Farm Collector


Hi! Is everyone ready for summer? You had better believe it
after the long, wintry months. And by the time you pull this issue
from the mailbox, some of the shows will be underway as if you
didn’t know! I’ll wager many of you are already packed and
set up for the treks to the various shows while some of you are
putting the finishing touches on the little or large beauties!

Another great little story comes from Wellsprings of Wisdom by
Ralph L. Woods this one is called The Vital Link

A spider built his web in a barn, high up among the rafters,
where he started by spinning a long, thin thread attached to the
end of one of the beams. With this thread still attached to him,
the spider jumped off the beam and spun out more thread on the way
down, until he reached the place he planned as the center of his
web. From the center he then spun out other threads like the spokes
of a wheel, attaching each of them to the walls and other places.
Finally he had an exquisitely made web, that helped him catch many
fine fat flies. But he grew fat and and vain.

One day he was admiring the web he had spun from the top beam
and said, ‘I wonder what that is for? I can’t imagine why I
ever put it there-it doesn’t catch any flies.’ And so, on a
sudden impulse he broke it. But as a result the whole wonderful web
collapsed. The spider had forgotten that the one thread the link to
the strongest beam above supported the whole web. It is very much
the same when a man breaks his link with God. (I don’t know
about you, but I get a lot of food for thought from these

Hearing from one of our regular contributors, this letter comes
from EDWIN H. BREDEMEIER, RR#1 Box 13, Steinauer, Nebraska 68441:
‘To the readers of Mar-Apr. 84 IMAA month ago
I finished reading the book ‘The Day of the Bonanza’ by
Hiram M. Drache and now on page 1, I read more about the Bonanza
Farms. I recommend the book to anyone who is interested in history
and especially the settlement of the Dakotas

‘I’m too young at 75 to have had any experiences with
steam, but one story or experience my uncle had was on Sunday P.M.
he and the water boy cleaned out the boiler and refilled it and
placed material in the firebox for the engineer the next morning.
Uncle was separator tender. Next morning the engineer got to the
engine and got a good fire started (it was dark) and he thought
steam was coming up pretty fast as he heard the crown sheet buckle.
He dropped the fire and turned the lantern around to water glass
and found it low.

‘What happed was a group of younguns started a fire with the
kindling Sunday afternoon, got up steam and took a joy ride until
the water was getting low and no one knew how to get more water in
the boiler, so they parked it in the exact spot as they found it
and left it low on water. Now if the engineer had known that the
kindling was for the fire box and was used he said he would have
suspected something; so it cost uncle a lot to repair it.

That is one of the stories I remember!’

This letter with poem comes from MELVIN R. GRENVIK, 115-lst Ave.
N.E., Kenmare, North Dakota 58746: ‘All the old steam men had
their favorite engines just as we more modern folks are about cars
but one engine that was so highly regarded by almost all was the
big 80 HP Case. I dreamed up this poem while driving cross country,
inspired by an old threshing machine rusting away alongside the
highway. I think old-timers will get a kick out of it.

In days that are gone, when steam was still king
No one could possibly face
The ridiculous though that gas would replace
The big old 80horse Case.

It stands out alone amongst more of its kind
Each one has its own rightful place.
When the chips are down and the tough job looms
They bow to the 80-horse Case.

With a full head of steam, and smoke from its stack
This engine was setting the pace,
With a twelve bottom plow sacked into the hilt
Behind that wide-wheeled 80-horse Case.

Belching black smoke with an ear-splitting bark
It pulls out ahead in the race
The others can’t cope with the conquering might
Of the awesome 80-horse Case.

With plenty of steam it stands ready to pull
Mt. McKinley right off from its base
With good footing beneath, there’s no stopping this
The mighty old 80-horse Case.

Steam was the king on the threshing machine
And they set up a blistering pace
With five men pitching the bundles in
Just play for the 80-horse Case.

Most of the old engineers are gone
To a far away happier place
But each fondly looks back on the days of his youth
When he fired an 80 horse Case.

If plowing and threshing are still to be done
Way up in that heavenly place
There’ll be an old engineer with a smile on his face
Still running an 80-horse Case.

Some say when St. Peter gets ready
To pull open those big, heavy gates
His right hand will be on the throttle
Of a beautiful 80-horse Case.

Of all the magazines I receive, I look forward to the Iron-Men
Album most of all.’

KENNETH C. FIEGEL, Box 14, Rt. 3, Kingfisher, Oklahoma 73750
send this: ‘On page 16 of the Mar-Apr, issue if IMA is a
sampling of stamps from different countries which feature steam
engines, published in Steaming Magazine, a British publication. Are
these stamps available? If so, where? I would appreciate any help
you can give. My grandson collects stamps and would like to have
some of these.’ (Anybody know? I’m sure I don’t as
I’m not much help on stamps who could give Kenneth and us the
answer to this one?)

A 1914 double cylinder Peerless engine which my dad bought new
with a separator. I don’t know the horse power, but the picture
was taken mile out of Easton, Missouri with my dad who was known as
‘Bill’ Herron. He did threshing around the country. During
World War II the engine was sold to two men from Cameron, Missouri
where it was used in a saw mill. It was left to stand and to freeze
up which burst the boiler, so persumably it was sold for junk.

This communication comes from the County Antique Engine Club of
Silver Creek and Stephenson Rail road, written by RON PIEPER,
Director, 5478 Clover Road, Free-port, Illinois 61032. Phone
815-232 2306: ‘Two years ago our club purchased a 37 ton
Heisler logging locomotive and had it operational this past July.
On November 27, 1983 we brought home an antique wooden caboose,
formerly on the C. B.&Q. So, now we have a head and a tail!

‘Our big problem lies somewhere in between. The cupola-type
car has wooden truck frames reported to be the last such type the
Pullman Company built. It has a bowed roof and a hardwood floor.
Bunks, seats, desk, etc. are all pretty much intact.

‘The past two years were spent negotiating with the Chicago,
Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific R.R. Mostly, we lost! Our big gain
was 1.67 mile of right-of-way adjacent to our 19 acre future museum
site. It cost us $550 per acre and totaled 20 acres. We then tried
to buy the rail in place. They asked $55,000 per mile. We
negotiated more and they came down to $55,000 for the 1.67 mile
stretch. Back to the ‘Board’ and a vote by the members, who
overwhelmingly voted YES!

‘Next, a letter and a call to the CM. St. Paul & P.
stating our willingness to purchase. No answer. A call through our
State Senator Harlan Rigney who has helped us many other times. (He
is also the man who just recently got Illinois to agree to some
good changes in our ‘Boiler Laws’.) Their reply was that
the value had gone up no deal we weren’t quick enough. Their
offer was no longer open, no more talking. The scrapper finished
destroying our section one week before Christmas.

‘This is a much simplified version of our contact with the
R.R. lawyers. Later, we tried to buy the ties from the scrapper. He
was impossible to deal with. Now, we are looking for 2-2 mile of
rail and ties and fastenings. A part of our problem was that the
line was 112# rail (112# to the yard). It will be welded together
and reused elsewhere. What we need is 60-90# rail to keep the
tonnage down. Anyone who can help us, please call or write.

‘One lesson was learned about R.R. officials. They would
rather not do business with people. They have more lawyers than
workers and they are more concerned with the price of scrap than if
the trains are on time.

‘Our 1984 Show dates are July 27, 28 & 29. Come help us
build a railroad!’

Seeking help, this letter comes from JOHN BYERS, Mathers Museum,
Indiana University, 601 East Eighth Street, Bloomington, Indiana
47405: ‘I am an exhibit preparator at the Mathers Museum and
particularly interested in post industrial-revolution agricultural
machinery. We have staged two small steam shows here, and have
plans for larger ones in the future.

‘Perhaps one of your readers may know if the records of the
Avery Company in Peoria, Illinois are preserved anywhere. I would
be most grateful to find any information about traction engine

‘I enjoy your magazine very much and feel that you are
performing a great service to those that wish to preserve our early
power heritage.’

(Please get in touch with John if you can supply the data he
needs. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the Iron-Men Family
has the answer.)

TONY FRIGA, Route 3, Box 200, Willow Springs, Missouri 65793
send this: ‘I have just purchased a James

Pictured is the big Case steam farm traction engine that my
father once owned back in the 1920’s up until 1928. We
didn’t thresh with this engine although we bought it form a
family that did. We used this steam engine to fill silos. My father
had a 320-acre dairy farm seven miles West of Denver. We had the
Holstein breed of dairy animals. We had three cement stove silos of
our own, 14 feet in diameter and 35 feet high. We also filled silos
for other people in the neighborhood. It is 110 HP on the belt and
32 HP on the drawbar. I am the little fellow standing back by the
hind wheel. My brothers are alongside me along with a boy from the
family from which we bought the engine. I sure hated to see this
big Case leave the farm. It was too heavy. It had a double clutch
assembly that woked by two levers one on each side of the
driver’s seat and was geared to the main shaft that the big
belt wheel.

Leffel Co, Springfield, Ohio steam engine, It is stationary,
8′ x 10′ #83. The flywheel is 40′ x 11′; belt wheel
is 28’xl2′. The base is 55’x21’xl2′ about
1′ thick. I think it was used to pull a sawmill. It is not
stuck, but has some parts missing. If someone knows the year made
and the horsepower, I would like to know. All letters will be

(There you are Fellas someone awaits your letter).

Requesting your help in search of a book, this letter comes from
ROGER L. ROBERTSON, 3706 Emily Street. Kensington Maryland 20895:
‘It has just come to my attention that the Jan-Feb. issue of
Iron-Men Album contains an article on the Skinner engine company.
For some time now I have been writing to book dealers throughout
the U.S. on behalf of my friend, Paul Stephens’ Stationary
Engine Research Group in Bristol, England, trying to locate a copy
of the following book: The Uniflow Steam Engine, by Johann Stumpf;
1st edition, 1912; Unaflow Engine Company, Inc., Syracuse, New
York. It is the English translation that Mr. Stephens wants to
locate and buy.

The purpose of this letter is to ask if you have any suggestions
as to where a copy of this book might be located. If not, I will of
course understand, since I have been quite unsuccessful so
far.’ (How about it anyone out there know where he might write
to find out about this? I keep telling you folks not to send
anything into the column that could be bought, but evidently he has
searched all places he knows with ads or calls just some
suggestions as to where he could write for this information).

‘I have taken the IMA for many years and I think it is one
of the best magazines ever published for steam engine men,’
states DALLES M. FIDLER, Clarinda, Iowa 51632.

‘I will try to give you a little history of the Fidler
family. My grandfather, John Fidler, had a stationary sawmill at
Hopkins, Missouri. One day, early in the morning, they were just
getting ready to start sawing when the boiler blew. It was 20’
long. When it landed, it was mile away. As I remember my father
telling me, my great grandfather was the only one injured. He had
his right arm and leg broken.

A PICNIC AT THE SAW MILL This picture was taken about 1915 in
the upper White Oak valley above Mowrystown, Ohio. The saw mill was
owned by Louis Burger, who is holding his baby daughter, Eunice. I
can barely remember going up there with my parents and friends from
town one day at noon and the cars were brass radiator Fords. I am
the kid leaning on the log.

My grandfather, Charles, was a thresher and sawmill man, as were
his sons, my father, Edd, and his brothers: Fred, Don and Jurd.

My grandmother Fidler’s brother, Lem Hoskins had his sawmill
at Eagleville, Missouri, My mother’s father Hi Hutchison, had
his sawmill in Braddyville, Iowa. So you can see why I am a STEAM

My son, Eldon and I still run a 40 HP Case at the Eshelman’s
Show at Elliot, Iowa and we hove to make it again this year

‘My father was a Case dealer for several years and he
delighted in trading for an engine someone else couldn’t run.
He was one of the best steam engine men that ever lived in
Southwest Iowa. He would take these old engines, fix them up and
resell them.

‘Following are some of the experiences our family has had My
grandfather and one of his sons were going up a rather steep hill
with their 10 HP Advance engine and separator. The countershaft
broke, the engine rolled back into the separator, crushing it.

‘When I was a baby, my father fell through the 102 River
Bridge with a 12 HP center crank Case engine. As luck would have
it, he was not seriously injured.

‘And the most foolish stunt that I ever did was in the fall
of 1924.I was running my father’s 18 HP under-mounted Avery and
36’ Avery separator, threshing timothy. When I finished and
started home, I could either go through Clarinda, about 10 miles
longer route, or cross a temporary bridge that the farmers and
county had built across the Noda-way River. I decided to cross the
bridge, which I did, with the whole outfit coupled together. When
my father found out what I had done, he almost had a heart attack.
I get a little nervous yet today when I think about what I did. The
Good Lord must have had his arms around me that day.

‘Another time, Dad traded a 13 HP Reeves for a 15 HP Case.
As usual, I had the job of exchanging them. We were to meet
half-way between places. I went about two thirds of the way before
I met the man with the Case. We exchanged at the bottom of the
hill. When I started up the hill, I found out why he was late. The
engine would just creep along going up hill. On the level, it would
move right along. I got home about dark and told my father how it
had acted. The next morning, he took the top off the dome valve.
The seat had come loose and lodged over the steam pipe.

‘When I was about 10 years old, my father owned an 8 HP
return flue Huber. I used to steam it up every chance I could and
run it around the pasture. I have sawed in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri
and Alaska. I sawed some last fall at the Mickelson Green Ridge
Show at Irwin, Iowa on a mill my father had bought new in 1902. It
was an Aultman Taylor engine and is now owned by Don Ferry of

‘Well, I could go on and on with these short stories but I
will close the throttle and call it a day!

‘I started flying in 1929, I owned two airplanes, a Lincoln
Page with Q-X-5 motor. The other one was a Cavalier with a 55 HP
Velie motor.’

(Best wishes to you and your wife on June 18 as you say you will
celebrate your 65th Anniversary isn’t that wonderful??)

‘Enclosed you will find pictures of two steam engines and
one gas tractor taken at Somerset, Virginia,’ says HOWARD
SOMERS, RR #1, Lindenwood, Illinois 61049. ‘The traction engine
is a 1914 16-48 Frick, owned and operated by Craig Thompson,
Orange, Virginia. The stationary steam engine is a Farquhar Iron
Ace, 50 HP believed to be a 1926 model. Mr. William Roberts of
Somerset, Va. owns this engine along with the IHC 8-16 tractor seen
below the entrance sign to the show held on his property. These are
just three of the numerous engine exhibits found there.

‘We were invited to the Somerset Steam and Gas Pasture Party
last August. I contacted Bill after seeing a picture in IMA of a
gentleman on the Frick steam engine who had the same last name as
mine. At that time, Bill asked me to come and see his show. My son,
his family, my daughter and a neighbor and myself journeyed
eastward to visit Somerset. Regretfully, we weren’t able to
spend as much time as we wished.

‘We found the Pasture Party unique in that it had
activities, entertainment and exhibits for children as well as
steam and gas enthusiasts. The warm hospitality extended to us by
Bill and his wife and the rest of the show members made our small
group feel part of their family. Within 15 minutes of our arrival,
Craig Thompson had my son, Joe, taking the Frick for a run around
the pasture.

‘Although the show is only a few years old, it’s been
growing and has the community’s support; a nicer compliment
can’t be given for a local show. Hopefully, in the near future
we can return and spend more time in an area loaded with American
history, and renew our friendship with these wonderful people.
James and Dolly Madison’s home is only a stone’s throw away
as well as Civil War battle sites.’

This short letter comes from OTHO ASH and C. BURKHART, 902 W.
Jefferson, Pittsfield, Illinois 62363: ‘We hope this old time
photo will be of some interest to many. The original was found in a
collection of old family pictures. So we know nothing about it. To
us, we assume the engine is a straw burner because of the pile of
straw at the rear of the engine. Perhaps some reader could tell us
the make of this engine and any other information.’

This letter from MRS. EARNEST BRESSLER, Bird City, Kansas 67731,
states this: ‘Earnest and our son Robert of the Tri-State
Antique Engine and Threshers took the 16-60 Nichols and Shepard
steam engine to McCook, Nebraska the 12th to cook the corn for
their Corn Days Celebration. 24,000 ears of corn were picked for
the celebration. Earnest estimated that in a five hour span of
time, over 10,000 had passed through the food line.

This is probably the last time this year that a steamer will
leave home base. Other tractors (not requiring the large trailer)
will be used for exhibiting purposes at the fairs and other tractor
shows in the area.

In signing off I’ll leave you with a few worthy thoughts…
You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your
lips… If it were easy, anybody could do it… A good angle to
approach any problem is the TTY-angle… It also takes two to make
up after a quarrel… It is never the right time to do the wrong
thing… Bye Bye love you all!

  • Published on Jul 1, 1984
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