SOOT IN THE FLUES

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I know it isn’t possible but let’s face it is a reality
This is the Nov/ Dec. issue where, oh where does the time fly??
It’s still hot out and here we are talking less than three’
months ’til Christmas Eve. We go through this every year only
thing is, the years go faster and faster.

I’m sure you folks have enjoyed 1987 and please keep the
letters and pictures coming to make up a greater year in 1988.
Seems you folks are all enjoying the IMA still, but if there is
anything else we can do to please or to better our publication,
please let us know!

I must tell you of one of our not so good experiences my hubby
and I do not do much traveling, and this summer, a couple of
friends we know and love wanted us to go with them. ‘Oh come go
along, we’ll come back in four or five days.’ (Famous last
words!) Well, we started out on a Saturday morning about seven.
They wanted to head for Canada and the Thousand Islands and
whereabouts. We started, everything went fine, and about three
o’clock that afternoon up around Waterbury, New York, we
started looking for motels. Well, we didn’t have much success,
but thought it was early enough we would just keep going until we
found a place to rest our weary bodies. Well, as the story goes we
went up and crossed over into Canada went 60 miles up into Canada
and back down and on down into New York and at 12:30 that night we
still had not found any place. We were in Binghamton and went into
a doughnut shop and I told the girl she wouldn’t believe our
story. I proceeded to tell her and she said, ‘Oh, yes, it’s
always that way up here if you don’t have a reservation made
ahead of time.’

Well, her baker told us we might be able to find room at the
Sheraton in town as it was not yet completed. Luckily, we did. They
are not yet finished building, had a couple more floors to finish
and the swimming pools and etc. Needless to say, we came on home
the next day. We were gone 32 hours and 800 miles. My hubby was so
glad to get home as he has recently contracted arthritis of the
knee and leg, and we were in and out of a two-door car stopping at
every motel. But we weren’t the only one sever where you could
see cars filled with folks looking for a place to stay. Enough said
and on to the letters!

We hear from CARL M. LATHROP, 108 Garfield Avenue, Madison, NJ
07940and appreciate his contributions: ‘This has been a very
busy summer for me, in fact, I’m just now getting around to
finish my reading of the July/Aug. IMA. This was a very good issue.
I particularly liked Steve Davis’ The Steam Engines of New
York. He had compiled a goodly list of manufacturers that made the
state their home base. There is, however, one that could possibly
be added to the list, and perhaps he had it in mind. Here is the
reasoning:

‘Le Grand Skinner founded the Skinner Engine Company in 1868
in the town of Herkimer. The business underwent a very rapid growth
and by 1873 had outgrown its facilities and moved to its present
location in Erie, Pennsylvania, where they continue to manufacture
steam engines today.

‘Steve, in his article, mentions that the Ames Iron Works of
Oswego was an early engine builder and continues in the boiler
business today. Actually, Skinner bought out Ames, at least the
engine business, along with the Troy engines and all are now a part
of Banner Industries. I wonder if Steve’s Starbuck Brothers of
Troy is the original builder of that Troy engine.

‘Incidentally, these comments come from an article in the
Jan./Feb. 1984 IMA, The Skinner Engine, Past, Present and Future.
I’ll leave you to guess who wrote it. One of the nice things
about doing an article like that, or Steve’s, is researching
the story. The next best is getting a letter from a reader, for not
only do you get some added information or find out you have some
misinformation, but you get to exchange correspondence with a
kindred soul, and, I’ve found that IMA and GEM readers are not
nit pickers. So, with that in mind, I am sending Steve a copy of
this letter.’

Just a short letter from CLIFF B. SHIRLEY, 2009 West 71st
Street, Prairie Village, Kansas 66208: ‘I retired from the
Kansas City Terminal Railway when I finished work at the Traffic
Control Center the morning of Nov. 1, 1985. Part of my duties
included the copying of train orders for the Amtrak trains. When I
began work in 1937, my employer had steam locomotives, and so did
the 12 railroads that used the Kansas City, Missouri Union Station.
Now, an ‘old timer’ is one who remembers when all twelve of
those railroads had passenger trains.

‘I still hope that the Iron-Men Album will have more about
city steam. Cranes, shovels and the like the type of steam engine
that the city boys saw back in the days of the traction engine and
its belt-driven separator.’ (Maybe more folks would also be
interested how about it?)

‘I read with interest your part of IMA each issue and hope
the following will be of interest to you and your readers,’
states JERRY SHRADER, R.R. 2, Box 93, Neligh, NE 68756.

‘My father has been a collector of antiques for about 30
years. He collects everything from coins, dishes, lamps, etc. to
old tractors, machinery and anything unusual that may catch his
eye. He had always wanted a steamer, but had never had one until
recently.

‘About three years ago he traded one of his gas tractors and
a couple of stationary gas engine for a J.I. Case steamer. The
trade was made with a fellow from the Southern part of our state
and so one day he and my oldest son took a truck from one of our
local implement dealers and drove down to get it. I knew about the
time they’d be back and so was there to help them unload. They
were both as happy as a little boy with a new toy. Me, I wasn’t
so sure. We unloaded and took a good look at her. No paint to be
seen anywhere, cylinder stuck, throttle immovable, smokestack gone,
most of the metal rusted out where the smokestack bolted to the
front of the boiler. They must have sensed my doubts because I was
told, ‘The boiler’s good and all the flues are in good
shape.’

‘My dad spent the whole summer that year working on that
machine. He took everything apart, cleaned and reassembled it. He
worked many a day from early in the morning until late at night. My
son, Steve, helped every chance he got, but since he works off the
farm, he was only able to help at nights. Many nights he scraped,
cleaned or welded until 11 or 12 o’clock. Then that fall Dad
announced, ‘Well, I guess we’ll fire it up next
Sunday.’ I expressed some doubts but Dad thought the machine
was ready for a trial run. About the middle of the week, some of
the neighbors began asking when we would start the engine on
Sunday. I asked Dad how they knew about Sunday and he confessed he
had mentioned to just a few close friends that we would try it.
Some of our friends must have told a few of their friends because
by Sunday afternoon we had a farm full of people. The newspapers
from two of our neighboring towns even sent representatives to be
there.

‘By Saturday afternoon I could see this thing had snowballed
from a family gathering to an ‘event’. I had suggested to
Dad maybe we should fire it that afternoon to at least see if we
can get up pressure. ‘No,’ he said, ‘It will either run
or it won’t.’

‘Sunday morning came bright and clear. By ten o’clock
the family had all gathered and we were all busy checking this,
tightening, and loosening this, oiling this. ‘We need some
grease here. ”Is that enough water?” Did you
bring the trailer with the wood around?” Better be sure
the flues are clear.’ (I think the flues got cleaned at least a
dozen times that morning.)

‘Just before noon we lit the fire, set the damper where we
thought it should be and watched as the wood smoke curled up from
the smokestack. We went to the house for dinner, but by then, cars
were driving in. None of us got a chance to eat much and I
don’t think Dad ate anything. He was too busy visiting and
answering questions. This, by the way, made Mom just a little
unhappy as she had spent most of the morning preparing the
meal.

‘After dinner we all went back to the steamer to see how
things were going. Lo and behold! The pressure gauge had moved. I
began to think maybe this thing was really going to work. We threw
in more wood and after what seemed a long time we had steam and
water everywhere. Remember now, this machine had not been fired for
some forty odd years. Dad and Steve had tightened and repacked
everything they could think of but until we had pressure, we had no
way of knowing where the leaks were. When we had sufficient
pressure I heard Dad say to his friend he had traded with for the
machine, ‘Let’s give it a try.’ They both mounted the
platform and began to ease the throttle out of neutral. Much noise
and steam, but nothing moved. A quick check revealed yes, steam was
getting through the main valve. Yes, steam should be getting to the
cylinder, everything seemed to be in order, still nothing! Another
walk around the machine and then someone said, ‘Maybe the
flywheel is on center, give it a pull.’ Steve pulled on the
flywheel and with a lovely, soft shooshing sound, the cylinder and
flywheel came to life. I think the whole crowd let out a sigh of
relief. After a minute or so I heard Dad’s friend say
‘Let’s see if we can get her to move.’ The flywheel was
brought to a stop, levers were put in the proper position and again
the throttle was advanced. More noise and steam, but nothing
happened

‘ ‘Let’s try reverse,’ I heard Dad say. The
lever was repositioned and after a try or two, a slight movement
backwards. They set up forward again and this time the governor
responded beautifully. A mighty belch of black smoke and whoosh,
whoosh, whoosh, that beautiful machine was moving. Away from the
machine shed and down the drive they went. The crowd of people
cheered and applauded and I saw a tear or two in the eyes of some
of the older fellows. Dad and his friend were grinning from ear to
ear.

‘Since that day we have spent many a Sunday firing up #16756
and we took her to a thresher’s meet at Petersburg, Nebraska
last fall, but nothing will ever match the thrill of that first
Sunday afternoon.

‘My father’s name is Carl D. Schrader and his address is
Neligh, Nebraska 68756.’

‘I just read the article by Steve Smyth, page 9 of July/Aug.
issue Green Straw Piles in Kansas. Green straw piles did not only
appear in Kansas but also in Nebraska and Iowa. I’ve seen green
straw piles threshed by many makes. IHC, Avery, Buffalo Pitts, Red
River Special, Rumely, Port Huron and others.

‘Most green topped straw piles were caused at the time of
clean-up when machine was running partly full feed and running full
speed.

‘I can still hear the exhaust when he reopened the throttle
when wagons changed at the feeder. He always slowed the machine
when changing wagons at the feeder, and he continued doing this
when he went to tractor power. The tractor could not bring the
separator back up to full speed as the steamer could.

‘Although he went to tractor power he always said there
never was any tractor that could do what his steamers could do. His
experience covered the following makes, Avery return flue, Buffalo
Pitts, Gaar Scott, Case and Aultman Taylor.

‘Hope all readers are enjoying the shows this year. I need
more days to get things done. I do as much work as I used to do,
but it takes me so much longer.Happy Days!’ comments EDWIN H.
BREDEMEIER, Route 1, Box 13, Steinauer, NE 68441.

‘This information and pictures were taken from Jack
Norbeck’s Encyclopedia of Steam Traction Engines, and describe
the 150 HP Russell Road Locomotive that Arthur M. Anderson
mentioned.

‘I hope someone else can add to this as to being around the
engine in its hey-day.’

This comes from RUSS ABEN-DROTH, Route 1, Greenville, WI
54942.

OTTO REGIER, R.R. #2, Leamington, Ontario N8H 3V5, phone
519-326-2121 says he is still waiting for a description of how they
hitched five or six grain binders behind a steam engine or an Oil
Pull Rumely in the old days, and how they turned corners with such
an outfit.

This letter comes from CHARLES O. HARTY, 1629.Robbins Road,
Grand Haven, MI 49417: ‘Just returned from the Darke County,
Ohio Show. Will have a couple of ‘new’ engines from that
one to send. They had an 1888 Rusell 6 HP traction engine there
this yeara real oldie!

‘Darke County had a real competition this year between two
22 HP Keck-Gonnermans on the sawmill and whether the sawyer could
stall the engines lots of stack talk, smoke and steam.

‘The gentleman who commented that he had not seen any
Aultman-Taylors in the magazine should look on the rear cover of
the May/June issue of IMA. Just for his benefit, I’ve enclosed
two A-T’s.’

This was heavy trucking in 1907. The motive power for a string
of road wagons is a 1907 model 150 HP Russell compound road
locomotive. As far as is known, there are no examples of these big
engines remaining today. The engineer steered this vehicle by the
means of levers rather than with a steering wheel, with the levers
attached to the steam-operated powering steering mechanism. The
unit is equipped with a cable wind or winch, probably for pulling
Itself or its wagons out of soft spots In the road. An excellent
rail network in the U.S. kept these engines from becoming popular
in their own era. Later, vast Improvements In the national highway
system and in motor truck design spelled a death knell for this
type of motive power. However, In England, traction engines similar
to this provided heavy transportation facilities right through
World War II.

Above six pictures sent by Charles, with captions:No. 1
Aultman-Taylor 16 HP #9107 at Urbana, Ohio, 7-18-82 owned by Dan
Gregor of Dayton, Ohio. No. 2 1916 Aultman-Taylor 20 HP #935A at
Mason, MI 8-1-84 owned by John Schrock of Mason. No. 3 1922
Farquhar 15-45 HP #16840 at Freeport, IL 7-28-84 owned by Joe
Maurer. No. 4-1910 Robert Bell 20 HP at Brigdon, Ont. 8-20-82 owned
by John Shamblow. No. 5 1912 Buffalo-Pitts 14 HP #10037 at Norwich,
Ont. 6-2-84. No. 6 1914 (?) Buffalo-Pitts 22 HP at Ithaca, MI
1983.

BOYD SILSBY, R.R. 2, Mankato, KS 66956 recently bought an
Ault-man Taylor steam traction engine, #9357, boiler #3431. He has
not been able to find the year this engine was built. He is hoping
someone out there will be able to help him with that item and also
he would like to know the original colors it was painted.

‘Since reading the article Green Straw Piles in Kansas by
Mr. Smyth in July/Aug. IMA I feel impelled to put in my 22 (stamp)
worth,’ says WEBSTER MOONEY, Village Villa, Mortonville, KS
66060.

‘I owned and operated a 36-60 Nichols and Shepard separator
and a Peerless steam engine rated at 80 belt HP. I later owned and
operated a 28-46 Nichols and Shepard separator powered by a Rumely
6 tractor rated at 50 belt HP. Still later I was a service man for
an Allis Chalmers dealer. I serviced Gleaner self propelled
combines.

‘I agree with my good friend Chady Atteberry when he said
that Mr. Smyth knows his onions.

‘My observations were that most of the green straw piles
were due to outfits that didn’t have sufficient power.

‘I am now confined to a wheel chair in a nursing home. One
of my main enjoyments is reading the articles and stories in IMA.
I’ll be 84 years old (young) on August 15. I enjoy getting
letters. I would really appreciate hearing from anyone who cares to
write.’ (Thank you for writing us Webster, and if you wrote the
letter, the handwriting is beautiful. We are so happy that our
magazine brings you some interest and joy drop him a line folks and
I’m sure he would love to reminisce with you about the old
threshing days).

When I say Frank Burris, many of you readers will identify with
him immediately as he is a contributor to many of our magazines.
FRANK BURRIS, 1102 Box Canyon Road, Fallbrook, CA 92028,
619-723-1793 sends this so we can share with him in the death of
his loved one. We’re so sorry Frank, and it is a beautiful
tribute.

‘I always addressed her as ‘Mommy’ along with our
two daughters; for she was truly the Queen of the Household. And
now, as I look back, I am puzzled with wonderment as to how she
ever was enabled to put up with the whole lot of us. Not that we
were ever in the least disrespectful against her seemingly infinite
wisdom; but so many times each of us were wont to take off in
different directions to what a reticent whit of logic might
dictate. But we interacted superbly, for Mommy always had an
inexhaustible store of only pleasantness of the highest order.
Never a lowly word about anyone, and always the highest hopes for
the future.

‘Mommy was so pleasant that she became known as
‘Smiles’ during her grade and early high school endeavors.
And she really wore that winning smile all the time for it was an
inborn trait of her enlightening character. During much of my own
professional career I often noted that there was certainly nothing
to resemble that coached, forced, almost snarling nail-biting grin
as portrayed in movie queen type advertisements.

‘Wonder, could she have come about so many of these most
personably pleasant characteristics from having been born (on
September 2, 1912 of a Nicolls family in Rapid City, SD) the baby
of fifteen children? That practice has, of course, become long
discontinued amongst plain American families. But then, two cents
went as far as five dollars today…

Despite an early befallment of a diabetic condition, and
indications of a subnormal heart condition, Mommy saw her two
splendid girls acquire exemplary adulthood. Barbara grew through an
athletic exuberant type who could throw a baseball farther than any
boy on the school baseball team and also blow the loudest whistle.
She makes bread from ‘scratch’ that melts in your mouth,
and serves an A-1 job in plain American cooking. Her older sister
Jacqueline completed her university work and after doing battle
with anthropology and foreign language curricula settled for
becoming a top executive secretary. She inherited dress designing
and making ability and practices fine gourmet cooking.

‘Well, Mommy just plain sat down, finally, and must have
believed that her worldly work was well accomplished. In perfect
peace and contentment, despite the illnesses she never as much
exhibited evidence of, she passed away, in the state of grace on
May 29, 1987 in her beautiful home ‘Meadowbrook’ surrounded
by all her favorite rose bushes and other flowering foliage backed
by the family orchard. Bless her heart and soul! Iva Mary-Beth, it
looks like I shall not write another book.’

CORRECTION!! Please take note of this paragraph we had an error
in the last publication: ‘Just a line to thank you for
publishing my letter in the Sept/Oct. issue. As a result of this I
have had a letter from a shipmate on the old Altairwe served aboard
together from Dec. 1938 ’til May 1942 and of course I had never
heard of him since.

‘Through some fluke, either I had put my address as CA
instead of GA, or it got changed in the printing process, as this
man had trouble finding the town where I live. He finally went to
the Post Office and they knew by the ZIP that it was Georgia so he
found it in the atlas. Would it be too much to ask that you put in
a correction in a following issue? There may be other old shipmates
that would turn up as a result, and it would be much
appreciated.’ We apologize for the mistake, and here is the
proper address: CORNELIUS F. PAULUS, Route 3, Box 79AG, Douglas,
Georgia 31533. The letter referred to is on pages 14 & 15, of
the Sept/Oct. issue.

PERRY WILLIS, R.D. #3, Louisville, OH 44641 writes us: ‘In
response to the picture on back page issue of Sept/Oct. ’87 of
Arthur Clark’s engine, he no longer owns the engine. He sold
the engine and trailer to some man at Zolfo Springs, Florida
Pioneer Days Show this past winter season.

‘As for me, I want to report the engine referred to in an
article I asked about on page 10 is a double Tangye model of a mill
engine. I was right on center drive, but I have done lots of
research and also am having parts made to complete the engine. I
only drew a picture of one side, to explain the distance and valve
locations. The other half of engine is reverse of drawings.

‘A person never knows what takes place in purchasing an
unknown engine, but a steam engine is a treasure. I have some
friends who are trying to locate some parts and possible help, as
it is a rare model engine.

‘As for Herbert Holmes’ death, he was a personal friend
of mine for 25 years or more. He was a truly dedicated man and a
friend to all.

‘Many thanks for the write-up and as I complete engine, I
will send pictures to show the design of engine. I think it was
developed in England.

‘Again, thanks and I must say a full head of steam is
powerful and a dead engine takes you nowhere. Remember Great
mountains of happiness grow of little hills of kindness.’

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