1 / 2
16 hp Atlas on sawmill at Harris Johnson's, Balsam Lake, Wisconsin
2 / 2
16 hp Atlas and 15 hp Leffel Scotch type boiler. This engine has been on a sawmill for the last 50 years.

Centuria, Wisconsin

I was sitting around looking at some back issues of the Iron-Men
Album and got to thinking it must be about time to renew and I
wouldn’t want to miss an issue.

Being 30 years old, I’m one of the younger steam fans. So
when the old-timers start firing up from the good old days, I just
sit around and listen, I’m learning though.

About six years ago ‘I was bitten’ when I started going
with my Dad to some steam threshing reunions. My Dad, Harris
Johnson, and his dad, threshed a good many bushels of oats around
here in the 1920’s and early 30’s. They started out with a
24 hp Minneapolis. Later they bought a new 25 hp Nichols and
Shepard. After Dad went to work on the road, they quit the
threshing run and parked the engine behind the milk-house.

I remember how us kids used to climb around on it pretending we
were big engineers. The big thrill was to get a big box, climb up
and open the front end and look into the smoke box. Boy! All of
them long tubes.

Well, along came World War II and you’ve heard the rest of
the story a thousand times. ‘Amen to a good engine.’

Dad wanted to, and talked about, getting another engine for a
long time and about three years ago we bought a sawmill and 16 hp
stationary Atlas engine. We spent most of that summer moving and
setting it up again. It was pretty late in the fall before we made
any setting it up again. It was pretty late in the fall before we
made any steam that year. The boiler that went with it had pretty
well seen its day so we had to find another one. One of the local
creameries was replacing their 15 hp Leffel Scotch boiler with a
bigger one, so we bought it and it has worked out fairly well.

I work on road construction and that next summer if anyone would
have wanted to see me between sun-up and sun-down on weekends, they
would have had to come down to the mill.

Now that stationary engine runs good, but we’ve always had a
hanker in to have a traction engine, so early this summer, we
bought a 45 hp Case. The fellow we bought this engine from made a
scale model of it. It’s a wonderful job and no doubt many of
you have seen it. Lloyd Loomis built and owns it. Lloyd is from
Mondvi, Wisconsin.

Later this summer we bought Clinton Jackson’s 65 hp Case. I
met Lloyd and Clinton at their homes in Mondvi this summer. A
couple of nice fellows with which to visit. They can talk on and on
about different engines, their good points and bad. And I’m a
good listener.

Also met Big George Loomis from Mondvi. He’s got a big 20hp
Advance Rumley that will make your throttle hand itch just to look
at it.

Well, it’s about time to bank my fire for now, so I’ll
say anytime you are driving along Wis. State Highway No. 8, about
10 miles east of St. Croix Palls, stop in and chat a while.

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