Well, the ads are really rolling in for the Steam-Up Season of 1969 and National Threshers Association will be celebrating their 25th Reunion this year - isn't that wonderful? According to that I'd say the organization is going to stay together awhile, wouldn't you? That was the first organization to start the steam reunions and now just look at how many clubs there are - a great hobby that not only satisfies one's desires but preserves the past for the future - we all benefit -whether we realize it or not. And best of luck and good wishes to all of you as you look forward to a happy summer of traveling to the get-togethers.
We are all steamed up with pride right now as we are grandparents for the second time. History and specifications for this particular little 'steamer' are as follows: Manufactured by Mr. and Mrs. H. Edgar Branyan of Bangor, Penna. with the miraculous touch from the Master above - Make of model - male; Weight 8 1b. 1 oz.; length 20 inches; No. 2; Name of model - Lance Chandelor; Characteristics of above mentioned: vociferous, beautiful color, full of horsepower and resembles a sister model brought out in 1966 - name of Stacy Jo. Two real showpieces that along with owners (Ma & Pa) will make a wonderful Reunion for grandparents and Aunts and Uncles in the near future.
And now onto the letters. From William H. Westbrook, Route 2, Forsyth, Georgia 31029 - 'I have a Frick 9 x 12 portable engine and according to the companies records, it was made in 1896. This boiler has 2 inch flues which are obsolete. It needs a complete set of flues. The first flue removed was comparatively good except it was burned off inside the firebox. By cutting off a few inches and welding to a 2 inch tube, I was able to replace three of them. However the last two tubes were completely rusted out and most of the others seem to be in the same condition. If I could enlarge the flue sheet about 1/8 inch, a 2 inch pipe would slip through. Have you ever heard of anyone using a pipe for a boiler tube?'
Well, I don't understand what Bill is talking about but I know some of you steam buffs are already thinking of answering him.
A nice chat through a letter came to us from Lyman Matthews, 1302-6th Ave. N. E., Aberdeen, South Dakota 57401. Lyman states: I first subscribed in 1950 or 1951 and what a thrill the magazines were as they renewed what I never expected to enjoy anymore ever and the Iron-Men Album has been getting better throughout the years. We have really enjoyed many reunions, both at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa and Rollag, Minnesota and other smaller shows what a boost to life they are! The stories, write-ups and pictures in the last issue are really outstanding, especially The Dream of The Hell Bound Train.
'A year ago when I sent in my renewal I requested some information on the Bryant steam engine and in the May-June issue last year you made it known about my wishes and I received letters containing pictures, write-ups and details of the Bryant from 12 swell persons from Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, California, Nebraska, Montana and British Columbia and I answered all and wish to thank them again.'
Wasn't that a pleasant letter and just see how many people came to Lyman's aid - that makes us all happy!
Jay Kobiske of Route 3, Waupaca, Wisconsin 54981 sends in his idea - he wishes there would be a club for literature collectors. He says there is a club for everything else and that members of such could exchange information and extra literature. Well, that's how these clubs get started -someone gets an idea - and next there is an organization. Not quite that quickly though as it takes time and a lot of effort to get something of this sort going, but we wish Jay luck - perhaps he could start the ball rolling?
John A. Hinkle of R. D. 2, East Berlin, Pennsylvania 17316 tells us: 'That thresher on page 4 of Jan.-Feb. 1969 issue is a Twin-City thresher made by the Minneapolis Steel & Machinery Company. That round drum under the tailings elevator is an auxiliary cylinder to thresh the tailings.' Thanks John and I'm sure some of our fans will appreciate your writing.
And another letter comes from W. E. Dearing of Suite 101, 10 Edmonton St., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Mr. Dearing says: 'Relative to your March-April Iron-Men Album queries. The mechanical lubricator referred to on page 10 was known as 'The Acorn Oil Pump'. I do not know who made it but it was one of the earliest, if not the earliest, pumps used on farm engines and was used by many different companies. It's use was so widespread in the early years of this century one might presume it to have been manufactured under royalty by these companies. As soon as the sight feed, and later type pumps became available, the use of the Acorn completely ceased.'
Thanks for this bit of information, Mr. D. We are so glad we can all help each other through these columns.
James G. Stewart of Minnesota City, Minnesota 55959 sends us a bit of info. 'I want to write about a trip that I took a couple of weeks ago to Archie Stevens at Millville, Minnesota. It was really worthwhile as he certainly has a large collection of old things. To begin with, he has five steam engines - a 25 HP Nichols & Shepard, 18 Advance, 14 HP Austin and 2 Case engines. I think one is a 60 HP and the other is a little smaller. He has several other smaller ones too. There is a 30-60 Aultman & Taylor, a 20-40 Rumely Oil Pull and about 40 smaller ones of different makes. One is a 1912 Bates Steel Mule. Also there is an Advance corn shredder. All of these items are in sheds. There is a 1922 Ford roadster and a few other cars and hundreds of small items such as a two-row hand corn planter, lanterns, lamps and anything you'd like to lay your eyes on. He has a Prairie Village pretty well set up. He will have a store, church, salon, settler's cabin, barber shop, school, railway station when finished. He also has a railroad under construction. He is making his own engine and cars. When I got there he was working on an engine that he is going to use on a merry-go-round, but he was kind enough to show us around. Afterwards, he had me and my boy come in and have coffee. I have been to quite a few of his shows, but I certainly enjoyed going and seeing all these things. If any of you old timers want to see something - it will be well worth your while to go and visit Mr. Stevens.'
We owe a lot to these collectors of the 'past ways of living' - they are protecting our heritage. So, if you get a chance, why not drop out to Millville and see Archie's collection.
'What stimulated me to get busy and write you is the front page picture of the nice ROBINSON engine', writes Ralph Hussong, R. R. 2, Camp Point, Illinois (Mar.-Apr. 69 issue). 'I owned an 18 HP Robinson at one time and to add to my interest, my first experience in engineering was with an old 10 HP Gaar-Scott. I am told on good authority that Mr. Gaar and Mr. Robinson were first cousins, so were friendly competitors; in fact much of the casting work was done in the great Robinson foundry at Richmond, Indiana. It seems that Robinson did heavy casting foundry work so the steam engine was more of a side line to take up slack time.
'In February 1955, my wife and I took a trip to the Atlantic sea coast and in passing through Richmond, Indiana we found the Robinson foundry still very active.
'While passing along in steam engine history, I wish to note that James Abram Gaar was the first, and for awhile, the only engine builder who ground his brackets to fit the boiler.
'Personally, I was a lover of both engines as they had a lot of the same kind of blood in their manufacture.'
A bit of interesting information from Ralph and thanks for writing us.
And in closing, just this little poem from Edward Hersey Richards entitled 'A Wise Old Owl'.
A wise old owl lived in an oak; The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard: Why can't we all be like that bird?