Lost and found, repaired and returned to service
This story is written from statements by Messrs. Jim and Bob Russell of Oblong, Illinois.
Jim Russell's grandfather, John Russell, born in 1880, made his living supporting his family operating a sawmill and threshing business. He owned a 12 HP Advance and a 20 HP Baker. He ran the sawmill by steam until 1943.
In 1977 when Jim was 18 years old, he was in a soybean field cutting weeds in July, when he came upon a bronze part that he recognized as coming off of or belonging on a steam engine. The place in the bean field was near where a granary barn once stood in years past. His grandfather was known to have stored spare steam parts therein. When his dad, Bob Russell, got to the field, he told him that he had found a part off an engine. Bob thought that it had probably been in the old building, and if so, it had been in the field for 34 years.
The injector was saved and it laid in their shop for 20 years until 1997 when a friend, Joe Drieman, recommended that they ship it to me for possible repair.
When I got it, the steam cone and all tail pipes and union nuts were missing. When the bottom nut was removed, along with delivery tube and jet, I was surprised at the lack of corrosion, but it did have some mud and dirt. When cleaned, the outside body had cut marks, possibly made by disc blades, over the years from preparing the bean field. (See photo.) I thought about blending and smoothing them out, but decided against doing that, as some of its history would be removed and I am glad I didn't, as this story was revealed to me some two years later.
The necessary parts were machined from brass and the injector returned to Jim and Bob Russell, where it is in service on their 50 HP Case #35408 and performing very satisfactorily today.