STEAM TRACTORS AND FRIENDS
Regular contributor John Ross, P.O. Box 751, Hebron, IN 46341 is back again, gracing us with yet more of his great memories of early steam and threshing shows. This time he shares show photos from Illinois and Indiana. John writes:
Enclosed are some photos I took at different shows 20 to 25 years ago.
Photo #1 is the late Fay Orr's early Aultman & Taylor square radiator 30-60 at the Will County, Ill., show. Fay lived in Momence, Ill.
Photo #2 is of a Titan 30-60 owned by Ed Schmitgal of Tiskilwa, Ill. - just restored and running at its first show.
Photo #3 is of a late Aultman & Taylor 30-60 and a Flour City 40-70 behind the museum at LaCrosse, Ind., just after we got them both running. Later that afternoon we made a round with each tractor pulling a 10-bottom plow. That summer we took the 40-70 to Northern Indiana Power of the Past and onto Valparaiso, Ind., for our Labor Day show. The Flour City has both a forward and a reverse clutch, and is unique in the belt pulley can be run either way. Can you imagine the looks of the crowd on a Baker fan when you stop going one way and change the direction at will?
Photo #4 shows us starting the 40-70 with a late John Deere D at our Valparaiso show.
All of the old monsters have been on the different sawmills at some of the shows. I have sawed several times with each of these old gals. It seems the crowd will not leave when you have an old, big tractor working on a sawmill until you take it out of the belt. The 40-70 now is owned by Jim Ertle of Canandaigua, N.Y. The 30-60 is, I think, still owned by the Glans of Buckingham, Ill.
Regular steamers are familiar with the name John Schrock. John, Osseo, Mich., is a Michigan Steam Engine and Threshers Club member, and highly regarded for his working knowledge of engines.
Last issue we posted the sad news of the passing of steamer Dennis "Denny" Smalley. Denny and John were good friends, and following Denny's death, John sent the following tribute. John writes:
Dennis Smalley, 62, passed away on March 7, 2005. A brother in steam is gone.
Denny, as his father before him, was very active in the Michigan Steam Engine and Threshers Club. He spent many hours at the show grounds. His ability to do things seemed to be limitless. He did much carpenter work there as well as plumbing work and mechanical work also. His shop at home was always open to people who needed things to work with or work on.
During our show, there were many times when he would go home to get something to help some one, then have to go right back again. This never seemed to bother him. If someone needed something he had, he made sure they got the use of it.
Denny enjoyed running and working on steam engines. He also enjoyed helping and watching others handle engines. This was quite obvious when watching his daughters run steam engines. He didn't have any sons, but that did not stop him from making good engineers out of the girls. I'm sure his grandsons were going to suffer the same fate, and Grandpa would have enjoyed every moment.
Denny enjoyed going to steam shows all across the country. He traveled with me to several shows. We always had a good time. We would discuss the different engines we saw. Denny could always find good things about engines as well as some not so good.
He also traveled with Ken Lewis, another member of our club. They usually had a pickup with a topper, and two cots in the back. This made a good way to go, plus they had sleeping quarters with them. I have known them to make as many as five shows over Labor Day weekend.
I remember one time they came to New Rockford, N.D., to the show. This was around the 15th of September, so it could get quite cool. I happened to be there, and Denny asked me if it would be all right if they pulled their rig into one of the Quonset buildings for the night. I told him I could see no reason why they couldn't, because another friend of mine had his truck in there. They put their rig in and went to sleep. Sometime later someone came along and shut the doors. There were no windows in this building, so it was quite dark. The next morning when I got around I went to see how they had survived the night. Until I opened the door they did not know it was morning. When they got out of there, Ken remarked that it was darker in there than the inside of a cow.
Denny had several steam engines. The first engine he and his dad obtained was a 16 HP double Nichols & Shepard. That was when I first met them. This was at Charlton Park, near Hastings, Mich., where our club used to hold our show. After that, they bought some more engines.
A few years later I moved to Michigan, not to far from his place. Denny and I spent many good hours working on these engines, and playing with them. We shared many stories about our lives and other things as we completed these projects. We never had an argument, but we sure had some discussions.
Right or wrong was never any part of it. The discussions centered on who was the most right, and how were we going to accomplish it.