It’s that time of year again to start a new year, and here I
am being very practical and telling you it’s only October.
Everywhere there is a pumpkin face spookie ghost, and all types of
little gremlins, the big ogres, or any thing you want to fantasize
but oh, don’t the children love it? It’s just a fun,
dress-up holiday, and coming up is Thanksgiving and our blessed
Christmas season. The world surely travels fast pace, doesn’t
it? But that’s the way it is with publications, and I guess we
are all used to it, except, sometimes, me. I think we have to rush,
rush into everything. Isn’t it nice to just sit back sometimes
and say, ‘I’m not going to rush today, just sit back and
enjoy.’ Uh-oh, there’s the phone and the door bell and etc.
Oh well, ’twas a nice thought!
Love hearing from all of you great folks. Yes, items for the
magazine, and also your wonderful letters of just what you’re
doing or looking forward to or to just say Hi. But this is the 1993
first issue of our magazine. Hope it is a wonderful year for
Thought you might get some good feelings from the following
What Does Love Look Like?
It has the hands to help others.
It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy.
It has the eyes to see misery and want.
It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.
That is what love looks like.
St. Augustine (354-430)
And now on to our wonderful letters from our Iron-Men
DAN GEHMAN, 419 E. Church Street, Stevens, Pennsylvania 17578
sends this letter for some help: ‘Can you help?? We at Rough
and Tumble have an 18 HP Avery under mount steam engine (approx.
1910). In order to certify this boiler our inspection needs
documents stating boiler size, dimensions and working pres sure. We
don’t need the original book. A reprint or even a photocopy
will do fine. Can anyone in Engine Land please help get this fine
piece back in commission? Also some problems with the John Goodson,
‘Thank you for any help with either of the engines. Write
Rough & Tumble Engineers, Box 9, Kinzers, Pennsylvania
Next communication comes from ARTHUR G. MASTERS, 13052 Fairfield
Causeway Road, Brookville, Indiana 47012: ‘I have seen pictures
of the Napoleon steam engines. They were only made during one or
two years. I would like some information about them. What kind of
valve gear did they have?
‘The steam chest was on the top of the cylinders and it was
a double cylinder, 16 and 18 HP.
‘Are there any Napoleon steam engines still in existence?
They were made in Napoleon, Ohio. I’d like to see some pictures
of this engine in the column.’ (Okay, fell as! Anyone out
there that can answer the questions, and do you have any pictures?
If so, get them to me, please.)
HAZEL E. GRITTEN, 401 Bur-wash Apt. 313, Savory, Illinois 61874
sends a note to me (which I will share with you).
‘It is past time to tell you how much we enjoy your column
‘In an issue the poem ‘Good Morning God’ really
spoke to our hearts. I hope it is all right that we have copied it
twice in quantity, and in personal letters, and the message is very
helpful. We appreciate you sharing your thoughts!’
(Yes, Hazel, that is okayjust remember to credit the source.
Anything I print like that is fine to pass on to others. If not, I
would declare the restriction.)
Following is a poem sent in by Hazel, which many of you may
Jesus, whose lot with us was cast,
Who saw it out, from first to last;
Patient and fearless, tender, true,
Carpenter, vagabond, felon, Jew:
Whose humorous eye took in each phase
Of full, rich life this world displays,
Yet evermore kept fast in view
The far-off goal it leads us to:
Who, as Your hour neared, did not fail
The world’s fate trembling in the scale
With Your half-hearted band to dine,
And chat across the bread and wine:
Then went out firm to face the end,
Alone, without a single friend;
Who felt, as your last words confessed,
Wrung from a proud, unflinching breast
By hours of dull, ignoble pain,
Your whole life’s fight was fought in vain:
Would I could win and keep and feel
That heart of love, that spirit of steel.
An interesting bit of memories is sent by H. E. BECKEMEYER, 1123
County Road 900 E., Champaign, Illinois 61821: ‘About the
mid-Twenties, my father had several threshing outfits. He farmed,
did custom baling, silo filling and sawmill work. Travel from one
machine to another was done by a Model T Ford. He chewed tobacco
and when he took a chew, the Model T was all over the road, or so
it seemed to me. He took me with him a great deal of the time just
to get me out of my mother’s hair.
‘In his travels from one machine to the other, we had to
cross a levee and an old high banister bridge. When we came to that
particular part of the road, I would say, ‘Don’t take a
chew now, Dad.’
‘Another story he delighted to tell was that he had six boys
and each boy had a sister and by the time we all got to the table
it was quite a gang. Of course, the listeners would say ‘Twelve
children, Mom and Dad made fourteen!’ He would laugh and say,
That’s not what I said!’
‘Farms back in those days did not have gates like we have
today. To get from one fenced-in field to another, they had gaps.
Dad would stop, get out of the T, open the gap while I scooted
under the wheel and pushed on one of the pedals to run the T
through, so he could close the gap again. That was a great event
‘When I was too small to climb up on the engine, he would
put me up in the seat and those engineers would look after me like
‘an ole sitting hen.’ When it was time for us to move on, I
would throw a tantrum, I wanted to stay! I would hold on for dear
life. It didn’t work, I went with him regard less. You wonder
why I love steam, coal smoke and cylinder oil!
‘Anna Mae, you were in my thoughts and prayers many times,
when you had to face life’s problems. Life is not an easy task.
The good Lord gives us the gift of memory to remember the good and
sort a push back the bad times. When he closes a door, he always
opens another. Sometimes it’s very hard to seek and find that
door and when we do it’s good!
‘God Bless for now and I will dig deeper into this old brain
and try to write again. Keep up the good work, we all need
you!’ (Thanks for the boost and your inspiration, Herb, and
I’ll be expecting to hear from you again.)
‘I have scrapped and blown soot out of a great many flues. I
enjoy your column and I keep thinking I will write, but keep
procrastinating procrastination sure is a thief of time!
‘My Dad put me to firing this Springfield engine when I was
10 years old. We decided the boiler should be washed. When the hand
hole plates were replaced, Dad told the hired help to fill the
boiler with water and in the morning build a fire in the boiler and
we would saw, and we went home.
‘When we arrived the next morning, I saw that the gauge
glass was full of water and almost 125 lbs. As I started to open
the throttle the safety valve opened and water blew out making an
awful noise. I jumped down and ran up into the woods and all the
men after me. We stood be hind big trees, peeping around, watching
the water and steam blow into the air. We thought the engine was
going to blow up! After the pop valve closed, we decided it would
be safe to go back to the mill. We sawed lumber that day! It took a
while to like steam engines again! That happened in Adams County,
Ohio.’ (This exciting letter of a time long past came from
HOWARD R. FREEMAN, 2726 Massieville Road, Chillicothe, Ohio
‘I saw a story about some 16-year-olds running a threshing
rig. It reminded me of the early ’20s; a neighbor, I don’t
know how to de scribe him, but I quote him ‘I aren’t go
in’ to have no G.D. kids thresh for me!’
‘Well, he woke up one day and everyone around him was
threshed, 10 or 20 miles to the rig, and they told him, ‘Get
Michel’s to thresh your puny acreage.’
‘Whenever he had trouble with his Ford son 12-20 TC, he came
to us. We had a 20-35 TC. There was a bee in the gas line. It gave
us a lot of trouble before we found it. He remarked to a neighbor,
‘They don’t know how to run it.’ This little story came
from ANDREW L. MICHEL’S, 302 Highland Avenue, Plentywood,
‘Here is a photo (below) of Case engine #12818, owned,
restored and operated by Poor man Steam Corporation. The
restoration is not quite complete, but we were mobile again this
summer for two parades. This is another ‘five in the morning
steaming up’ photograph.
‘You can see that this engine is a compound 75-25, the
serial number makes it a 1903. We purchased the engine in August of
1991 at John Stewart’s estate sale. We have had a very
enjoyable two years restoring the engine. We have repiped,
rebabbitted, replaced and repainted. The operator’s platform is
the next step. The present platform is not correct. Anyone we have
approached through this magazine for parts or information has been
This comes from DAVID SAVILLE, Box 3, Ravenscrag, Sask., Canada
‘My son and I have read some of the stories in the Iron Men
Album, which we have enjoyed very much. We have also picked up many
tips from the other readers, ‘ writes BILL VOLLMAR, 16092
Featherstone Road, Constantine, Michigan 49042.
‘I thought you might like to let the readers know how I
became interested in the steam engine. Back in 1960 I went to an
Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association Branch 4 Show, which
was started by Elwood Dieffenderfer and Glenn Copsey. I looked at
quite a few exhibits, and the one in particular that interested me
was a half-scale Advance engine built and owned by Mil burn Lake,
of South Bend, Indiana.
‘Mr. Lake copied his engine after a 14 HP Advance engine. I
stood there watching that engine work, and was really fascinated by
the way the engine sounded. His engine sounded just like a big one.
He had it belted up to a small fan that was really making it work.
I stood there watching the engine work for quite a while and
finally Mr. Lake came around and introduced himself and I
introduced myself to him. I told him that I sure wished I had
something like that. Mr. Lake said, ‘Well, why don’t you
build one?’ ‘Oh, I could never do that,’ I said.
‘Why not?’, he asked. ‘It’s not so tough to build
something like this. Come on over and I’ll show you a few
things I did’. He showed me how he built the wheels and
different parts of the engine, and I thought, ‘Shoot, I can do
‘Mr. Lake said that most of the engine was built without the
aid of castings, and that he had cut out the pieces and ground them
into shape and welded them together. He also said that he had the
boiler made and that it was a code boiler. We had quite a talk and
he got me pretty enthused about the whole thing; needless to say, I
went home thinking about engines. After that, every time we went to
a show some place I’d take a camera along and start taking
pictures. I then decided to start to build one of my own.
‘I decided on a half scale Advance rear-mounted, and it
would be copied after a 22 HP Universal. Every show that I went to,
I would take pictures of wheels, gearing and the main bearings of
the engine. I made up my mind to copy all the parts as close as I
could to the original engine. That was in 1960, and so for the next
year I kept thinking about this engine. So I sent away and obtained
a reprint copy of the Advance Traction Engines.
‘In 1960, my son, Butch, graduated from high school and went
to work for Elkhart Bridge and Iron. One day when he got home, I
asked him if he could get some boiler plate from the Bridge where
he worked, and he thought he could. So we went to work and drew up
the boiler plans. In 1962 Butch ordered the boiler plate pieces
that we needed. One day when Butch came home from work, I thought
that he had broken the rear springs in his ’58 Pontiac, but lo
and behold, he was just loaded down with my boiler plate.
‘We started to put the boiler together. The shell was
3/8‘ thick and the flue sheets were ‘
thick. The dome was a piece of certified 10’ pipe and the dome
head was ‘ boiler plate. I used fifteen 2′ flues by 45′
long. The firebox was 27′ long by 18′ high and 12′
wide. I then had space for a 2’ water leg around the firebox
and the outer shell. I worked in my spare time on this boiler for
the next year. Sometimes I’d run into problems that I just
didn’t know how I would get around, so I would give up for a
‘After a while I would figure out my problems and resume my
building. By this time another year had gone by.
‘By late 1964 I finished the boiler and started on the
wheels. Where I worked, we got in some milk equipment that had hold
down bands that held the equipment down to the skids. When they
took off the bands they threw them out in the junk pile. I scraped
the bands up and took them home for wheels. There were four pieces
10′ wide, and four pieces 5′ wide. These pieces were enough
to make my front and rear wheels. I had to have Kalamazoo Sheet
Metal roll the pieces a little bit tighter, and then I finished
welding them together. This made my front wheels 24′ in
diameter and the rear wheels 36’ in diameter. The front wheels
have thirty 3/8‘ diameter spokes, and the
rear wheels have thirty-two ‘ diameter spokes. The centers of
both front and rear wheels are made from pieces of pipe with bronze
bushings in them. The front wheels are 40′ center to center,
and the rear wheels are 47′ center to center. The front hubs
are 4′ in diameter, and the rear hubs are 6’ in
‘In the meantime, when we would go to a show, we would see
Mr. Lake and he would say, ‘Well, Bill, how are you
coming?’ I would tell him I got started on the thing, and
it’s coming along. Then he said, ‘You’re going to have
to hurry and get that thing built, because I need some help on the
‘Mr. Lake and his brother had built a very nice sawmill,
which he ran with his engine. Mr. Lake wanted to put another pulley
on the saw shaft so I could run with them. He thought that it would
really be something to run two engines on the sawmill and that it
would really be an attention getter.
‘By this time, we’re into 1965. I would go home and
build another part and put it on the engine. There was a lot of
stuff that I didn’t know what I needed, like the gears. In the
meantime my son, Butch, was thinking about building an Oil Pull, so
we decided to go to LaGrange, Indiana to a junk yard. While we were
looking for parts for his model, we ran across a pile of gears that
were taken out of an F30 Farmall tractor. When I saw those gears, I
told Butch, ‘There’s the gears I need for my engine.’
We asked the yard owner if he would sell the gears and he said yes.
So I came home with two bull gears, two pin ions and one
differential gear. We came home feeling pretty satisfied from that
‘At the creamery where I worked, we junked out a butter
chum. The main drive pulley was 24′ in diameter with a 10′
face. I thought that would make a beautiful flywheel. I obtained
the pulley and machined the face down to 7’ and machined the
inside of one side for the clutch to fit into.
‘In the meantime, a friend of mine who worked for the
Kalamazoo Sheet Metal Company stopped by. I asked if they had any
scrap metal that I could use to make my water tanks. He asked me
for measurements and a little later on he came back with my water
tanks. He had rolled them out and had cut out the heads. All I had
to do was to weld them together. I ended up with two tanks for the
front and one for the rear and one square coal hopper. They really
turned out nice.
‘A little later on, I got acquainted with Dick Wills over at
Sturgis. I had to have a little machine work done, like cutting
some keyways and making a crankshaft disk wheel. After finding out
what I was working on, he told me to come over and use his
machines. I told him I was not a machinist, but he encouraged me to
come over and he would help me get started. I took him up on his
offer and went to see him when I needed help. I really learned
quite a bit from him. It was a great opportunity for me.
‘By now, another year had passed, now being 1967. We
continued to go to the shows and would run across Mr. Lake. He
would ask me how I was doing and always encouraged me to keep going
because he was counting on me to help.
‘That’s kind the way it went. I would go to bed at night
and all I could think of was the engine. I would wake in the
morning with the answers to my problems and go on. We finally got
the gears on and got the bearing boxings poured. They were all
Babbitt bearings. We then mounted the clutch, flywheel and the
engine frame and cylinder. When it came to timing the valve gear,
we had quite a time to figure that out. We really learned a lot in
this area. It’s simple, once you’ve done it!
‘In 1968, we had the engine finished except for the final
coat of paint. We put a 300 pound hydro static test on the boiler,
and decided that the next weekend we would fire up the engine. I
told Butch not to tell anyone what we were up to, because I
didn’t want anyone around for the first firing. You never know,
maybe things wouldn’t work out just right. The next weekend
came and we started a fire in the engine. About the time it was
starting to steam, in drove Elwood Dieffenderfer and some of his
buddies. Well, you just can’t tell your friends to go home. If
it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work! I kept steaming it up and
finally when it got up to 50-60 pounds of steam in the boiler, I
thought that there should be enough steam to run the engine. I
turned on the main steam valve and went back to the controls and
started the engine. To my surprise, that thing took right off and
ran just as nice as it looked.
‘Incidentally, when I was 17 or 18 years old, I worked for
my uncle and his brother for a couple of years. They had a 19 HP
Port Huron engine and Baker separator. I also worked for another
neighbor tending separator. He had a 22 HP Advance Universal.
However, I can’t recall just what the separator was named. If I
had known then that I would some day build an engine, I would have
paid a little more attention to the details, but that’s water
over the dam! I did remember though about the cylinder cocks and
opening them up to let water out of the cylinder, and which way the
‘While we were building the engine, we built a small Baker
fan. After the trial run that day, we decided to put the engine on
the fan. That fan really made my engine work. It didn’t seem
like I had really built that engine. It ran so nice! That was in
the spring of 1968.
‘Branch 4 had a show that fall, and I was going to run my
engine on the sawmill with Mr. Lake. While we were getting ready,
we had a couple of International gas engines we were going to take
along, and one would not start. We belted one to the other and I
got caught in the belt and broke my arm. I ended up in the
hospital. The next day, Butch took my engine to the show. He was
gong to have Mr. Lake run the engine and Mr. Lake said, ‘No, if
anyone should run the engine it should be your dad.’ I
couldn’t because I was in the hospital.
‘Anyhow, they didn’t unload it and Butch brought it back
home. By the next year, Mr. Lake had passed away. This was really
sad news for me because I had really grown to like Mr. Lake and I
really wanted to belt up his sawmill and run his engine and my
engine together. If it hadn’t been for him, I wouldn’t have
built a steam engine, but he surely inspired me and got me going on
it. (What a shame, Bill, but I like to think he saw it any how Anna
‘A little later on we ran into Denny Sams, who owns a model
Port Huron and a model sawmill. I finally got to run my engine on a
After a couple of years Denny sold his mill and we were back to
square one. Back then and even in some places now, there isn’t
anything to run with these small engines. You’re either too big
or too little. Butch and I decided to build our own portable
sawmill. We scaled it after the Bell Sawmills and now have a new
running partner, Ansel Wattles from Colon, Michigan. Ansel has a
free lance half scale model, and together the three of us and our
families have quite a time. We travel to the North East Indiana
Steam & Gas Assn. at La-Grange, Indiana; the St. Joe Valley Old
Engine Assn. (formerly Branch 4); and the Van Buren Flywheelers
Assn. at Hartford, Michigan.’
‘Enclosed is a picture of a Keck Gonnerman, #1555. This is
an 18 HP double cylinder side mount, of which only nine were built.
It has the late model double cylinder engine and a boiler which is
about two feet longer than the average. It was built around 1918
and sold through the St. Louis branch to someone in the
Bloomington, Illinois area. It was then traded in on a Minneapolis
tractor. The engine was then purchased by a group of farmers in the
Modesta, Illinois area. After using the engine for some time, the
troop of farmers decided that its usefulness was over, and
entertained the idea of putting a piece of dynamite in the firebox
in an attempt to blow up the boiler. Before this scheme could be
worked out, Milford Reese of Franklin, Illinois came to the rescue
and bought the engine. It was then sold to a friend of mine, who
still has it.
‘Does anyone know if any of the other eight double cylinder
side-mount Keck Gonnermans are still in existence? If so, please
write Anna Mae and let everyone know and send a picture if
This letter comes from LOYD CREED, R.R. 3, Box 381, Danville,
The following letter comes from MYRON EASTES, 7156 Twin Oaks
Drive #E, Indianapolis, Indiana 46226. ‘In the late 1920s and
early ’30s, a group of farmers in my neighborhood would gather
of an evening at the local country store. For entertainment they
would try to see who could tell the biggest lie. The con ceded
champion was a fellow named Andy White sides. His specialty was
cold winter stories.
‘Two of Andy’s best stories went like this: ‘I went
to this square dance one Saturday night. It was five miles away. I
rode my horse. It was 30 below zero and do you know it rained on me
every step of the way there and back!’ … ‘I remember one
winter it got so cold that all the wells froze solid.’ Someone
asked him, ‘Why Andy, how did you water your livestock?’
Andy replied, ‘We were fortunate as we lived about a half mile
from this creek and we drove them down there every morning and
night for a week to drink.’
CHUCK SINDELAR, S47 W2230 Lawnsdale Road, Waukesha, Wisconsin
53186 sends this: ‘We are all pleased that material is now
‘pouring in.’ I am going to take partial credit, deserved
or not. Not only for the material that I’ve person ally sent,
but more so for the results of my letter to you in May asking
everyone to ‘get busy’ and send material. (Please, folks,
continue to do so, as right now I have it almost worked up
‘The enclosed tip to keep your gauge glass sparkling clean
was obviously published previously some where, but it’s been
passed around a bit and the source has now been lost.
‘Water level is of paramount importance to boiler safety.
Thus a clean, easily readable glass means more than merely a mark
of good housekeeping, but of much more importance. It’s the
mark of a safety-conscious engineer. This is a goal that we must
all work towards.
How To Clean Boiler Gauge Glass
Follow these simple steps to clean gauge glass while steam
pressure is on boiler and without disassembly.
1. Fill a cup with ordinary house hold ammonia.
2. Close top and bottom gauge valves. Open drain valve
3. Barely open the top gauge valve so steam pressure blows
all the water out the drain line and glass contains only
4. With a very gentle flow of steam out of the drain line,
hold cup of ammonia to the end of drain line so steam bubbles up
5. Close top gauge valve. Steam will quickly condense in the
gauge glass causing a vacuum. The resulting traction will suck
ammonia up into the gauge glass. Repeat until the glass is
‘Now I will comment on the 1992 Show Directory. Regard the
nice picture on the back cover of a portable steamer putting on a
‘spark show.’ The caption appears on page 144, but is
obviously in error! The engine pictured is not a Case! If the
picture was taken at the 1991 show, then the number tag hanging
under the smoke box should correspond to #66 in the ‘1991
Official Program Souvenir’ as a 1917 16 HP Advance Rumely owned
by Claire Brown of Solon, Iowa.
‘Please don’t give up. Your column is enjoyed by
many.’ (Thanks, Chuck.)
This picture and letter come from WILLARD BARTELS, Box 161,
Eastman, Wisconsin 54626: ‘The picture is of a Carlisle (and
Finch?) engine. This engine has a Lukenheimer carb and also has a
rocker arm within the firing chamber to reach in and bump the
exhaust valve back closed as the valve push arrangement is very
short and tends to stick open.
‘It did not have a head on it when I got it, so I made what
you can see here, but it had very high compression. So I now have a
1′ spacer in place. I didn’t think it would run well with
high compress and smaller fly wheels. This engine shows very little
wear and I think it may have been used to teach machine work in
CARL M. LATHROP, 108 Gar-field Avenue, Madison, New Jersey 07940
tells us: ‘The attached is self-explanatory. It will be
interesting to see if I ever hear from the inquirer. My average in
replying to requests that appear in your column is not very high.
Perhaps with a subject such as this they feel chagrined they
‘God gave me the brains, my father provided the money, and I
worked hard to get an engineering education at a top-of-the-line
school, and I feel it my moral obligation to pass along any
knowledge I might have to those less fortunate. That’s my
philosophy and what I think life is all about. The following had
been written to a person asking about the subject.
‘I wrote, ‘I saw your letter in the July-August 1992
issue of IMA magazine asking about electric power generation with a
steam engine. Every so often there will be a similar request in the
IMA or a similar hobby type publication. Over the years I have
answered several of these. Most of the time I never hear anything
about how the writer made out, but usually try to give each new one
of them some ideas.
‘Generally these individuals fall into two groups: a) they
want to beat the power company at their own game; or b) they want
to have some fun running a steam engine. To the former I advise to
forget even trying, because there is no way a small operator can
produce power cheaper than the power company. But, to those who
would like to load up a steam engine just for an interesting
project, I try to help them along.
‘Your biggest technical problem will be acquiring an
alternating current generator and its instruments. To run in
parallel with the power company will require a steam engine with a
very good and readily adjusted governor, for it is the engine’s
governor that is used to load an alternator.
‘The easiest solution to this problem is to use the readily
available induction generator. What is an induction generator?
Simply stated, it’s an induction motor. Here’s how it
works. ‘Let’s say that you have a motor rated one
horsepower at 1750 r.p.m. If you belt it to your steam engine and
run up the r.p.m. to 1800 (its synchronous speed), and connect it
to the electric supply at your home, there will be no power flow
either into or out of the motor. Now open the throttle until the
speed picks up to 1850 r.p.m., and you will be supplying 746 watts
(one HP) to the system. If your motor was big enough and your house
load small enough, you would see the disc on your electric motor
reverse and begin to subtract from the power registered previously
‘An induction motor driven above its synchronous speed will
act as a generator only so long as it is connected to a current.
About the only instruments you would need would be a tachometer and
a watt meter. A kilowatt-hour meter like the one with which the
power company meters the power you use is the easiest to obtain.
Look at the one on your house and watch the disc turn. There is a
black dot so you can count revolutions. The direction of rotation
will tell you which way the power is flowing. You can count the
revolutions per minute and calculate how much power is flowing.
‘Is this illegal? No, but if you were to have, say, a 10 HP
generator and run it for long periods of time you would need to
make arrangements with the power company. Several years ago the
Congress made provisions for this type of operation in legislation
titled Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA).
‘This will give you some food for thought. I could go into
the subject more deeply if you wish.’
(I would like to say right here, I think these contributors
are very) fine folks, as they know many more things in detail than
some of the amateurs. Also they are so willing to help a fellow man
in every way possible to better understand the problems. It would
be nice if you acknowledge their efforts, either by a personal
letter OR one to my column which would then be printed. Thanks,
fellows! That is one of the neat advantages of this magazineto help
each other and foster the aims of the IMA. Thanks so much!!Anna
ARTHUR GOODRICH of Art’s Repair Shop sends these encouraging
words. ‘We live in the Champlain Islands in Vermont. Steam
engines were never very popular (except for the trains) in this
area. There is one steam engine in Jeffersonville, Vermont, which
still grinds meals.
‘I enjoy IMA very much and have been receiving it since
1987. We are collectors of John Deere antique tractors. I enjoy
your column very much; keep up the good work.’ (Thanks,
ArtI appreciate your caring.)
The following letter and pictures come to us from SCOTT
THOMPSON, Route 2,12109 Mennonite Church Road, Tremont, Illinois
61568: ‘I was very pleased to see the recent articles on the
grand old Gaar Scott line. I’m glad to see this old and
distinguished firm getting some attention. I recently came upon a
Gaar-Scott catalog which I believe is from 1897. I thought the
readers might enjoy some of the beautiful old wood-cut
illustrations of a few steamers and separators which I have en
closed. The artistry and detail them selves are nearly as
interesting as the pictures. This is truly a lost art. Hope to see
more information coming about some of the lesser known companies.
Keep up the good work!’ (Thanks, Scott!!)
This short letter came awhile back, and while I am always
looking for letters, I’m sorry they do have to be spread out
sometimes; hope you understand. It is from Mrs. E. L. (Frances)
Carson, 1167 Stamping Ground Road, Georgetown, Kentucky 40324:
‘A friend brought me a copy of your July-August 1992 magazine.
The picture of the Gaar-Scott on your cover is beautiful. If this
is the same engine, my husband rebuilt that engine about 1958 or
1959. He had 21 years seniority with the Pennsylvania Railroad. He
gave it up in 1939 to farm.
‘I really don’t recall who he sold it to, but I think it
was a Mr. Holp. I remember it was a turn engine Gaar-Scott. I
thought you might like to know something of the history of this
engine.’ (Thanks for writing us, Mrs. Carson. And maybe one of
the engine men out there will know about it.)
HOWARD H. MURCHIE, Box 476, Jamestown, North Dakota 58402 sends
this interesting bit: ‘Going to use part of the afternoon
telling of the autumn of 1925. It turned out to be the worst fall
ever put into threshing. We usually got started about September
1st. We had a good crop, and things went well for a few days. It
was Jim McLean’s outfit. Had a 25 HP Nichols Shepard engine, a
40’x60’ Case separator. Usually had twelve bundle teams, a
tank team and a team having straw for the engine.
‘It started to rain. We thought nothing of that, but it kept
on raining. They had to put the coal grates in the engine; the
straw was so wet it wouldn’t burn. Then, the ground froze. Soon
the horses were so sore-footed it was hard to get them going in the
morning. They were having such trouble by vibration breaking pipes
on the steamer when moving on the frost. They set just once every
half section (320 acres).
‘Jim put on 15 teams, seeing we had a longer haul. Then we
got a heavy fall of snow. Knox Baker came one morning with a sleigh
the grain got so wet, we could only thresh in the morning while it
was frozen. As soon as the day started to warm, it would get so
tough we would have to shut down until next morning.
‘One day, some of us were talking and wondering if we would
have Thanksgiving dinner in the cook car. We finally finished
before that date. People thought they would get no plowing that
fall. The frost went out, the snow off, and we had good weather
until Christmas or after.
‘The wheat threshed had clumps of snow and ice in it. Some
was hauled to the elevator where they got number 3 or 4 grade. Some
was put in the bin. It was left until real cold weather. It must
have frozen dry. It was over run and at a later date was hauled to
the elevator where it was graded No. 1 amber.
‘When finished we were paid off and went home. When passing
Bob Step’s blacksmith shop, we stopped and had never-slip shoes
put on my team. I am sure I cannot remember names of all the crew,
but I’ll try: John Hendricksen was engineer; Bob McLean,
foreman using straw; Ernest Day, tank man; Howard Marchie, straw
monkey started hauling straw; Oliver Munson, Ole Johnson, Ole
Hendrickson, spike pitchers; Jim McLean, separator man; other
workers were bundle teamers Fred Paul, John Paul, Aleck Paul;
bundle haulers Paul Lavelette, George Lavelette, George Lavallette.
Other names are Gasper Jeanotte, Joe Jeanotte, William, Joe and
John Richard; John Langun and Knox Baker.
‘It has been so long that I am sure I haven’t got all
these men in the fall of 1925.I put in five harvests. Some of these
men may have been in the wrong year.’ (That is still fine,
Howard. I think it is great you wrote me, and I know it was not an
easy chore, but it is nice to have their names. Maybe it will mean
a lot to quite a few folks.)
‘Then we cannot forget the two most necessary of the crew:
Minnie Rude and Agnes Johnson. They could sure put out the grub! It
must have been a cold place to sleep in the cook car. They seemed
to always be good humored. We were threshing in Cavalier County,
North Dakota, and some fields up to the Canadian line. I was 15
years old at the time. I had been a straw monkey in 1924 and, until
straw got too tough, also in 1925. Then we didn’t burn straw
from that date until retiring that engine. It was well into
November when we finished in 1925. Usually figured on about 20 days
run. Jim McLeere couldn’t have made much that fall after
settling his grocery bill.’
From BARRY L. DAVID, 944 Woodlawn Ave., Everett, Washing ton
98203-3201, we have this communication: ‘I wanted to tell you
how very much I enjoy reading your magazine. From all the wonderful
stories you publish, I was hoping the readers of IMA might be able
to help with a very elusive topicantique steam gauges (Bourdon-tube
type). My re search has taken me to the local libraries and museums
and has turned up virtually nothing.
‘The period I am interested in is between 1850 and 1930. I
have found that old gauge maker product or trade catalogs provide
an excellent source of information. If your readers have some of
these old catalogs, I would like to obtain a copy or buy them. I
have listed below a few of the more prominent gauge manufacturers
of that period. (1) American Steam Gauge & Valve Co., Boston,
Massachusetts; (2) E. H. Ashcroft or the Ashcroft Manufacturing
Company, Boston, Massachusetts; (3) Crosby Steam Gauge & Valve
Company, Boston, Massachusetts; (4) Jas. P. Marsh & Company,
Chicago, Illinois; (5) Nation Steam Specialty Company, Chicago,
Illinois; (6) Schaeffer & Budenberg Corporation, New York &
Europe; (7) U.S. Gauge Company, New York.
‘I would be very grateful for any help your readers might be
able to offer in my search for this information. I would also
appreciate suggestions or referrals to any gauge collectors they
might know. I am looking forward to hearing from them.’
In closing, I wish you a great year, but don’t forget to
stop and smell the roses, read a good book or poem, visit someone
who really would appreciate a few minutes with someone they
haven’t seen for awhile or per haps never. Just be a good
neighbor wherever you are. Don’t forget to write me and tell me
anything I can use in my ramblings. I’ll bet you have many
cute, interesting, informative, loving and folksy bits of
information. Meanwhile, perhaps you have read this following poem.
Try it and see what you think of it. I think it will make us all
have some quizzical thoughts.
If He Came to Your House
When you saw Him coming, would you meet Him at the door?
With arms outstretched in welcome to your heavenly Visitor?
Or would you have to change your clothes before you let Him
Or hide some magazines, and put the Bible where they’d
Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books
Could you let Jesus walk right in, or would you rush about?
And I wonder if the Savior spent a day or two with you,
Would you go right on doing the things you always do?
Would you go right on saying the things you always say?
Would life for you continue as it does from day to day?
Would you take Jesus with you everywhere you’d planned to
Or would you maybe change your plans for just a day or so?
Would you be glad to have Him meet your very closest
Or would you hope they stay away until His visit ends?
Would you be glad to have Him stay forever on and on?
Or would you sigh with great relief when He at last was
It might be interesting to know the things that you would
If Jesus came in person to spend some time with you.
Lois Blanchard Eades
Love You All!