Well, with the last issue of the magazine, Elmer began his twenty-fifth year of sending out the magazine that's quite an accomplishment in one's life. The Sept.-Oct. issue should read Vol. 25 No. 1, but there was a misprint as they had No. 6. This error wouldn't mean too much to some folks, but to those who keep their magazines for years they will want to correct it.
On July 29, 1946, Elmer wrote his first paper entitled, 'Steam Engines Are My Hobby,' which told of a trip he and his wife had taken, trying to meet other folks interested in these machines. They visited many places and people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois, leaving June 24th and returning home around the middle of July. He then sent out this first paper three pages with printing and three pictures including a Port Huron of Carlton Johnson's of Clio, Michigan; the Jumbo engine of Fred W. Kiser, Pittsfield, Illinois, and Leroy Blaker of Alvordton, Ohio, with his Advance-Rumely.
On the fourth page of this first booklet was this: 'WE PROPOSE -One of the reasons for this letter is to get those of the same interest introduced.
We have always felt the need for a Magazine that would give vent to our feelings. Maybe we can get one started sometime. Let us try! We expect to get out another letter in a couple months and would like if you would introduce other interested folks. Write to me giving their names and addresses, also a description of their interests and machines they may have. We could use about three or four good photographs. Thanks a lot. Elmer L. Ritzman, Millerstown, Perry Co., Pennsylvania.' (How about that 3 or 4 pictures and look at it today!)
Then in the winter of 1946 the first issue of the magazine came out under the name of 'The Farm Album' and under it the quotation 'Who bring the forth out of his treasure things new and old.' Matt. 13:25. This was an eight page booklet. Then it grew to twelve pages, then sixteen and all in all 16 issues of The Farm Album were sent out and then with Volume 5 of Sept.-Oct. 1950, Number 1 issue the name of the magazine was changed to 'The Iron-Men Album Magazine' and was then to be printed six times a year and the cost was $1.50. As any child grows, so Elmer's baby flourished and became fatter and eventually costlier and better. And so it goes from thirty some subscribers we now have over eight thousand interested people in preserving the past history for the future.
And of course as most of you know, the Iron-Men Album Magazine has a little sister magazine her name is GEM (Gas Engine Magazine) and with the Jan.-Feb. 1971 issue she will be five years old with a subscription list that is now over four thousand. And all this data has come about because of Elmer's ideas and you people who are interested and help by giving us the material to keep the magazines going. I say our THANKS and HATS OFF to a tremendous personality, Elmer Ritzman, a good friend our family has been privileged to know for many years and a fine 'Boss-man' for whom I've worked now over thirteen years.
Elmer celebrated his 82nd birthday on September 5th at home, with friends dropping in to chat and he received many cards and flowers and there was a beautifully decorated cake (with lots of red roses and trimmings Elmer's favorite color is RED). He enjoyed himself tremendously and I know all of us that stopped by to see him came away a little richer for knowing such a fine individual, who has given so much to society.
I have a letter here from CLYDE D. BORDER of 31 Columbine Trail, De-Bary, Florida 32713. He tells us: 'Just a note to tell you how much I enjoy Iron-Men Album Magazine. It sure brings back memories for my way of thinking, as there is nothing like a good steam engine. I got a job doing custom threshing back in 1916. I got a phone call one day from an owner of a 14 hp. Peerless and if I remember a Peerless thresher. Anyhow, I soon found myself feeding this machine. It was all so new to me. After a few hours feeding, the owner of the rig stepped up behind me and simply said, 'Go run the engine!' Lucky for me I did know what the throttle and injector was and this was my introduction to steam and I love it to this day. By the way, I was working in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, and did two seasons there for this same man.'
Thanks Clyde for a nice friendly letter and we are glad you are one of our Iron-Men Family.
Another letter from DALE E. ROBINSON, R. R. 2, Box 82, Newton, Illinois 62448, which reads: 'I am restoring a Nichols & Shepard double cylinder 20-75 hp. Steam Engine, No. 13267. I want to paint this engine in its original colors. Could you tell me what the original colors were and which parts of the entire engine, boiler, wheels and gears were? I enjoy every issue of the Iron-Men Album. Keep up the good work. I started on a Case 65 engine at age 11 and I am 62 now. I have owned an engine of my own since 1938. Thank you for any help on this needed information.' Come on fellows, write Dale and let him know cause I surely don't know the answer to these inquiries.
That about winds up my yakking for this session I'll be looking for your reports and after that more pictures and stories of yesteryear.
I did want to mention I was so happy for Elmer that while he was home for a few days to celebrate his birthday, his family made sure he got to at least one STEAM-UP as he visited the Williams Grove Show and I'm sure that was as good as several doses of medicine for Elmer. He would like to have been at them all as usual, but his physical health just won't permit it I'm sure he was there in spirit.
I have no quotes, quips or poems this time as here at home our steam is down we lost Ed's stepmother in August after two months illness she lived in an apartment over our garage and was the only grandparent our little Tommy knew she will be greatly missed. Also, a few days later our little granddaughter became very ill suddenly and we almost lost her, but through care and prayers she is back home recuperating and it will be a long while till she's back to par as she has had pneumonia twice this year all your prayers will be appreciated I strongly believe in PRAYER. Bye bye for now.