Greetings to each of our dear Iron-Men Album family and to the
many new ones we hope to meet this summer. I came across this poem
about farmers which fits in so appropriately with the IMA group
hope you enjoy it.
To Me, My Farm Is…
My farm to me is not just land
Where bare, unpainted buildings stand.
To me my farm is nothing less
Than all created loveliness.
My farm is not where I must soil
My hands in endless, dreary toil,
But where, through seed and swelling pod,
I’ve learned to walk and talk with God.
My farm to me is not a place
Outmoded by a modern race,
I like to think I just see less
Of evil, greed and selfishness,
My farm’s not lonely, for all day
I hear my children shout and play,
And here, when age comes, free from fears,
I’ll Hue again, long joyous years.
My farm’s a heaven here dwells rest,
Security and happiness
Whate’er befalls the world outside
Here faith and hope and love abide.
And so my farm is not just land
Where bare, unpainted buildings stand.
To me my farm is nothing less
Than all God’s hoarded loveliness.
I’m sure most of you farmers can identify with this and
though you are older, some of you, I’m sure it brings back many
memories and isn’t that what we are making with each new day
memories to thrive on in the future.
And now on to the interesting data and letters that are sent by
your fellow friends.
‘I have read with interest from time to time about the Case
150 HP engine. Sadly, there is not a complete engine in existence.
The story in the March-April issue of IMA by Mr. Hedtke was, I
believe, the most enlightening of any I’ve read so far. Without
a doubt it would have been a great showpiece if one existed,’
claims ARTHUR M. ANDERSON, 2117 E. 36th Street, Minneapolis,
‘Now I wonder if engine men know that Russell also made a
150 HP engine. So far I’ve not read anything regarding this
engine in any of the present day publications. I first learned of
the engine in Floyd Clymer’s Album of Historical Steam and
Traction Engines. I’ve had my copy for many years. There is a
picture of this engine on page 54. It is known as a road locomotive
and the pictures are taken from a 1905 catalogue of the Russell
Company. It appears to be a center crank engine and is
‘I wonder if some old time engine men would know of this
engine. Also it would be interesting to know if any exist and how
many were made. This should add new interest to the field of 150s.
By the way, on page 58 there is a good picture of the Case 150.
Hopefully in a future publication we might hear something of this
Russell.’ (Surely hope so, Arthurhow about it fellas?)
Just a nice letter with a bit of chatting comes from W. S.
WOODWARD, R. F. D. 1, Concord Road, Durham, New Hampshire 03824:
‘Do enjoy reading the magazine very much. There is a great deal
of good information to be absorbed. I realize how much there is to
be learned and I want as much as I can hold of all these good
‘Anna Mae has a good column. I am not very religious but
sure believe in it and she does a good job to help make all of us
believers. (Praise the LordI’m happy to hear that). The ability
to write a column and talk almost directly to us all is
wonderful.’ (Thank you, W. S., for I really feel lam talking to
each of youbut that is the first I ever heard anyone say it that
‘We run a sawmill with a diesel engine. An older man used to
help us in the sawmill, who had worked in a steam sawmill. He once
told a lady he had boiled more water than she had. She was some
upset till she found out he had fired a steam boiler in a
‘Makes us think of so many good stories the old-timers could
tell. I miss that. Now that we are getting to the old-timers stage,
it helps by being able to read Iron-Men Album. The yarns are
great!’ (Now that ought to be enough incentive for some of you
fellows just sitting there readin’get that paper and pen out
and start writin’we’re a waitin’.)
The following post card picture came to us from MONTY A. DOTY,
240 Orchard Drive, Box 270, Hager-man, Idaho 83332. He says he
can’t tell us anything about it but thought you folks would
like to see it. The postmark was 1916 at Cleveland, Oklahoma. Any
‘Let me start by saying congratulations to Lexi Myers on the
most fantastic, spectacular, beautiful picture I ever saw of a
steam engine. I refer of course, to the back cover of March-April
IMA. I rejoice with you, too, that you could print it in color.
I’m looking for a frame that will fit it,’ writes JAMES
ELLIOTT, 19475 Cr. 146, New Paris, Indiana 46553.
‘Margaret and I have talked for too long about having a
steam powered popcorn wagon. Marg said if we have one that really
runs on steam power, I think people will be interested in it. This
is certainly true,they are, and we can’t accept all our
invitations we receive (which means they have certainly acquired
‘People are so accustomed to seeing power run by air
compressor or hidden electric motorthey really appreciate one that
is, in fact, steam-driven. One doubter put his thumb on the steam
line to prove it was a fake. He walked away holding his thumb in
his other hand.
‘Our experience would show that most people, I would guess
maybe 90%, have never seen a popper run on steam power. Many never
knew such machines were ever made. Well, they were made, by the
thousands from 1900 to 1930 by Charles Cretors Company and Dunbar
Company. They were sold nationwide and as far away as
‘We get to most of the shows in the Michigan area. See you
there!’ (Don’t forget to look for Jim and Margaret
Elliottand how about a picture of this steam driven popcorn
‘I am 33 years old and afflicted with the steam bug,’
says MIKE PARKER, 506 E. Burlington, Fair-field, Iowa 52556. ‘I
got my start as a model builderthanks to Mr. Has-ton L. St. Clair,
who is now 90 years young. Haston is a promoter of the Reeves
engine and of model building. He helped me and John Walker with his
letters and drawings. I guess you could say we built our engines
long distance as we live 315 miles apart. Haston’s interest has
helped many people get started in our hobby. I met Haston by
accident at Mt. Pleasant seven years ago.
‘Not long after we started construction on our models. Mr.
Dean Schellhous heard of the models under construction and stopped
in. We have become good friends and he has given me much help and
knowledge. It’s funny how I had to meet someone 315 miles away
to know someone in my home town. I owe much to these men. We need
more like them.
‘I have since built a 6′ scale Reeves model and am
working on a 3’ scale Reeves model. I also purchased a 1917 50
HP Case engine last year. It is a butt-strap Ohio Standard boiler
in very good condition. As I am a younger person I feel that the
condition of the boiler and that it is a butt-strap should be more
of a factor than what brand it is. While I am on the subject of
Case engines, can any of you more experienced men tell me why the
left hand pinion gear is subject to wear more than the right? I
have noticed this condition on several engines.
‘I agree with the letter by the Holps in that I would like
to hear from some of you fellows who made your living with the
engines as to why you used a particular brand. Was cost the biggest
factor? Which was the most economical to operate? Was economy
sacrificed for a heavier machine? Are two cylinder engines more
‘One thing I would like to see is a comparison of engines on
a brake using pressures they were designed for with a comparison of
fuel and water consumption. Pressure, fuel, and water consumption
seem to be factors left out of these ‘which engine is best’
arguments. I enjoyed Amos Rixman’s article with his brake test
‘I suppose people are getting tired of the ‘which is
best’ articles but variety is the spice of life and I think it
is making some interesting reading.
‘One other thing I would like to see is more technical
articles by restorers on how they have rebuilt their machines.
‘In closing, I want to say keep up the good work on a great
No. 1Herman built this 1915 outfit in 1983. He didn’t send
any other description along with it, but I’m sure many of you
men will know all about it.
No. 2This engine is two feet long and runs on electric. Again no
description but it is a mighty nice piece of work, don’t you
No. 3This picture was taken in 1910 on the Keefe Farm, north of
‘I really enjoy reading your magazine,’ writes RUSSELL
W. LAMP, 5231 Wasena Avenue, Brooklyn Park, Maryland 21225. ‘I
would like to see more on the Pennsylvania engine companies like
Frick, Geiser, Farquhar, and Eric, etc. An association should be
started for these like the Case collectors have. As I have helped
Robert Livinston with a Frick 14 HP traction engine, or should I
say, he took me to the shows with him where I drove him crazy with
questions. Now I own a Peerless L Portable and bug him more than
ever. But he always takes time to set me straight.
‘I am 26 years old and people like him and the ones who
write letters and articles in this magazine are the any way to
learn not only the mechanics of steam, but the way of life on the
steam thresher, sawmills, road crews, railroads and factories.
‘Back to the Peerless L Model I now own. I can’t find
anybody who knows the date it was made or how many are left. I also
need the horsepower and where to find the serial number. The boiler
is in bad shape but I have hope it can be fixed. But for now
I’m sanding, scraping, and painting to get the engine to run
from another steam source. I would like to have it ready for the
August National Pike Steam and Gas Show in Brownsville, Pa. If
anybody has any information on the engine, I would greatly
appreciate it. As far as I know it is the only one. Have a good
VINSON E. GRITTEN, 100 Country Club Court, Danville, Illinois
61832 sent us quite a few interesting items to be used for your
reading pleasure from time to time. This story, with pictures, is
entitled ‘The Steam Engine Dad Didn’t Order’:
‘Early in my dad’s threshing experience, for some reason he
never told me he started using Reeves steam engines and threshers.
Apparently it was good machinery, because he used it many years. He
had many steam engines, a thresher or two and a gas tractor. Later
after Emerson Brantingham bought the company out, Dad took the
agency for E. B. farm tractors. He sold three that I know
‘I remember three or four occasions when I visited the
Columbus, Indiana factory. On one occasion he took the axle housing
out of the big tractor and put it in our Model T Ford touring car
and we took it to Columbus to have it re-babbitted. We opened both
rear doors of the Model T and put the housing in it crossways. And
it really made a load, sticking out on both sides as it must have
been 7 feet long. It took us most of a day to get there, going
through Indianapolis and going on mostly all dirt roads; so we were
gone two or three days, a big event in my life. I must have been
around six or seven at the time.
‘Dad kept telling of all the steam engines that we would see
on the visit that we were about to make. We got there and he had
quite a lot of business to talk about in the office, which took
some time. I told him that I hadn’t seen any engines and he
kept saying, ‘Just wait’. In a little while, Dad said,
‘All right, let’s go see the engines’, so we went out
into a back warehouse and I never saw so many engines; must have
been hundreds. There may not have been as many as I thought, but it
looked like lots to me. They had one engine fired up that they
called ‘the mule’. It was used for pulling the new engines
around, like from the warehouse to the railroad dock, and so on.
That impressed me because they didn’t have to fire the new
engines up since they were without water.
‘Dad must have had some input because he would tell the
engineers and the company about improvements and changes that he
would like to have in an engine. They had a wheel lug that they
called the Gritten lug, as Dad had made some suggestion on a lug
that would clean itself in the mud.
‘On one occasion the company called Dad and said they were
shipping him an engine that they thought would be just what he
wanted. The engine came and I can remember going to the rail dock
in Fithian to unload it. It was quite a chore in those days as Dad
had to make sure the railroad had put the heavy planks on the car
to run the engines off on. It also took some railroad ties and
blocking. Then he had to take our mules with the water wagon to
fill the boiler, besides the coal for fuel. Anyway, it was all Dad
expected. It was a powerful engine. It was efficient and had
tenders on it that would supply enough water to run a full half day
without stopping. This made the engine ideal for grading roads and
other road work. Dad’s engines did a lot of work in the
building of the early hard roads. The engine had 8 foot drive
wheels which gave it excellent traction. He could hitch onto a big
tree and pull it out. I am told by a Mr. Hoffmaster, who had done a
lot of research on the Reeves Company that there were only ten or
twelve of these engines built and they were called the Canadian
‘Anyway, you can guess Dad bought the engine. This must have
been in the middle teens. He sold it in the early twenties to
someone in Minnesota. It was the last steam engine that he
ELWOOD DEWHURST, 712 N. Front, Crookston, Minnesota 56716 writes
us: ‘In March-April issue, page 14, Ted S. Janson sent in three
pictures for identification. The top picture is an Aultman Taylor
gas tractor or oil engine. No. 2 picture is a Robinson steam engine
running in the belt. And No. 3 seems to be the same Robinson steam
engine hauling the threshing rig. I do not recognize the threshing
Another letter comes in response to the request made by Ted S.
Janson as J. R. VOUK, 703 Co. Road 2 So., St. Stephen, Minnesota
56375 tells us: ‘In response to the pictures sent in Mar.-Apr.
issue by Ted JansonI wouldn’t want to speculate on the identity
of the separator or engine, but that tractor sure looks like an
Aultman Taylor on which somebody has replaced the radiator.
‘I enjoy your magazine very much. I have lived in St.
Stephen, Minnesota for the past 22 years. Our family and friends
have been putting on the Vouk’s Steam Threshing and Lumber
Sawing Show here in St. Stephen. I would like to invite all your
readers to our show this year on September 26 and 27.’
A letter of gratitude comes from RUSS ABENDROTH, Route 1,
Greenville, Wisconsin 54942: ‘Thank you for publishing my
letters in your column as they generated many responses. I would
also like to thank Haston L. St. Clair for his fine article and
Fred Dvork, Bellwood, Nebraska and Walter F. Long, Charleston,
Illinois for writing to me on the injector.’
An interesting letter comes from JACK HUFF, Wall Lake, Iowa
51466 as he brings some of his experiences to us: ‘I have
enjoyed the IMA for a lot of years and would like to add my two or
three cents worth. It probably isn’t worth more than that
anyways. I just hope to help someone out there in Engine-land feel
better about those poorly made engines that have been discussed and
that someone always has a better one than that one.
‘I have been around and run, reflued, repaired governors and
injectors for a lot of engines of different kinds. And I have yet
to see a bad or poorly made one. I have seen a few bad engineers,
but a poorly built enginenever. They might get in bad shape through
neglect or misuse. They were built to last a lifetime and most of
those that are left have done better than that.
‘Of course, I have my favorites. I think just about all of
us are guilty of that opinion. Not because it is any better, but
mainly because I have my hand on the throttle and am smelling the
smoke and hot cylinder oil of this one.
‘I started going threshing and hauling bundles when I was
fourteen years old. And that year we were using an old Minneapolis
gas tractor, and on the last day of the last job, it broke down. It
was just before dinner. There we were with a half day of threshing,
Saturday noon, with a tractor with a broken camshaft. But good
fortune smiled upon us. A neighbor was going by with his new steam
outfit and the boss went down to the road, and pretty soon he came
back with good news. The neighbor didn’t intend to thresh that
afternoon, being it was Saturday, so he would pull our machine. It
was a twenty horse double simple engine. And that afternoon I fell
in love with the Reeves engine.
‘The next year I hauled water for a return flue Huber
sixteen horse. That was sixty-three years ago and since then I have
run Minneapolis, Case, Russell, Aultman Taylor and a few others and
they were all good and willing workers. So hang in there, friend.
I’m sure whatever you have is one of the best. And I hope
somewhere sometime we will get together and I can help you enjoy
‘Anna Mae, you have a very interesting part in the makeup of
the IMA. We out here in Engine land meet, hear from, and about
these interesting things, through ‘Soot in the Flues’ and
the most wonderful, helpful and congenial folks I have ever had the
pleasure of meeting and reading about so keep up the good work.
I’m sure the good Lord will put some gold stars on your report
card for your efforts.’ (Just a comment now and then from one
of you folks, such as yours, is quite enough reward, Jack.)
At the end of the letter Jack had an amusing comment and I
thought you would like to share it. ‘If you can use this, fine.
If you can’t, fine. I’m like Rastus with his trombone, he
blew into it the most beautiful music, and the most terrible sounds
came out the other end. And this is what that old typewriter did to
me. Maybe it doesn’t like me this is my first effort with this
kind of a do-dad. I hope you have the patience to cope with
it.’ (7 do, Jack, and I have had much worse and encourage
anyone who would like to send us a story or experience I’ll
figure it out. And don’t you give up, Sir. I found your letter
quite encouraging to the readers. Perhaps you can write another
‘Enclosed is a picture of my Watson Wagon it is in excellent
condition and I have pulled it with a Model G Allis Chalmers
tractor in many parades,’ states ALVIN GUSTIN, 3880 East Hills
Lane, Beaver Creek, Ohio 45432.
‘My problem is that I have the parts from three different
wagons which I would very much like to make into one complete
‘I also have a Hercules gas engine and a McCormick mower
with a three and one half sickle bar, and lots of old farm
wrenches, of which I am very proud.
‘I am on the Historical Committee here in Beaver Creek and
we just restored a two story log house built in 1805.I put a
covered wagon top on my wagon and pulled it in the parade and we
collected almost $400.00 from the sidelines to help restore the log
house.’ (At would be very appreciative if any of you readers
could enlighten him on different wagons which would make his
project of building a wagon out of his different parts he has
collected a success. If you can be of any assistance, please let
A chatty letter comes from GERALD DARR, 2220 Bishops Gate Drive,
Toledo, Ohio 43614 and he tells us: ‘The talk of which engine
or separator is best could go on and on. Though I never owned an
engine, I have helped thresh since I lived on a farm near Clyde,
Ohio. The threshing rig that did my father’s threshing was a
Nichols & Shepard, Red River Special powered by a huge Aultman
Taylor gas engine. Later, it was powered by a Huber tractor.
‘When Dad lived north of Fremont, it was an N & S engine
and a Greyhound separator made here in Toledo by the Banting
‘Orin Mears’ description of a green straw stack a few
days after a rain, was a good one. I have seen stacks with
sprouting growth but not that bad. My father and other men often
commented on how much grain went in the stack.
‘I read recently in National Geographic in an article about
North Dakota that as you are driving into the town of Napoleon,
there are 15 threshing machines lined up neatly. North Dakota
subscribers to IMA and a host of others have seen these machines, I
‘When we took a train trip across Canada in 1981 from
Toronto to Vancouver we saw a good number of rusting engines and
separators. (Ouch, that hurts, doesn’t it, fellows?)
‘We are going to be flying before too long to Denver, San
Diego and then to Sun City to visit members of the family.
‘My father-in-law is in St. Paul in a nursing home and was
95 in March. He farmed in the area of Barnesville, Minnesota before
moving to St. Paul where he retired from the American Hoist &
Derrick Company.’ (Thanks for sharing your important memories
and moments with us, Gerald.)
A recent communication tells us FRANK J. BURRIS, 1102 Box Canyon
Road, Fallbrook, California 92028 has been busyso we are glad to
hear from you again, Frank.
‘A present course of study, which will terminate this May,
has precluded my adding much soot to your flues; however I do wish
to commend so highly the fine article in the Mar-Apr issue by A. E.
Rixman covering the outstanding features of the ’86 Pawnee
Show. Those chaps really did their stuff!
‘In that regard, let me add a few comments for whatever they
may be worth. A comparison was finally drawn between the
performance of the Nichols & Shepard and the Case engines based
on cylinder dimensions. It is pointed out that such conclusions
should not be considered as final, in the absence of comparative
cylinder indicator diagrams, and also, at least, figures for fuel
consumption during such tests. The former would stake the actual
generation of power based on valve action, cutoff, etc., while the
latter would allow computation of efficiency factors, both of which
are of primary importance in considering the overall performance of
such engines. Incidentally, in the examples of engines equipped
with Wolff valve gears (and possibly not all types of radial gears)
it would be of interest to measure the performance of such engines
in both forward and reverse motions. They are not the same, in
contrast to engines equipped with such as Stephenson (link) gears.
Reeves made quite a point of their having devised a geometric
layout of radial gear in which the valve action was maintained to
have been preserved as equalized on both ends of the cylinders;
both for forward and reverse motion.
‘Incidentally, I chided our good photographer-contributor
Joe Fahnesstock recently for his not having his camera in readiness
to capture a picture of that horrific hill climb which he so
vividly described in a recent article. It was only in jest, of
course, so I hope Joe will come back with more pictures. I always
think of him in connection with his old home town back in Ohio, as
I now dimly recall. And, as for picture taking, and although I can
lay no claim to being a photographer, I have taken a few good ones
while missing some of the best because Pentax never learned to
incorporate a good take-up mechanism on their otherwise
worldly-best cameras. Their 35mm jobs will do anything that any
other similar camera will do; but do it with one-half the weight!
What? Why worry about carrying the weight of a camera around your
neck all day??
‘Oh yes, another engine comment. I am a bit partial to good
double-cylinder steamers, and wonder what a double Case would have
looked like? I still have the box-frame built Monarch double engine
off one of their Groton N.Y. built tractions from circa 1925. This
has to be the finest engine of such type ever built. Can be mounted
so easily for stationary or other use. Heavy counter-balanced
crankshaft, symmetrical layout, valve stem guides, an original type
radial valve gear, and all the other best features ever found in
any other steam engine. It exhibits to visitors at our Vista Museum
every show period, running a grist mill. Well blessings to
Time to end this visit and I know by the time you read this
issue, you will be starting into the big season of Reunions and
Shows, visiting museums and interested once more in what this year
might bring a little different, a little better, a little moreall
making memories for the long winter nights by the fires of
And as you travel along each day and enjoy the blessings and
learn from the trials remember thisin praying we must not forget
that our prayers are to be answered. Some) are answered just as we
wish; some are answered in a way different from what we wishin a
better way! Some are answered by giving of a greater strength to
bear trials, and some by the lifting of the trials. Some at once,
some in years to come; and some await eternity. I know not if the
blessing sought will come in just the way I thought. But leave my
prayer with Him alone whose will is wiser than my own. Assured that
He will grant my quest or send some answer far more blessed.
And with that, Dear Onesdo have an enjoyable summer, savoring
every friendly chat, every smile, each story and welcome each new
acquaintance. Please let me hear from youand I must say many of you
are doing much better helping to make the column so well read by
your fellow enthusiasts.
STEAMCERELY, Anna Mae