Hi to all my Iron-Men Album Family may be I shouldn’t bring
this up, but did any of you start your Christmas shopping yet?
I’ll bet you have, for I’ll tell you one thing at the shows
and reunions, there are many, many craft items available that would
make beautiful gifts for Christmas or any time. Well, the Holiday
Season is a good bit in the future yet, but it is Nov-Dec issue so
we do have to think about Thanksgiving and Yuletide celebrations.
By now, everyone is back in college and school and probably getting
ready for the Hallowe’en events and bonfires for football
rallies, homecomings and other presentations that are seasonal. So
on we go to the communications for the column!
First writing comes from one of our regular contributors, CARL
M. LATHROP, 108 Garfield Avenue, Madison, New Jersey 07940:
‘Thank you for running my letter with the question of
identifying the O & S engine in the AFRICAN QUEEN. The response
was most gratifying. Thinking that there were others of your
extensive list of readers that might have the same question I
thought I would outline the story thus far.
O & S was the trademark of Orr & Sembower, a Chicago
based company with manufacturing facilities in Reading,
Pennsylvania dating back to at least 1893. They manufactured both
vertical and locomotive type boilers and a line of horizontal and
vertical steam engines ranging up to 40 HP. These were used in
portable steam engines and for powering hoisting machinery. There
is some indication that during the period 1915-1929 the firm of
Snell & Meharg of Reading and later of Hamburg built some
engines for O & S.
The company fell upon hard times following WW2 and in order to
survive took on a contract to build aluminum boats. Laster they
moved to Middletown, Pa. where they are reported to have
manufactured a line of heating boilers. However, they are now out
of business. Checking directory assistance for Reading, Middletown
and Chicago area drew a blank. 1977 seems to be the last of the Orr
& Sembower business but not of their engines.’ (Thanks
Carl, I’m sure folks will appreciate your update on the
Next letter comes from L. D. GRAVES, 2302 Morrison Lane, Suisun,
California 94585 as he tells us: ‘Harold Matthews, Box 91,
Pima, Arizona 85543 asked about heavy steam engines. The Skinner
Engine Co., 337 West 12th Street, Erie, Pennsylvania 16512. Pacific
Linen Supply, San Francisco, near Palace Hotel, has big Skinner
engine. It runs the electric generator. One water tube boiler runs
it, carrying 140 pounds per square inch. Laundry uses hot water
from boiler. Engine has poppet valves. It has run each working day
for decades.’ (I’m sure Harold will appreciate your answer
and I’m glad you shared it with us, L. D.)
HARVEY GLOEGE, Franklin at 1st Ave. N.E., Glenwood, Minnesota
56334 sends this: ‘Please be advised that the #1 picture on
page 16 of the Jan-Feb 1982 issue the separator only, is a 1912
Model Aultman Taylor 36′ X 56’. My father, George W.
Gloege, Odessa, Minnesota 56276 owned one and I knew it well
because I ran it a number of years.
‘We also owned a 1912 30-60 Aultman Taylor engine. In fact,
I now still own a 1916 30-60 Aultman Taylor and also a 1913 Case
steamer S. N. 29136.’
This picture comes from RICH HOWARD, Hysham, Montana 59038. He
said it appears to be a steam engine of some sort and that he just
happened to find it in a junk pile that had been dumped into a
creek. I suppose he would appreciate hearing from you if you could
shed any light on this item.
I had an interesting letter from A. L. RENNEWANZ, Box 1852,
Kodiak, Alaska 99615. He used to contribute now and then to the
magazine, used to live in North Dakota and then Illinois. As A. L.
put it, ‘We moved to Kodiak over a year ago, probably a silly
thing to do as I am 76 and my good wife is 73. We are both
adventurous and in good health for which we thank GOD every day. We
find the life style a lot different here than down in the lower
States but we have lived in a number of places and have no problem
getting acclimated. We do miss the Steam Shows as there are no
steam engines or oil pulls on Kodiak. We are 200 miles from
Anchorage by air. We have two passenger jet flights in here every
day weather permitting. We are supplied by regular shipping. From
Kodiak on clear out to the end of the Aleutian Chain is fishing and
A. L. goes on to say they live in an apartment which houses
mostly senior citizens. They are enjoyed traveling all over and
learning every day about the history of the land. They keep active
and were involved in an outdoor play since they are there. They
have taken a 7 day cruise on the Tustumena, saw many islands, went
into the Bering Sea through Falls Pass, saw several high mountain
peaks which are active volcanos, 14 active ones in Alaska, saw bomb
craters from WW2 Japanese bombing, and many more things. In the
summer, he picked quite a few berries as they have so many
blueberries, cranberries, Salmon berriesreally enjoyed it.
A. L. says during summer months it starts to get light shortly
after 2 AM and does not get dark until midnight. He says, ‘Just
think how much threshing you could get done in a day in
Mr. Rennewanz included a photo from back home thought you might
appreciate it. It is a 3′ scale threshing rig. He and his wife
built the engine. It is not a model, but strictly free lance and
everything on it worked.
Hope you continue to enjoy your new address Mr. & Mrs.
Rennewantz. Thanks for sharing with us.
JAMES LaVERNE THOMAS, Box 32B Scenic Drive, Barbeau, Michigan
49710 writes to chat with us and to also tell us they will soon be
moving and that they will be 150 feet from the St. Mary’s
River, 22 miles south of Sault Ste Marie and will be able to see
all the ships coming down bound from the Locks in the Soo and says,
‘This will be the lifelong dreams coming true.’
He goes on to say, ‘My wife especially enjoyed the article
in the July-August ’82 IMA as she watches the African Queen
each time it is on TV. She also knows what parts are cut out and
wishes the entire film would be shown.
I enjoyed the letter from Herbert Mann, as it brought back many
memories. My father, Carl Thomas, two uncles, Vern Thomas and
Charles Thomas and I all attended that first show on the Blaker
Farm. My two uncles have passed on now, but Dad was 80 in August.
He worked with his father, Frank Thomas and two brothers on the
Thomas steam outfit around the Macon area. They did everything from
sawmill to clover hulling and all in-between.
The outfit with the last engine, a 25-90 Nichols & Shepard,
rear mount, double engine, was sold to the local Ford Farms with
Edgar Clark as manager. The engine is now in the Ford Museum in
Dearborn. It has Clark’s name beside it, but it was owned by
the Thomas Threshing Outfit, until my Grandfather sold it to Henry
We all enjoy your magazine very much. My dad has snapshots of
the different engines the family owned. Uncle Vern Thomas had a
steam-powered sawmill in Ridgeway after he retired from the
Tecumseh Products your refrigerator probably has a Products unit in
it. After he died in 1972, the mill started going down-hill and has
been erased from the landscape for quite a few years.
Thanks for many years of good Steam!’ (Send us some of those
pictures, Jim with stories!)
‘Just received my Sept-Oct issue of IMA magazine. The
article on the teeter-totter was good,’, says SYLVESTER B.
DITMER, 318 Hart Avenue, Greenville, Ohio 45331.
He continues, ‘I want to at this time tell about the
teeter-totter we had at our Darke County Steam Show here in
Greenville, Ohio. Several years back, the teeter-totter was
abandoned due to the strain on the pedestal on an engine. But to
get back to my experience on the teeter-totter.
‘I used to have a 19-65 HP Baker engine Uniflo, #17677. I
balanced this engine on the teeter-totter several times a day at
our steam show. After I got the engine balanced, I got off the
engine and stood on the ground, then got back on engine without
unbalancing the engine. I have several trophies to prove my skill,
but I’m sorry I don’t have pictures to prove this.’ (We
believe you, and congratulations!)
DAVID HASTY, 143 County Line Road, Tekonsha, Michigan 49092
needs your assistance as the letter tells us: ‘I need help with
a major undertaking. I am trying to assemble a complete set of
serial numbers for steam engines, tractors, both rubber-tired,
3-track and anything else anyone has to offer.
‘So far, I have all the major brands 1940-1982; needing off
brands. I have all Case numbers including steam engines, all Ford
numbers back through Fordson, all International numbers including
gas engine, all John Deeres.
‘If anyone out in Engine Land can help, I will send them a
free copy of my numbers when completed.’
‘I’ve acquired an old horsedrawn road grader
manufactured by the American Road Machinery Co. and have tried to
find out something about the manufacturer and the grader but have
found out absolutely nothing.
I’m wondering if one of the IMA readers might know a little
something about the company. I am primarily interested in the color
of the grader.
I would also like to know the original color of my 1914 New
Holland rock crusher. I imagine all were painted the same. Mrs.
Curley of Sperry-New Holland determined for me that it was
manufactured in about 1914. And that she said took quite a bit of
digging. The color, she was not able to determine for me,’
writes GERALD D. PEALER, 21333Wooster Road, (Jelloway), Danville,
Perk up Folks, some of you have been waiting for this news.
RALPH R. WARD, 409 N. Cherry Street, Germantown, Ohio 45327 tells
us: ‘In the July-Aug and Sept-Oct issues of IMA, several people
wanted to know about Weeden toy steam engines. I am a collector of
toy steam engines. I have about 100 different styles and about 20
different Weedens. Enclosed is a picture of some in my
‘My reason for writing is to tell those gentlemen that in
Volume 28 #3 Jan-Feb 1974 magazine, there is a story about Mr.
Weeden by Lucy M. Wallbank. I would enjoy hearing from anyone who
also collects toy steam engines.’
Here’s a knowledgeable note for many of you as JACK NEWHOUSE
4918 Live Oak Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46804 writes: ‘I just
came across something that many people will be interested in
knowingFLAT BELTING, any size or length at reasonable prices, belts
for models or belts for threshers, any kind of belt, flat or V
belts. These are new canvas or rubberized. Readers can contact the
H. J. Schroeder Company, Inc., 3805 New Haven Avenue, Fort Wayne,
Indiana 46803, Phone 219-423-3586.’
R. P. & K. M. HARRIS, 21 Ourimbah Ck. Rd., Ourimbah N.S.W.
2258 tells us this: ‘I have been given your name to write to in
connection with a vintage tractor we own. It is a Case with
east/west engine, spud wheels and we have been told by J. I. Case
Aust that it was probably made just after World War I. The tractor
has an eagle on the radiator and the numbers K18-32 and 69357 on
it. I’m hoping you will be able to supply us with information
such as original coloring, etc. and the names of any Vintage
Tractor clubs which may exist either here or in your own country.
(I know there are several tractor clubs which might be interested
in writing to R. P. and K. M.let them hear from you if you can be
WALT THAYER, Wenatchee, Washington 98801 sends us pictures quite
frequently and here are two interesting ones. One log makes a load
in early day logging in Oregon on the one picture that’s really
something, isn’t it?
The other picture is of Shevlin & Hixon Twin Booms.
McGiffert log skidder in Southwest, Washington State original photo
by Van Fleet.
AND now in closing, just a few thoughts to ponder some women
work so hard to make good husbands that they never quite manage to
make good wives No greater champion than the man who conquers a bad
habit Little is much if God is in it. It’s bad to have an empty
purse, but an empty head is a whole lot worse. Great trials prepare
for great service. Love Ya!