During a number of years spent in the business of selling used Machinery, I encountered many amusing situations. It is very difficult to put humor on paper, but I will try to relate the incident that took place in Illinois in the early 20's.
I heard of a man who wanted to buy a better engine for use in a saw mill he operated on his farm; I drove about 50 miles and after inquiring in the nearby town I finally located the farm where the saw mill owner lived. Inquiry at the house revealed that the mill was located about mile back in the woods. I left my car and followed the road and in due time I arrived at the mill. The mill was a Fisher & Davis No. 2, with a 40 inch saw. It was powered by an extremely old Buffalo-Pitts engine. There was nothing unusual about the mill or engine except that both were in very poor mechanical condition. The engine had been backed into the mill, one driver taken off to clear the belt.
The crew consisted of the owner, who served as Sawyer one boy about 10 years old, who was the engineer, and a younger son who was the off-bearer. They were stopped when I arrived, and while the sawyer and I were talking, the 'engineer' was busy raising the steam pressure. It appeared that the boiler was leaking steam faster than it could be generated. The engineer was without a shirt and barefoot.
The sawyer agreed to go look at an engine I had for sale, then prepared to get the mill started. He called out to the engineer, 'How much steam you got son.' 'About Fo' pounds' the engineer replied; 'Ret'e'r go son.' The boy crawled up on the coal bunker, reached over and hooked the reverse back, and pulled the throttle wide open at one stroke. That was the first time I ever saw a saw mill appear to jump off the ground. I made my way up to the engine and saw that the steam guage stood at 40 pounds. Steam was leaking out at every pipe connection, and water was pouring out of the smoke box. The saw was not sawing its way through the log, it was chopping through it. About six inches and the sawyer would back out and ram it again. After several trys he finally got a slab off the log. By that time the steam was down to about 30 pounds. I left, convinced that he needed another engine.