Picture from Carl Boettcher.
'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 identify.
'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 finger.'
'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 1914.'
'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 time.'
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 will.'
(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 well.)
We received this e-mail from BOB HADDON, whose e-mail address is BHADDON@aol.com: '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 Roger.)
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 Monarch.'
'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 of.'
'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 46041:
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'
bore & stroke, double cyl. 7' x 12'
Bore & stroke 7' x 12'
Dia. Boiler-37', shell thickness 3/8'
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'
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 correspondence.
'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, Iowa.
'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 me.
'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 completed.'
HARRIS JORGENSON, 12935 Rutledge Circle, Minnetonka, Minnesota 55305-3731, asks: 'Does anyone know the make of this engine?''
'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 article.'
'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 minutes.'
'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 also.'
'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 year:
'I have recently acquired 192 issues of IMA, dated from 1966 to present. Thank you for publishing such an excellent magazine!
'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 914-677-8025.
'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 restoration.
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