the industrial revolution. These engines are
in their original environment, and this may be the only remaining
location where so much industrial steam power still sits in its
If anyone knows of other locations like this, let the rest of us
know about it. You can see more pictures on the Web at:
The photo gallery is complements of James Hefner and the
‘Surviving World Steam Project’ at
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, or e-mail: