We have lots of letters this month, so we'll get to them directly:
DAVID BEACH, 919 Chestnut Street, Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania 16673 writes: 'I just got back from the Grease, Steam and Rust Association's Show at McConnelsburg, Pennsylvania, and it is with great appreciation that I write this letter! The weekend started with stream-flooding rain that lasted till early Saturday. Though I gave the steel wheels on my Z-1 Peerless a brown coat of valley mud, the show went on and I did my best to keep up with the excitement.
'The 'steam guys' at this show are fun loving, helpful individuals who gave me all the information and encouragement I needed for my first show away from home. We 'green horns' like to take every opportunity possible to use our steam engines and the GSR's events schedule allowed me to belt to the saw mill, pull the big 'TERMINATOR' sled and parade around like a general idiot.
'I am particularly thankful for the wonderful appreciation showed to me on Sunday through presenting awards and being given the chance to parade in front of the grandstand with my steam buddies at McConnelsburg.
1914 Z-1 Peerless 10x10 that David Beach bought from the Willis Abel collection in October 1994. The bell is Pennsylvania Railroad.
'The other show that I took my Z-1 to this year was September 16th and 17th. The Southern Cove Power Reunion was a fabulous little show with a schedule of events that ran like a clock with enough tractors on display to please any onlooker. Mike Miller of the New Centerville Show displayed his 20th Century twin traction engine, as well as his Austin Road Roller. The engineer on these pieces was a split-duty between Jerry Schimpf and various club members who wanted a crack at the throttle.
'The big feature for this year was a steam engine drag race that had me cranking up my governor to put that Austin in the dust behind me! Jerry is the kind of fellow who relishes the chance to get around good friends and swap steam stories of the show season. I regret that I only get to see Mike and Jerry a few times each year. They are the kind of people that I could spend a lot of time with to learn more about steam and experience some of the best fun I have ever had the chance to share, since my grandfather and father both took me to steam shows when I was seven or eight years old.
'I cannot put into words the feeling of being on an engine at a show and moving around the grounds between spectators and exhibits. I wish this could happen every weekend but we all have other responsibilities in life and it's nice to get together at least those few special times each year to shovel coal and brag about ourselves!
'Thanks to all my friendsyou know who you are!'
CARLTON JOHNSON, 2256 W. Wilson Road, Clio, Michigan 48420 sent these photos with this note: 'I don't remember seeing anything in the Album about the trouble threshers had using bridges after the turn of the century.
'They were building larger engines and many of the county and township bridges were not strong enough to hold them. For the next 12 to 15 years after 1900 there were many bridge wrecks and many lives were lost
'These two photos taken from the old American Thresherman Magazine axe an example and show the problems they had trying to cross the bridges with so much equipment weight. The wreck in Michigan was February 1908 and the one in Wisconsin was August 1911.'
From TIMOTHY D. O'CONNELL, 514 NW 5th Street, Madison, South Dakota 57042-1423 we received this: 'Joe Habager and myself are in the process of restoring a 6 HP 1907 Case portable steam engine, #18348, that was donated to Prairie Village here in Madison back in the late '60s. The boiler itself is in very good shape and has just been sitting all this time. We decided that the boiler is in too good of shape to just be sitting around, so we decided to try and restore it this winter. The problem is that the original engine was taken off the boiler before it was donated to the village and its whereabouts are unknown. We are trying to find another 6 HP engine like the one that was originally on the boiler or find somewhere that I could have one cast for it.
'We have a 9 HP Nichols and Shepard engine that we would be willing to trade for a 6 HP Case engine. If we cannot find an engine, we are thinking of modifying the Nichols and Shepard engine and putting it on the Case boiler so at least it will be operable until we do find a Case engine for it.
'I have restored a 1914 50 HP Case steam traction engine, but this is my first attempt at working on a portable steam engine, so any information I can find would be very helpful. One question I have is: did the portable 6 HP Case steam engine have any kind of a reverse mechanism or was this achieved by flipping the belt? Also, did the 1907 models have a pre-heater on them?
'I am also looking for a smoke box door ring and a firebox door. I would greatly appreciate any information you might be able to give me on the 6 HP Case engine or the 9 HP Nichols and Shepard engine.'
Three men went down with the engine but no one was hurt. Outfit of Hank Steininger, Monroe, Wis., Sent by Carlton.
'I took this picture on the last fire-up day of the year before we put her away for the winter,' says DON BODINE, 110 N. Daisy Lane, Danville, Illinois 61832. 'It was a nice fall day in October. My grandfather, Harold Bodine, is on the coal bunker. He is 88 years of age. The engine is our family's 1917, 24 HP Minneapolis. The water wagon was built by my father, Terry Bodine. Our engine's serial number is 8042. We were running the engine around the pastures of my father's farm. I would like to correspond with other Minneapolis owners.'
'This is a picture of an A. B. Farquhar Company Limited engine from York, Pennsylvania, and is #5103. I thought some of the older readers would like to see the picture, and possibly a feature on it, as this is a museum piece that was put in perfect working order by Herbert Dowler and me.
'Having known the founder of the Iron Men Album, who was after me for a picture, I have finally had one taken.
'This engine was used for a carousel. The engine is in perfect condition and runs like a Swiss watch. It will start on 10 lbs. of wet steam and will operate on 10 to 150 lbs. of steam.
'This is quite a joy to have and to have refurbished.' ROBERT H. BABCOX, JR., stationary steam engineer License #70458, State of Ohio, 7424 Rockingham Drive, Mentor, Ohio 44060.
ANDY SINE, of P.O. Box 165, Painted Post, New York 14870, sent us an account of a train boiler explosion which appeared in the September 1995 issue of Trains magazine.
'It really underscores the serious side of our wonderful hobby. If not for the Special Canadian Pacific boiler involved here, the incident could have been a major catastrophe.We must be sure to keep the gauge glasses clean and free of scale.'
We have heard from readers before that they don't care for us to reprint accounts of such incidents in the pages of IMA, so we have chosen not to do so, but we appreciate Andy's sending the article and expressing his overall concern for safety in the steam hobbies.
We hear this from CRAIG DETWILER, 14938 County Road 38, Goshen, Indiana 46526-6974. 'I have three Greyhounds, they are a 22 HP 1921 steam traction engine; 25-52 HP gasoline tractor; and a 26 x 42 threshing machine. See photos. There are eight Greyhounds known to exist in the United States.
'December 2nd I am going to Toledo, Ohio. I am doing my research on the history of Banting Manufacturing. However, I am going to the Toledo Public Library and Maumee Valley Historical Society of Maumee, Ohio. I have a 35 mm camera ready to take pictures of the old Banting buildings, etc. There will be more information after this. Maybe I can write some stories on his adventure, though I am not a good writer. I appreciate and enjoy-doing my share of the magazine about Greyhound products.'
CARL M. LATHROP, 108 Gar-field Avenue, Madison, New Jersey 07940 sends this: ''Build Steam Engines Without Castings' often appears as it does in the current FOR SALE section by R. F. HasBrouck of New Paltz, New York. One needs to read between the lines to realize that here is not only a fine gentleman but a craftsman extraordinary as well. His 16 foot steam launch TINKERTOY is a fitting example of the latter.
The ad reminded me of the second International Steamboat Muster at Pawtucket, Rhode Island, which I attended back in August, 1993, where 18 live steam launches gathered One of them was TINKERTOY. Ray succumbed to my wistful glances and invited me to have a ride around the harbor. Steam launches glide silently through the water with the only sound being the faint metallic clicking of the engine's valve mechanism. I hope you will enjoy the two pictures of the launch and its power plant.
IVAN E. BURNS of 8100 N. Burns Road, Edmond, Oklahoma 73003, sends us this picture (next page) of his 25-85 Canadian Nichols & Shepard heavy steam traction engine pulling on the Prony brake at Pawnee, Oklahoma, in the spring of 1995.
'Ed Larson is the engineer and the weather conditions were terrible. The mud was at least two feet deep. Ed pulled 107 HP out of the engine, not bad considering the weather.
'Ed Larson is one of the outstanding young engineers of the Pawnee Show, others being Paul Martens, Dale Wolf, Steve Dunn, David Bennett and Shane Fry. These young men are surely a credit to the hobby.
'Come see these young engineers at our 1996 Show in Pawnee, Oklahoma May 3, 4,and 5.'
GARY YAEGER, 146 Reimer Lane, Whitefish, Montana 59937 writes, 'I am attempting to write a history of 40-140 Reeves steam engines. I will attempt to procure serial numbers, owners, dealers and locations where the engines were used. I believe I have pictures of nine different 40s used in Montana. I have some sketchy information on a total of 12 or 13 which were used here. My information includes the Smolik Bros. 3rd model Canadian engine, which I'm proud to be able to say I've run. I have information on three of them in Canada, including the 'Rut-ledge' Forty which is now owned by Mark Pederson of Luverne, North Dakota. I also have one picture of a Forty that was located in Utah. I am interested in getting information of any kind, no matter how trivial, and would like to have photographs or photocopies that any of you out there in 'engine land' might have. I would be glad to reimburse any copying costs. I do have Haston St. Clair's book Historical Stories About Reeves Engines in my library. I have written 'Mr. Reeves,' Lyle Hoffmaster, and as of today have not received a reply. I know he is a busy man.
'As a J. I. Case owner, I naturally have a book of their serial numbers in relation to horsepower of their engines produced. Does anyone have a list of Reeves engines serial numbers in relation to horsepower? I'd sure like to hear from you, if you do. Reeves & Co. had a fire at the factory years ago and lost their blueprints. Maybe they lost these records in the same fire. I do not know. When I told Lyle Hoffmaster that I had the blueprint of the 32 HP Reeves Canadian boiler head sheet with the cannon bearing and shafting dimensions at the 50th N.T. A. show in Wauseon, he became very excited, as he said he only knew of one other Reeves blueprint and he owned it. Lyle is started on a book on Reeves engines covering the whole spectrum.
'My dad and his brothers had borrowed their neighbors', the Otten Brothers' 32 Reeves C.C. Canadian engine #7181 (now owned by the Tyler Brothers) when their own 32 Reeves CD. Canadian, #6269 was down for repairs. Dad stated that when they were plowing with #7181, it developed a 'thud' every revolution of the differential gear. Upon investigation, they discovered that the countershaft was broken. This was in the early 1930s, after Reeves was out of business and J.I. Case had bought the Emerson-Brantingham Company. They weren't able to find a 32 HP Reeves countershaft, but found a countershaft at Stanford, Montana, in a 40 HP first model, U.S. lapseam boilered Reeves. This was the reason they possessed the blueprint mentioned above. They bought the countershaft out of the Forty and proceeded to turn it down (5/16 of an inch, I believe) to fit the 32 HP Reeves. Dad said there were a couple of wheelbarrow loads of shavings below that old 16 foot bed lathe! I remember asking as a young boy, 'Why the heck didn't you just buy the Forty Reeves and put the countershaft from #6269 into the Otten engine??' Oh, well, wouldn't I be hard to live with, if I now owned that Forty Reeves? It's probably just as well. I am not a fisherman, but it's always fun to talk about the 'big one that got away!'
This is a picture from the 1906 J. I. Case catalog showing what is listed as a '32 H.P.' Case and it obviously has flat strap rear drive wheels. The 1907 catalog shows the 32 H.P. with round spokes. The engine in the factory engraving is in fact the 40 H.P. (150) 14' x 14' bore and stroke, 8' high drive wheels. I personally feel Case was in such a hurry to get another engine on the market to try to recover themselves on the failed 150. This was probably as close as they could come to a 32 H.P. engraving by that date. Only my guess.Gary Yaeger.
'I received some information from Don Bradley of Forsyth, Montana, last night. It had more information about Frank Strouf and his 40 HP Reeves engines. His daughter Helen Strouf Fulbright wrote in 1977 that Frank 'owned six large engines, many teams of horses, at least 30 hired men year round, and farmed 9,000 acres.' Her mother had two women hired year round in the kitchen also. She mentioned a 'smaller' engine used to haul water to large engines. I believe Mr. Strouf also had a couple of Forty HP Peerless engines. I'm sorry I don't know what they all were. I just heard that three of the engines were Reeves.
'Enough chatter from me. I would be thoroughly elated with any Iron Men Album reader who could give me any help on my 40 Reeves project. I think it is a worthy project that could be of an historical nature for future generations. Someday, there will be few people available to accomplish this task, so I feel time is of essence.
'Thank you for allowing me to use your magazine for accomplishing my dream.'
Also from GARY YAEGER: 'Most serious J. I. Case aficionados will tell you that when Case came out with the 32 HP (110) in 1906, the first ones came out with the flat strap spokes in the rear drive wheels. As a Case owner, I'll be first to tell you that I have a lot to learn about Case transition of supplied equipment. I know quite a few 110 owners. I've asked a few of them about the flat spokes.
'I opened a real keg of worms when I wrote an article last year for Soot in the Flues regarding the '32 (110) HP' shown in the 1906 Case catalog. I stated the engine shown was, in fact, the 40 (150) HP and not the 32 HP. I received some flak over that letter as the specifications in the J.I. Case catalog 'couldn't be in error' since they printed it themselves. In other words what do I know about it?
'Tom Stebritz of Algona, Iowa, wrote a letter supporting my position that this is indeed the 40 HP (150) engine. Since Tom has blueprints and castings available for scale models of both of these engines, he has studied the comparisons probably as much as anyone alive today. My friend 'Slim' Rennewanz of Ennis, Montana, is one of few people alive today who actually saw a 40 HP (150). He also agreed that the engine in the 1906 Case catalog is indeed the 40 HP. Their stance is much different from the 32 HP.
'Tom Stebritz answered another letter of mine stating that the first 32 HP (110) did, in fact, have flat spokes in the drive wheels, in the beginning. He sent me photocopies of an early 32 HP Case showing one of the two speed arrangements offered on early 32s. There were two different types of two speed arrangements available early in the 32 HP production, I believe, if not three. But, he didn't have a picture of the flat spokes in the drive wheels.
'I am not disputing anyone who says the flat drive wheel spokes were used on the first ones. I just have no proof of it and would like to see a photograph or an engraving of one. (Incidentally, three of my grandparents moved to Montana from Missouri in the last century!) I am not doubting anyone's integrity. If anyone has a picture, please send me a copy and I'll gladly drop the subject. Also, I'll be glad to reimburse them for any expense incurred.
'Thanks for much for letting me have my say and keep up the good work at Iron Men Album. It's still my favorite piece of mail!'
HENRY J. MAST, 25622 Wasepi Road, Centreville, Michigan 49032, writes: 'We have a circular sawmill powered by a 9 x 10 Frick center crank steam engine. Does anyone use a steam engine similar to this? It is a portable on wheels. We also used it to run ensilage cutters for some neighbors this fall.
'Now, my question is do any of you have a 28' or 32' thrashing machine along with a traction steam engine of comparable size for sale who would have joy in seeing it put in to use to thresh for farmers?
'I can still remember going with my dad 'when quite young,' to attend the engine for him, but it was not a steam engine. However, after now having some experience with a steam engine, I look forward to finding out if someone would have an outfit like this for sale. I am interested in an Advance Rumely steam engine, but it does not have to be if it's of comparable maker and in good, safe running order. Thank you in Advance for a favorable response!'
We received another inquiry from a P. THORNLEY of Box 118,Campbellton, NF, Canada 40G 1L0, who is looking for a half size traction steam engine to give rides to customers on his U-pick farm. He'd also like it to drive a saw mill, and asks if we've heard of anything. Maybe one of you has just what Mr. Thornley needs?
Our final note this month comes from faithful contributor MORRIS BLOMGREN, 1039 Blomgren Rd., Siren, WI54872. Morris has a seemingly endless collection of beautiful photos from the early 1900s. Of the one below, he writes:
'This picture is of the Green brothers: August Rask with hand on steering wheel, Joe Green standing on the ground to the left, and Richard Green just above him. Is there anyone nowadays that could build a grain stack like that? Look how well formed it is. Green brothers also bought a new Indiana tractor in 1920. I have it now. They lived a mile east of Balun Hiway 70, a half mile north.'
We are very encouraged by the number of letters we received for this column this month, and have to say thank you, and please keep writing to us! As we get this issue ready for the printer, we have been slowed down by the so-called 'Blizzard of '96' which has completely paralyzed our local community. Along with the many tales of woe and petty inconvenience, there have been great stories here of heroism and team work, as neighbors help each other to cope with the awesome power of nature.
We have been running a reprint of the 1891 book, Zwicker's Revised Practical Instructor on the pages of IMA, but we decided to interrupt the series this month since we had some good stories that we wanted to use right away. We regret that this issue is rather light on advertising, and thus is smaller than usual, but expect things to pick up by next month.