‘I would like to comment on the steam engine photo on page
11 of November/December 1992 issue sent by Carl Alsdorf of
Middletown, Ohio. I am wondering if the Nagle Engine and Baler
Works could have originally been the Erie City Iron Works? Or maybe
have been built by them. In Jack Norbeck’s Encyclopedia of
American Steam Traction Engines, the Erie steam portable engine is
listed on page 35. These two engines are almost identical, with
eight years difference in the time they were built, allowing for
the minor discrepancies. I would certainly like to hear from anyone
with information on these engines.
‘Keep up the good work, Anna Mae, and may we never forget
where our many blessings come from, and where our thankfulness
The following is a very informative and interesting letter with
lots of pictures you will be interested in seeing. It comes from
GARY YAEGER, 146 Reimer Lane, Whitefish, Montana 59937,
406-862-7738; hope you enjoy.
‘The last time I wrote anything for the Iron-Men Album was
the January/February 1958 issue. I’ve been going to write for
some time, but I’m usually too busy.
‘I discovered a book written by Bob Murphy, copyrighted in
1984, for children, called Tractors. On page 36 is a picture of a
110 HP Case plowing, and I was 98% sure this was the same picture
that was in the January/February IMA on page 18. There was no
information available with the IMA pictures. The caption with the
picture in ‘Tractors’ was as follows: ‘A Case steamer
shown in the 1911 Winnipeg plowing contest. Case took home a gold
‘I am a Case owner and fan. However, I am also a Reeves fan,
as my father, Joe Yaeger, used to tell me story after story about
the operation of the two Reeves engines he and his seven brothers
owned. They owned a 32-120 Reeves Canadian Special cross-compound
(the one owned by Marvin Brodbeck shown at Wauseon, Ohio), and they
also owned the only known 20 HP Canadian Special simple-double high
wheeler produced by Reeves.
Gary Yaeger operating the Smolik Bros. 40-140 Reeves at Cedar
Falls, Iowa, August 1992. These are both Montana citizens. The
Reeves sat on the Marias River, below Tiber Dam, north of Great
Falls, Montana. It ran an irrigation pump, flowing 8000 gallons per
Joe Yaeger firing the only known 20 HP Reeves, Canadian Special,
simple double, high wheeler, circa 1920. I remember this engine
being dismantled in 1948, because it had leaky flues. Photo taken
on the Yaeger Ranch, Lewistown, Montana.
Gary Yaeger operating Austin Monk’s 40-120
Emerson-Brantingham Peerless. We pull a 20 bottom John Deere plow
with this engine in tough pulling.
Max Tyler (left) and Earl Tyler with 32-110 HP Reeves U.S. Cross
Compound #7888. Earl bought this engine during the Depression for
$10, and says he worked several weekends for that $10 too!
Mike Tyler, age 13 (left), and Gary Yaeger, age 12, on the 20/70
Nichols & Shepard at the Yaeger ranch in 1955.
1958 photo of Gary Yaeger with 32-120 Reeves cross compound,
Canadian Special #7181, owned by Tyler Bros., Moore, Montana. Note
Gary Yaeger beside the Tyler Bros.’ 40 HP Gaar Scott, the
only one in the United States. Photo taken in 1958.
‘I’ll try to keep this roundabout story as short as
possible. In 1958 I had the opportunity to attend a steam show at
the Cattle Congress Grounds at Waterloo, Iowa, and the next weekend
a show at Cedar Falls, Iowa. At both of these shows was a young
engineer by the name of Dean Bellinger. We were both the same age
and young! I’d lost track of Dean over the years, but I
reestablished contact in 1990, while my son, Michael, was at
Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky. My plan was to fly to
Fort Knox and drive back to Montana with Michael, making a detour
past the Antique Acres showgrounds at Cedar Falls. I’d heard
stories and seen pictures of the big 40 HP Reeves back into the
early ’50s, and I wanted to put my hands on it. I also wrote to
Ray Smolik, who was going to see to it that my dream was realized.
I related my Reeves heritage to him and he assured me if I ever
came to their show, I’d get a ride on it. Anyway, Dean
Bellinger encouraged me to come back to a show and last August was
it. Dean also arranged with engineer Randy Schwerin for me to
actually get to run this magnificent piece of Montana history
around the grounds. I shall never forget August 27th, 1992, or the
magnificent bunch of friends I made there, as long as I live!
‘All of that to say this. When I saw the picture of the 110
HP Case in the ALBUM and in Tractors, I thought of the Smolik Bros.
110 HP Case, as they were equipped identically with four foot
extended drive wheels, 20 inch wide front wheels and butt strap
Canadian boilers. Warren Bellinger, engineer of the Smolik Bros.
110 HP Case, asked me to fire for him, one round plowing. So again,
I got the same rush when I saw this picture.
‘And does that Smolik 110 run! It pulled 159.25 HP on the
prony brake, disappointing Warren, since it broke 160 HP the year
‘Anna Mae, it thrills me to see the articles printed in the
ALBUM from young people. If we don’t encourage young
enthusiasts in our hobby someday there will be no old
‘In 1954, at age 11, I got to open the throttle on the
Nichols & Shepard my dad traded our 32 Reeves for. Now that I
am an older second generation steam nut, I really appreciate the
fact that my dad, Charlie Tyler and sons Max and Earl, and Walter
Mehmke and son Carl all gave me that break. I still draw all of the
wisdom and knowledge I can from my good friend, Austin Monk, whom
I’d adopt if our society had such provisions!
‘Many of you know Austin from the many steam shows he
attends. As I write this, he is in his last week of radiation
treatments in Seattle. He and I have many more rounds of unfinished
plowing to do. I have been blessed with the opportunity to assist
him in operating his 40-120 HP Geiser (Emerson Brantingham)
Peerless at the Barnes Family Steam and Power Show at Belgrade,
Montana. If you have never witnessed a steam engine pulling a 20
bottom 14’ plow in some tough Montana topsoil, you should plan
to attend this show. It will make the hair stand up on the back of
‘Anna Mae, please keep up the good work, as I and many of my
best friends look forward to our next Iron Men Album. It’s the
best piece of mail in the mailbox!’
Before I say goodbye until next issue, I have a writing that I
know many of you will appreciate it is called ‘What Jesus
To the artist, He is the One Altogether lovely.
To the architect, He is the Chief Cornerstone.
To the astronomer, He is the Sun of Righteousness.
To the baker, the Bread of Life.
To the builder, the Sure Foundation.
To the carpenter, the Door.
To the doctor, the Great Physician.
To the educator, the Great Teacher.
To the farmer, the Lord of the Harvest.
To the engineer, the New, Living Way.
To the florist, the Rose of Sharon.
To the geologist, the Rock of Ages.
To the horticulturist, the True Vine.
To the judge, the only Judge of man.
To the jeweler, the Pearl of great price.
To the lawyer, the True Advocate.
To the newsman, Tidings of Great Joy.
To the oculist, the Light of the Eyes.
To the philanthropist, God’s Great Gift.
To the philosopher, the Wisdom of God.
To the preacher, the Word of God.
To the sculptor, the Living Stone.
To the servant, the Good Master.
To the statesman, the Desire of Nations.
To the student, the Incarnate Truth.
To the theologian, Author of our Faith.
To the toiler, the Giver of Rest.
To the sinner, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the
To the Christian, He is the Son of the Living GodThe SaviorThe
RedeemerThe Loving LordThe Great High PriestThe Great
IntercessorThe soon coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
1909 J.I. Case 15 HP, serial number 21743, threshing in
September 1989 near Kalispell, Montana, celebrating Montana’s
Centennial. Engineer Michael Yaeger, with Austin Monk in dark
32-110 Reeves cross compound, #7888, U.S., owned by Max and Earl
Tyler, pulling a 40 foot wide chisel plow. The Reeves didn’t
seem to know it was there! Earl Tyler engineer, Gary Yaeger
Yaeger Brothers plowing with 36′ of Emerson Brantingham disc
plows and the 32-120 HP Reeves cross compound, Canadian Special,
circa 1930. Joe Yaeger (my father), engineer. The Yaegers plowed
through ’38 with steam.
Two scarce Reeves engines: front, Yaeger Bros. 20 HP Reeves
Canadian Special high wheeler (the only known specimen); rear, Alva
Stevens’ 32-120 HP Reeves Canadian Special, simple double
(possibly the only one left), #6813, now owned by the Kolars. The
high wheeler was scrapped in 1948.
Well, my dear IMA family members, I guess that about covers it
for this time. Please keep your letters coming. I do have some yet
for next time, but am watching the mails for more of your letters
for our hobby magazine, but don’t forget you have many other
interesting things to make our readers look forward to. Yes,
engines and relative items are the first priority, but we all are
interested in other aspects of farming, your activities, your good
‘yarns’, something about your families, now or in the past,
inspirational articles, recipes, poems, jokes, or anything you
might think I would like to insert in ‘Soot in Flues.’ Love
P.S. A letter arrived just before we went to press, and I
thought it should be included this time, so I’m popping it in
EDWIN BJORNEBO, 384 Front, Cottonwood, Minnesota 56229, writes
to say, ‘I am well past four score years, and will be selling
my home and moving to a new location. I have a large collection of
Albums, and would like to give these to some of the younger
generation that would appreciate a few of these old magazines.
‘Write and tell me a bit about yourselves and your
interests; I will answer all letters. I hope there are some girls
that are interested in this offer also.’
STEAMCERELY, Anna Mae