Farm Collector


Sometime ago, we began to receive copies ofThe Veteran
Farmer, or ‘Die Veteran Boer’
from its friendly staff.
The quarterly magazine is the Journal of the Vintage Tractor and
Engine Club of South Africa. The colorful 12-page Farmer
is sent free to members of the Club. The subscription rates
published are in South African rands (a rand is the equivalent of
about 22 cents in U.S. funds). We don’t know what their
International rates might be, but if you’re interested,
contact: The Secretary, Vintage Tractor & Engine Club of South
Africa, PO Box 774, Greytown 3500, Republic of South Africa.

We have quite a few letters this month, so we’ll get right
to them:

JERRY J. DEATON, 308 Lind Street, McMinnville, Tennessee 37110
writes: ‘I’ve enjoyed your column and the magazine for many
years now, and hope to continue doing so for many years to come.
This is the first time I’ve written to you, but this past
summer events have opened new doors for me.

‘I’m a Live Steamer and have built and now run a 1’
scale locomotive called the ChiShay at various meets around the
country and enjoy the good people and good times.

‘This past summer I was fortunate to find two stationary
mill engines which were used by a local lumber company during the
first half of this century. These engines had been sitting under
our nose for many years, and a chance meeting with a gentle man
revealed that up on this hill were some old pulleys and junk. When
we took a look, to our surprise, there were these engines just
waiting for someone to restore them.

‘After making a deal with the company,
Burroughs-Ross-Colville, who have been in business in this area for
nearly a century, I and some other friends, decided to bring these
engines down off the hill and put new life in them. The smaller
engine looks to be in good shape for total restoration, but the
larger one will need some parts to complete its new life. I’ve
brought the smaller engine to my home and already have begun to
strip it down for clean-up and whatever else it will need to get it
back into running condition. The larger engine is still in the
woods, but we have already been given permission to move it to the
Warren County Fairgrounds and put it on static display.

‘I need help from your readers so we can obtain information
on the companies that made these engines, so we will have a history
line. The small engine has a builder’s plate which states:

THE BROWNELL Co., Manufacturers, DAYTON, OHIO USA. No. 2705,
Date 8-18-03 Size 10 x 12.

‘The larger engine is a dual flywheel type, 8 feet in
diameter. It appears to have a 12′ bore x 14’ stroke. The
only markings we have been able to find so far are: The Houston
Stand Wood & Gamble Company, Cincinnati.

‘We would be most pleased if someone has a history of these
companies to let us know so we can have the history for all to know
when we get these engines on exhibit for the general

WILLIAM M. (MIKE) ROHRER, 12025 Steven Avenue, Smithsburg,
Maryland 21783 wants to know: ‘Where is all the equipment that
was built by the Geiser Manufacturing Company that was in
Waynesboro, Pennsylvania? I am working with the Geiser family on
the history of the company, and there is one question they ask me:
Is there much of the equipment left? We would like to know where it
is. If we get a good response we can make this information
available to other people.

‘What we would like is any information on the equipment that
was built by Geiser, such as steam engines, threshers, plows, gas
engines, gas tractors, sawmills, anything that has the Geiser name
on it. Also if you have, or know anybody who has, any books such as
catalogs, documents, pictures, or information when the company was
in the hands of Emerson-Brantingham from 1912 until 1925.

‘When you send me information, please give me the serial
number, size, class, HP, year, and a picture if you have one and
advise me so that I will know I will have some information coming.
Send to me at the above address, or E-Mail it to’

From the desk of ORMAN RAWLINGS, Vocational Instructor,
Engineering Tech., 44750 60th Street West, Lancaster, California
93536-7620: ‘I am a vocational instructor. In reading
IMA for years, I have had a desire many times to take pen
in hand, fire up the computer and reply to articles found

‘Before I continue, a little background might make it
somewhat easier for readers to receive the information passed on
with a small amount of authority or understanding of the subject. I
have spent the greatest portion of my life as a mechanic and
teacher and restorer of classic and antique equipment. I have
restored some thirty different pieces, ranging from autos, farm
equipment, boats, and fire trucks, and soon I hope to do a

‘At present I teach full time at a vocational school; this
by no means makes me an authority or expert, just a knowledgeable
person. The subject I wish to comment on is found in Volume 51, of
the November/December issue 1996 #2, on page 8, titled, ‘Advice
for Boiler Buyers.’ This anonymous ‘state inspector’
not only speaks the truth, but is willing to help others and this
places this person at the top in my books. The reason I say this is
because of our adventures with our 1906 Advance 16 HP steamer. I
said our because Mr. Sonny Rowlands and I spent the last three
years restoring this tractor.

‘We found this unit in Michigan. After countless phone
calls, many letters and hours of research, we made arrangements to
transfer funds and have the unit delivered to California. Remember,
I said hours of research and countless phone calls. Said phone
calls were made to the Michigan State Pressure Vessel (boiler)
Inspectors. In talking to the inspectors who signed off on the last
inspection document that we received from the owner, we felt we had
a sound buy at hand.

‘Upon arrival in California, the inspection started. The
first thing required was to SONIC the complete boiler;
this told us the remaining thickness of the
3/8 inch shell. The readings showed that over
fifty percent of the lower portion (bottom) of the boiler was
rusted away, from about 10 inches below the riveted joint. This
showed that this unit sat for quite some time with water up to this
level. The standing water also allowed large quantities of scale
and rust to accumulate in the water legs. Once the scale was
removed, sonic readings were again taken at each leg (corners).
Again the parent materials were found to be badly deteriorated.

‘The state inspectors were called in to see if the parent
materials could be welded. Samples were taken and sent to be
analyzed and the results were turned over to the inspectors. It was
determined that the parent boiler material could be welded.

‘At this point a company who holds a National Board Repair
Certificate was contacted. A decision was made to remove the
sections of water legs and the whole lower section of the main drum
(boiler) just below the riveted section (lap-section). This allowed
us to inspect the whole inside of this boiler, including the tubes,
stay bolts, tube sheets and crown sheet. Our findings were not
goodall the tubes required replacement. The front tube sheet and
several sections in the rear lower water legs required

‘After several meetings with the boiler repair people and
the state inspectors, we decided to continue with the work. One
reason was that we had so much money tied up and we did not want to
lose it all. At that time I was not quite sure that it was a
sensible decision, yet I am glad we did, for we have a real
reliable piece of equipment.

‘So, starting with the required new materials, we rolled a
new lower section, rolled and drilled a new front tube sheet and
replaced all the tubes, repaired all bad spots in the water legs.
Once the welding was completed and X-rayed, the whole unit had to
be wrapped in heat blankets to neutralize the welds. After that
more X-rays, then the approval was given for hydrostatic testing
and the unit tested at 100%.

‘Sonic readings were made on the plumbing, and countless
pieces needed replacing. Here in California, schedule SAE 80 is
required on all the plumbing. So the whole unit was completely
replumbed. Valves rated at 300 lb. had to replace the 200 lb.
valves that the engine was equipped with originally. A new style
safety valve was installed because parts for the original could not
be found. After making four new gears, welding and remachining old
ones, reassembly was finally started. Of course priming and
painting topped off three years’ worth of work.

‘I’m not sure what the daily costs of inspectors are in
other states, but here in California it costs $24.00 per hour. If
this unit had been inspected before purchase, I promise you it
would still be in Michigan.

‘This inspector who wrote the article is worth his weight in
gold! I feel quite sure, if asked to inspect a steamer before
purchase, he would leave no stone unturned. I thought I had done my
homework correctly. Regrets? Yes, and no. No, because we have a
beautiful unit that runs perfectly at designed pressure and
performs like a big noisy Swiss clock. Yes, because the money we
spent could have purchased a couple of interesting projects to play
at, or could we? I can guarantee you that I would pay for an
inspection from the state of purchase, before purchasing, for most
states operate near the same level of compliance. We are lucky, for
we can do our own work, except for the items requiring certified
boiler works.

‘Before calling for an inspector’s help, I would check
with the state that the steamer is operating in, to see if their
rules and regulations are in compliance with the rules and
regulations of my state. If they are, and the boiler passes an
inspection, then an agreement can be made. We feel our expenses
could have been reduced if the above procedure had been followed
before our purchase. So be advised, take the time to inspect the
steamer properly, check states’ Pressure Vessel Standards to
insure your purchase meets the standards required for steaming the
unit in your state.

‘THANKS, to the anonymous inspector. Too bad we did not run
into you before our adventure!’

We received this letter from LARRY SCHUNKE, 9760 Yankee Street,
Fredericktown, Ohio 43019: ‘I thought I would send in some
pictures to your fine magazine. Picture #1 is my 10 HP Frick steam
engine. It was built in 1884. In the picture I have it belted up to
my sawmill at home. We were sawing walnut that day and it was doing
a pretty good job of it. I restored this engine about three years
ago. It was quite an experience and was a lot of work but fun.

‘Picture #2 is my 30 HP Case built in 1916. In this picture
I was running a sawmill at Malabar Farm where our club, The
Richland County Steam Threshers, hold our annual show the last full
weekend in September. We have about 14 steam engines, about 75 gas
tractors and over 100 small gas engines.

‘Picture #3. This engine is owned by Tom Woodard of
Mansfield, Ohio. It is a 16 HP Advance. In this picture he has the
engine belted up to his sawmill at his home. Tom has done an
excellent job in restoring this enginehe is very particular in the
work he does. It has to be just perfect. He has helped me a lot in
fixing my Frick steam engine and working on our show at Malabar

‘Picture #4. This engine also belongs to Tom Woodard. It is
a 13 HP Gaar Scott and the nicest little engine around here. It
also runs very nice. It is very easy to handle and steam.

‘In closing, I hope your readers enjoy these pictures. Maybe
later on I will go through some pictures and send more in.’

LARRY CREED, RR 13, Box 209, Brazil, Indiana 47834 says: ‘I
think most readers of IMA found the article ‘Advice
for Boiler Buyers’ a little suspicious since the author wished
to be anonymous and therefore would not be held accountable as to
the content of the article. The article contained no hard
information and the author could have saved some paper by just
stating that in his professional opinion that it might be best to
buy a boiler within the state in which you reside which has a
current boiler operating certificate (if your state requires

‘Having a current boiler operating certificate is not a
guarantee that you are purchasing a good boiler. I have seen
several engines with current certificates that were unsafe to
operate. It is a shame that boiler certificates are not reciprocal
from state to state which require inspections, but I doubt that the
states involved could agree on what criterion would determine when
a boiler is ‘safe.’

‘I will cite an example which is a little different from the
article but is just as relevant. Let us assume that we have bought
a good boiler from state ‘A’ and brought it into state
‘B.’ There is no procedure for state ‘B’ inspector
to approve the boiler before it is taken to state ‘B’; in
fact, the inspector could probably care less until it is in his
jurisdiction. The ‘Anonymous’ boiler inspector asks for
documentation, but this engine came from a state not requiring an
inspection and no boiler work has been done on the engine, so there
is no form of documentation. We do have a catalog which outlines
boiler construction and material. The boiler has passed a
hydrostatic test, ultrasonic test, the stay bolts and rivets are
good, the calculations are made which show the boiler to be in safe
operating condition.

‘So, will our boiler receive a current operating
certificate? The correct answer is maybe, and in certain states,
the odds are good that it will be treated as an ‘illegal
alien’ and allowed just enough steam pressure to move itself
and no more.

‘The ‘Anonymous’ article referred to welds and since
when does it matter if a ‘good’ weld is one year old or ten
years olddo they have a shelf life?

‘The price of a new A.S.M.E. safety valve or the cost to
have the valve calibrated and sealed is such a small percentage of
the cost of an engine that I think most steam engine buyers can
afford to take care of that expense

‘I do think that some boiler inspectors are very
knowledgeable and competent in their work. The adage that ‘a
little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ applies to boiler
inspectors who think it is their job to put up roadblocks and
stumbling blocks to people wishing to operate antique

We have this letter from RANDY E. SCHWERIN, 3040 160th Street,
Sumner, Iowa 50674: ‘As I’ve often preached before, we all
have the responsibility to our fine little magazine to contribute
and thus enhance it. Therefore, in keeping with my own words,
I’ve enclosed a photo of an engine from my collection.

‘Some of the readers may recognize it and some may not. Now
I must confess, this isn’t a steam engine. However, it is
‘external combustion,’ therefore I thought it worthy of a
spot in the Album.

‘It is a 10’ bore Ericsson hot-air pumping engine, built
in 1902 by the Rider Ericsson Engine Company of New York, New York.
I bought it in 1981 from Mr. John Powers of South Harpswell,

‘It has been sitting in the back of my shop since it was
brought home and painted in 1981. This past fall I took the time to
pull it out and put a fire in it and it took off and ran like a
champ! The 10′ size had a pumping capacity, according to the
1906 catalog, of 1000 gallons of water per hour at 50’ of head
pressure, and burned five pounds anthracite coal per hour.

‘The following paragraph was taken from the catalog for the
readers’ interest: ‘Any gardener or ordinary domestic can
operate these engines, and no licensed or experienced engineer is
required. They will run a day of ten hours with no more fuel than
would be required to get up steam in a boiler, and they can be used
when steam or any other device would be objectionable or
impossible. All parts of the pump and engines can be examined and
cleaned without difficulty, and fire can be replenished without
stopping the engine, which is absolutely safe, having no valves,
steam, exhaust or noise.”

‘Also shown (above) is a sectional view of the engine from
the same catalog. This particular engine is equipped with a gas
burning furnace.

‘Hot-air engines performed various jobs in the era of steam
during the turn of the century and they are a rather obscure part
of our hobby that I happen to enjoy.

‘Keep up the fine work on IMA.Spring is just around
the corner!’

And we do hope that Spring really IS just around the corner!
We’re happy about the increased number of letters and stories
we’re receiving and hope this trend will continue! Drop us a

Steamcerely, Linda and Gail

  • Published on Mar 1, 1997
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