'It takes a certain amount of restraint to resist saying, 'Pete was my fireman.' For that story we need a change of venue.
'The scene is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia circa 1924 with the peaks of The Friars as a backdrop in the benign shadow of Du Priest Mountain. This is the terminal of the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway where my father is Superintendent. It is late Friday afternoon and the fire has been dropped in their single 2-8-0 consolidation steam locomotive for there is no service on weekends. She is still simmering while the whistle valve leaks steam as boiler pressure drops. Our home was hardly more than a stone's throw from the shop and so I grew up with a very personal attachment to an operating railroad.
'Use your imagination and envision a small barefoot boy with cheeks of tan shuffling along a dusty road paved roads came later to the area of those magnificent mountains with arms imitating the side rods of a locomotive. It turns out that the boy is not only imitating a locomotive but its engineer as well, for there is an animated conversation with his imaginary fireman whose name just happens to be Pete.
'That era is now history, but it has left its mark. Now comes the next generation and its construction projects that squeeze the family car out of its home. The garage becomes the Lathrop Works as a track car takes form. Since it will be operated on abandoned rail lines this leads to the association with like-minded individuals. The end result is the formation of the Catskill Mountain Railroad Corporation and the learning to operate conventional trains in yet another era.
'Having been successful in my battle to put leukemia in remission, at least for the time being, that light at the end of the tunnel may signal yet another era. It may be I can no longer climb the ladder to the cab of a locomotive, whistle off and feel the power of a diesel engine at my finger tips. There can be no regrets. This association has opened doors for me around the world, literally, from the Aquba Railway in Jordan to B. C. Rail in Canada. Besides, the Corporation has elected to put my name on my favorite locomotive. Pete is still my fireman.'
Also we have this from DEREK A. RAYNER, Archivist of the Road Roller Association, 'Invicta,' 9 Beagle Ridge Drive, Acomb, York, Y02 3JH, England: 'During a recent visit to the Netherlands, in my capacity as Archivist to the U.K. enthusiast's organization the Road Roller Association, I was asked to look at a vertical boilered steam roller (commonly known as a coffee pot type), the origins of which seem to be some what obscure. The roller was under restoration by Jan Smeets, a dedicated steam roller enthusiast at Weert in the southeast of Holland. Jan has two splendidly restored examples of German built steam rollers made by the firm of B. Ruthemeyer of Soest. No. 771 of 1935 is a conventional three roll machine powered by a single crank compound engine, whilst the other, No. 716 of 1930, is a smaller roller having two high pressure cylinders and no flywheel. Both of these are in the style of earlier built British machines to which the designs owe a lot.
'The coffee pot roller which was being worked on at the time of my visit came to Jan from a private museum in Belgium where it had been for some 20 years. During the time the roller had been in Belgium, its boiler had worn out and this and the steam engine which powered the roller had been removed and put to one side. At some time, an enterprising Belgian had substituted a 2-cylinder diesel engine to provide further power so that the roller could continue in use. Fortunately, the engine and boiler remained with the roller and had not been lost.
'A clue to the roller's identity was available in the form of a plate which was with the boiler. This read ANVERS, 6K, 1297, 1911. I had previously seen several Boiler Regulation Plates on rollers in Europe and recognised this to be one of these. The figure of 6 was the working pressure in bars (87 p.s.i). Anvers is French for Antwerp in Belgium and it was presumed that the Builders Number of the machine was 1297, it having being built in 1911. Unfortunately, no manufacturer's name was given.
'The roller is believed to be of American origin, as it looks similar to a later Galion-made machine with its quadrant shaped holes in the steering rolls at the rear. Another potential indication as to where the roller started life came with the style of riveting conical head shaped rivets on both the boiler and the roller framing which is understood to be American practice and not European. Also, the construction of the engine, now reunited with the roller, looked similar to that of a Buffalo Pitts traction engine and also a Gaar Scott engine which are located at the Bakkers molen, a steam driven bakery at a windmill and steam museum at Wildert north of Antwerp, Belgium. These two engines were also seen whilst on the same short break holiday.
'If any reader can help identify the maker of this roller or help with photos or locations of similar rollers in the U.S.A. which may assist, I would be pleased to hear from them. In particular, photos of coffee pot rollers by the firms of Galion and Erie would be very much appreciated and perhaps go some way towards helping with the present quest. Enclosed are two photos taken of the Dutch roller during reconstruction.'
This comes from BRENDA STANT, 6101 Harmony Road, Preston, Maryland 21655: 'Regarding your response to Ricky Ritchie's inquiry in the November/December Iron Men Album as to what the initials J. S. K. on your cover stood for, I feel the late John S. Kauffman deserves to have more than just his name printed.
'John S. Kauffman was indeed a very talented artist. He was so talented that in his younger days he worked striping new steam engines and threshers at the factory. In later years he striped a lot of engines for people who were restoring them. Almost everyone in the East that restored a Frick engine in the 1950s and 1960s got Mr. Kauffman to stripe it. You can tell at first glance if an engine was striped by Mr. Kauffman, as I've seen no other striping that even comes close to the beautiful swirls and curlicues he made. He helped a lot of people with information on colors, etc. for their engines.
'When I was quite young, my dad got him to stripe our three Frick engines and Harrisburg Car Company (Paxton) engine. It was mesmerizing for a kid to watch him transform a plain paint job into a work of art.
'Some of my favorite home movies are the ones we took of him striping our engines and laughing and playing with my baby sister. You had to be quick to get him in action as every time he saw a camera he would stop, stand up straight and pose.
'He was also a very talented model builder. He built threshing outfits complete with Frick engine, thresher and baler all working and striped to the tiniest detail. Sometimes on his visits he would bring one of his small model engines (which were only two to three feet long) and run it up and down our lane.
'He displayed many of his models and paintings at shows in the East in the 1960s.
'Mr. Kauffman passed away years ago. I would guess in the 1970s. A picture of his tombstone with a steam engine on it appeared in one of the Iron Men Albums. I remember how well my dad liked it, so when he passed away in 1994 we had one of his Frick engines and Avery RoTrak tractor put on his stone (see photo).
'It is sad that people who got into this hobby in later years will never get to know people like John S. Kauffman.'
We apologize to Brenda for failing to include her father in the Golden Roll two years ago when he passed away. His obituary appeared in GEM shortly after his 1994 death, and is in this issue belatedly. Thank you so much, Brenda, for filling us in on Mr. Kauffman and his many talents.
'This 1912, 60 HP Case steam engine, owned and restored by Craig Luthy of Chaska and Clark Bandimere of East Union, paraded daily at 1 p.m. at the Scott-Carver Threshers 33rd Steam and Gas Engine Festival, August 2, 3, 4, 1996, near Jordan, Minnesota. The 60 HP engine was recommended for grading and road work. This engine has a 10 x 10 simple cylinder.' writes DEE SCOTT, BOX 317, Mound, Minnesota 55364.
KENNETH GRONEWALD, 804 Birdie Hills Road, St. Peters, Missouri 63376-1937 writes: 'Enclosed are some pieces of Emerson and Big 4 equipment. This is in and on the cover of a little hand pocket ledger. No date anywhere on it. Just thought maybe some of you readers would be interested in seeing this equipment.'
BRUCE McCOURTNEY, 433 5th Street, PO Box 121, Syracuse, Nebraska 68446 writes: 'Dear Iron Men Album magazine gang, Thanks for all the good times we have had together all these years. I have all the issues to date so please, don't let me miss a copy. Seems like we are losing out on steam. I'll be 91 years old January 13, 1997. I'm on my feet. Have all my teeth, never had a toothache. My eyes are getting a little dim. Have lots of hair but it's white. Not sick much but had lots of broken bones. I was born January 13, in 1906 at Table Rock, Nebraska.
'These are steam engines I've owned from the middle 1920s through 1995: 16 HP #15484, Universal boiler; 16 HP Russell, #15757, Standard boiler; 16 HP Russell #17085, code boiler built in 1922; 16 HP Russell #15546, Standard boiler; 16 HP Reeves D cyl. #7298; 16 HP Reeves, DC #7713; 20 HP Minneapolis #6939, old; 20 HP Minneapolis #7971 code boiler; 20 HP Minneapolis #8548 code boiler; 20 HP Minneapolis #8267 code boiler; 50 HP Case #33661 code boiler; 65 HP Case #33346 code boiler; 18 HP Aultman Taylor #8827; 18 HP Aultman-Taylor #9057; 20 HP Aultman Taylor code boiler plow engine #9365; three 8-ton Buffalo Springfield steam road rollers, all three code boilers built from 1922-26; model Case 4 HP early 50s; model rear mount Gaar Scott built in late 60s; and a Port Huron compound #8550 built 1924 code extra heavy high pressure boiler 200 p.s.i. 24-75 HP.'
JAMES E. SEVERA SR., E23169 Old US 2 West, Watersmeet, Michigan 49969 asks this: 'I am a model machine builder, as of now I own a scale Case modeled after the Famous Case 65. I have built a small Baker fan and also a water wagon to pull behind it. To fill you in, I am a retired tool maker and machinist. So not saying more than that, I have the experience to machine parts and fit them as well.
'What I am about to ask is that you direct me to a picture parts book of the Ann Arbor Hay Press Wire Tie, as I would really like to get the picture parts book. It would be of much help. Hoping you may be able to complete my boyhood dream.'
'I have some questions that someone may be able to answer in your 'Soot in the Flues' column,' says MARK SHELDON, 280 Clemons Road, Floral, Arkansas 72534:
'I recently acquired a stationary steam engine and boiler at an auction near Fox, Arkansas, where they had been used to power a sawmill during the early 1980s at an operation called the 'Meadowcreek Project'.
'The engine was built by the Atlas Engine Works of Indianapolis, Indiana, and is a side-crank type with a 9' bore by 14' stroke cylinder. It has a 12 inch wide by 54' diameter flywheel. The engine has the number 27232 stamped on it. I would be interested what HP this engine was rated and when it was built.
'The boiler was built by the Enterprise Company of Columbiana, Ohio. It is a butt-strap with a 36' diameter shell, and has 64, 2 inch diameter tubes, 8' long. This boiler was rebuilt by Bemberg Iron Works of Little Rock, Arkansas, when it went to Meadowcreek.
'I was told the steam engine originally powered a cotton gin at Fox, Arkansas, until it burned down. Then a Mr. Shanks from the Timbo, Arkansas, area obtained the engine to use on his sawmill. The boiler was also used on Mr. Shank's mill, but do not know whether it originally came from the cotton gin too. From there they went back to the Fox area to Meadowcreek about 1979. Both engine and boiler were rebuilt at this time.
'My intentions are to set them up on a sawmill we have. If anyone would have any more history or information/literature on the Atlas engine or Enterprise boiler, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you.'
This comes from GERALD R. DARR, 2220 Bishopsgate Drive, Toledo, Ohio 43614: 'Gosh, the current issue of IMA is so small and not many stories were in it. I enjoyed Edwin Bredemeier's letter and description of various forks.
'Dad had a large fork he called an ensilage (silo) fork, also called a beet fork. We lived at Port Clinton, Ohio, and there was a silo on the farm. The ensilage fork was used to scoop up and throw down ensilage for the cows. It had about 10 tines about 3/8 inch diameter and they were about 18 inches long.
'When we moved to Clyde, Ohio we used this fork to clean out the horse stalls. It worked fine especially if corn fodder stocks were used for bedding in place of straw. This same fork was used by persons raising sugar beets in the old days.
'I helped my uncle in 1935 for a time during sugar beet harvest. The beets were lifted with a team and lifter. Then they were topped with a special knife with a hook on the end, then thrown into piles. Then they were loaded on a hayrack using this beet fork. They were taken to the barnyard and forked off and covered with straw to prevent them from freezing and to wait on a call to be allowed to deliver a load to the beet plant really backbreaking to raise sugar beets in those days.
'Now they lift them out and a truck follows along and they are loaded up. With the sugar industry up and down, a lot of farmers are not raising beets around the Freemont, Ohio, area and the plant is, or was, facing a closedown. The final out come will be if they can contract enough acreage for the 1997 season.
'I read in Golden Roll of the death of Orville Cooper and that he owned a Buckeye traction ditcher. My father and his brother owned a Buckeye ditcher and did tilling in Ottawa and Sandusky County, Ohio, from about 1907 to 1910. Now the ditchers are slick and they use plastic tubing. I think they use laser beams to sight with.
'I see all those threshing scenes from old. My sister had pictures of old scenes with my father and grandfather and others in the picture. After Mother went to a nursing home, they got lost.
'That seems like an extra belt on the rig threshing from a stack in Meeker County, Minnesota. No one put up grain stacks in our part of Ohio. One man did put the bundles in the barn and I helped thresh one year from the barn.
'I have rambled on enough, so I better close. Keep up the stories and more of them!'
Well, we've finally come to the end of our letters, and we're so pleased to have heard from so many readers this month. What a way to start off the new year! Please, keep the letters coming, and the pictures are great, too. Remember that Soot is YOUR forum for sharing experiences, seeking information or helping others. We'll try to say as little as possible and let YOU do the talking!
Steamcerely, Linda and Gail
Robinson traction engine and a hand-feed separator; caught wheat in sack. Note wooden wheels. Stephen D. Lowe standing at back of traction engine. Father, James M. Millburn, standing on straw. William Runyon and boys, Floyd and Oakley, on wagon in front ot pipe. Donor, small boy, standing; woman in dark dress is grandmother. Farm of Stephen D. Lowe, near Burlington, about 1898. From photo loaned by grandson, Elmer Milburn, R.R. #2, Cutler. 1958. Courtesy of Indiana Historical Society.