'I regret I cannot attend some more of the steam engine shows. But I did get to attend NTA in Wauseon.
'Hats off to all the men who restore and build those scale model engines. What a job it must be to restore an old rusty engine and where to get the parts!
'Steve Dunn mentions he has only ever seen one wooden separator. They threshed with one at Wauseon.
'I wish Jim Haley from Odell, Illinois, good fortune in finding parts for his 75 Case. It will be a project, but I am sure he may surprise us.'
Remember in March/April issue there is an informative, interesting letter from EARL MAYNARD, Box 289, Millville, Utah 84326, and there is a lot more to come and I mentioned I would continue in this issue, so here goes:
'The high mounted whirling governor above the steam dome beside which is seen the golden steam whistle to signal and command the threshing crew. The fireless piston rod, crosshead, flashing connecting rod and the crank disc revolving the whirling silver shining flywheel with its mounted drive belt. ' (You can picture this as Earl describes it.) 'The thirsty injector hissing and sputtering, then drinking in deep drafts, steady flowing water to the feed pipes to that ever hungry working boiler. The fireman with an eye 'peeled' watching the super-heated water bobbing slowly up and down in the glass water gauge to determine when to turn off the injector.
'The oscillating oil pump is back and above the crosshead feeding measured amount of steam cylinder oil to the cylinder and steam chest valve.
'The steam engine is seen rocking gently back and forth on its huge man-height drive or bull wheels with sometimes the engineer sitting there swaying, soothingly to its motion.
'Sitting out in the field of shocks a short distance from the threshing rig is the cookhouse mounted on its wagon wheels and running gear, canvas side curtains rolled up from the screened sides of the cookhouse on either side. A canvas-topped hinged bed is attached to the side of the cook shack where the cook and her helper slept. Smoke drifted up from the stove pipe up through the roof of the cookhouse showing that the cooks were busy preparing one of the big meals for the hungry crews of 25 to 30 men. Also, sandwiches twice a day at 'quartering time' served to the men gathered around the machines 'setting,' and the cooks coming out for a 15 minute rest and lunch for the men.
'The roustabout and his team and buggy were ready to drive into the country town daily for whatever supplies were needed at the machines and cookhouse: meat fresh from the butcher shop, implement house, grocery store, for whatever needs.
'The trap wagon carries all supplies needed for the outfit: cylinder teeth, wrench, wagon jack, heavy engine jack, monkey wrenches, pipe wrench, dies, steam cylinder oil, crank pin grease, cup and axle grease, machine oil, gasket rubber, packing, spiral packing, rivets, scoop shovel, spades, straw forks, and carrying the bed rolls, 'turkeys' of the threshing crew for night when they bed down on straw. They lay out to 'mattress' their bed; blankets lying about around the machines to look up at the starry heavens and wonder in awe and speculation what all that creation is about; as well as it is the usual time of joking, kidding, laughing and spinning of yarns to expect to be believed; or telling tales as only the harvest crews and truly rural country men can nonchalantly do. And these crews lying around on the ground in the fragrant golden stubble on a bed of straw with frolicking colts gamboling about the night.
Some men prefer to sleep around the engine with its restful low hissing of steam of the mighty engine in repose, yet with a glimmer of sparkling light from some peep hole of its 'banked' straw fire to keep it warm through the night, thus to give the fireman a boost in the morning, around three o'clock when he cleans the grates, cleans out the ash pan and with the long rod flue cleaner scrapes out all the flues of the boiler from the open smoke box door. He'll have enough steam to blow the 'wake-up' whistle at five a.m. so the men can put on their hats (first thing) then dress, roll up and tie their bed rolls, carry them to the trap wagon, harness their horses, put out bundles of grain for them to munch on in the bundle rack wagons, water them at the water tank wagons by the engine and be ready to head for the cookhouse breakfast. Then wash up at the basin stand, climb the steps to sit down on the benches inside to big helpings of beef-steak, eggs, oatmeal, biscuits or hot cakes, jelly, butter and preserves and syrup.
'As I said, some men preferred to sleep around the engine; others out near the sack pile or separator with its high-flung blower reaching into the starry night sky and mountain straw stack. Other men would bed down by the bundle wagons and teams tied to them, feeding stamping feet, snorting in the hay, rattling halter chains and colts nursing and frolicking.
'Truly ours was a grandeur and pageantry and camaraderie here on the far reaching prairie of either gently rolling or steeply ensconced terrains bordering upon the 'breaks' of wild and beautiful floweriness in springtime, unspoiled creek or deep craggy river canyons and in the background, fragrant evergreen majestic conifer-clothed mountains. It was a land filled with the wonders, beauties, and serenities of God's creations in an unspoiled harmony of agriculture of horse-farming and nature, of wild flowers, bushes, trees such as cotton-woods, black locust, Lombardy poplars and adorned with enchanting melodies of many kinds of colorful, singing birds, screams of eagles and western red-tailed hawks soaring high above the canyon breaks. The shivering, quivering howl of coyotes at night from canyon depths or out across the lonely prairie in this most choice far western land of America needs to be seen and felt to be fully comprehended and realize this land is loved and cherished like a heaven itself.
'And finally, to all of you out there, is there anyone who has a file of copies of Successful Farming magazines published in Iowa? If you have information on this please let me know, as I would like to have copies of 'Squibs from a Farmer's Notebook.' It was a monthly feature by George Godfrey during the 1920s. The articles are most inspiring on country farming and seed catalogs and etc. Did you ever know of a Salzar's seed catalog? If you can help me with any information, please write me.'
The pictures at right were sent in by E. J. KING, 173 W. Cattail Road, Gordonville, Pennsylvania 17529.
Is from Willis Abel also. It is a Z3 Peerless belted to the Baker Fan at the Tri-State Steam Show, Finelyville, Pennsylvania.
WALTER H. JOPKE, 5230 Lincoln Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55421 writes: 'In response to your request for additional listings of steam engines, I would like to tell you of my steam engine. It is a Port Huron, 1990-1910; 18-45 HP; No. 6312; Woolf compound; excellent condition. I am interested in any information regarding Port Huron engines.'
An interesting letter on several subjects comes from AMOS E. RIXMANN. Route 1, Nashville, Illinois 62263. (I'm sure many of you people have read some of the articles sent in by Mr. Rixmann, but this is his first letter to me as he states in my letter. He did say though, he knew Elmer Ritzman personally for at least 15 years. Amos' last article was in the ALBUM just over a year ago in 1992 September/October issue entitled 'Threshing How It Actually Was.' He goes on to say, 'I make a few comments here about your column in the 1993 September/October issue.
' 1. The man wondering if the big Case in 'House on the Rocks' is a 150, is answered that according to the man who owned it, it is a 110. It is a little odd that with all the fine Case engine model sizes from 6 HP to the 32/110 HP, that so much is often made of the 150 model that was the only Case engine that was a failure and Case discontinued it during the very height of the Steam Age.
'2. Frank Burris writes about some true points and facts. Surely, there will never be a steam vehicle or locomotive with less than two cylinders. The long passages he mentioned are surely a serious fault. Many steam traction engines, plus others, often show wasteful chambers or passages in their valve mechanism designs.
'3. The Corliss not only had excellent efficient valve mechanisms, but also their close valve positions to the cylinder was a key point.
'4. The design of single acting cylinders, three in line minimum, gives smoothness with good starting ability. No oil in the steam (due to the crankcase having oil same as an in line gas or diesel engine) which provides totally pure steam to the condenser for recondensing pure water, plus very low maintenance and good reliability. The trucks show a very great deal of merit along these lines.
'5. The steam generators can be made vastly more reliable, more simple and needing only a fraction of the attention we see in the hobby engines and locomotives. The heat could come from oil, propane or hydrogen. Whereas internal combustion engines may or may not be able to use hydrogen (we do not know yet, because hydrogen is so very volatile), it can be used in burners. Just imagine, only water vapor would pass into our atmosphere instead of the steady destruction of our atmosphere from our present cars, trucks, locomotives and diesel-powered ships.'
'After reading your excellent magazines issue after issue, I feel guilty in not contributing something about what is going on here in the Pacific Northwest,' writes GORDON SULLIVAN, 2641 Birch Bay Lynden Road, Custer, Washington 98240, (206-366-3171). 'Following is a brief recap of an annual event in our area and several pictures of same.
'Every year in Lynden, Washington, the Puget Sound Antique Tractor and Machinery Association has a four-day show. Last year we started what I hope is a yearly tradition, grinding corn into meal and contributed it to our local Bellingham Food Bank.' (Isn't that great?) 'We ground about five hundred 1 lb. bags of corn, which were distributed to the community within three days. We ground the corn with my 1906 8 HP Russell traction engine, with Ted Middleton as fireman and myself as the dusty miller. The processing stimulated a lot of interest in the large crowd of people who always attend this meet. The engine, being a Russel, naturally performed flawlessly.
'The annual show is well attended and has many, many exhibits among which is a 500 HP Corliss steam engine. It is a real family affair and is enjoyed by all. I so enjoy the magazine, so please keep up the good work.' I hope we can keep the magazine going for a long time, BUT if everyone would write a letter, and reports just like this, telling of your shows and hobby, we would have lots of copy. We are happy for the pictures also. The magazine certainly will keep on going. I believe there must be many shows that do not send in any reports, but I'll keep looking for all the material available.
GEORGE A. FIZER, Box 3128, Deer Park, Maryland 21550 sends this communication: 'I'm trying to establish how many 'L Spencer' steam engines might still be in existence. They were built by the Ohio Valley Agriculture Works of Martins Ferry, Ohio.
'I'd like to hear from Iron-Men readers who may know of the where abouts of any such engines, as well as anyone who could provide me with Xerox copies of possible catalogs or magazine advertising for these Spence engines, or other equipment made by the Ohio Valley Agriculture Works. Enjoy both the magazine and your column. Thanks for your efforts with this fine publication.' (Keep writing Folks and we'll keep printing. Love you all).
'In a couple of years when I retire, I want to build a scale model railroad on my two acres in Watsonville, California,' writes ROBERT G. PIN-NELL, 258 Gaffey Road, Watsonville, California 95076 (408-722-6982).
'My grandfather, Fred Swank sick built model engines and cars for kids to ride in Oakland, California in the 1940s and 1950s. He built a train for Know land State Park and Zoo. Anyway, it took a long time for the bug to bite me.
'Last year, I replaced the old oil-fired steam boilers with new natural gas hibreed hot water boilers in the
Santa Cruz government building. This was a large project for my small company. Building houses and apartments is boring to me now! Now, I want to play.' (Robert is a general contractor).
'If you have any information on a certain issue of your magazine that would help me, I would be interested. Perhaps a directory of stories or articles on subjects would help.
'Most of the model railroad clubs are small electric train sets. I would be interested in contacting someone that has done miniature live steam stuff.'
(If any of our Iron-Men Album family can give him some answers, or help, please write him).
And in closing, I thought this positive thinking poem may be a boost to allcalled
Wouldn't this old world be better -
If the folks we meet would say -
I know something good about you-
And then just treat us that way?
Wouldn't it be fine and dandy -
If each handclasp warm and true -
Carries with it this assurance -
I know something good about you?
Wouldn't life be lots more happy -
If the good that's in us all -
Were the only thing about us -
That folks bothered to recall?
Wouldn't life be lots more happy -
If we praised the good we see -
For there's such a lot of goodness-
In the worst in you and me?
Wouldn't it be nice to practice -
That fine way of thinking too?
You know something good about me And -
I know something good about you?
That's it for this time, Dear Ones keep the mail coming in and I'll be happy to get it together for the next issue.
STEAMCERELY, Anna Mae