Merry Christmas to all of you wonderful folks! Know what? To me
that sounds silly right now, as I sit here in August writing the
column for November/December, which means the Christmas season is
really not too far in the future. I really should be used to it by
now, as this is my 34th year of getting a regular message to you. I
really cannot believe it is that long already, and I’m sure all
my good buddies in the senior citizen group agree that the years
really seem to have rushed by, and it looks like it may be my last
year, according to incoming letters.
So many of you have been faithful for years and sent in many
interesting letters, column material and homespun stories that have
brought us all education, the warmth of a close relationship
between our magazines and families. Stories of joy, laughter and
yes, sadness, but it’s been wonderful and has enriched my life
immensely. I really feel close to many of you, and we have had a
bonding of sorts with swapping stories of our lives. I feel I know
many of you, though we have never met, and I know lots of you folks
know a great deal about our wonderful family. Our children were
growing up and you heard all the important events, and little
For quite a lot of years I not only wrote the column, but did
all the ads, stories, pictures, all orders, etc., for both GEM and
IMA. For the last few years I have only been writing the column for
The Iron Men Album. I have not only been nudging you all and
begging for your letters, and yes, praying many times for an
increase in material for Soot in The Flues. Now I know, all good
things must come to an end, and maybe it is about time for me to
fade out of the picture. I’ll give it a little while and if
more material does not come in, I will bow out gracefully and say
‘Thanks for the Memories.’ (As you will notice, I received
only TWO communications for this issue; let’s face it, I have
always tried to add other interesting items and interests, but
without YOUR letters, ideas, thoughts and information, this column
is really not necessary, or beneficial to IMA.
Following are the two letters:
BERNARD OBERLANDER, 16345 Los Gatos Blvd., #46, Los Gatos,
California 95032, sends this: ‘ ‘I have been a subscriber
to Iron Men Album for many years. I am presently planning to build
a quarter scale model of a Geiser ‘Peerless’ Z-3 steam
traction engine. I have only Geiser machinery catalogs to provide
information for this project. My greatest need is for drawings of
Peerless traction engines. The reason I am writing you is to
determine if you know of a source for such drawings. I am prepared
to purchase drawings of any Peerless traction engines that may be
‘I prefer to purchase drawings of the Z-3 engines, but I am
also interested in other models, especially the Z-Z, Z-l, UU and
U-l engines. If you know of a source to purchase such drawings, I
shall be very pleased and thankful for your help.’ (Surely hope
you hear from some of our subscribers, Bernard.)
I received a letter from TED H. STEIN, 412 W. Second Street,
Streator, Illinois 61364.
Ted states that Ralph Gehlsen wrote asking for Mogul engine
color. ‘I sent him a picture of a 4 HP MOGUL that had been
restored by C. H. Wendel, author of ‘150 Years of IHC’. I
met Chuck at an auction continued from inside front cover and he
told me the green paint is DuPont 29609 H. Now, the flywheel rims
were painted blue. Thought you might like to know.’
Melvin Kestler, 712 Chaps Rd., S.E., Rio Rancho, NM 87124, sent
this photo of a Case outfit used in the wheat growing country
around Bird City, Kansas. Kestler received the photo, developed
from a glass negative, years ago.
And so, I pass it on to you folks of IMA Family. (This is more
for the GEM, but Ted wanted it in IMA.)
Locomotive & Railway Preservation, the bimonthly magazine
covering rail preservation, has a comprehensive article in
preparation on the miniature trains built by the Cagney Brothers
under the name The Miniature Railway Company, Inc. These trains
were built between the late 1880s and the early 1940s, with steam
locomotive production (all 4-4-0s) ending in the late 1920s. The
article is being prepared by Nick Wantiez, noted for his column,
‘The Larger Gauges,’ in Live Steam.
The final part of the article will attempt to list those Cagney
locomotives and trains known to still exist, and to do this your
help is needed. If you know of existing Cagney trains, would you
please tell L&RP where they are, and whatever other information
you might be able to add, especially the gauge? Names or addresses
of private collectors who prefer not to be disturbed will not be
listed, but they would like to get an approximate count of how many
remain from the approximately 1200 train sets produced. Photos of
the existing trains would be appreciated also. Sharp black and
white 8 x 10’s work best for publication, but slides and
possibly even sharp color prints may be acceptable. L & R P
pays for photo publication; rates depend on the finished size on
The Cagney trains, and similar ones made by their competitors,
gave pleasure to many families at early amuse men t parks, but
their greatest glory was moving crowds at the various
turn-of-the-century World’s Fairs and Expositions. In that
respect, they were ‘real’ trains, serving the same purpose
as the monorails and maglevs of today.
Nick Wantiez feels that there may be about 50 of the locomotives
still in existence, some of which have been heavily modified.
Besides being owned by steam collectors, some may exist in antique
shops and other places. Class A Cagneys were 9 inch gauge, Class B
and C locomotives were 125/& inch gauge, Class D engines, which
came in two different sizes, were 15 inch gauge, and those in Class
E were 22 inch gauge. A few were built to 18 inch gauge, using
parts from both the Class D and E locomotives; these are believed
to be from the Jamestown Exposition of 1904, and ended up mostly in
the South. The last ones we know of still in regular operation for
the public are two Class E engines at Lakeside Park in Denver,
Colorado, incredibly still running after nearly 90 years! If you
have any information on the whereabouts of a Cagney, please write
to Bob Yarger, News Editor, Locomotive & Railway Preservation,
P.O. Box 95, Richmond, VT 05477.
In keeping with the Christmas season, I chose the following two
From the book Guideposts Christmas Treasury comes
‘The Legend of the Christmas Tree.’ Today the Christmas
tree is a center of our festivities. Topped with a star, and
glittering with lights and ornaments, it is a part of the beauty of
the meaning of the Christmas season.
How did the Christmas tree come to play such an important part
in the observance of Christmas?
There is a legend that comes down to us from the early days of
Christianity in England. One of those helping to spread Christmas
among the Druids was a monk named Wilfred (later Saint Wilfred).
One day, surrounded by a group of his converts, he struck down a
huge oak tree, which, in the Druid religion, was an object of
As it fell to the earth, the oak tree split into four pieces and
from its center sprung up a young fir tree. The crowd gazed in
Wilfred let his axe drop and turned to speak. ‘This little
tree shall be your Holy Tree tonight. It is the wood of peace, for
your houses are built of the fir. It is the sign of an endless
life, for its leaves are evergreen. See how it points toward the
‘Let this be called the tree of the Christ Child. Gather
about it, not in the wilderness, but in your homes. There it will
be surrounded with loving gifts and rites of kindness.’
To this day, that is why the fir tree is one of our loveliest
symbols of Christmas.
Another story from the Guideposts Christmas Treasury is titled
‘One Solitary Life’ by George Clarke Peck. (I’m sure
many of you are familiar with it. I feel it is worthy of printing
in this Christmas column).
How do you explain the greatness of the Man whose birthday we
celebrate on Christmas?
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until
He was 30, and then for three years was an itinerant preacher. He
never wrote a book. He never held office. He never owned a home. He
never traveled 200 miles from the place he was born. He never did
one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no
credentials but Himself.
Although He walked the land over, curing the sick, giving sight
to the blind, healing the lame, and raising people from the dead,
the top established religious leaders turned against Him. His
friends ran away. He was turned over to enemies. He went through
the mockery of a trial. He was spat upon, flogged, and ridiculed.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While He was dying,
the executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on
earth, and that was His robe. When He was dead, He was laid in a
borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone, and today He is the
central figure of the human race and the leader of the column of
All the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were
ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the
kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life
of man upon this earth as has that One Solitary Life.
AND, that is about it for this time, dear Friends. I do wish you
all a great upcoming Christmas season and many blessings.
I will wait expectantly for your precious letters. Please let me
hear from you! Love ya all!