SOOT IN THE FLUES

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Hi! to all the dear family of Iron-Men Album Magazine. I think
all over the nation right now it is miserable winter weather,
reports of flooding, snows, yukky weather, ugh! But this is
definitely springtime and into summer issue of IMA so by the time
you get this, maybe the welcome spring flowers will be pushing
their beautiful heads above ground. Hope so, and I know you are
pampering the engines and getting the trailers ready to get ‘on
the road’ for another glorious year of shows. I’ll be
looking for your comments and stories to help stimulate the column
writings.

I had quite a few inquiries as to where you can get the book
Well-springs of Wisdom, as you folks really seem to enjoy the
stories from it. As I told you, I don’t believe it is in print
any more if you find out differently, please let me know.

And here comes another bit for you from that good little book.
It is entitled ‘Know Thyself’: A prosperous young Wall
Street broker met, fell in love with and was frequently seen
escorting about town a rising actress of gentility and dignity. He
wanted to marry her, but being a cautious man he decided that
before proposing matrimony he should have a private investigating
agency check her background and present activities. After all, he
reminded himself, ‘I have both a growing fortune and my
reputation to protect against a marital misadventure.’

The Wall Streeter requested that the agency was not to reveal to
the investigator the identity of the client requesting a report on
the actress.

In due time the investigator’s report was sent to the
broker. It said the actress had an unblemished past, a spotless
reputation, and her friends and associates were of the best repute.
‘The only shadow,’ added the report, ‘is that currently
she is often seen around town in the company of a young broker of
dubious business practices and principles.’ (Nuff saidyou
better think on that one awhile, might benefit us all).

It’s good to hear from ANDY MICHELS, 302 Highland Avenue,
Plentywood, Montana 59254 as he tells us: ‘When I visited
Dalton, Minnesota last fall, I saw an old Stillwater giant steam
engine, 8 or 9 HP, perhaps as old as Grampa’s. My grandfather,
John Fugle at Devils Lake, ND, had an 8-9 HP and a 36’ Rumely
thresher, hand-fed and no stacker of any kind, before 1900.

‘My grandfather was a hard worker and a good family man he
had eight kids; and made a go of his farms.’

‘First, he put a feeder on his threshing machine the little
Giant handled the feeder all right, but when he added a wind
stacker, a 2-fan job, it couldn’t cut the mustard, so after an
unsuccessful year, he gave up as the outfit was old.’

‘I was 11 years old in 1922 and wanted the steam pump which
had a flywheel on itto make an engine. I never got it, and
didn’t mind till I saw this one at Dalton. Now, I have big
steam engines as well as little ones, but very few steam pumps like
it axe around here any more.’

‘Another thing he built was a big windmill. It had a large
building at the base, was 60′ high with a shaft and gears and a
line shaft. It pumped water, ground feed, cleaned grain and churned
butter. In a high wind it shut off by itself.’

‘There were seed and feed bins and a whole bunch of cats in
the thing. I will never forget Aunt Laura, who almost had, or
pretended to have, a heart attack when she caught my cousins and I
climbing to the top. (Andy, I don’t think she was
pretending.)’

‘A strange thing, Grampa never drove the engine or a car in
his whole 78 years. He sat in the front seat and drove from the
passing side.’

‘I should have had this in an earlier paragraph, but to
reverse the engine you got up on it and turned the eccentric a half
a turn on the crankshaft. For some reason when you were almost into
the belt it would reverse itself, so Uncle Fred said they always
pulled it into the belt with horses.’ (Hey Buddies, how about
sending in a letter and reminisce like Andy did brings back a lot
of memories, doesn’t it?)’

We hear from GLENN G. RUHLMAN, R.D. #2, Sugar Grove,
Pennsylvania 16350 as he writes: ‘Enclosed is a picture of my
1913, 8×10 Eclipse Frick steam traction engine, s.n.16358. I bought
it in the fall of 1974 from Don Hager, Meadville, PA. From what
information I have it came from Kentucky. If any reader has more
information on this engine number, I would like to hear from them.
It has been completely restored and is in excellent condition.

‘The other picture I’ve enclosed of of a threshing crew
was given to me by my Aunt Kathryn Coleman Bliss. This picture was
taken between 1905 and 1912. The man on the right standing on the
wagon was her uncle Andrew Button. The boy on the ground by the
wagon was his son, Fred Button. Picture was taken in the area of
Union City, PA. If anyone should recognize any person in the
picture, I would like to hear from them.’

Sit up and take note, Fellows, here is a worthwhile letter and
I’m hoping you’ll oblige this young mansend the article to
us and drop him a few letters also. This plea comes from BERNARD
RYBICKI, Browning Pond, Spencer, Massachusetts 01562.

He writes: ‘Even though I never lived at the time when Steam
was King, I often feel as though I did when I read your magazine. I
never thought I’d grow up to be a ‘steam buff’,
especially when most 22 year olds turn to drugs for enjoyment.
I’d like to honestly thank you for keeping this interest alive
for other people to enjoy, and I hope that it will continue to be
alive for years to come.’

‘As you can guess, I am rather new to the game, and
therefore would like to see you publish something for the newcomer,
like an article on how to get started or who to get in touch with
to begin this hobby.’ (Isn’t that an encouraging letter,
Friends. I pray Bernard could get more people high on STEAM than on
DRUGS. Help him out, you fine engine men out therelet’s hear
from you.)’

H. J. BERNY, 209 W. Sprague, Edinburg, Texas 78539 has some
comments as he writes: ‘In the Jan-Feb Iron-Men Album Magazine,
page 22, you have a write-up by Carl-ton Gee, a retired engineer,
who talks about steam vs diesel, which I admire very much. When I
receive this magazine, I sit at night and read until I get sleepy.
Your magazine and old ways magazines are the best. I say that some
day the old steamers will return as they are the best. All I see
about the diesels, they need only a push button operator, and as
for the new cars’ guarantee now I say they are awful expensive
to operate not like the old ones. But I do enjoy all of your
write-ups.

‘I also would like to say I never have seen any write-up on
the car that did not have a transmission but was guaranteed to
climb any large hill without getting hot. They offered to any other
car company a thousand dollars if their car would perform at any
steep hill without getting hot and stopping, but no other could
follow them.’ (I never heard of that car have any of you? Mr.
Berny didn ‘t give a name of the car. Thanks for writing, H.J.,
and sharing your thoughts with us.)’

In sending us a show report used in the March-April issue,
MELVIN H. HELLWINCKEL, 1022 North Elm, Luverne, Minnesota 56156,
told us about a very interesting book by ‘Slim’ Rennewanz,
entitled Steam, Grain and Sawdust. Written in 1968, the 45,000
word, 175 photo book covers Mr. Rennewanz’s experiences in
Minnesota, so is all true. Melvin writes: ‘The story about the
young man who thought he learned how to operate a steam engine by
reading a book his Father bought him and then promptly drove the
engine into the lake where he obtained the water for the boiler
hollering ‘Whoa, whoa’ all the way down for the steering
mechanism confused him, was worth the $5.00 price of the book
alone.’ The book is available directly from L. H. Rennewanz,
P.O. Box 145, Ennie, Montana 59729.

Our dear faithful friend, FRANK J. BURRIS, 1102 Box Canyon Road,
Fallbrook, California 92028 sends this: ‘Now here is a bit of
something different, but undoubtedly a story which, in its very
humorous vein, is bound to raise many chuckles from our older Album
readers who have lived through those halcyon days on the farm in
the first two decades after the turn of this most wonderfully
advanced century. My first ‘job’ was that of a haying hand
at the age of 12 (in 1915) for 50 per day plus board and lodging,
the latter item of which consisted in trying to sleep on the
kitchen floor of a neighbor’s shack (two-room dwelling) on a
bed which consisted of a bunch of damp soiled baby’s diapers!
But those were tremendous wages when Father was sweating it out in
the harvest fields for $1.00 per day. Of course butter was but 10
per pound, and eggs 10 per dozen. But my hopes were to have been
able to spend my hard earnings for a toy Weeden steam stationary
engine which was priced at $3.48 in the Sears Catalog of that time.
Yes, I can still recall every illustrated detail of that little
engine! But I was constrained to allocate my addition to the
family’s capital for the purpose of obtaining a pair of high
leather boots for coping with the oncoming winter. And my
‘board’ consisted in liberal helpings of slightly souring
good real cow’s milk; for there was no such thing as
refrigeration and milk over a day old had to be skimmed, churned,
cottage-cheesed, and the remainder consumed as ‘whey’Oh,
but it was good!

‘But to get on with this yarn. As I have mentioned before, I
was one of those very ambitious few who did rise to graduate into
professional engineering and ultimately resigned from one phase of
the ‘Space’ program. So in the past ten years I have
indulged the ‘computer’ disciplines; certainly the most
fantastic field of study and endeavor ever imaginable. Soon I will
be composing all this nostalgic material on my new job; soon as I
master all the commands of Wordstar. But in this study, I have
subscribed to several pertinent periodicals, among which is PC
Magazine the Independent Guide to IBM-Standard Personal Computing.
No, I do not possess an IBM brand of machine; but there is great
compatibility between their machine and mine. Anyway, in the 1986
January edition of that excellent publication, page 89, is a most
interesting humorous COPYRIGHTED article entitled ‘Flossie or
the Tractor’. It really brings the good old farm days and
modern computers together; and its author, Mr. Stephen Manes (like
Man-us of Jigg’s fame) revealed that he also knew something of
farm life. I know all you readers would appreciate his story.
(Thanks for your letter, Frank, and thanks to Mr. Manes for
allowing us to reprint his article. You will find it following this
‘Soot in the Flues’ column.)’

Did you ever do something, or not do something that was really
important? Then you are really disgusted with yourself? Well, I
have and I have sins like everyone else, but sometimes I believe my
omission ones are ahead of my commission ones I’m so glad God
forgives and I hope you will, too. I’m sure you all remember
Roy Glessner he did quite a few of his cartoons for the Iron-Men
Album and the Gas Engine Magazine. Stemgas sells his book of
cartoons from the office I’m sure many of you have bought it.
Well, Roy died back on July 5, 1984, and somehow I never reported
it in the magazines. I don’t know, I remember thinking of it at
the time and never did it guess I really didn’t want to at the
time and then forgot it. Well, I’ll tell you, Roy was a great
personality. Some of you may have met him at some of the shows, as
that was one of his hobbies, buying up some of the old but goodies
items, and books and making some of the shows. Roy was a man of
many talents. Aside from being an artist, he was interested in
‘diggings’ and went on several ‘digs’. Also, he had
a room at his house in the basement that was done in the old-style
with a velvet couch with the built-up pillows on one end, tin type
pictures, oil lights, the works HIS ROOM and everyone enjoyed
visiting it. He had a horse, enjoyed that, and kept his grounds
around the country home in beautiful and enjoyable living
shape.

Roy had another talent, of planning trips. He set up many trips
for the senior citizens of Mechanicsburg and he also set up trips
for years before for a bus load of friends to tour different areas
of our great country. Ed and I never got on the beginning trips of
years ago, but we were fortunate enough to go on the last two. One
was up Canada way and the last one was in 1983 when we went up to
the New England States. He had an art for making up these most
enjoyable, interesting excursions. He was our Trail Boss and Naomi,
his wife, who assisted him in many ways, was our Trail Boss’s
Boss (ha, ha!). Well, they had set up a great trip for 1984part of
it was to be on a boat on the Mississippi and everything was going
well with reservations, etc. all set up and Roy took sick mostly
like a cold in the winter and just didn’t get better it went on
and he ended up in the hospital and we never made the trip.

We knew him very well, and my heart hurts to talk about it, but
this is long over due we all loved him and miss his many gifts and
virtues but like I care to believe he planned a lot of trips but I
think now he’s on the greatest one of all. We are all better to
have known him he’ll always be part of us.

Time to close and of course, I can’t leave you without some
thought provokers. Character is what you are in the dark. It is
right to be content with what you have, but not with what you are.
God’s answers are wiser than our prayers. If you think you have
no faults, that makes one more. Bye, bye. Have a Happy Mother’s
Day and Father’s Day. Love ya!

STEAMcerety Anna Mae

Brian Krog of RR 1, Box 124, Lake Benton, Minnesota 56149. The
picture was one of a group given to him by Mrs. Charles Smith of
Cambridge, Minnesota, and on the back was written: 25 HP
Minneapolis engine, maybe an Aultman and Taylor separator near
Osseo, Minnesota in 1951. Maybe someone has more information on the
picture and who might be participating in this scene? If so, end a
note to Anna Mae in care of IMA.

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Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment