SOOT IN THE FLUES

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Billy Byrd at throttle of Southern Ry. Engine 4501 at Tennessee Valley R.R., Chattanooga, TN.
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Billy's Grandson Adam Parks, running his 1/2 scale 65 HP Case.
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Billv Byrd on his 16-60 HP Nichols & Shepard engine built in 1919.
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Adam Parks standing by his grandfather's Nichols & Shepard and 1/2 size 65 HP Case engine which he runs.
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Hi! Hope all the IMA Family folks are doing fine and
looking forward to a New Yearmy, how time does fly I don’t
understand it, but it goes faster as I get older, how about
you?

In beginning of this New Year I came across this article
entitled:

Take Time for Ten Things:

1.  Take time to Work; it is the price of success.

2.  Take time to Think; it is the source of power.

3. Take time to Play; it is the secret of youth.

4.  Take time to Read; it is the foundation of
knowledge.

5. Take time to Worship; it is the highway of reverence and
washes the dust of Earth from our eyes.

6.  Take time to Help and Enjoy Friends; it is the source
of happiness.

7. Take time to Love; it is the one sacrament of life.

8. Take time to Dream; it hitches the soul to the
stars.

9.  Take time to Laugh; it is the singing that helps with
life’s loads.

10.  Take time to Plan; it is the secret of being able to
have time to take time for the first nine things.

And a Worthwhile Reading

Just for today I will try to live through this day only, not to
tackle my whole life problems at once. I can do things for 12 hours
that would appall me if I had to keep them up for a lifetime.

Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do
somebody a good turn and not get found out. I will do at least two
things I don’t want to do, just for the exercise. Just for
today I will be unafraid; especially I will not be afraid to be
happy, to enjoy what is beautiful, to live, and to believe that
those I love, love me.

(I think the above is great. I don’t know how many I could
do but I can try, at least, maybe one thing a day. We waste so much
time doing things that are not nearly as important and rewarding as
these above mentioned acts.)

And before we go to the first letter, let me just say we
apologize for the mix up in the inside front and back covers in the
November-December issue. I hope you all located my column, which
began mistakenly on the inside back cover, and that you weren’t
too confused by the WANTED ads at the beginning of the issue. What
can I say? We goofed!

EDWARD HUTSELL, R.R. 7, Mexico, Missouri 65265 writes this
letter: ‘I cannot wait any longer about the engine picture on
page 11 of the March-April 1993 Album. The number of the engine
cannot be correct. The engine is a bastard Advance built by the
Advance Rumely Company. The engine number has to be after number
14,442. The old Advance piped the steam from the inside top of the
dome through the top of the front flue sheet and into the
smokestack a foot or so and out of the stack and into throttle and
governor. I have never seen an Advance with a butt strap boiler.
The wheels on the engine are like the ones use by A. R. except in
the rear which are 4 inches less in height. Several years ago there
was one of these engines shown here.

I have an Advance Rumely number 15254 that I have owned 45
years.’

This communication comes from THOMAS STEBRITZ, 1516 E.
Commercial Street, Algona, Iowa 50511: ‘I see more bull crap
aimed at the Case engine, this time from Michigan.’
(Pertaining to ED HURD, Box 283, Byron, Michigan 48418, who has
a letter in the July-August, 1993 issue, page 13)
. ‘In
this area, we didn’t stand on our head to find an engine that
burned coal almost exclusively. If people like Mr. Hurd wanted to
fire from the ground he could have bought any late Case steamers,
except the 110 Case, with just the stub tank, as many Case
customers did, even in the later years. In some states and areas
where wood was plentiful, some farmers in the earlier years of
steam furnished wood to fire with, but generally, the engines had
some coal in most cases.

‘Long periods of stationary firing a Case like a sawmill,
with a bunker on the engine, would be inconvenient. I have often
asked people who like to fire from the ground, how do you fire from
the ground, when you’re moving, plowing or grading roads? And I
just got stupid looks! Another thing on a lot of engines, enough
fuel and water is optional or an afterthought, looking at general
equipment furnished.

‘Most side-mounted engines, especially the larger ones, had
the platform slung so low that it took a seven foot man to handle
the levers. As far as the clatter of the Woolf valve gear, quite a
few companies used the geared pump also. So the Case built a bum
throttle! Their oil pump apparently wasn’t the best either, so
what? Others made worse mistakes.

‘I wish Mr. Hurd would take pictures of all the bad cases of
the suspension links on Case engines and send them in to the
magazine. The link and suspension mount has little or no travel and
therefore will experience but little wear. Hard use and little oil
can cause any bearings and gears to wear. I know of a 1916 65 Case
that is cut out in the upper cannon bearing from poor care and the
engine picks up its gears. The 1913 60 Case I used to own for 40
years was still right in all the bearings. Another thing, leaning
and wobbly wheels are associated with stub axle engines.

‘On a rear-mounted engine, one hub is locked permanently to
the shaft; the other hub turns so little in its lifetime to affect
no wear. The Case Company made the statement on the first bunker
built for the 150 HP engine that the bunker was counter-balanced on
the rear axle. Moreover, the supposed sag in the frame, and on any
engine, was forestalled when any engine was pulling on the
drawbar.

‘Even on my favorite Gaar-Scott engines, many companies also
added some almost comical looking attachments for coal and water.
And, where especially very large engines had very large water tanks
on the sides of them, these engines if not equipped with power
steering needed a 300 pound man to steer them in plowing.

‘One very interesting fact attributed to the late ‘Big
Mac,’ E. C. McMillan of Kansas, the old 25-70 and 25-75 Case
light-built engines broke more ground than the 110 Case engines
did. The 25 HP Case had too-light spokes in their drivers and
needed watching in continued drawbar use. In normal use, like for
threshing, they gave no trouble. The other size engines were not
affected in the old line of engines.

‘My late father used Case engines and used them hard, like
pulling road graders, making roads up and down hills. One thing he
stresseduse high pressure steam cylinder oil and plenty of it.

‘I would like to sign off on a different note. I see where
we have a Rumely Expo coming up at Rushville, Indiana. Frankly, I
am underwhelmed. The late Charlie Harrison of Butler, Ohio, who was
our best Aultman-Taylor booster would bust a gut if he were
here.

‘If the only connection the Aultman-Taylor Company had with
the Advance Rumely Company is when the latter company bought out
the former, then cut their throats. The late Charlie Harrison took
this very personally.

‘Dr. Edward Rumely’s half-brained scheme brought to ruin
a number of good honorable thresher firms and other lesser
companies and ruined the lives of hundreds of dedicated people who
worked long hours in the thresher factories.

‘The late Marcus Leonard of Salina, Kansas, an Advance
salesman, wrote in an IMA article, his second writing
about Dr. Rumely’s buyout of concerned companies. He stated
that in early 1913, Dr. Rumely was kicked out of the Rumely Company
and he also stated what happened to the doctor after that; anyone
interested can look up the article of 20 odd years ago.

‘My late father was around during this period and observed
that the friendly atmosphere of the concerned companies was
missing, replaced by a corporation called Rumely Products Company,
which was a grandiose scheme to sell all the many products that
were to be manufactured by all the companies bought by Dr.
Rumely.

‘If some of the officers of the bought-out companies could
have had something to say about the running of the new corporation,
it might have had some chance of surviving, but I doubt it. The
100% Advance fans can’t disassociate from the name Rumely, it
seems. But, for myself I resent the connection of the Rumely legend
with Gaar-Scott and Company from then and now.

‘I have no wish to malign any present day Rumely
descendants, nor the grand old Rumely Company, especially not the
grand old patriarch Meinrad Rumely. I have worked with persons like
Dr. Rumely. We called it being ‘hot wired’ and if his
greatest claim to fame was the Rumely Oil Pull, he should have gone
back to the drawing board.’

PAUL LE HOTY, 202 E. Magnolia Avenue, Howey-in-Hills, Florida
34737 sends this: ‘Find enclosed a photo of a small steam
locomotive, a rack engine which formerly pulled tourists to the ice
palace. The railway has been electrified, but this locomotive has
always been kept in first class condition; coal bunker behind
engineer filled with a packaged coal. I wish I had taken the time
to try for a better photo.’

‘I am flattered to see what a fine job was done in May-June
IMA with the material I had sent. I was so excited about it, I
promised to organize my stories and thoughts, so I could contribute
on a more faithful basis.’ (Do you hear that, Folksmaybe
this will inspire more of you to get the letters piling up.
Remember I can never have too many communications.)
This
letter comes from GARY YEAGER, 146 Reimer Lane, Whitefish, Montana
59937. He continues: ‘Anna Mae, I don’t want to come across
as arrogant or a know-it-all. I’d rather not hurt any feelings,
so hopefully Scott L. Thompson will forgive me for correcting his
photograph information as it is not my intention to humiliate him
whatsoever.

‘This is a Reeves engine. It appears to be either an 1899 or
1900 cross compound. I wanted to call it a 15 HP, but the traction
wheels of a 15 HP were only 14′ wide which would lead me to
believe it must be an 18 HP. They had 16’ wheels. This would
have had the clay gear with a sliding block. The governor was laid
down and pointing straight back and they were single geared with
the water tank placed between the right traction wheel and the wet
bottom boiler. I never realized it until Mr. Thompson mentioned
itthat the Reeves logo and the J.I. Case factory scene logo were
shaped much the same. I also see added confusion by the fact the
earlier Reeves engines used this tapered sheet steel smokestack,
before they went to the latter, familiar cast iron stack. That Case
sign in front of the Reeves stack didn’t help this situation
either. Evidently, these two companies were competing at this fair
or demonstration. They did this quite frequently as they both
accepted one another as the direct ‘competition.’
Especially, after they got into the large Canadian butt-strap
boiler plowing engines.

‘Finally, Scott, I think you had a wonderful idea about
revitalizing interest in steam.

‘I have another interesting story to relate, maybe next
winter, after the snow flurries. It will be a controversial
subject: the U.S. 40 HP Reeves. Max Tyler told the story to me just
the way Charlie Tyler, his father, had related it to him.’
(Good, we’ll all be looking for it).

‘In renewing my subscription, I thought I would send in some
‘soot for your flues,’ ‘ writes RANDALL C. SAWYERS, 802
Valley View Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa 81503-5103.

‘First, I want to say I did something dumb to our 20 HP
Russell; I broke off the smoke box trying to winch it to a low boy
to go to the Waverly, Nebraska show. Don’t use the front hitch
on a Russell for a heavy pull! Eighty dollars in nickel welding rod
and a little time made it well, but it wouldn’t have happened
if I had used my head.

‘I have since learned at some of the shows this summer, that
others have busted these Russells crossing the railroad tracks,
towing and dropping into ditches.

‘I want to build a Baker fan to fine-tune my engine here at
home before the shows, but can’t find out what a standard Baker
fan is. Can anyone help me out? I haven’t been able to find
anything on it in IMA but have been told it was in an article
several years ago. Everyone enjoys your good work, Anna Mae, keep
it up!’ (Thanks, Randall, but it is you people who write
in, that make the column what it is. I found a Baker Fan story in
our November-December 1988 issue, but it didn’t tell how to
construct one.)

I know many of you folks know Billy Byrd, 369 South Harrig
Street, ‘Madison, Kentucky 42431, as he is a great engine
enthusiast and has sent in material quite often. Hadn’t heard
anything for awhile and heard from him recently. He wrote,
‘What a surprise I got today after I got my Iron-Men
Album
and lo and behold there was a picture of me in it.’
I had mentioned I always hear from him especially at Christmas.
Well, Billy and wife have had a lot of misfortune since about a
year ago, as Mrs. was diagnosed with a very serious cancer,
followed by an operation, and they were not given much hope.
However, she decided on taking a new drug and, as he put it, she
was a guinea pig and they had to get permission from the State of
Kentucky to give it. The good news is that after six months she was
clear and still is and as Billie said, ‘Praise the Lord!’
Then this past June Billy had to have a five bypass heart surgery
and while on the operating table had a heart attack and the doctor
said he would not make it, BUT he did! And like Billy said,
‘God has given us two miracles.’ (I understand that as
I have had quite a few miracles as I was not supposed to be here
several different times, but I figure the Lord has something for me
to do here on earth and I hope I don’t disappoint Him. I bet
there are many of you who could say the same thing.)

Billy says they are getting along fine and about a month ago he
ran the steam locomotive at Chattanooga and said he would be
running it October 16-17. ‘It is good therapy for me. Something
else wonderful happened in my family. One of the grandsons turned
10 recently and the other one is 6 years old and up until last
December neither one had paid any attention to either engine. In
fact, they didn’t want to be around them. I always run the
Nichols and Shepard in the Veterans and Christmas parades. The
young fellow that fires for me at Chattanooga comes up and
helps.

‘Well, after the Christmas parade last December, David Pugh
took my oldest grandson, Adam Parks, for a ride on the N & S. I
can’t figure out what happened, but when they got back Adam had
the fever. He has gone crazy over both engines. Needless to say,
I’m tickled pink! At last I have someone to share my love of
steam. The only trouble ishe wants to fire up every day. He is real
good with the little Case.

‘I have a 29’ cut-off saw that I saw wood for my caboose
stove and the engines. He sees everything that goes on and has
gotten to the place where he can ‘keep her hot’ on wood. He
is very good about helping me do anything and takes lots of steps
off of me. I took him to the steam show at Boonville, Indiana, and
my good friend Rick Apple let him run a Keck-Gonnerman engine. I
asked him which he liked best, the Keck-Gonnerman or the Nichols
& Shepard. He said the N & S. That boy knows which side his
bread is buttered on!’ (I think so, and we can say LIKE
GRANDFATHER, LIKE GRANDSON! (I can just see Billy beaming with
pride. Am happy for the both of you.)

‘I’m going to take him to Chattanooga and give him a
treat on the locomotive. And at our First Methodist Church on
Sunday School Promotion Day, they always have a picnic at the City
Park with hayrides and they all want the Nichols & Shepard
engine to pull it. Everyone got a big kick out of my grandson. They
said his eyes were shining just like stars. The little Case has
plenty of power, but is too slow in a parade. We have three parades
coming up so Adam (Little Pee Wee) will be showing his
stuff.’

Billy sends four pictures along, which is great, as I
haven’t been getting a surplus. Oh yes, Billy says he has a hot
fire in the caboose stove and a can of steam cylinder oil on the
stove the aroma from it and the wood and coal smoke is like
PERFUME!

This writing comes from FRED PUGH, Box 26, West Edmeston, New
York 13485.

‘I’m a very ‘Newcomer’ to the Steam Group,’
writes Fred. (Well, welcome to our Iron-Men Family, Fred. Hope
you stay with us a long while. This FAMILY is Great
People!)

‘We purchased this portable (see three photos) in 1990 from
someone local and have had quite a few self-taught lessons from
it!

‘The portable is a 1919, 18 HP Frick, 8 x 10. We do not know
much of her past, except that in later years she was used to run a
sawmill here in upper New York State. We do know that the engine
was fired by the sawyer’s wife using slab wood while the
husband did all the sawing. Our use of it is to buzz wood for use
in our shop. It works great for this. We can’t begin to use any
of its excess power.

‘The steam engine has had to have a lot of work done on her
and still does not hold a valid New York State certificate. The
previous owner that there would be no problem getting an inspection
passed by the ew York State Boiler Inspection Department,
unfortunately, this was dead wrong, as boilers were scrutinized
severely here in this area. Rumors are that the inspectors would
like to see all boilers of this nature outlawed.

‘We have had to replace the smoke box, rivets in the smoke
box, all piping, and this is only the beginning, as now the
inspectors want stay bolts replaced and the front flue sheet built
up with welding before they will even take a look at it. I wish I
had had a boiler inspector look at it before we purchased her, as
this has been very expensive.

‘I enjoy your magazine, especially the older ones, as there
is no one to teach me about this boiler. So I have to learn from
reading all the old issues.’ (Hey, fellas, if you are near
enough to get to Fred, please write him, he needs your
help.)

SCOTT THOMPSON, Rumely’s Collector’s News, 12109
Mennonite Church Road, Tremont, Illinois 61568 (309-925-3932) sends
this communication: ‘Well, well, looks like we’re starting
to slip back into our old habits and ignore Soot in the Flues
again. Now all of you engineers know that a hot, steady fire
requires constant attention, so let’s keep the coal coming! We
don’t want steam to get low!

‘For some time now, I have been trying to amass as much
information as possible on the old M. Rumely & Advance-Rumely
(and related) companies, before it’s too late. Very little has
survived, as records were largely destroyed, reportedly as late as
1985 when the Deutz company took over Allis-Chalmers! Any records
or memories of dealerships, branch offices, employees and equipment
in the field would be very much appreciated.

‘I’m especially interested in getting material on steam
engines; they always seem to take a backseat to Oil Pulls (yes, we
love them too!) in Rumely history. I urge other collectors to do
the same for other lines as well, such as Reeves, Keck-Gonnerman,
Kitten, etc., before all these old tales are lost to the passage of
time. We still have folks around who worked for these companies, as
well as with the equipment! Talk about your national treasures! If
you younger guys know of such a person, please pick his brains
before it is too late! It will be an enjoyable experience for both
of you!

‘Let’s make sure as much as possible of our fleeting
farm history is preserved in print today, for tomorrow will surely
be too late!’

JIMMY PALMER, 4956 Palestine Road, Springfield, Tennessee 37172
sends this story with a picture. ‘I was raised in farm
community, Ashburn, north of Springfield, Tennessee, about two
miles off the Kentucky State line, near Adairville, Kentucky. From
childhood I was raised up on steam engines, thresher machines,
sawmills, as my father would travel several miles around the area
threshing wheat and steaming tobacco plant beds.

‘In 1952 my father passed away, so the engine sat on the
farm for several years. Then around 1965 the engine was sold to a
man in Kentucky. At the time, I was young and didn’t want to
sell, but my mother sold the engine.

‘About a year ago, I decided I wanted a steam engine. So, I
started looking for the engine my father had owned. At the
Tennessee-Kentucky Threshers Show in Adams, Tennessee, I located
the man who purchased the engine, and he said he sold it to a man
in Boonville, Indiana. So, in October 1992, I went to the show and
located the man who had the engine. He said he had had the engine
since 1967, but didn’t have it at the show. In July 1993, I
went back to Boonville Show, and the engine was at the show. Before
I left, I had purchased the enginea Keck-Gonnerman 22 HP built in
1924, No. 1763 (photo below). The engine is back home in Tennessee
on my farm. Also, I have learned my father, F. C. Palmer owned
another engine, Keck #1489. I wish I knew where the engine is
now.’ (Maybe someone will read this and be able to help
you, JimmyI pray that may happen.)

One of our IMA members asks this question: ‘How
many IMA readers have ever heard or seen a drawbar tester?’

This inquiry comes from EDWIN BREDEMEIER, RR1, Box 13,
Steinauer, Nebraska 68441. He continues: ‘It was used to tell
how many pounds it took to pull a plow or other implements.

‘I think it would be a more realistic method of telling what
a tractor developed than the sled pulling it first over solid
footing and later pulling it over an area that has already been
torn up

‘I have one, but need the pressure gauge. Where can I get
one? My tester was manufactured by Hefner Equipment Company of
Sublette, Kansas, Patent No. 185459.’

‘I am forwarding two pictures that I thought would be of
interest in your column,’ writes LOYD CREED, R.R. 3, Box 381,
Danville, Illinois 61839.

‘The first one shows two Illinois steam engines at the Camp
Creek Threshers Grounds at Waverly, Nebraska in 1992. The engine on
the left is a 20 HP Illinois engine, #135 owned by E. J. Murphy of
Council Bluffs, Iowa. The engine on the right is a 25 HP, #163
Illinois engine owned by Dennis Johnson of Ceresco, Nebraska. Since
only six Illinois engines are left in existence, I thought that
this is a rare picture and probably the first time for a picture of
two Illinois steam engines to be published in IMA.

‘The second picture shows E. J. Murphy beside his 32 x 52
Illinois thresher of which only two are in existence. At the show
both of these engines and the thresher drew very big
crowds.’

Here’s an interesting letter concerning a family project and
maybe we all can help! This note was prepared by C. WILLIAM RETTIE,
306 Hickory Drive, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514
(919-967-3746): ‘I am writing you on behalf of my three sons
and myself, for we need your assistance and the help of other
ALBUM family members, in particular those who have had the
first-hand experience in commercially operated ‘steam powered
sawmills.’

‘As I write, the Rettie family via its Triangle ‘R’
Enterprises, is in the developmental stages of design, construction
and operation of a ‘commercially viable’ sawmill operation
powered exclusively by steam. I know I can hear the laughing all
the way here to Chapel Hill. NO! We are not a basket case, neither
are we fools!

‘The steam engine went out of vogue at the turn of the
century NOT because it didn’t work. There are countless
‘old’ steam engines still running; many still doing the
work for which they were intended, illustrated by Erie
Campbell’s description in the September-October edition of the
ALBUM.

‘Rather, it was replaced by the internal combustion engine
which burned volatile (gasoline or diesel) liquid fuel offering a
self-contained, low weight, low bulk power source. But, such
‘progress’ is not without a cost. The liquid fuel used is a
fossil derivative which when burned produces among other gases,
carbon dioxide, in such quantities that many are now concerned
about the condition of this planet’s atmosphere. Secondly,
though such fuels are readily available and inexpensive,
dollar-wise, here in the U.S., such is not the case in other
regions of the world. Would it not then be prudent to examine more
carefully other sources of power and not necessarily just those
that carry the designer label of ‘High Technology’?

‘Since the steam engine went into Limbo, man has made great
strides in the advancements of his technologies. New, lighter,
stronger metal alloys. Many of us can remember the babbitt bearings
of yesteryear. They worked! Now, we have high speed roller
bearings, oil impregnated bushings so superior, that a comparison
can’t be drawn. The rotary engine of today can’t be
compared to the hit and miss engine of yesterday. Yet, the steam
engine stood still. What if we can apply what we now know to the
steam engine?

‘In your comments in the September-October edition of Soot
in the Flues, you lamented the passing of the ‘great
monsters.’ None made anymore, for a long time and won’t be.
But what is to say that those monsters can’t give birth to a
‘new-old’ technology that can overcome the negatives of
what is in vogue today? Man advances by learning from his past and
steam power has a noble past. Unfortunately, we are at great risk
of losing the technology of the steam engine.

‘The second hardest thing for anyone to sell is a new
technology. The hardest to sell is an ‘old’ technology. The
old technology is not modern. Its glamor has tarnished. If the old
is to be seriously considered, it must compete in the modern market
place, right along with the new. It is because of this that
Triangle ‘R’ Enterprises is embarking on the course it is,
the formation and operation of a ‘commercially viable’
steam-powered sawmill operation. Please understand, we are not
speaking of a hobby sawmill, but of a mill that will provide income
to support two families. It will be powered entirely by steam,
utilizing its own waste as its source of fuel.

‘We have a long way to go, and we are turning to you and the
ALBUM family. There are several pieces of information we
need.

‘Firstly: The physical layout of the sawmill operation, a
floor plan so to speak. Description of sheds, buildings, wood lots,
storage etc., the relative location of one to another.

‘Secondly: Description of the major machinery used, brands,
size, etc., saw edgers, planers etc. Of particular interest are any
innovations to listed equipment that changed its operation. Some
log turners were unique, any information will help.

‘Thirdly: Size and type of power sources for each piece of
equipment. As much detail would be most helpful. As much about fuel
and boilers as possible would be a great help.

‘Fourthly: Any unusual or unique techniques employed in the
course of the sawing operation.

‘We will keep you informed of how we are doing. We look
forward to hearing from your readers and wish to thank you in
advance for any assistance you can offer.’

In closing, here are a few thoughts on happiness: The happiest
people seem to be those who have no particular reason for being
happy except that they are.W. R. Inge…The greatest essentials of
happiness are something to do, something to love, and something to
hope for….If it weren’t for our troubles we’d never be
able to appreciate happiness….Some people spread happiness
wherever they go; others whenever they go…The happy rich and the
happy poor are both possible, but not the happy mean…The secret
of happiness is learning to accept the impossible, do without the
indispensable, and bear the intolerable. And hey folks out there,
I’m about out of material, Send it in!

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment