‘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,
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
‘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
‘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,
‘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
‘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
‘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
I Know Something Good About You!
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