Well, Fall is finally upon us, and threshing has disappeared for the year in most parts of the country. By the time you read this issue, outdoor engine events will have given way to repairs and maintenance, in the barns and garages where you care for your fine machinery.
Likewise, the family begins to spend more time indoors, attending the many seasonal events that make us all grateful to be a part of our various communities. And after the many gatherings of many kinds are a warm memory of another year, we reach out to welcome 1998, approaching ever more closely to the end of the millennium. Time, perhaps, to start thinking about how we will strive to be better people in the next century, if not the next year!
1997 has been a good year for IMA. We have gotten more stories, more letters, and more compliments from our faithful subscribers. Thanks to all of you for your kind support, and please help us to keep the steam traction engine hobby alive! Send us your stories, send us your pictures and letters. Share your tales with your fellows! And now, on to the first letter:
GARY JONES, 576 Murray Street, Owatonna, Minnesota 55060 writes: 'This is a helpful hint that is aimed at novices like myself. When I am at shows I quite often visit with people who are just getting into the steam hobby and are looking for information about such and such. This letter is meant to help some of the newcomers with a problem that confused me a couple of years ago.
'In the fall, after the shows were done a few years back, my friend George Ohman from Montgomery, Minnesota, wanted to haul my 65 Case to his place to saw some lumber. George and his son Kevin picked it up with their semi a few weeks later and unloaded it at their place. After a few weeks of rain, we finally had a nice weekend and it was time to saw. George had his usual crew of friends and relatives there, ready to saw, and when I had her all fired up and was checking some things over right before sawing, my injector didn't work. This is the injector that would never fail, no matter what. The engine had performed great at four shows'
And now here I sat with egg on my face and ten people ready to saw lumber. After trying my injector tricks to no avail, George looked over the situation and went and got a five gallon pail of water right from his well. He said, 'Put your suction hose in here and try sucking the water out of the pail instead of the tender.' I opened the injector and it immediately sucked the water up and worked perfectly. George said, 'YOU'VE GOT A TANK FULL OF !!CLEAN IT OUT!!'
'We took the hose from his water truck and cleaned the water bunker out good, getting all of the scale out. Had no further injector troubles and sawed lumber the rest of the day. Since I have a big mouth, and have shared this with some people at shows with the same problem, you wouldn't believe how many injectors are now working because of the five gallon pail of water! It was a good lesson for me on how fussy injectors can be, and how a little bit of scale or mud can keep them from working properly.'
This comes from FRANK J. BURRIS, 1102 Box Canyon Road, Fall-brook, California 92028. Frank writes: 'Lest it be forgotten that this old horse is still around, having made it past 94, herewith enclosed are two interesting railroad photos for our readers. Number One is believed to be a copy of Huerta's Mexican rebellion crew of along about 1910. They have commandeered a train locomotive preparatory to driving out any interference from Uncle Sam's military forces. I vaguely remember this activity at seven years of age.
'Number Two is a copy of a snapshot taken by daughter Barbara while on vacation up Montana way. The little old Shay, together with its complement of coaches, should merit a shed covering to protect the display from the weather. The Climax and Heisler were the only other of three types of geared locomotives developed especially for logging purposes.'
'Keep up the fine work on Elmer Ritzman's Album; I had the great pleasure of meeting him at his Sunday school back in the early '60s. Readers should remember that he characterized steam traction engines as 'Iron Men' in distinction to steam railroad locomotives as 'Iron Horses.' See early editions for verification.'
JOEL EENIGENBURG, 3058 191st Place, Lansing, Illinois 60438 says: 'We have a McCormick-Deering thresher, model #61. We are in need of a manual or any information you may have for restoration.'
Frank Burris' photo #1. The old loco likely ran on the CA and AZ Eastern Railway. The Belpaire type firebox was quite standard for Pennsylvania locos.
Frank Burris' photo #2. Was this little Shay committed to passenger service up Montana way? Maybe our old railroader Walt Thayer up in Washington can supply more detail. How about it, Walt?
LARRY G. CREED, RR 13, Box 209, Brazil, Indiana 47834 says, 'I would like to thank Melvin Kestler and Tom Stebritz for sharing their old steam photographs in the September/October IMA issue. I hope everyone will take the hint and share their old photos.
'Many of us 'steam people' subscribe to both Iron Men Album and Engineers and Engines magazines and I suggest you do not submit the same story text and pictures to both magazines. Give us a different story twist and different photographs.
'Modern steam engine photos should include information about the manufacturer, horsepower rating and the engine serial number, because without this information we can merely make guesses about the engine.'
(Good point, Larry! We like to present fresh stories to our readers, and it's always a disappointment when we open E & Eyes, we check out the competition only to find a story we've just published ourselves!)
'Lastly, a bit of Nichols and Shepard information of the last 1,000 steam engines that were produced until 1924, only about 40 engines were not double rear mount engines. These double rear mounts were 16-60, 20-75 or 25-90 engines with either butt strap or lap seam boilers. It is unusual to find a late serial number Nichols and Shepard steam engine that is not a rear mount double.'
Have you ever seen the famous PUG-PULL tractor? Look carefully at the photo above from WOODROW L. ANTLE, 208 Farmington Drive, Plantation, Florida 33317.
Again we hear from MARK CORSON, 9374 Roosevelt Street, Crown Point, Indiana 46307, who sent us the photo taken at Major Co. Historical Society's Old Time Threshing Bee, Fairview, Oklahoma, September 26-28, 1997. A house was being moved with a 20 HP under mount Avery owned by Chady Atteberry of Blackwell, Oklahoma, and the Martens' 1916 30 HP Nichols-Shepard. Mark also sent the ad at bottom left.
KEN BUTTERWORTH, 2821 Wilmington Road, Lebanon, Ohio 45036 writes: 'I visited the Corn Festival, at the Clinton County Fairgrounds in Wilmington, Ohio, September 5, 1997'. There were tractors, steam engines and small engines all over the grounds. The weather was nice with very little humidity, which is unusual for southern Ohio.
'This was the second day of a three day show. The show has many of the typical tractors, engines and other agricultural equipment being shown, but what I really like are the steam engines. The owners really get up early to get their steam up, and then the rest of the day they are busy sawing wood, threshing wheat, and shredding corn. I saw the following engines: 1919 Aultman Taylor 30-40; 1921 Frick 18 HP; 1920 Rumely Oil Pull; 1920 Avery; 1920 Russell; 1912 Farquhar 20 HP; and a 1918 Avery. Each engine was in great working order.'
'I spent the day looking at the engines performing their duties of supplying the power for the equipment. I had a great day and I enjoyed myself.'
Ken Butterworth's photos of the Clinton County Corn Festival, clockwise from bottom
'Here's some fodder for the Soot in the Flues column,' says PETE La-BELLE, 802 Shady brook, Holland, Michigan 49424.'
'In the summer of '96, I purchased a 15 HP reverse mount Buffalo Pitts steam engine. It hadn't run since '61 and had been sitting outside all that time. It's in the midst of a major restoration right now and is scheduled to 'return from the dead' in the spring of '98. At this point, it has very little history behind it, and I'm searching for all that can be had.'
'I've been investigating the history on my engine and the Buffalo Pitts line, but have not been very successful. I've been able to find an assortment of sales literature dating from 1903-15, and have come to the conclusion that it was built after 1909. The builder's tag had rusted off some time ago, so there is no number to research.
'The literature that was found took some deciphering, as the engravings of the 15 HP series were all the same from 1906 through 1915, as evidence of some numbers in the background of the etching. The Pickering governor has a 1909 patent date on it, so the tractor is no older than that.'
'It was purchased from Glen Rose Jr., who lived between Tawas and West Branch in northeastern Michigan. His dad, Glen Sr., owned it, and a Port Huron. Glen Sr. sold the Port Huron shortly before his death in '61, and I think it's lurking around southeastern Michigan now. The Buffalo remained in the family till last year. Glen Jr. was not a steam engine guy, but remembered that his dad brought the Buffalo up from somewhere around the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area in the mid '50s. Does anybody out there remember this engine?'
'Are there any of the factory records still in existence? I've traced the Buffalo Pitts Company through several ownership changes, and the fragments of the original company were bought out by Koehring (makers of heavy equipment) in the late '50s. Letters in that direction have been unanswered. Information from the Buffalo, New York, Historical Society gave some information about the Pitts family, but no leads on factory info.'
'Please, if you have any answers to my questions, write me. YOU may be the only lead left, so don't assume someone else will have the answers. All information will be greatly appreciated.'
'I am learning a great deal on the restoration of this beast, and you can count on a lengthy article on its restoration, things I've learned, and nifty tricks discovered along the way.'
'I have purchased a stationary steam engine which is a Red Lion, says JAMES BOYD SILSBY, R.R. 1, Box 101, Mankato, Kansas 66956-9515. 'It is serial number 19611 with a 5' bore and 7' stroke.
'I am not familiar with the Red Lion and would like information about them. I would even like to know the approximate date of manufacture and some information on the Red Lion Company.'
'If there is anyone who could help me, I will appreciate it. I have enclosed two pictures one side view and one from crankshaft end of the engine. Hoping to hear from someone soon. Thanks.'
Well, that's about it for this issue. Please keep your letters coming in and we look forward to receiving them. We're feel certain that you've all attended some shows this summer and that you must have seen something interesting that may have eluded you in the past! Be sure to write it down, and if you've taken a snapshot of it, all the better!
Maybe you have a suggestion for something you'd like to see more of in IMA, or a subject you think someone ought to take up. Send us your suggestions and we'll try to comply!
Steamcerely, Linda and Gail