1 / 9
2 / 9
3 / 9
Creed Photo #2: Avery 25 HP single-cylinder straight-flue traction engine, circa 1914. Note the reverse-mounted cylinder.
4 / 9
5 / 9
Pierce Photo #1: Reeves 20 HP double-simple.
6 / 9
Gladowski Photo #1: A family poses with their traction engine, possibly a Frick, in this old postcard, date and place unknown.
7 / 9
8 / 9
Pierce Photo #3: Reeves 25 HP cross-compound.
9 / 9
Pierce Photo #4: Charlie Pierce and the Reeves 25 HP cross-compound, photographed at Rollag, Minn., in 1958.

Traction Engines and Threshing Machines

A couple of house-cleaning items before we launch into this
issue’s collection of correspondence and photographs.

First off, the web address for the Pawnee Steam School published
in previous issues of Iron-Men Album was incorrect. The correct
address should read: We try to get it
right, but somehow dropped the ball on this one. Apologies to the
Oklahoma Steam Threshing & Gas Engine Association and to any of
you who tried unsuccessfully to access their web site with the
wrong information.

Secondly, since our listing of steam schools in the
January/February issue of Iron-Men Album we’ve learned of two
other steam schools that didn’t make our list.

First up is the Carriage Hill Farm Steam School, which will hold
classes April 12-14, 2002. The school is going into its 14th year
of steam engineering training, with the class limited to 30
students. The emphasis is on classroom instruction with hands-on
training, and special attention is also given to safety, boiler
construction and practical operating techniques. Tuition is $75,
which includes all materials and lunch on Saturday. For more
information, contact Nick Krimm at: Steam Operations Group, 7800 E.
Shull Rd., Dayton, OH 45424, or e-mail at:

Chris Baldo in California e-mails us that the Roots of Motive
Power will hold a class April 6-7, 2002, in Willits, Calif. Tuition
for the class, Introduction to Steam Engineering Safety, is $25,
and enrollment is limited to 30 students. Emphasis is on classroom
presentations, hands-on operation of boilers and steam engines from
the Roots of Motive Power collection, and of course safety. For
more information, e-mail Chris (, or contact
Bobbie Yokum/Registrar, Roots of Motive Power, Steam Engineering
School, P.O. Box 1540, Willits, CA 95490.

Case Engines and Rock Crushing

Our first letter this issue comes from faithful contributor
Larry Creed, R.R. #13, Box 209, Brazil, IN 47834, who writes:

‘I would like to thank Gary Yaeger for his excellent (as
usual) old steam photographs. I am confident that Gary will come
across a picture of the elusive Case 6 HP traction engine. I never
dreamed a picture of a double stack Minneapolis traction engine
existed until a steam friend placed the photograph in my

Tommy Lee has an outstanding collection of Case memorabilia and
literature, he has spent countless hours studying steam engines
produced by J.I. Case. Tommy is sure to be able to answer any Case
question I may ever have.

The following three photographs are all from the state of
Indiana. Like Gary Yaeger, I will jump straight into the Case

Creed Photo #1: A Hoosier threshing crew donned their finest
derby hats when they posed for this photograph in front of a short
smokebox compound Case traction engine and a Case threshing

Creed Photo #3: Rock crushing in Indiana. The date of the
picture is unknown, as is the make of the engine running the
crusher, but it could be an Aultman judging by the crown on the
smoke stack.

‘In photograph #1, I would like Chady Atteberry to note that
his ‘Hoosier’ threshing crew did not lack ‘style,’
as the derby hats clearly illustrate. The steam engine is a
short-smokebox compound Case. My 1905 Case catalog listed the
following ‘compounded’ traction engines: 5- x 8- x 10,
rated 9 HP; 6-1/8 x 9 x 10, rated 12 HP; 7 x
10 x 10, rated 15 HP; 7- x 11 x 10, rated 20 HP; 9- x 13 x 11,
rated 25 HP. The Case threshing machine is hand fed and has what
Case termed a ‘Common Folding Stacker.’ Until the addition
of self-feeders and wind stackers, a large separator could be
pulled by a relatively small steam engine.’

‘Photograph #2 is of an Avery single-cylinder/straight-flue
steam traction engine. In 1914, Avery was building their
under-mounted, double-cylinder traction engine, available in 18,
20, 22, 30 and 40 HP. The single-cylinder/straight-flue engine was
available in 25 HP only. Single-cylinder/return-flue engines were
available in 16, 20 and 30 HP as a traction, portable or skid
engine. Note the reverse-mounted cylinder – the heater runs almost
the length of the boiler.’

‘Photograph #3: I have many old photographs of steam engines
and threshing scenes, but this is the only picture I have of a
steam engine pulling a rock crusher. Indiana has quite a large
amount of limestone, which can be easily quarried. The problem is
crushing the stone to a size that can be used. You can tell from
the wheelbarrows on the ramp that this was a labor-intensive job
where you earned every dollar you made. It is hard to make out any
details of the engine, but the crown on the top of the smoke stack
suggests it could be a C. Aultman.’

‘I would like to thank Iron-Men Album for the coverage of
the Medina, Ohio, accident. I do not believe the previous editor
would have waded into the controversy like Richard Backus has. The
true tragedy is the entire incident would have never happened with
proper accumulation and application of steam knowledge that has
been amassed in this country and Canada for well over 100

Aultman & Taylor Separators

Nello Mungai, 23 Skyline Dr., Hickory, PA 15340 writes:

‘When I received the January/February Iron-Men Album I sure
was surprised to see the pictures on pages 27 and 28 of the 30 x 46
Mew Century thresher that was sold new in 1915 to the Beatty
brothers, then in turn to Frank Gormley in 1957.’ Around 1980 I
was lucky to buy it and 1 gave it to our oldest son to run.

‘We still have it, and it is still in working condition. We
are not using it now because I am up in years, 82 next July. Frank
and I used it at the Tri-State Steam Show for quite a few years. I
have seen a lot of machines working, but this one is the smoothest
runner of all. It is a hand-feed with a blower and will really
clean the grain.’

‘The Tri-State Steam Show was started by my father-in-law,
Dean Fullerton, his brother, Chuck, and Paul Crow back in the 1950s
and it is still running.’ I spent a lot of time helping the
show as show director and then as president for a number of years.
When I started they were all ‘old men’ to me, now I am the
‘old man.’

‘Steam shows sure have changed over time.’ Those
‘old men’ who lived in the steam age liked to tell some
good stories about what happened to them, and some of their stories
I will never forget.

‘I helped out for over 30 years at the steam show, and I
always had in the back of my mind what happened in Ohio this past
summer. That is the reason I never wanted to have a ‘tug of
war’ with steam engines.’

Reflections on Medina

Thomas Stebritz, 1516 E. Commercial St., Algona, IN 50511

‘Over the years, my experience has given me a practical eye
in regard to what’s what and who about most traction
engines.’ An example is Curtis Cook’s picture on page 1 in
Soot in the Flues in the January/February 2002 issue of IMA.
It’s a nice picture of a Buffalo-Pits engine, and looks to be a
15 HP. The thresher is a Russell with a Lindsay feeder.

‘I read with interest the guest experts opinions about what
caused the demise of the Case at Medina, Ohio. I observed this old
relic being put together by Neil Miller at Alden, Iowa, in the late
1970s at his farm near Alden. By 1980 Neil’s health was not
good and he sold all of his steam engines and other machinery at
his closing-out sale in 1980.’

The Case was not completely done, and I believe the boiler was
not tested by then. Looking at the pictures in IMA we see a
staybolt hole in the crown sheet, and the number of threads
indicated the plate to be a sparse 3/16-inch
thickness. Looking further indicated the plate around the flue
holes to be 3/16 to -inch. I’m fairly
sure this boiler was re-tubed at this time. The owner could have
seen at the time this was a very questionable boiler, of course
maybe he was indifferent to this.

Before we point any fingers at anyone from the far past, it
should be noted that the state of Minnesota passed this boiler
once, maybe twice, for use at the Butterfield Threshermens Show.
Warren Bellinger of Cedar Falls, Iowa, and myself rode that engine
once at that show, and it wasn’t our time to pass on as nothing
happened. The pictures showing the deterioration of the plate and
stay-bolts makes me believe that the boiler came from out west and
was used with alkali water, which caused its wasting away.

The state of Minnesota and the state of Ohio both slipped up on
this boiler, and it makes a person wonder what kinds of tests were
put on it to pass it at all. The crown sheet was determined to be
about 3/16-inch thick. If a boiler inspector
had used a test hammer to tap on the crown sheet it would have
probably sounded like tapping on an oil barrel. He also would have
gotten a bath. I would say that a cold water test would have
dropped the crown sheet at 200 psi, quite probably a lot less.

Something must be understood, and that is that this engine was
used very little after it was restored and the boiler did not
accomplish its deterioration of any amount in its remaining years
of existence. Really, the boiler was ready for the cutting torch
after it was restored – a hard thing to say, but it’s the
truth. Reading some of our guest experts’ procrastination was
interesting, sometimes amusing. And by the way, threaded stays in
the older boilers were 12 threads to the inch, not 11.

‘In the last few years the engine magazines have printed
accounts of engine restorations, one being a Frick half buried in a
pile of dirt. The whole thing is questionable – how old and how
thick is what’s left of the boiler plate?’

‘If you can find an engine with a basically sound boiler
that needs some rebuilding some place in the boiler, that can
usually be done all right. But don’t patch up some piece of
junk just to have a steamer of your own.’

‘In the January/February IMA there is an article about
taking care of your boiler and replacing your fusible plugs -you
should approach this very carefully. If 50 people were to use this
advice, 49 would tear the plug and plate out with a wrench.
Instead, remove what’s left of the plug by drilling.’

‘After looking at the shape of the crown sheet, consider
drilling and tapping in a size larger stay-bolt, then drill and
thread a new hole for the fusible plug. Another way to fill in the
fusible plug hole is to drill a hole end to end and put in a 1-inch
diameter flue. All of this would eliminate the shrinkage caused by
any welding. Ninety-nine percent of all firebox plates are
generally 5/16-inch plate, except the tube
sheets. After 1913, the 40, 50, 65 and 80 HP Case fireboxes were
made out of 11/32-inch plate, except the tube
sheets, which were 7/16-inch plate.’

‘People look at these -inch plate boilers and assume that
the firebox plate is the same. Actually, except for the tube sheet,
which is -inch, the rest of the firebox is
5/16-inch plate, maybe up to
3/8-inch. I have put flues in a number of
stationary and traction boilers and have observed all manner of use
and abuse. I never played the fool around any boiler.’

‘Our guest experts have pointed their fingers in different
directions.’ 1 see someone made a remark about some galvanized
pipe that was used. I don’t really understand all the remarks
about the crown sheet – the fusible plug was probably limed up on
the water side.

‘Those extra-long fusible plugs didn’t work like they
were supposed to and melted out somewhat on the water side, which
is why engineers cut the non-threaded excess of the plug off before
inserting it into the crown sheet.’ This was certainly true of
a Universal Boiler Russell engine. When the water was in the bottom
of the glass the front end of the crown sheet was starting to get
bare, and one of those extra long plugs would be about to melt

‘The owner of the 32 HP Case and the owner of the 20 HP Case
had something in common they were both in over their heads and
ignorant of most of the rest. Common sense was missing. It’s
time to put the whole matter to rest for good, with no more silly
suppositions and finger pointing.’

Is it a Frick?

Ed Gladowski, 1128 W. Gardner St., Houston, TX 77009 writes:

‘Maybe you can use this picture? It is a copy of an old
postcard given to me by a friend who found it in Florida. There is
no information, date, location, stamp or postmark on the postcard.
The engine looks to me like it might be a Frick, but I am no
expert. Maybe some of our knowledgeable readers could say for sure.
Good luck with the magazine.’

Reeves Identification

Melvin Pierce, 7204 131st Ave. SW, Scranton, ND 58653

‘Congrats on the ‘new’ IMA. Here’s hoping you
can take it to new and higher ground yet.’

‘In reference to Gary Yaeger’s Photo #2 on page 15 in
the November/December 2001 IMA. This is a somewhat unique photo of
a double-simple Reeves 25 HP (clearly pulling a steam lift plow) in
that most Reeves plow engines were cross-compound. This one is a
double-simple 25, the main argument for this being the large barrel
size, which would be the same barrel size as a 32 HP compound. And
it is clearly not a 32, because all 32’s had an inverted,
U-shaped support from one end of the crank to the other, and Yaeger
photo #2 does not have that U brace. It would show clearly in the
photo if it were there.’

‘It is an early model, before s/n 5000, because of the
square front axle. It has the optional 16-inch wide front wheels,
12-inch were standard. Note how small the left cylinder looks. Now
compare that to the large size of the 25 HP cross-compound in my
photo #2.’

‘Photo #1 is a Reeves s/n 4438 U.S. lap seam, 20 HP
double-simple. Same boiler as a 25 HP cross-compound. Note how
small in diameter, how long and stretched out it looks, compared to
the boiler in Yaeger #2. This one has 12-inch front wheels, clearly
a smaller diameter than Yaeger #2, thus Yaeger’s must be the
larger 25 HP double-simple, with the 32 HP cross-compound

‘Photo #2 is an early, pre-s/n 5000 Reeves 25 HP
cross-compound engine located near me. It also has the square front
axle, making it pre-s/n 5000.’ Note how large the left valve
cover is compared to Yaeger #2 and the long, narrow boiler barrel.
Also, note how the water tank rides higher in relation to the
barrel? On Yaeger #2 it looks lower because the larger barrel of
the 25 HP double-simple would be higher. Also, Yaeger #2 does not
show any interceptor valve linkage. All that shows is valve gear
linkage, not interceptor, as the interceptor comes down below the
valve, almost to the hand hold opening on my Photo #2. It is not
there on Yaeger #2.

‘Photo #3 is a Reeves 25 HP cross-compound, still owned by
me. My grandfather, Charlie Pierce, bought it used in 1917. This is
a photo taken, 1 believe, in Dalton, Minn., in 1958 right after he
originally had it fixed up. Note again the long, narrow

‘Photo #4 is another photo of the Reeves 25 HP
cross-compound, taken at Rollag, Minn., in 1958. That is Charlie
Pierce by the right front wheel. Note it has the rounded front
axle, not the earlier square one.’ The number of this engine is
unknown, it was gone when he bought it in 1917. Note it has the
large, optional 16-inch front wheels. See how they do not look as
large in Yaeger #2 because the larger barrel size of the 25 HP
double-simple makes them look smaller. Compare the diameter of the
barrel against the size of the front wheels, and see how much
larger diameter the barrel is in Yaeger #2. Thus, it must be the 32
HP cross-compound boiler, but it is not a 32, because it lacks the
inverted U brace.

‘I hope these photos help show how unique Yaeger #2 is, the
25 HP double-simple pulling a steam plow, especially, and help to
show what makes it a 25 HP double-simple, not a 25 HP
cross-compound. It is clearly a double-simple.’


Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment