1402 South 19th Street New Castle, Indiana 47362
Our next addition to the plant was a new air compressor. The company bought a new Ingersoll Rand Cross compound air compressor which was electric driven. It had a 600 H.P. electric motor, 2300 volts directly on the crank shaft between the two cylinders. What I mean, the air cylinders were cross compound, our two steam driven Worthington compressors were cross compound, on the steam and air both.
The plant was buying a lot of electric power from the Public Service Co., so this compressor just meant buy more electric power. More steam hammers were being added to the forge shop so our steam load was gradually growing up. The mill rights set up the new compressor with Mr. Taylor's help and my help also. I understood Mr. Taylor to say, 'We will set up the new compressor, but when it is ready to run, we will have a man come from the Ingersoll factory and start it up.' When it was about ready to run I called up Mr. Taylor and I said, 'When is the man coming from Ingersoll Rand to start up the new compressor?' He said, 'There is no man coming from Ingersoll Rand.' I said, 'Who is going to start it up?' He says, 'You are.' I was a little non pleased, but I said, 'Okay, she will roll tomorrow.' Mr. Taylor had previously told me the new machine had cost $42000.00. Mr. Taylor was an expert mechanic and electrician; also he had spent a number of years installing power plants in the business buildings in Chicago and Detroit, Michigan. The new compressor had full push button control and the new feather valves on the air cylinders.
Before this, the Company bought an old Ingersoll Rand compressor with a 675 H.P. motor directly connected. It proved to be a lemon and the factory did not keep it long. They must have bought it awfully cheap, maybe at junk price. But I got a lot of experience out of that deal.
The new compressor gave very little trouble and in two days was running 24 hours a day. That helped out wonderful on our shortage of compressed air.
About this time Mr. Taylor called me and said, 'Our boiler room foreman is quitting, and I am going to turn the whole power house over to you.' I said, 'I don't want to take anybody's job away from them.' He said, 'You are not. He quit, and if you don't take the job, we will have to find somebody else to take his place.' So there was not much else to do but take it. Of course this was another promotion - with a slight raise in pay which was welcome. However, this added a lot of work onto me. But in those days I thrived on hard work.
This added work also entailed the heating of the whole factory in the winter time, but that was not much trouble. The heating of the factory was all done with exhaust steam. I might add here, that on Sundays, holidays, or when the steam hammers were not running, it took one 500 hp boiler to heat the factory. A 2 valve of live steam was turned into the exhaust line. This valve was wide open in zero weather. Three large pipe radiators in the machine shop at different locations were used, three big fans of about 10 ft. diameter and three ft. wide were direct connected to Chandler & Taylor engines of about 8 x 10 cyls. which ran at slow speed. The fans acted as flywheels to the three engines. Of course, all the offices were heated by steam radiators. From the three big fans the warm air was piped throughout the machine shop.
In the winter time I had to look after the heat. This gave me a chance to walk all over the factory, which was a change and I welcomed it. I had a man out of the boiler room go over the engines once a day and once a night to see that they had oil. These engines had no governors on them and if more heat was needed the engines were speeded up a little, or visa versa, to throw more hot air or less air.
More steam hammers were added from time to time. The steam load was gradually growing. The engine room now had a 750 kw low pressure turbine, (it was there when I started there), a mixed pressure turbine of 750 kw, which was practically new, and one old straight high pressure turbine of 400 kw. The low pressure turbine and the mixed pressure turbine both ran condensing. They had jet condensers on them in the basement. The condenser pumps were driven by 125 hp electric motors. A single cyl. air pump was hooked to each condenser to remove the air. These pumps were located in the basement and driven by single cyl. simple engines, slow speed. They both had flyball governors on them. One day the governor on the mixed pressure air pump failed and the engine ran away. I heard it above the whine of the turbines in the engine room. I ran for the basement stairway which was a winding circular stairway. I went down as fast as I could. It looked like the engine and air pump was moving all over the foundation. It was a center crank engine with a heavy flywheel on each side. Side rods connected to the piston rod on the air pump. It had an l' steam line to the cyl. You can think of a lot of things in seconds at a time like this. I was badly scared, but this was my job. I thought, 'If the flywheels did not burst and kill me, that the steam line will break and burn me to death.' I grabbed the l' gate throttle valve and started to close it. It seemed it took a long while to close that valve, but it finally closed and the engine stopped. That sure was a relief to me! A steam jet air pump was installed to replace that engine. No engine no moving parts at all. That sure was a big improvement, but the steam jet air pump was not very efficient.
The steam load was calling for more boiler power, so it was decided to put another 500 hp. sterling boiler with a firm furnace on it. The mill-rights set up the steel frame work for the boiler and set the mud drum at the bottom and the 3 steam drums on top. The steam drums on top were about 25 ft. above the boiler room floor. The mill rights set up a hand power winch, double geared with a hand crank on each side. Two men worked on each side and turned it by hand. The mill rights hoisted the steam back drum by hand. It was a slow, tedious job and hard work. It took a whole day to get it to the top.
Now, the factory had an old Port Huron gasoline tractor that had been sent here from Detroit. The Detroit factory said they could get no use out of it. I had repaired it so it was in good running order and used it for grading the roads in the back yard. I also pulled coal cars for a short distance with it. I told the mill right foreman if he would put a large belt pulley on the winch, I would bring the old tractor over and belt it up to the winch and we would lift the two steam drums with power.
He had his men install a 3 ft. diameter belt pulley on the winch with an 8' face. The belt pulley on the tractor was 8' in diameter and was driven by friction drive. Mr. Taylor heard of our idea, looked at it and said it would not work. He did not stay to see us start it.
When everything was ready, the mill right foreman gave me the signal to start up. I started up and the big drum gradually started its climb to the top. The drums weighed about 8 tons each. The 4 men that had been turning the cranks by hand stood back and I can still see the grin on their faces. In ten minutes the big drum was about 10 ft. above the floor. The mill right foreman gave me a signal to stop. 'Say,' he said, 'that is perfect.' I said, 'I knew the tractor could turn the winch easier than four men could.'
Both drums were in place by nightfall, and four men were relieved of a terrible hard job.
It was no time until the factory bought a Fordson tractor with a winch built in on the rear axle. It saved thousands of dollars on labor and made work quicker and easier. We got boilermakers from Sinker-Davis in Indianapolis to put in the tubes in the boilers. A man from the Combustion Engineering Corp. installed the firm furnace. (He had been a former threshing machine salesman.) When he arrived at the front door I was called to take him over to the power house. On the way over I made a remark that the Firm Furnace was a queer looking thing. He said, 'I don't know. I never saw one.' I about fell over, but I kept still. Of course, the Combustion Engineering Corp. had furnished him full instructions as to how to install it. A firm furnace has tubes with firms built on them. (See illustration.) Headers were connected to the middle steam drum by crooked pipes with enough holes for tubes to fill out the side wall to the front of the boiler. The bottom header was connected to the mud churn of the boiler. This completely surrounded the fire box with tubes, except on the front side. The fact that the erecting men had never seen a firm furnace shows that they were new.
When this boiler was completed it was equipped with a Riley Stoker, which was quite an improvement over the Detroit Stokers on all our other boilers. A vertical Sturtevant Engine was installed as a stoker engine. This was a nice running engine. A larger Sturtevant Engine was installed with a large fan direct connected for forced draft on the 500 hp boiler.
One day the excentric slipped on this engine and I immediately reset the valve. Now this engine had what they called a spool valve (a modification of a piston valve). When I got the valve set and started the engine it ran backward. That was a new one to me. On a plain slide valve engine, you ordinarily set the ex-centric 90° ahead of the crank. So I stopped the engine and set the ex-centric 90° behind the crank. It ran o.k. that time.
Most of our engine driven air compressors had riding cutoff valves. That means that two valves are used to admit the steam to the cyl. One rides on the top of the other. Setting the valves on a riding cutoff engine was quite a complicated job.
The firm furnace increased our boiler capacity so much that they were soon installed on our other two 500 hp Sterling Boilers. We could now pull 1,000 hp on our 500 hp Sterling Boilers without any trouble. There was no chance for cheating on our work. The boilers all had steam flow meters on them with a large dial up on the boiler front which showed at all times the hp the boiler was pulling.
In the turbine room we now had a low pressure turbine of 750 kw which ran on exhaust steam alone; and a mixed pressure turbine of 750 kw which could use exhaust steam, high pressure steam, or both. Both of these turbines ran condensing and turned 3,600 rpm. A straight hp turbine of 400 kw. All the turbines were Allis Chalmers, a 150 hp Ideal High Speed Engine direct connected to a 75 kw generator, 300 rpm with a belt driven exciter for starting up. Over the reservoir in the yard we had a spray system for cooling the condenser water. All the steam turbines in the engine room were equipped with kilowatt hour meters. If the meters did not show full load all the time, the Plant Engineer wanted to know why. We had no flow meters on the output of compressed air, but if that pressure went down, some foreman from the factory was right on our neck.
Also in the engine, or turbine room, were two motor-driven exciters. One for regular plant operation and one for the traveling cranes in the forge shop which ran on direct current. Before I left there, they had three of them, a complete power switch board with five circuit breakers, voltage regulator, and a syncro scope for putting the electric Generators on the board. Of course, each generator had a switch on the switch board, and an exciter switch.
The old traction steam shovel that ran around in the yard, finally wore out and the Factory bought a rebuilt Ohio Locomotive Crane with a yard clam shell bucket and a 50 ft. boom. For some reason I was off the day the Locomotive Crane came in. It had its own flat car and the boom was loaded into another coal car coupled onto the front of the Crane Car.
The mill right foreman did not come in to work till 6:30 a.m. I came in at 6:00 a.m. So as soon as the mill right foreman came he came to the power house and said Mr. Taylor told him he could fire it up. 'Oh, no,' he said, 'Nelson Howard will fire it up.' So he had the RR switch crew set it right beside the power house at the front door. What a thrill that was, to get to steam it up for the first time. I was not long getting some kindling to start a fire. The mill rights brought coal and filled the coal bunker on it. I got some of my men to get the hose and fill the boiler and the water tank on the crane. As soon as the water showed up in the water glass, I lit the fire. The crane had a 20 hp vertical boiler on it, a double cyl. engine, various clutches for complete operation; but all I needed was the traveling clutches. I soon had up steam and took the mill right foreman and some of my men down to the 18th Street gate and back. By that time Mr. Taylor called up to find how I was getting along.
Mr. Taylor had bought the crane and he was real proud of it. All the officials thought the crane was a real outfit.
I spent the whole day taking passengers for a ride. In the afternoon the girls from the office came to take a ride. Six or seven people filled the cab.
I finally learned to handle coal with it, but never had to do that as a necessity. But I liked to switch cars with it, and I sure was happy when someone would call and want RR cars switched.
The Crane had a 10 kw direct current generator on it driven by a steam turbine for handling scrap iron and unloading some car loads of steel. Most of the car loads of steel were unloaded by the traveling cranes in the forge shop.
When the steam turbine on the Crane was running, the firemen noticed the difference. An electro magnet is sure a handy addition where there is a lot of steel and scrap iron to handle.
By this time, the constant addition of steam hammers in the forge shop had overloaded the boilers, so an addition had to be made to the boiler room. The four 250 hp Sterling Boilers were taken out, they were the oldest. A 1090 hp Heinie boiler was installed where the four 250 hp sterling boilers were taken out. The new Heinie boiler was equipped with a firm furnace, forced draft, induced draft, and a Fredrick stoker. The forced draft and induced draft both had draft gauges on them so it was no trouble to keep them regulated.
The ashes were removed by a blast of hp air through a pipe system. The fire box on this boiler was 20 ft. wide, 20 ft. high and 15 ft. deep from front to mud drum.
We pulled 3,000 hp on this boiler all the time. That was a regular load for it. This new Heinie Boiler was built just like a Sterling Boiler. I wondered how they could do that, but I found later the patents had run out on the Sterling Boilers.
This new boiler called for more reliable boiler pumps and larger capacity. Two new Monistee Centrifugal Pumps were installed. One driven by a 75 hp electric motor. The other one by a steam turbine. If the feed water failed on the new boiler you could see the water going down in the water glass. When that happened we had to get busy right now, or stop the stoker and both draft fans.
The forced draft fan forced the draft under the stoker, and the induced draft fan was used to force a draft on the smoke stack, which was 100 ft. high.
The boiler was also equipped with a CO2 recorder and we had to keep a high rate of combustion. We had a smoked glass for looking in at the fire.
This new boiler was installed about 1927, and was the last big change while I worked there.
The factory had a foreman's school which all foremen attended for one hour every two weeks. The one thing they stressed was 'Work hard and be ready for the big job when it comes along. You will get it.' Well, I had worked hard12 hours a day, 7 days a week. When I found out the factory had hired a new Asst. Plant Engineer I was so disappointed I resigned at once. (He began at the top and slipped backward all the while he was there. He lasted only five years.)
The big depression had started, but I did not know it then. I guess it was a good thing I did not know, or I would have been afraid to quit the factory. Not long after I left the factory put all the Power Plant men on 8 hours a day.
I tried several large factories in Dayton, Ohio, but they were all slowing down and laying off a lot of men.
I came back home and worked a few days for a street contractor. Finally, I went down to the Water Works and Street Lighting Plant. I knew the supt. there, Charles Schoal. (At present, 1966, he is City Bldg. Comm.) Most of his working years have been spent working for the city of New Castle. He did not have an opening for a chief engineer, but offered me a job reading water meters and talking office calls until they had an opening. I accepted the job. About six months later I was promoted to chief engineer. (Jan. 1, 1930)
In the Plant boiler room there were three Heinie Boilers (old style), an outside center packed duplex boiler feed pump a Cockran water heater, a small duplex pump for use when we cleaned the heater (this used cold water only), and a Geffery Coal Conveyor which brought the coal from outside in a pit and dumped the coal into the pit inside. The coal conveyor was driven by a small Sinker & Davis vertical engine of about 10 hp. In the pump room were two McGowan Duplex Pumps of about 500,000 gal per day and 1,000,000 gal per day. Also, an almost new Allis Chalmers Crank and flywheel type pump direct connected to an Allis Chalmers Corliss engine. This was a cross compound engine and ran condensing. The water it pumped was run through a surface condenser so the condenser always had cold water. The city water was furnished by about five deep wells of approx. 150 ft. deep. These wells were pumped by compressed air. In the pump roof was a Worthington air compressor, cross compound, in good shape, and an old Laidlaw Dunn Gordon air compressor tandem compound on the steam and a single air cylinder out beyond the steam cylinders. It was a center crank engine with a flywheel on each side about 5 ft. in diameter. This made a long and awkward looking machine. I only had to use it once while I ran the steam plant.
One day the Worthington Compressor broke the high pressure piston rod right back of the cross head and I had to run the old compressor while I was getting the other one repaired.
About the only thing new to me at this plant was taking care of the crowfoot batteries that operated the fire alarm system. There were about 20 of them in glass jars and they had to be rebuilt about every 30 days. Blowing the fire alarm system whistle was another chore when there was a fire. It was called a wild cat whistle and sounded as though it would wake up the dead. It was an 8 hour a day job. Each shift had a fireman. We ran the Corliss pumping engine about all the time. On hot summer days we also had to put on one of the old duplex pumps with it.
After working in the factory powerhouse with a 19 man crew and so much to look after, the Water Works Plant seemed more like play than work (there was also a reduction in salary).
Things moved along uneventfully for about two years. The City of New Castle had installed a new 'white-way' street lighting system, replacing a lot of arc street lamps. An old A. P. Allis simple Corliss engine belted to two generators had been making the electric power for the street lights. The new white way threw too much of a load on the old engine and it had been shut down before I went there, but it was still in the plant. Electric power was being purchased for the street lights.
I might add here that Mr. Fred Taylor was relieved of his job at the Chrysler Factory not long after I left there. The City of New Castle was planning to revamp the Water Works Plant, which was then called the Water and Light Plant. The City hired Mr. Taylor as consulting engineer to draw the plans and specifications for rebuilding the plant. Mr. Taylor drew up plans for the purchase of two Diesel Engines, Delavirgne Type v.a. cylinders 17' bore, 24' stroke; one 4 cyl. vertical engine of 500 hp direct connected to 345 kw Generator and built on exciter; one 6 cyl. vertical engine of 750 hp direct connected to a 500 kw generator with built on exciter. Each cylinder had its own fuel pump. Each fuel pump had a handle on it for pumping by hand for priming them. The pump handles were locked out while the engine was running. The compresion pressure was 300 lbs. The ignition pressure was about 700 lbs. Each cylinder had a ' connection at the side of the cylinder head for a Diesel Engine indicator.
A man that moved houses and barns was hired to move out the old A. P. Allis steam engine, the two old generators, and the small duplex pump of 500,000 gal. daily capacity.
By this time 1932 had arrived and when the man got the old steam engine and two generators out, work was started on the excavation for the foundations for the two new Diesels. These engines required massive concrete foundations. The old Laidlow Dunn Gordon air compressor was taken out and a pump pit was dug and three new Allis Chalmers pumps with 150 hp 2,300 volt synchronous motors were installed in its place. These pumps had a capacity of 2,090 gal. per minute. For a long while only one of these pumps was needed at a time.
Three new Electric Cook deep well pumps were purchased and these were hooked up one at a time on our best wells. These pumps were built at the Cook Pump Factory at Lawrence-burg, Indiana, which was handy for procuring repairs for them when needed. These pumps nearly doubled the capacity of our wells. They had 20 hp vertical motors on them, and the motor shaft was connected to the pump shaft that ran down about 80 feet.
I did not know the first thing about a Diesel Engine, so I visited all the Diesel Plants within a radius of 100 miles. I always took some of the water works operators with me and we learned what we could that way. After the plant was started I enrolled in a course on Diesel engines with the International Correspondence Schools of Scranton, Pa. I graduated from this school Feb. 7, 1934. About 1935 a Diesel School was started in Muncie, Ind. They had a laboratory and when their students got through their book work they had to spend 10 days on actual work on Diesel engines and generators. Their Chief Engineer came down to see me one day and said that if I would take their students through our Plant once a month, they would give me a course for my services. I agreed to that. I got to meet many young men from all over the United States. It was very interesting and their instructors were all well educated. I completed this course on Dec. 9, 1938.
A mechanic from the De La Vergne Engine Co at Philadelphia, Pa. came to erect the engines. The contract called for him to stay 30 days to teach us how to take care of them. I was always afraid that something would happen to the Diesels that I could not straighten out so I kept a steam boiler steamed up, just in case. After six months, nothing had happened, so I shut it down and that was the end of the steam plant.
While I was at the water works plant I was called on several occasions to plants around town to repair small boilers, pumps, or engines.
I inspected a boiler for the State once at the New Castle Laundry. The Laundry bought a boiler that had been on a small locomotive and they wanted it inspected. The State told them that if they could find a man with 25 yrs. boiler experience, he could inspect it. I was selected for the inspection. The State sent me reports to fill out. After the Laundry made some minor repairs the State passed the inspection.
On Feb. 1, 1944 I bought a Port Huron Traction Threshing engine. I had a farm friend who bought a Case seperator - 36 x 58 20 bar cylinder. He did not believe in the combines which were fast taking over the threshing. I arranged with him to pull his separator with my steam engine.
It was my first threshing. To say I was happy about this is an under statement of fact. I was now 58 years of age, but a lifetime ambition and had been realized.
In the fall of 1946 I bought the Case Separator of my friend, and at threshing time I would take my vacation from the Water Works to do a few jobs of threshing. Not a good way to rest, but they say a vacation is doing something different.
In the spring of 1945 I installed a new set of flues in the Port Huron Engine, with the help of my son 'Bud.' I also repaired the canopy top and built a new wood platform on the back.
In the fall of 1946 I sold my Port Huron Engine to a man that lived near Knightstown, Ind. With the aid of a helper I moved the engine the 17 miles to his home in 8 hrs. It was necessary to stop along the way to pump tank of water and take a half hour for lunch.
I then purchased a 50 Case Traction engine from the Allis Chalmer & New Idea Implement Dealer. He had taken it as a trade-in and it was in need of much repair.
I continued with the Water Works plant, retiring in Jan. 1960 as Plant Supt.
In order to get my 50 Case Engine home it was necessary to hire a lowboy truck to haul it. It had set in the barn yard for five years. The canopy was in such poor condition that I was ashamed to take the engine home that way. So I went to a lumber yard and had pieces cut for a new top and got aluminum pieces for striping. It was Jan. 1947 when we went to Modoc to put the new top on. The lowboy truck then brought it home on Jan. 11th.
I painted the smoke stack and smoke box, which helped the appearance of the engine considerably. The next thing was a new set of flues which I ordered from the Hudson Machinery & Supply Co. at DeCatur, Ill. I bought a Hernicke Tube Cutter with a 2 ft. extension on it, and with the help of a son-in-law I cut out the old flues. I started at the bottom and took them out the front hand-hole in the front tube sheet. The 2 ft. extension on the tube cutter enabled me to stand on the ground in front of the boiler and work the ratchet handle on the tube cutter outside of the boiler. This was fast work.
I took the ash pan off of the fire box and it had a hole in it and had to be replaced. Then I took the grates all out. Now I could stand on the ground at the back flue sheet to work on the back end of the flues. In two days we had all the old flues out. In four days more we had the new flues in, rolled and beaded. On the front tube sheet I flared of the tubes and never had any trouble with them. They stayed that way until we had state boiler inspections and they requested that all the tubes be beaded. I got a new bottom for the ash pan from the Pan American Bridge Factory, put the grates in and the ash pan, and we were ready for water.
I had a new buzz saw with a 30' blade and we steamed up the engine to saw some wood. The engine had not been run for five years and we had a lot of trouble from dirty pipes on the injectors and steam pump. I had cleaned the injectors and finally found out the trouble was caused from leaking check valves on account of the dirt and scale in the pipes. We got this trouble corrected and I was now ready to try out the engine. The engine ran fine and steamed very easy, but was awful hard to reverse. I loosened up the bolt on the large shaft of the excentric block; that corrected the trouble.
The man that had formerly owned the engine said the governor was no good, but he did not say what was wrong with it. I soon found out the governor valve was worn until it leaked pretty bad. The higher the steam went the faster the engine ran. I found out by carrying my steam pressure at about 100 lbs., the engine would run at normal speed.
While visiting with Homer Holp of Arlington, Ohio, I obtained a new 2' Pickering governor. It had threaded connections at the bottom and side and the belt pulley was too small, but I could make some adjustments and make use of it.
I had a hard time finding a governor pulley of the right size, but I finally found one in a junk yard. This made a perfect running engine out of it.
All the engine needed now to put it up in first class shape was a new water tank.
I went to the Pan American Bridge Factory to find out if they could build it. They said they did not have the time to fool with such a little job and it would also be too expensive.
The first of Dec. 1956 I went back to the Bridge Co., thinking that it was probably their slack season and they might be interested in doing an extra job.
On Dec. 13th 1957 I took the old tank to the Pan American Bridge Co. for them to use as a pattern in welding a new tank. The Coal Bunkers were both good so they did not need to make them. The new tank cost more than the engine had cost, but I was very glad to get a new tank. It was a beautiful job and I was proud of it.
I might say here that I was the first man that I had ever heard of that had a steam traction engine for a hobby. All my relatives and friends thought I was crazy, but I noticed that when I was threshing a lot of people were interested in it. I would get several letters each year wanting to know when I would thresh, as they wanted to see it. I was the forerunner of the threshing clubs in this state and started many men buying engines.
Later on the Pan American Bridge Co. built me a new smoke stack. Now I had been using a round tank set in the left coal bunker, so now I took that out, connected up the original jet pump and I had a complete outfit.
In the summer of 1948 I attended the threshing exhibition on Mr. Blaker's farm at Alvordton, Ohio with Mr. A. L. Muren of Huntington. Ind. It was a good show. That was the year they organized the National Threshermens Assoc. I met a man at this meeting from New Agusta, Ind. who invited my wife and me to a meeting at Rushville, Ind. for the purpose of organizing a thresher club. I had threshed about 600 bu. of grain and a picture of my threshing was in the Indianapolis paper.
We attended this meeting on the 19th of Sept. 1947. I found out later that I was the only man there who owned a steam traction engine and had been threshing with steam. The club was named The Indiana Brotherhood of Threshermen, and I was elected president at this first meeting. Two years later the name was changed to The Pioneer Engineers Club of Indiana.
In 1948 I took my engine to our annual picnic. It was the only traction engine there. Mr. Caldwell had his old portable Garr Scott engine there. I heard several men there say, 'I am going to have an engine!' Among them were Keith Mauzy and Lawrence Porter. The next year there were three tractions engines. The next year six.
The largest number I can remember was 26 - steam engines separators, gasoline tractors, small gasoline engines of various sizes, a veneer mill, a good saw mill, and several models of small traction engine and small separators.
My last two years of threshing were done on the Ed Waltz farm near Mooreland, Ind. Mr. Waltz died in the fall of 1951.
On Oct. 31, 1951 I was to be in the Halloween Parade. My first parade! It was a rather cold night and I had been waiting at the side of the street for some time. When the parade marshall signaled for me to pull out I did not have my engine running and warmed up. I started up suddenly and the crosshead on the engine broke into three pieces. I was too excited. The next morning I had to get some men to help me take the engine home.
After writing many letters, I finally found another crosshead. When I got it and got it cleaned up I discovered that there was a crack in it. After having it welded it was just as good as a new one.
My next job with the engine was pulling a large concrete fence post from a barn yard. There was a large concrete slab on the bottom of it. The first pull broke the chain, but the engine never faltered. The farmer that lived there had had three tractors on it at one time and they could not move it.
My traction engine was at the Pioneer Engineers Reunion every year as long as I had it, which included 1965.
I was in the Halloween parade in New Castle, in 1952, 53 and 54.
On Sept. 14, 1953 my son Bud and I drove the engine in the American Veterans of W. W. II (Amvets) National Convention parade which was held in Indianapolis, Ind.
In 1954 and 55 we were in the Eliottsville Fall Festival Parade in Sept.
On Sept. 25, 1954 we were in the Millville Centennial Parade. Millville is about 3 miles east of New Castle. Many people knew me and got on the engine as it passed by.
On August 26 & 27, 1955 I ran the engine on the road to the Mooreland Fair which was 9 miles from my home to put it in the Case Exhibit there. It attracted a lot of attention.
The next parade I participated in was to raise money for the new high school gym in New Castle, May 3, 1956. Much money was raised, and a lot of enthusiasim built up. New Castle is a 'basketball town,' and they now have the largest high school gymnasium in the United States. I was glad to have a part in building it.
Then on June 16, 1956 I was in the Little League Baseball Parade. This was a great day for the Little Leaguers and a large crowd assembled at the ball park on the south side of town for the dedication service.
My next parade was at the Owen Co. Fair Aug. 25 & 26, 1956. Then I was in the Decoration Day Parade in New Castle on May 30, 1958; Harrison Co. Fair Aug. 17-22, 1959; the Drive-in Breakfast at Brown Road Air Port in 1956 & 1957; the Old Fashion Days Parade at Rushville on July 19, 1958; and the Decoration Day Parade in New Castle on May 30, 1959.
On July 19, 1960 we went in the Old Fashion Days Parade in Rushville, Ind. and received first prize for engine in the parade.
We were in the Decoration Day Parades in New Castle also during 1961,62, 63, 64 and 65.
Other parades were the Nazerine Bible School, June 12, 1961; Christian Church Bible School, Kiddie Ride, July 27, 1961; Cambridge City Celebration 125 years, Aug. 30 & 31 and Sept. 2, 1961; Owen Co. Pioneer Days Festival, Elliottsville on June 16, -23, 1962; Spiceland 125 year celebration on Oct. 6, 19 6 3; Independence Day Parade in New Castle on July 4, 1964; and the Centerville Sesquicentennial Parade on Sept. 19, 1964.
Dr. Russell Holmes, a dentist from Kentucky, had been helping me in the parades for approximately six years, and in the fall of 1961 I sold him the engine on a conditional sales contract.
In the summer of 1964 I had an accident at the City Swimming Pool where I took care of the filter plant. I was gassed with chlorine gas and was not able to attend our reunion at the Rushville Conservation Club, but I sent my engine down there and Dr. Holmes exhibited it.
In the summer of 1965 I sent my engine down to Rushville to the Threshermens Reunion and Exhibit for the last time. It was then necessary to install four new flues.
On Sept. 15th I steamed up the engine, turned it around, and backed it into the yard on planks. No sign of any leak. I was glad to have it back in running order again.
On Nov. 6th, 1965 Dr. Holmes finished the contract for the engine and had Russell Coon haul it to Bill Meister's, 5355 East Raymond St., Indianapolis, Ind. Thus ended a long career of steam work.
I want to thank each and every one who helped with my work or my hobby, especially my good wife Estella, and our children. At work I was always happy and satisfied.