16 hp Atlas on sawmill at Harris Johnson's, Balsam Lake, 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.