Mike Curtis' Picture # 4.
'Picture # 4 is an A. N. Wood engine made in 1860.
'Picture # 5 is an A. N. Wood 2 HP engine made in 1862. This sold for a cash price of $125.00.
'Picture # 6 is after Allen Wood took on Loyal Clark Taber and Walter Morse as business partners, and changed the company name to Wood, Taber & Morse. The year is 1879.
'Picture # 7 is a Wood, Taber & Morse stationary engine of the type made in 1891 and earlier. There are two of these that I know the whereabouts of, but that's another story.
'Picture # 8. This ad is kind of special to me, only because I know that the Triumph engine was in the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan, but was sold and is out there somewhere. This ad appeared around the 1880s.
'Picture # 9 is Wood, Taber & Morse's 4WD engine. This was considered the very first practical 4WD steam traction engine made. It made its first appearance in 1885. This is how their ad appeared in 1886.
'Pictures # 10 and # 11 show how the power was transferred to the four wheels on the 4WD. What was unique is that it was all gear driven and not by a chain like some of its competition.
'Well, it's time to go, you all keep up the good work. I'm looking forward to my next issue of IMA to see what's going on in steam land. Oh, I almost forgot! Some of these pictures are on the World Wide Web at SUNY Morrisville College. You can view these, and more to come, by typing: http: //www.snymor.edu/pages/library/local_history/steamworks/.
SCOTT THOMPSON, 12109 Mennonite Church Road, Tremont, Illinois 61568 writes to say: 'I read with interest the letter from Ken Hough from Valparaiso, Indiana, on the proper dress for participants in threshing demonstrations. It's been a while since I let off steam on this subject, so I appreciate the opportunity. I agree with Ken that we should do everything in our power to recreate the look, feel, sounds and smell of threshing day on the farm. As the threshing demonstration is crowded into an ever-smaller corner by the tractor and engine displays and the flea market, it is all the more important to make the event a memorable and historically accurate one.
First let me say a big God bless you' to all the fine folks who work so hard to put on these displays. It's all hard, often unappreciated work. But two things make all the organization, heavy hauling, late nights and skinned knuckles worth it. First, the looks on the kids' faces today as they stare in wide-eyed wonder at the mechanical marvel puffing and whirring before them. There are kids around, and lots of 'em, who have never seen actual mechanical workings of machinery. Second, the looks on the faces of the old-timers as they are instantly transported back to their youth. Those gnarled old hands and arthritic arms feel young and strong again, just for a while, as they remember themselves up there pitching bundles. For these reasons, if for no others, we are obliged to do it right!
'Ken's analogy to us being like Civil War historical reenactors is very correct. We are a living window to the past for these people. Great-Grandpa didn't wear tie-dyed t-shirts and Wal-Mart ball caps, and neither should we. Everyone in bib overalls, work shirts, straw hats and boots is not only a nice touch, it's fun and really adds to the camaraderie of the group putting on the threshing show. Be sure to have your red and white bandana around you throat or at least tucked in your back pocket. Go a little out of your way to pick up a long-spouted oilcan for the separator man to fuss over his engine with. You're a showman put on a show!
'While we're on the subject, there seem to be a lot of modern flair-box wagons cropping up to receive grain. A wooden or steel-wheeled grain wagon makes such a difference. Most shows only thresh a rack or two a day so it shouldn't be a big deal finding the manpower to scoop it off. If it is, the local 4-H Club is often dying to help out! Or a news release in the local papers asking for volunteers to participate in an 'historical reenactment' will often bring surprising results. Where there's a will, there's a way.
'Not many shows have the luxury of having their show grounds located near their grain fields, but if you do, leave some shocks standing and get a team of horses in there to show how they were loaded. Most city people, and a lot of country ones these days, have no idea how that rack-load of bundles came to be there. Better yet, leave some oats standing for the binder to cut and have your members put up a few shocks!
'We all go to a lot of work to put on a threshing display, so why not go the extra mile to do it up right? I think anybody who goes to the trouble to help out is tops, but at the same time, I've seen some pretty sloppy demonstrations in years past. If we are going to honor the memory of those threshermen who pulled the world back from the brink of starvation, we owe it to them to do our best to show the world just how it was done. And the best part of all is it's just plain a lot more fun!'
(We also heard from CHADYATTEBURY on this topic. He asked us to reprint an article on the subject that he had written for another publication. Since we haven't yet gotten their permission to reprint, this will probably appear in a future issue!)
We got some more nice photos from MARK CORSON of 9374 Roosevelt St., Crown Point, IN 46307, and you'll be able to enjoy some of these on the next few pages. Another one of Mark's outstanding photos appears on the cover of our new 1997 Show Directory, as well.
This word came from FRANCIS H. OLSEN, 1480 Dana Lane, Pueblo, Colorado 81006: 'I grew up in the Arkansas River Valley of southeastern Colorado. I've been a reader of IMA for some time and enjoy the magazine very much. I am really surprised just how much interest there is in preserving the heritage of the past. I can remember threshing with steam engines, but by the time I was old enough to work around steam, gas tractors had taken over. This area was mostly small irrigated farms from 80 to 100 acres so there was a lot of moving to do.
Part of the engine lineup for the Rough and Tumble Fall show in October 1995. In 1998 R & T will hold their 50th annual reunion. Corson photo.
'I' ve built two small model steam engines and get pleasure showing them at the Colorado State Fair in conjunction with the antique tractor and machinery show.
'What I would really like to see and learn about is: tools and machinery used to bore cylinders and foundry work. How were wheels cast with spokes in them? How were boiler shells rolled, and were rivet holes drilled or punched? How were rivets bucked from inside the shell? How were boilers made leak-proof? Was caulking used? In other words, I would like to know more about engine construction in general. I would like to see some articles about this if anyone could write something. I am sure it would interest a lot of our readers.'
Part of the engine lineup at Central States, Pontiac, Illinois, in 1996. Central States Threshermen's Reunion will also mark their 50th show in 1998. Corson photo.
This is a welcome letter from CARL M. LATHROP, 108 Garfield Avenue, Madison, New Jersey 07940: 'Imagine my surprise when I read 'Farquhar Engine at Califon Basket Factory' by Mr. Gladowski. I, too, had visited that plant about two years ago and found that as an employer it was no more. My visit was a follow up of several earlier visits when I was researching the article 'Making Baskets With Steam' that appeared in the September/October 1984 issue of IMA.
'It turns out that though the market for baskets was not as great as in former years, it was air quality requirements that shut down the steam part of the plant. Smoke and ash in the stack was beyond today's acceptable levels. The veneer lathes require 25 horsepower. A 25 horsepower electric motor in this highly variable load service would create a high demand factor in figuring the monthly bill. Then too, with no free scrap wood fuel, the energy part of the bill would add to the discomfort of management. This and perhaps some OSH requirements made the plant no longer economic.
'This is not a unique story either. I did a similar story for IMA that included the W. W. Babcock Ladder Company of Bath, New York. They too gave up generating their own power and went 'over to purchased power for the same reasons. Readers could probably add to this list.
'The new and improvised cylinder head that Mr. Gladowski noted must be a relatively recent repair. My photo of the engine shows a conventional cover. Another interesting note is that the old Titusville Iron Works boiler had been repaired so many times that in 1984 it was rated at only 80 psig and operated at 60. This pressure was low enough that the 140 pound city water pressure could be used direct; no injector or boiler feed pump was needed.
'This puts us in the small world department!'
JIM MEAD, 4868 Route 38, Owego, New York 13827 writes: 'I recently purchased a Peerless traction engine which has been a joy to operate and care for. One thing puzzles me though. Among the various numbers found on the boiler (butt strap) is the stamping, 'PA Std. 88.' I assume this to mean Pennsylvania Standard 88, but what does that entail? Does anyone out there in engine land know the specifications for this Standard? Any information would be appreciated. Best Wishes.'
(Jim's phone number is 607-642-5511 if you want to call him instead of write.)
Ohio Valley Antique Machinery Show, August 1996. A 1912 20 HP A. B. Farquhar owned by Todd Slone, Amelia, Ohio. Corson photo.
From frequent contributor DR. ROBERT T. RHODE, 4745 Glen-way Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45238-4537, we have this: 'After my article 'Hamilton, Ohio's Contributions to Agricultural Steam Power' appeared in the March/April 1997 issue of the Album, Dan Greger of Dayton, Ohio, gave me additional information, which he permits me to pass along to Album readers.
'Dan's evidence suggests that Reeves & Company of Columbus, Indiana, acquired the Ritchie & Dyer Company Engine Works of Hamilton, Ohio, in 1895, not in 1887, as my research indicated. Dan has copies of articles from a Columbus newspaper which reveal that, on October 5, 1895, Reeves entered into an agreement to purchase the Ritchie & Dyer plant and to remove it to Columbus.
'A news report dated October 9, 1895, states, 'Some idea of the volume of business that will be done by the new engine works secured for Columbus may be gathered from the circumstances that led to their removal here. Reeves & Co. for some years bought the engines needed for their business from this Richie [sic] & Dyer Company, of Hamilton, Ohio. In arranging for the business of 1896 Reeves & Company wished to place an order for one hundred engines. This large order was too much for Mr. Richie, the head of the Hamilton concern, as the capacity of his works would not permit him to guarantee filling such an order in connection with the other work the engine company contracted for. Mr. Richie, being somewhat advanced in years, was also anxious to retire from active business, and his proposition to sell the engine works on favorable terms was soon accepted.'
'The tantalizing question remains, 'For how many years prior to purchasing the Ritchie & Dyer Engine Works did Reeves buy Ritchie & Dyer engines?' My source, History of Hamilton, edited by Stephen Cone, is a typescript copy in the collection of the Butler County Historical Society & Museum. It states, 'In 1882 Mr. Dyer retired from the Company and the road engine manufactory was sold and removed to Columbus, Indiana, when the Advance Manufacturing Company began to manufacture [sic] Gas & Gasoline Engines, etc.' It can be learned from other sources that Ritchie founded his Advance Manufacturing Company (not to be confused with the Advance Thresher Company of Battle Creek, Michigan) in 1887. I understood Cone to mean that Reeves bought the Ritchie & Dyer engine works in 1887, but I now see that the purchase occurred in 1895. Perhaps Reeves had been buying Ritchie & Dyer engines since 1887.
'Before citing the date of 1887 in my article, I tried to find a second source which would confirm that year. I turned to Jack Norbeck's Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction Engines, which, on page 214, states, 'The Reeves Company...was established in 1874 and incorporated in 1888. About 1885, being builders of threshers since 1874, the company bought Ritchie & Dyer Company, to get an engine to team up with their threshers.' Norbeck's tentative expression 'about 1885' and his assertion that Reeves incorporated in 1888 seemed to confirm Cone's statement in his History of Hamilton. It stood to reason that Reeves formally acquired Ritchie & Dyer in 1887 ('about 1885') and, with an engine to accompany the firm's thresher, incorporated the following year. A researcher is only as good as the sources at hand.
'I am indebted to Dan Greger for bringing to light stronger sources. Thanks, Dan!'
These songs came from JOSEPH & ROSETTA KUESTER, 7 Eighth Street, Clintonville, Wisconsin 54929 with this note: 'We surely do enjoy the IMA, just as it is, but I'd like to add a little wit and humor for your next edition. I thought you'd agree and like to have the enclosed poems. I found them in an old, very old, antique, ancient, or what-have-you pamphlet. I am 83 years old and I've had the pamphlet way over 65 yearsso you can see of what I speak (or write). It is still in excellent condition, though a little bit weatherworn, or year-worn, I should say!
'The pamphlet is interesting and was given to me compliments of Advance-Rumely Thresher Company, LaPorte, Indiana. It is called 'A Book of Songs.' The pamphlet shows a picture of an Advance Rumely, of course, and the slogan beneath saying, 'Keep the OilPull a rolling along.'
'They must have had a good sense of humor in those past years, too, and we would like to pass this on to our fellow IMA readers of your fine magazines! The steam engine buffs and the OilPull lovers will appreciate these songs and witty tunes. We will be looking forward to seeing them printed. A little SPICE!!!
(To tune of 'Turkey in the Straw)
Oh! The OilPull is driving with a long, steady draw
And the separator's separating wheat from the straw.
Now, this outfit is leading all the others in the game,
And adding more glory to the Rumely fame.
Chicken in the straw, started looking swell;
Soon that chicken was looking like well!
He dug and he scratched and scattered straw a mile
But, we starved him to a shadow on our big straw pile.
If you want to have a thresher that will save you all the grain,
That is built to stand the racket and to weather every strain
Get the Ideal or the Junior as your everlasting bet.
Those who bought them forty years ago declare they're running yet.
Chicken in the straw, starting looking swell;
Soon that chicken was looking like well!
He dug and he scratched and scattered straw a mile
But we starved him to a shadow on our big straw pile!
D. F. Thomas
(To the tune of U.S. Field Artillery March' by Sousa)
Over hill, over dale, up and down the dusty trail,
Keep the OilPull a rolling along.
In and out, hear them shout,
To the right and turn about
Keep the OilPull a- rolling along!
Don't you hear, loud and clear,
All the Rumely Dealers Cheer
When the OilPull is rolling along!
Here and there, everywhere
For they're built upon the square,
And they'll always go rolling along.
For it's hi, hi, ho for the Advance Rum-e-ly
We've got the country going strong.
Where'er you go you will always know
That the OilPull is rolling along.'
An engraving of Wood, Taber & Morse's four wheel drive engine, sent to us by Mike Curtis. For more Wood, Taber & Morse images.
That's all the letters we have for this issue. Once again, we're very pleased that so many of you have written to us and we're so happy to have all those great pictures you keep sending! We seem to have some momentum in this column, and we surely do want to see it continue!
This issue is a kind of 'kickoff' for warm weather activity to come, even though it's still quite cold as we get the pages ready for the printer. Nonetheless, Spring steam ups are just around the corner, so as you get outside more, try to remember to drop us a line and let us know what you're seeing out in Engine land. Send us your questions, your thoughts, whatever knowledge you wish to share on the great subject of steam!
Steamcerely, Linda and Gail