SOOT IN THE FLUES

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Hi Dear Friends and Family of I.M.A.! I guess you are in your
glory now with the Reunion Season in full swing and a few months to
go. Enjoy it! And don’t forget to pile up the memories and the
good stories to let us in on later.

A while back I had a few sentences on signs of age. I promised
to print some more of those funny(?) lines. Here it is in its
entirety called:

Sign of Age

Everything hurts and what doesn’t hurt, doesn’t
work
You feel like the night after when you haven’t been
anywhere
You get winded playing chess
Your children begin to look middle aged
You know all the answers, but nobody asks you the questions
You look forward to a dull evening
You turn out the light for economic rather than romantic
reasons
You sit in a rocking chair and can’t get going
Your knees buckle and your belt won’t
You’re 17 around the neck, 43 around the waist, 96 around the
golf course
You just can’t stand people who are intolerant
You burn the midnight oil until 9 P.M.
Your back goes out more often than you do
Your pacemaker raises the garage door when you see a pretty girl
go by
The little gray-haired lady you help across the street is your
wife
You get your exercise acting as pallbearer for friends who
exercise
You have too much room in the house and not enough in the medicine
cabinet
You sink your teeth into a steak and they stay there.

Aren’t we strange creatures though? If you read this, you
may chuckle a little, but not so much if they refer to you
personally. I hope too many of them do not apply to you. I figure
well; none of those are for meha! (Anyhow sounds like most of them
are meant for men, don’t you think so ladies, ms’s and
gals?) Enough of this and onto the letters:

First letter is from KNUTE KIRKEBERG, Box 1145, Cortez, Colorado
81321: ‘When I received my Jan.-Feb. 1982 issue of IMA, I had
to come back several times to picture No. 4 of the unclassified
photos. It didn’t seem possible, but the man at the controls
looks like my father. If so, this picture had to be taken near
Mayville, North Dakota in 1923, seven years before I was born. He
came to the United States that year from Norway and worked on a
farm owned by a family named Moen. Possibly some of your readers in
the North Dakota area can remember and identify the engine. It
looks like it could possibly be a Bird-sail. I don’t know about
those strange open cleats on the rear wheels. In any case, it would
be exciting to positively identify my father.’ (Now,
there’s a fellow that would really appreciate knowing the real
identification of the picture. See if you can help Knute.)

TOM LIVINGSTON, Box 423, Fortuna, California 95540, phone
707-725-3177 sends this letter: ‘I would like information on
early steam engines, brass frames, the kind that was used in small
steam buggies. I have two of this type engine. The serial numbers
on them are 957 and 968. Any help in finding out what year they
were made and who manufactured them would be greatly
appreciated.’

Perhaps you can help PETER D.F. WIEBE, Grunthal, Manitoba,
Canada R0A 0R0. Phone 434-6384. He would like any information on a
Sawyer Massey steamer. He has one and he cannot find his horsepower
or year of the steamer. On the chamber plate the number is L 666.
Please let him hear from you.

We had a letter from CARL CUSHICK, 38174 Long Crossing Road,
Leetonia, Ohio 44431. He had a letter in the Nov.-Dec. 1981 column
of IMA. It was concerning a car instead of an engine. He writes:
‘We are so pleased to report that we have received several
letters from steam-men since our letter was printed in your
magazine. Thanks again! We were surprised to receive one letter
even before our magazine arrived.’ (Isn’t it nicethese
steam men will help in any way they can. Thanks fellas.)

‘I have been building on a 2 cyl. Reeves. I will have it
running soon so I don’t know the true colors to paint it. If
anyone could send me a picture of a colored picture, sure would
appreciate it.’ This comes from FREEMAN MONTGOMERY, 155 Rue
Grand, Lake St. Louis, Missouri 63367.

ALFRED NEUSCHAFER, Enterprise, Kansas 67441 writes regarding the
unclassified photo in March-April 1982 IMA: ‘On page 18, photo
#1 was taken in August 1920 in Ellsworth County, Kansas. The
machine in this scene is a Minneapolis engine and separator bought
new that year. The owner of the machine is Fred Nieke, now
deceased, standing on the separator. My brother, John and I are
sitting on the grain wagon in right of picture. I was 9 years of
age and my brother was 7. My father, Henry Neuschafer took the
picture. I suppose my brother and I are the only persons living
today from this picture. Old steam engineers would say that the
engineer in the picture was wasting coal. I still remember that
engineer saying that the threw in 3 or 4 shovels of coal to make
this picture to make lots of smoke. I am now 70 years of age.’
(We appreciate hearing from you folks on these old pictures the
readers really enjoy it also.)

We have several letters on comments of the unclassified photos
for Mar-Apr. 1982. This one comes from WM. W. WILLOCK, JR., Route
1, Box 650, Rolph’s Wharf Road, Chestertown, Maryland 21620:
‘Regarding the unclassified photos in the March-April issue, I
believe #3 at the bottom of page 18 shows the dedication of the
Port Huron wheel at LeRoy Blaker’s farm in recognition of his
founding of the National Threshers Association, and his long stint
as president.

Blaker is the third from the left, with his hand on the bull
gear the other gentleman I can’t name, but are probably members
of the Board of Directors. This event occurred some years ago; I
don’t recall the exact year, but no doubt it was a significant
anniversary of the founding of the association. I believe it was
written up in IMA at the time. Incidentally, the Blakers lived near
Alvordton, Ohio. I visited them back in the 50s, and was treated to
a real country dinner and tour of the sawmill and engine
collection.

The next letter is information on the same picture mentioned
above. It comes from WALTER J. HUFFMAN, 3-15119 U.S.-A-20, Wauseon,
Ohio 43567. Walter tells us: ‘On page 18 of March-April the
unclassified photos at the bottom of the page. This is a Port Huron
engine wheel on the farm of LeRoy Blaker, Alvordton, Ohio. This is
where the National Threshers Association was founded in 1944. I
would guess this picture to have been taken before 1953. The N.T.A.
moved from the Blaker farm to the Williams County Fairgrounds,
Montpelier, Ohio in 1953. From there to the Fulton County
Fairgrounds, Wauseon in 1965 where it is still held. The wheel no
longer stands.

LeRoy Blaker was president of N.T.A. for 25 years. Ernest Hoffer
of Toledo, Ohio was president 8 years. Marvin Brodbeck of Ottawa
Lake, Michigan is now the president.

The men in the picture as far as I know are left to right:
Reverend Elmer Ritzman, Bill Benner of Clayton, Michigan, next one
unknown; seated: Clyde Felger, LeRoy Blaker, Dan Zehr, Ernest
Hoffer. Standing, unknown. Then: Merle Newkirk, Paul Curtiss and
the last one could this be Louie Davidin sons? I hope someone will
send you a complete list of names. Keep up your good work.’

The next letter comes from HERBERT E. MANN, R.R. 2, Box 46,
Warsaw, Indiana 46580 and some of it is on the same picture
mentioned in the above two previous letters. (I like to print them
all for I know many of you are very interested in them. None of the
men seem to know all the men mentioned in the letter. Perhaps if
you study them all, we will come up with the complete list of
names.)

Herbert writes: ‘The unclassified photo #3 in the
March-April issue was taken at the home of LeRoy Blaker, Alvordton,
Ohio and I believe these gentlemen were the original members of the
National Threshers Association. The Port Huron rear wheel was
erected with a commemorative plaque to indicate that the first
threshers show in the United States was held here in 1946.

I attended the first show and I remember LeRoy Blaker’s
32-110 Port Huron engine, his 24 HP Longfellow in the sawmill and a
couple of Baker uniflows made up the lineup. All the neighbors
brought their new M Farmalls, G John Deeres and an LA Case to try
out on the A.D. Baker prony brake. I had a nice visit with Mr.
Baker, who was then in his 90s. He told me that the small high
pressure steam tractor had to be discontinued because the steam
cylinder oil in the condensed water going back into the fire tube
boiler would form an insulating layer around the tubes making it
very hard to keep steam up under load. They finally devised a
filter by simply threading a pipe casing on both ends and packing
it with straw. When the straw became saturated, you unthreaded the
cap and packed in fresh straw. But, by then it was too late, the
internal combustion engine had taken over.

The only men in the photo that I can identify are the Rev. Elmer
Ritz-man on the far left, LeRoy Blaker sitting just left of the
plaque and Ernest Paulson with his hand against the Port Huron
final drive gear. Ernest and my father went to school together in
Rome Township near

Onsted, Michigan. He was a lifelong friend and neighbor and
considered one of the best threshermen in the area. His first
tractor was a 15-30 International with the 4 cylinder horizontal
engine with four separate carburetors. The neighbors would bring
their grain in on Saturday to have it ground and everyone would
take their turn cranking the 15-30, trying to get it started. Mrs.
Pawson was a large woman and would finally get fed up with all the
commotion. She would go out and crank up the 15-30 and get it
started!

Ernest traded the International in 1926 for a Rumely R 25-95 Oil
Pull. I remember one time the County Highway had parked an
Allis-Chalmers M Crawler tractor and Russell grader right next to a
long lane going back to a Mayfield. This lane went up a steep sandy
hill that had washed badly, so Ernest asked the Hwy. Superintendent
if they could use the Russell grader behind the Oil Pull to grade
the lane. The superintendent told him to use the whole outfit, but
Ernest felt safer with the Oil Pull. About half way up the hill,
the Rumely spun out, and we had to chain the crawler on ahead and
pull the whole works up the hill. This was my first experience in
crawler superiority in poor footing.

Ernest bought a Port Huron Rusher 3 head block sawmill, with
60′ main saw and 30′ top saw. The Rumely would saw all day
on 25 gallons of kerosene and 25 gallons of water, but it just
didn’t have enough power. So, the Pawsons found a 19-65 Port
Huron Longfellow engine that was adequate, but still not big
enough.

By this time I was 12 years old and spent all the time I could
hanging around the engine, for which I would get $2.00 per day plus
my meals! I could be around the engine and get paid besides. The
fireman also ran the slab saw, so you were plenty busy.

After I left home and sought my fortunes elsewhere, the Pawsons
sold the Port Huron engine and bought a Baker from somewhere in the
Reading, Michigan area. This engine had been in a mill for sometime
and the rear wheels and gearing had been sold for scrap. This was a
20th Century engine with counter-flow valve and I believe it was
over 100 horsepower. I understand very few of these engines were
built. Perhaps a Baker enthusiast can fill us in on this
engine.

Well, I have rambled on long enough. Steam is now out of my
reach, but I have a John Deere GP, McCormick Deering 15-30, Farmall
F-12, Case RC and an Allis-Chalmers CA that I have picked up over
the years. Keep the good articles coming.’ (Thanks Herbert, and
I believe the older readers will enjoy your letter.)

Our next informative letter comes from DICK HEAVEN, 155 Cross
Street, Clarksville, Michigan 48815 and he comments on all the
pictures:

‘I would like to say what a great job you have done on a
great column in a great magazine, and I like the way you clean the
flues at the end. Have you made a book of the quotes over the
years? (No, not really just look back through them now and
then.)

I am sitting at home recouperating from surgery so thought I
would give you my ideas of the pictures in the unclassified photos
in the March-April IMA. Here’s my thoughts as I see them:

1. A 24 HP Minneapolis and a Yellow Fellow Avery separator in
the wheat country, from the look of all the good teams and grain
wagons, they are hauling the grain quite a distance.

2. A nice 24 HP Minneapolis engine been doing quite a bit of
belt work from the looks of the band wheel all shiney and nice. The
one horsepower in front must be sitting down or his hind legs are
in a deep hole.

3. These men are part of the celebration and dedication
ceremonies at LeRoy Blaker’s home farm at Alvordton, Ohio, the
site of the first steam show in the states. The men left to right
are: Rev. Elmer Ritzman, founder of our magazine. The next man
comes from southernmost part of Michigan. He had a Baker engine,
don’t know the next nor the man sitting on the right hand of
LeRoy Blaker or the man on his left, but the 7th man is Ernest
Hoffer and was second president of National Thresher’s
Association. Following LeRoy, next man don’t know. The next man
is the man from Midland, Michigan that furnished the Port Huron
wheel and plaque. The next is Paul (forgot his last name). I am
sorry about not knowing the names. I remember the faces.

4. A nice early sawmill scene, and as was the case in those days
when they knew the photographer was coming they wanted the whole
family and the prize animals in the picture. I am surprised there
are no dogs. The boiler seems to be bricked in with field stone.
This is a ‘make do with what you’ve got.’

5. I believe they are threshing with a 19-65 Port Huron and from
the looks of the coal wagon they are nearly done. Also they are
blowing the straw off the one side of the stack which seems to be
topped out.

6. This engine should get some comments as I believe it is a 32
HP Port Huron, but it is a left-handed engine. Would like to know
more about this engine.

7. A nice model Case and the man is proud of his engine. The
little boy doesn’t believe what he is seeing. The other men are
wondering if they could do a job like that. Would they have time
and how much did it cost? It’s amazing what some people can do
if they set their minds to it.

‘The man who loses his head is the last one to miss
it.’

R. G. JACOBY, Route 3, Marengo, Iowa 52301 writes a short letter
and again on some identification of pictures. Surely March-April
pictures stirred up a lot of writing and this is good. His letter
tells us: ‘Picture #2 is Jess Barber in a 9.55-22 Lavina, Iowa
and his 28-88 Minnesota steamer and 24 year old blue stone Poney,
the best roping poney in this world. #3 shows plaque of site of
first steam show 1946 at LeRoy Blaker’s farm. This plaque was
printed on the cover of Jan.-Feb. 1960 and the cover of May-June
1969 and with the unclassified pictures of May-June 1978
photos.’ (Thank you R.G., I bet a lot of men will be looking
them up and they are a little different photos and captions.)

JACK ALLEN, 4404 East Harry, Wichita, Kansas 67218 needs help as
he would like to know what kind of a separator is on the picture on
page 9 of March-April 1982 IMA. Maybe Keith Sternberg will see this
and answer Jack.

Inquiries come from BILL STAHL, 6560 W. SR 46, Columbus, Indiana
47201. Phone 812-342-4713. ‘Several years ago Denis Schrank of
Batesville, Indiana and I purchased an Emerson Brantingham 60 HP
engine, serial #18021. We are in the process of restoring it and
would like to know the proper colors and any other information one
may have. We would also like to know where or at what show we could
see another engine like it.’ (Okay fellows, if you have an
Emerson Brantingham engine at your show, please contact Bill.)

HAROLD MATTHEWS, Box 91, Pima, Arizona 85543 would like to know
of any company that presently builds 50 to 200 HP steam engines,
either portable or stationary. If you know, please let us here at
Stemgas know also. Thanks.

Anybody out there know what city Ritchie’s Weedens toy steam
engines were made? Please let us know and also write GEORGE L.
JACOBS, 708 Knapp Street, Wolf Point, Montana 59201.

One of our contributors to the column writes and needs to hear
from some of the IMA Family please help him if you can. CARL M.
LATHROP, 108 Garfield Avenue, Madison, New Jersey 07940 writes:
‘Turn about is fair play I learned as a small boy. In the past
I have answered quite a number of ‘requests for
information’ type letters in your column. Now it is my turn to
look for information.

I am doing a story about the African Queen and have again come
across a steam engine manufacturer that I can’t identify. The
base of this 6 x 6 single cylinder double acting steam engine has
cast into it trade O & S mark. I can’t find any information
about this builder in my references. I had run across the name
before when I saw it on the fire-door of a boiler out in West
Virginia. Certainly someone out there in Engine land has heard of O
& S.’

Fellows! I tried to go back over these letters, particularly the
ones on the #3 picture of unclassified photos and as far as I can
come up with we ‘have a name for everyone but the 8th man from
1. to r. See what you come up with and if anyone has a name for #8,
please let me know.

And now in closing I’d like to leave you with a note sent to
me by ROBERT F. EATON, 7850 King Memorial Road, Mentor, Ohio 44060
as he writes: ‘Dear Anna Mae: I have been reading your columns
Soot in the Flues and Smoke Rings for quite a few years. This is
one of the first things I look for in the magazine. I appreciate
your fine outlook on life and the stories on your family life. I
surely do appreciate your work in keeping these most interesting
magazines going.’ (Thanks so much Robert, I needed that, but of
course you realize I am only a little part of keeping the magazine
going we have a fine staff of workers and most of the credit must
go to them. We do try to please you folks, and I am sure we
don’t always suit everyone, but we ask you to bear with us and
send us any constructive or complimentary criticisms. We honestly
will try and deal with them. Also, Robert the Iron Men Family that
writes in really makes the magazine as interesting as it is, we
would be nothing without all of you.

And as always A man’s reputation is only what men think him
to be; his character is what God knows him to be. What you laugh at
tells plainer than words what you are. When we depend on man, we
get what man can do; when we depend on prayer, we get what God can
do. Truth doesn’t hurt, unless it ought to. The dictionary is
the only place you will find success before work.

Bye Bye Love Ya!

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