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 you!
Thought you might get some good feelings from the following writing.
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 Family:
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, (approx. 1920).
'Thank you for any help with either of the engines. Write Rough & Tumble Engineers, Box 9, Kinzers, Pennsylvania 17535.'
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 IMA.
'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 appreciate!
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 for me!
'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 45601).
'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, Montana 59254-1609).
'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 very helpful.'
This comes from DAVID SAVILLE, Box 3, Ravenscrag, Sask., Canada SON 0T0.
'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 that.'
'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 spell.
'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 diameter.
'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 sawmill.'
'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 trip.
'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 controls worked.
'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 Mae.)
'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 sawmill.
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 possible.'
This letter comes from LOYD CREED, R.R. 3, Box 381, Danville, Illinois 61832.
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 again.)
'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.
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 beneath column.
3. Barely open the top gauge valve so steam pressure blows all the water out the drain line and glass contains only steam.
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 through ammonia.
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 sparkling clean.
'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 some school.'
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 shouldn't.
'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 as used.
'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 Mae).
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.
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 in?
Or hide some magazines, and put the Bible where they'd been?
Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out?
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 go?
Or would you maybe change your plans for just a day or so?
Would you be glad to have Him meet your very closest friends?
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 gone?
It might be interesting to know the things that you would do,
If Jesus came in person to spend some time with you.
Lois Blanchard Eades
Love You All!