Farm Collector


‘Oh yes, I wanted to comment on the cover photo of the
September/October 1998 issue. It’s heartening indeed to see a
couple of clean cut youngsters getting involved with the art of
steam engineering. We sure need to encourage the younger generation
if there is to be a future with the hobby. Congratulations, David
and Annie!’

We received a letter from CARL BOETTCHER, #316743, Wolworth
Unit, PO Box 900-1, Sturtevant, Wisconsin 53177-0900, who writes:
‘My family and I own two steam engines. We have a 1910 45 HP
Case and an 60 HP Illinois. There aren’t many Illinois left;
I’ve never seen any others. 1 really don’t know the
original color. Anyone who knows of any other engines like this,
please contact me.

‘I love running these old engines. I’ve been running
them since I was seven years old! I can run just about any kind of
engine there is.’

‘If anyone has a photo of an Illinois Thresher Company
engine, please send it. I will return it.’

‘This is a photo of our 45 HP Case and 60 HP Illinois. If
you would like to see any of our steamers, please come to our show
in Chilton, Wisconsin, the second weekend in August.’

GERALD R. DARR, 2220 Bishops gate Drive, Toledo, Ohio
43614-2006, writes, ‘This is a photo of my father’s Buckeye
steam traction ditching machine taken about 1909. My father is
shown second from the left. The men on his right and left I cannot

‘The man with the beard is my grandfather, Gustave Hop
finger. Next to him is an uncle, Stan Darr, my father’s brother
and co-owner of the ditcher. The man on the right is Leo Hop

‘The picture was probably taken in Ottawa County, Ohio. They
also tilled in Sandusky County, Ohio.’

‘The brothers retired the machine about 1911 and it sat in
an apple orchard on the farm my father started farming in

‘I can imagine that it was very hard work. The roads in
those days were mud with a few stone roads. It must have been an
arduous job to move from one location to another and to go through
small towns, as they were supposed to plank their way.’

‘The men had to board with the family where they were
working. At one place my father told me about, kerosene was spilled
near a sack of flour. Bread was baked with this flour and they had
to eat it with all the kerosene taste until the flour was gone.
Tiling has sure changed from that time.’

‘What an array of pictures in the last IMA. Not to step on
the toes of any Avery owners, but their machine looks odd compared
to the Cases and Bakers and other conventional machines.’

‘Nice article by Bill Yocom about the unusual job his father
had. That was daring work to rig a stack so as to get a seat to
paint from. It would be interesting to see the equipment he had to
use in painting stacks.’

‘That was something to paint a ‘hot’ stack! I helped
a welder when he welded a fitting on an active gas line. I was
working for a natural gas distributing company at the

ADAM PARKS writes and says, ‘Hi! I have a question to ask
you. I was wondering if you know of a decal for the water tank of a
1919 Nichols and Shepard. You might know my granddad, BILLY M.
BYRD, and the engine that we are working on. He writes to you from
time to time, and sends the magazine pictures. I’m sending you
a picture to prove it. This picture includes a shot of the Nichols
& Shepard (1919) and a model of a Case steam engine (1984). I
hope to hear from someone about a decal.

‘Since they are not my engines, I’ll give you my
granddad’s address, and name. He knows I sent you the picture
of his engines and he receives your magazine. His address is: Billy
M. Byrd, 369 South Harrig Street, Madisonville, Kentucky 42431.
Thank you for publishing this, he will appreciate it as I

(Long time subscribers will definitely recognize the name of
Billy Byrd, who has sent many, many articles and pictures to IMA
over the years, and we send him our warmest greetings! We’re
happy to know he has a grandson involved in the steam hobby, as

We received this e-mail from BOB HADDON, whose e-mail address is ‘I have a friend who is looking for any
publications that include info on any of the horse drawn plows made
by the Verity Company of Brantford, Ontario, Canada, beginning in
1857. Beginning in 1895 the Verity plows were marketed by
Massey-Harris. My friend’s grandfather invented the Verity
plow, and he would dearly love to get hold of at least a piece of
one. His name and address is: Roger Verity, PO Box 6118, Los Osos,
California 93412.’

(We searched all through our library here at IMA and
couldn’t find anything about the Verity plow. Hopefully someone
out there will have something on it that will be of help to

We have this from ROGER NOETHLING, 590 Phillips Circle, Antioch,
Illinois 60002, ‘I am a first-time writer. A friend of mine
picked up a picture at an estate sale in Waukegan, Illinois. He
knew that I am a steam engine fan. I would like to share it with
all the readers of IMA.

‘I have never seen a picture with three different types of
motive power hooked to one job before. The middle tractor in the
picture is a Rumely Oil Pull, but I’m not sure what size. The
steamer is a compound and my first guess would be that it is an
Advance engine. My other guess, for the crawler, would be a

‘This picture was framed and had obviously hung in
somebody’s house a long time. There was some writing on the
back of the picture, two words of which we could make out: a date
of 1920 and the name Mt. Carmel, which I’m assuming is Mt.
Carmel, Illinois, although I suppose there are other states with
towns of that name. Maybe someone out there in ‘engine
land’ can shed some light on it.’

‘The picture and letter on page 18 of the January/February
IMA have prompted me to write,’ says EDWIN BREDEMEIER, Rt. 1,
Box 13, Steinauer, Nebraska 68441. ‘That article is interesting
with questions I often hear.’

‘Avery made three styles of engines that I know of: the
under mount like the picture on page 18, the return flue (my father
owned one), and the regular conventional type we see a lot

‘A good friend operated an under mount, and he had high
praises for how it fired and handled. With the engine below the
boiler, it was always catching all the dust and dirt the front
wheels stirred up. He said since the steam pipe was so long it used
more fuel and water.’

‘My father owned a return-flue Avery and an Avery separator
around 1910. He and a neighbor purchased it new and did a
successful three week run in their home neighborhood with no
breakdowns. Then a month later, they took on a two week run of
stack threshing 15 miles from home. The agreement was that everyone
was to pay his bill for the run by the time the job was finished.
They promised they would pay, but Father and his partner were to
furnish a keg of beer at the finish, so it went okay. While
enjoying the beer, one farmer suggested they furnish a shed, leave
the outfit and thresh the shock run and go home.’

‘Father’s partner suggested they buy the outfit and that
way they would be sure to get their threshing done first. So, a few
fellows got off by themselves a short time and returned to ask the
price. Father and his partner went into a huddle and set a price.
The next thing, the two of them went home with the trap wagon and
they each had a check.’

‘About the belts on a steamer. The engineer usually ran the
engine over. That means that facing the engine belt pulley, it ran
clockwise. So, if a fire started, the engineer engaged the clutch
and pulled the separator away from the burning straw pile.’

‘Also, a crossed belt was not affected as much as a straight
belt on a windy day. Remember most of those belts were minimum
eight inches wide and minimum 150 long (single).’

‘With a steam outfit you did not sit directly with the wind
where smoke and sparks went to the separator. You sat off the wind
so smoke and sparks went off to the side of the thresher. There
were very few fires compared to the number of days spent threshing.
Engineers kept the spark arresters in place and watched and kept a
steady fire.’

‘Getting back to the under mount engine, they had a big
problem with the belt dragging on the ground. How many of you old
timers remember walking up to the drive belt on a hot, dry day and
holding a finger a half-inch from the running belt and seeing a
spark jump to your finger?’

‘Another point about the twisted belt: the belt had a little
more contact with the pulley.’

‘My father, at some time or other, had a share in the
following engines: a Gaar-Scott, Rumely, Buffalo Pitts, 16 HP
Altman Taylor, and a 32 inch Case thresher and 16 HP Case engine
until 1920 when he went to a tractor for power. He often said if he
ever owned another steam engine, it would be a Reeves with a Case
separator. He threshed his last run in 1937 and retired.’

‘Now, I want to point out that things I wrote about are from
our area. I know other areas were different.’

This comes from JAMES W. RUSSELL, 125 E. 600th Avenue, Oblong,
Illinois 62449, ‘This article has always been of considerable
interest to me. I suppose because I have many friends with
Keck-Gonnerman engines, and because I live within 100 miles of
where they were manufactured. It was first published in the
November/December 1971 IMA and written by Mr. James W. Chandler. In
the article, Mr. Chandler makes a reference to Reeves engine #8091.
He felt the Reeves and Keck-Gonnerman double engines had some
similarities. There is no doubt that Keck-Gonnerman built and sold
25 HP engines. However, the 28-30 Canadian engine causes
considerable debate between steam hobbyists as to whether or not it
even existed. I don’t know, but I am looking forward to hearing
people much more knowledgeable than myself discuss this. Thanks for
a great magazine and hello to my good steam friends!’

Reprint of the article from November/December 1971 IMA follows.
The Keck-Gonnerman Data was also supplied for that issue by James
Chandler, who at the time lived at 54 Taylor St., Frankfort, IN

28-30 HP Keck Gonnerman

By James W. Chandler

Awhile back at Mt. Pleasant Reunion my friend Leonard Mann of
Otrerbein, Indiana, Route 2, took quite a ribbing because he was
telling some friends, he had seen and worked with, a large
Keck-Gonnerman engine. Some of these fellows also gave yours truly
a hard time (over that same engine). Now here is proof positive
Keck-Gonnerman built in the early ’20s. Bore 7′, stroke
12′, boiler pressure 180 p.s.i. They were like all experimental
engines. The company who built them disowned them readily and
emphatically. No less authority than Frank Keck himself denied any
part of the above engine. The plain truth is there were six of
these built of which the one above was the last. The Keck people
did not believe in heavy crankshafts for their double engines;
consequently, the engine above was troubled by this type of
mounting, one bearing to each cylinder. She broke her crankshaft
twice in about 10 years. Incidentally, Keck-Gonnerman did not
furnish repairs for her. They had to be ordered from New York. It
is noteworthy that two of these were sold within 20 miles of the
other, which left only four to be seen elsewhere.

G. L. Potter engine Keck-Gonnerman 28-30 HP new in 1923 and sold
to Irwin Moore at Otterbein, Indiana. 7′ x 12′ bore and
stroke. Photo submitted by Mrs. Wm. Sonson, 1208 Bell St.,
Lafayette, Indiana, daughter of Mr. Moore. This photo appeared with
the Chandler article in November December 1971 IMA.

Regular Keck-Gonnerman – built 1922

Canadian Type – built 1923

25 HP, bore & stroke, single cyl. 9′ x 12′

28-30 HP

bore & stroke, double cyl. 7′ x 12′

Bore & stroke 7′ x 12′

Dia. Boiler-37′, shell thickness

Dia. boiler – 38′; shell thickness
3/8‘ or ‘

Fire box – 48′ long, 49′ high, 33′ wide

Fire box – 48′ long, 49′ high, 33′ wide

Boiler length-13’10’

Boiler length – 13′ 10′

Flues, dia. – 2′

Flues, dia. – 2′

Flues, number – 69

Flues, number – 69

Flues, length – 90′

Flues, length – 90′

Boiler pressure – 175 WP

Boiler pressure – 190 WP

Wheels, front – 44′ x 12′

Wheels, front – 44′ x 14′

Wheels, rear – 74′ x 24′

Wheels, rear – 70′ x 30′

‘Therefore, isn’t it unlikely the Reeves No. 8091 was
any relation to the above engine at all? Like a shet land pony to
per heron stallion these engines were Keck-Gonner-man’s flair
at the Canadian market. It would be fitting if someone would do an
article on unusual engines. Don’t you think?’


Additional information as per Canadian style of Keck-Gonnerman
25 HP regular style as picture and spec’s sheet in previous

‘Keck built 25 HP in two types, single cylinder and double
cylinder. Both of these were rear-geared. The following is copied
from Keck-Gonnerman 1921 catalog as per regular type. The
specifications of Canadian style are from at least two owners and
operators of such engines. With very few exceptions most
manufacturers of engines tried the Canadian market. That is to say,
any building 1,500 or more units. The most notable exceptions to
the rule are Belleville (Jumbo) and Woods Bros. of Des Moines,

‘See chart above of comparative specifications of the
regular and Canadian types.

‘*NOTE (original owner) In an interview of which we have a
transcript, a Mr. G. L. Potter of Lafayette, Indiana, tells us how
he wishes he had not sold the 28-30 HP Canadian type to the Mr.
Moore of Otterbein, Indiana. He expresses a desire to see that
engine or one like it work again. Mr. Moore’s daughter was kind
enough to give us a photo of this very rare engine. He said he
bought it for a 36 HP is why we call it a 28-30 HP.’

RICHARD MOSHER, 109 High-man Avenue, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
N1R 3M2, tells us more history on the roller pictured in the
January/February 1999 IMA: ‘I travel to Prince Edward Island
every year. I have a brother who lives there. We gave the old
roller a close examination this past summer. I believe it is a
small Buffalo Springfield. My brother, Philip, says he remembers it
running around Charlottetown maintaining the town roads. They must
have burned coal, as it had big clouds of black smoke following it.
The roller is fairly complete but has been sitting outside on
display for a long time. The boiler is still lagged and is badly
corroded on the outside.

‘Also in the January/February IMA is a story on a 30 HP
Waterloo engine. There is one about five miles from me that is in
mid-restoration. It is a large and impressive engine.

‘I have been a subscriber to IMA for many, many years. I
have a large collection of gas and diesel engines, about 45 all
together. I am currently looking for a steam traction engine to add
to my collection. Not a real big one, maybe 18 or 20 HP. With all
the new regulations on old boilers it is almost impossible to buy
one and be able to have it inspected and certified for a useable
pressure. So, if I find the right engine, I am prepared to
re-boiler it. I have thought about building a boiler myself. I
would sure like to hear from anyone who has done this.’

NORMAN D. SHANKLIN, 260 Abbot Hill Road, Wilton, New Hampshire
03086, writes, ‘My reason for contacting Iron Men is in the
hopes of obtaining some information on a Barber Asphalt Company
Iroquois Works coal-fired steam roller, serial number 8071, which I
have recently acquired. According to the name-plate, it was
manufactured at the Iroquois Iron Works in Buffalo, New York. I
have since consulted with steam traction friends and enthusiasts
that I know, but they have been unable to provide any other
information. My intent is to date and restore this Barber roller.
If you have any recommendations as to sources that I might tap in
order to determine the age and original documentation for this
roller, I would greatly appreciate your passing this along to

‘As an aside note, after being driven by road paving crews
into an iron scrap yard to be abandoned, the Iroquois sat for
approximately 45-55 years before its removal. We lubricated all the
joints, winched it onto a heavy low-boy, and delivered it to its
current refurbishment location. Upon arrival, the tractors on hand
were unable to move the Iroquois around. We were then left with one
option. We brought out an extensive length of air compressor hose,
pipe-fit it into one of the lines to the boiler, pressurized the
entire boiler system, and opened the throttle. We were actually
able to drive the roller into the safe haven of the restoration
barn. That says an awful lot for steam cylinder oil.

‘Thank you very kindly for any assistance you are able to
provide in this matter, as I am determined to make as proper a
restoration as possible once the appropriate research is

HARRIS JORGENSON, 12935 Rutledge Circle, Minnetonka, Minnesota
55305-3731, asks: ‘Does anyone know the make of this

‘The picture was taken on my uncle’s farm in western
Minnesota on October 10, 1911. My uncle’s name was Aldor
Hanson. The engine appears to be a straw-burner. My uncle is second
from the left on the ground others are unknown.’

‘I am a long-time subscriber to Iron Men Album and
look forward to receiving it each time.’

LARRY G. CREED, RR 13, Box 209, Brazil, Indiana 47834, writes
that ‘In the last issue of Iron Men Album, Tom
Stebritz could not understand why anyone would spend $800.00 to
rebuild an 18 HP Gaar-Scott engine in 1937. The answer to his
question is simple: he did not want a $100.00 Case steam engine. By
1937 you could not buy a new steam engine from Gaar-Scott, so he
did the next best thing and had Bert Lutewiler rebuild the engine
and put it on a new boiler. Those of us who have been on this
engine are very glad the owner spent $800.00, as it is an excellent
Gaar-Scott engine.

‘If Mr. Stebritz has any different information on Scheidler
crown sheet design, I suggest he should send in his own

‘I enjoyed the article on the Cooper steam engines and was
pleased to learn of the existence of four more of the engines. The
only Cooper engine I had seen was at the Ford Museum at Dearborn,
Michigan. Enclosed is a photograph of a 10 HP C.G. Cooper portable
steam engine #5012, which was taken near New Lenox, Illinois, in
1966. The engine was owned by Ray Kestel of Manhattan, Illinois. I
am not sure of its whereabouts today and would appreciate any
information about it.’

‘The second photograph is for my ‘Reeves Friends,’
and was taken in 1906 near Belle Fourche, South Dakota. The engine
is hauling 42 tons of sand to construct Owl Creek (Belle Fourche)
Reservoir. The 4 mile trip took one hour and fifty-five

‘The third photograph was taken at Fairview, Kansas, and is
a Springfield steam engine and a hand-feed threshing machine. All
Springfield portable and traction engines had wooden front wheels
and the traction engines had short water tanks mounted high on the
boiler. Most of the surviving Springfield engines seem to be 10 HP,
although the company built traction engines in 12 and 20 HP sizes

‘The fourth photograph, taken at Hamlin, Kansas, is of a
Minneapolis traction engine pulling a threshing machine that has a
swinging straw stacker. The engine has a ‘penthouse’
canopy, which Minneapolis, Huber and other manufacturers used on
their engines. This is a good design, as it allows the heat to get
out through the canopy rather than hang under the canopy.’

‘I hope everyone is busy working on their 1999 projects. I
would like to remind everyone that the Pawnee steam school will be
held at Boonville, Indiana, on March 27 and 28. There will be
classes on governors, injectors, bab biting, etc. Everyone is
welcome to attend and I am sure you will not be disappointed.
Plenty of motel rooms are available in nearby Evansville, Indiana.
Please be sure to register with Joe Graziana.’

(Joe Graziana’s phone number is 618-259-5458, or write
to him at 315 Grand Ave., Wood River, IL 62095.)

STEVE STACHOWIAK of S.O.S. Mechanical Contracting, RR 1,
Binbrook, Ontario L0R 1C0 faxed us a note at the end of last

‘I have recently acquired 192 issues of IMA, dated from 1966
to present. Thank you for publishing such an excellent

‘In the March/April 1966 issue on page 3, I came across a
photo of an 18 HP 1894 George White traction engine, restored by a
Mr. Brown of Peterborough, Ontario.

For many years a tire from an old railroad steam engine was used
as a fire alarm in Verbank, New York. No one knows exactly when or
why it was removed or where it was taken. The Union Vale Fire
Department is now establishing a memorial park to honor all
firemen. We’d like to reinstall the old alarm. Any help you can
give, to find a suitable replacement for the lost tire, would be
appreciated. The postcard shows the old alarm. Contact John J.
Farmer, Jr., RR #2, Box 110, Verbank, NY 12585. Phone

‘I acquired this engine several years ago and am in the
process of restoration. Any information, or reproduction of this
photograph, would be greatly appreciated. Also, any and all history
or information that may be available on the Napanee Boiler would be
of great assistance to me.’

We hope that someone can help Mr. Stachowiak, and that he will
send us a photo of the George White and the story of its

And now, we have come to the end of what has been a fine number
of letters and pictures from our devoted readers. Keep on writing,
we love to hear from you, and we are always so happy when this
column is full of photos, information and queries for more!

Linda and Gail

  • Published on Mar 1, 1999
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