La Glace, Alberta, Canada
I thought I would send you a couple of pictures from the Pease
River country 50 miles from the Mile O post, Alaska Highway.
We bought this old steam engine in 1963. It was pretty rough
looking, but being old steam engineers ourselves, we fixed it up
and painted it. We had the boiler inspector out and he inspected
it. He gave us 100 lbs. He says it is in remarkable shape.
It is a 1905 American Able or some call it the Cock of the
North. This is a picture of Aronold Christianson, front, and me,
This is another picture of the 1905 American Able taken one
Sunday in 1964.
I notice the estimated age of the Smith-Porter portable steam
engine on pages 25-26-27 of January & February 1967 issue of
Iron Men Album is several years short of what the builder’s
plate showed when 1 photographed it years ago.
At that time it was still standing high on its own wheels and
the builder’s plate read Smith – Porter, 1854. That was some
seven years before the Civil War.
Maddox Foundry & Machine Company was founded just after the
turn of the Century by Hitup Maddox, a blacksmith. He and my father
were friends in the old days, and some of their friendly pranks
created many a laugh. Long before Blacksmith H. Maddox set up his
own shop, he was known as a maker of fine steam whistles. When he
set up shop, one of his first jobs was making an extra fine toned
whistle for a saw-mill man. Just for a joke my Dad swiped it and
mounted it on the boilers of the phosphate mine where he was
engineer. The saw-mill man heard his whistle on Monday morning,
recognized its musical sound and came for it that day.
In the center of one picture which shows the old Smith-Porter at
its left and a side-mounted upright to the right, rests an old
box-frame engine built somewhere in England in 1852. Evidently
taken from a steamer, in 1912 it was driving a planning mill at
Otter Creek, near Cedar Key. Fla. It carried two long eccentric
reach rods, one of which was connected to the governor. When the
governor reach rod slipped, the engine would skip like an old-time
hit and miss gasolene engine. If the engineer did not run to it, it
would stall under the load.
Modern engineers may not think the trials of long ago were such
‘Good Old Days’, but they sure left us old-timers with some