CONTINUED FROM LAST ISSUE
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.