SOOT IN THE FLUES

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Hi There! Hope the summer is treating you great and you are
putting on the miles on your mode of transportation as you make the
Reunion Trek across the country or state or just across town.
Surely is a wonderful hobby, isn’t it? And I’m counting on
getting many letters about these great get-togethers all across the
land. I’m so happy we have quite a few letters this issue,
(like old times?) so we’ll just get into them.

First communication is from GENE DRUMMOND, 15509 Drummond Road,
Orient, Ohio 43146: ‘A while back I was looking over my
collection of Avery and Case catalogs. Paid close attention to the
results of the Winnipeg Motor Contest at Winnipeg, Manitoba,
Canada. I have a number of catalogs that give factual information
on this subject.

‘From the Avery catalog for 1910 on page 16 it states that
in 1909 the Avery 30 HP double undermounted engine (two 7 by 10
cylinders) won the Sweepstakes and Gold Medal at Brandon and the
Bronze Medal at Winnipeg in Canada. Photo of winning outfit on page
21 of the 1910 Avery catalog. The outfit was a 30 HP double
undermounted engine and 10 gang Cockshutt Avery plow. From the 1912
Avery catalog on page 5, it states that the Avery undermounted
engine won first place in its class and the Sweepstakes in the 1911
Winnipeg contest. It also states in a maximum brake horsepower test
the 30 Avery developed 159 HP. NOTE: This engine carried 200 pounds
of steam. The 1912 Avery catalog lists the Alberta and Saskatchewan
boiler as only being built for the 20 HP and 30 HP engines.

‘Now a look at the 110 Case to see how it did in the
Winnipeg Motor Contest. From 1909 Case catalog on page 18, it
states (12 by 12) cylinder simple traction engine rated 32 HP
envelops 110 brake (Stationary) HP. The boiler for this engine was
built to carry 160 lbs. steam pressure. In the 1910 Case catalog
the rating was changed from 32 HP to 110 HP. In 1910 The Province
of Alberta, Canada approved the 110 Case boiler for 175 lbs. of
steam.

‘From the 1914 Case catalog it states that the 110 Case was
four times entered at Winnipeg and four times Gold Medal and
Sweepstakes winner. Holds records in all departments of economy and
efficiency which has never been equaled by any other steam traction
engine.

‘The Winnipeg contest was much talked about by machinery men
of the time. It should be noted that the 1914 Case catalog states
that in a Prony Brake test at Winnipeg the 110 Case developed
144.22 BHP at normal speed and at pressure.’

Our good friend, CARL M. LATROP, 108 Garfield Avenue, Madison,
New Jersey 07940 sends this: ‘I have an item for your Small
World Department. Recently I was in Australia on a mission to
photograph Halley’s comet. Although that project was hampered
by the comet’s failure to come up to expectations in luminosity
the trip as a whole was most worthwhile; and I, had an interesting
experience on a side trip.

‘Australia has a number of narrow gauge railroads, many of
which are now abandoned with only sections being operated by
preservation societies. ‘Puffing Billy’ is one such
operation on 30′ gauge tracks about 26 miles out of Melbourne.
One day while traveling out to Belgrave on the suburban electric
services to have a ride on this historic train I noticed that a man
sitting near me was wearing one of those caps used to advertise
anything from Cats to Fords. This one was unique, I thought, for it
proclaimed ‘Pontiac Steam and Gas Association, Shawville,
Quebec.’ A Canadian steam show and half way around the
world?

‘The chap turned out to be Leslie Gilles of London, England,
also on his way to ride the steam train. We got to talking and I
found out that he is very familiar with our North American steam
show activities heralded by Iron-Men Album. He is a regular visitor
to the Canadian Show. His trip this year will be the sixth trip to
the ‘colonies’ to enjoy steam. It is a small world after
all.

‘Australia is suffering from a drought; the ‘out
back’ hasn’t had any significant rain in over two years.
So, with my luck, that day the Fire Marshall had declared an
extreme fire emergency and poor Puffing Billy could not run. Never
the less, they brought out a little 48 HP diesel switcher and we
struggled up the grade with three coaches. A few days after I had
departed, your fellow steam publication Live Steam, with Editor Joe
Rice arrived just as the ban was lifted. But don’t despair, New
Zealand’s 42′ gauge Kingston Flyer was in full operation
and thanks to an introduction to Russell Glendennin I got a cab
ride after having helped coal the engine and man the
‘armstrong’ turntable. Since he knew that I was qualified
as an engineer on diesel locomotives I had the privilege of blowing
Rule 14 (L) signals at every road crossing much to the amazement of
wayside photographers not familiar with our stateside two long one
short and a long crossing whistle signal.

‘It’s nice to have friends down under. We need all that
we can find in these days of international unrest.’

Another item associated with ‘Good Old Days’ article
comes from OSCAR O. COOKE, Billings, Montana 59101 of Oscar’s
Dreamland: ‘This is in reference of the Case 15 HP belonging to
Arnold Janssen of Mitchell, South Dakota. I flew over to Mitchell
to see this engine and borrowed Mr. Janssen’s key to the
warehouse where they had placed the engine after the accident and
with a flashlight had a look in the fire box. The crown sheet was
gone and the rows of stay bolts were still in the boiler above and
they looked like rolling pins having eroded away next to the boiler
and the crown sheet above. In trying to see where the crown sheet
was I finally noticed something like tin on the left side of the
firebox. Actually, it was so thin you could almost have shaved with
it.

‘So sorry my Dad couldn’t have had the opportunity to
inspect this boiler. He was boiler inspector for several years in
Eastern Kansas. He seldom, if ever, put a cold water test on a
boiler, but rather would crawl into the firebox and rap with a
ball-peen hammer between each square of stay bolts in the firebox.
If the sound suited him, he would chalk, an ‘O’ and if not,
he would put an ‘X’. Then he would drill a small hole and
if the thickness suited his judgment, he would tap a hole and put
in a %’ plug. Otherwise, he would condemn this boiler. In his
lifetime, he had a good idea for some of us to do likewise and if
we find a tinny sound, better drill a hole.

‘I personally agree with several of the old time steam
traction engine builders who felt you should never test an engine
with more cold water pressure than you intended to carry steam, as
the cold water is so solid and not for giving a steam pressure.

‘As for me and our some forty steam engines, we really do
inspect them very closely. I’ve spent 85 years with them from
the time I was born till now and having traveled over a great deal
of the major wheat country, I have only seen two steam engines that
have blown up. Both of those boilers should have been condemned as
they both had very thin crown sheets. I might add, I’ve seen a
few boilers that were damaged by over pressure with cold water and
I sometimes wonder just how much damage we may do to a boiler when
testing by straining it to an almost disaster point, maybe even
damaging the stay bolt to a point of excess strain or even cracking
them sometimes. We have a Case 110 boiler that this happened to
sort of a shame too, as the stay bolts and boiler were in very good
shape.

‘Referring to Geo. A. Kolberg’s letter in May/June 86
issue We have a Best and it hauled six ten ton wagons loaded with
nickel and silver ore from the mine eight miles each way and two
trips a day in Utah. We do have one of the wagons also and they
were built by Best. This engine will travel up to five miles per
hour and it is entirely spring-mounted. The HP at 150 lbs. of steam
rates 150 HP.

Here are two subjects for some of you good folks to write a
letter and see if we can get OTTO REGIER, R.R.2, Leamington,
Ontario, Canada N8H 3V5 the answers he is requesting. ‘I always
look forward to finding your magazine in the mailbox and begin
reading it as I walk back to the house, along the lane.

‘Two items continue on the list of things I would like to
see some information about in the Album. A: How the multi-grain
binder hitches worked; and B: Are there any 12-25 Minneapolis
tractors with the radiator facing to the side left in antique
Engine Land? As a lad barely able to reach the steering wheel, I
drove it along miles and miles of furrows while it stood rusting in
the weeds at the back of our farmyard.’ (Sounds like Otto did a
lot of daydreaming then and perhaps now? Anybody have any answers,
please write me. Thanks guys).

‘Enclosed find some pictures of a very rare and unique
hand-fed threshing machine owned by Ralph and Glenn Kain of Milan,
Illinois,’ writes JOHN LAUE, Box 29, Wolf Road, Geneseo,
Illinois 61254. ‘This thresher was at the Antique Engine Show
in Atkinson, Illinois last fall. It is a Butter worth self-binding
thesher that is what is on the side of the machine. It threshes the
grain and it comes out the bottom of the machine; the straw comes
out the rear of the machine where there is a binding device such as
on a grain binder that ties the threshed straw back in bundles. It
works real neat! We powered the thresher with a 10 HP Nichols and
Shepard steam engine and it worked real well. I don’t think
anyone at the show had ever seen such a threshing machine as this
one. If any of the readers know of these machines or the history of
the Company, we would like to hear from them. It will be at the
show again this year, so if you are in the area stop and enjoy our
show. The dates are September 13, 14, 1986.’

ED BREDEMEIER, Route 1, Box 13, Steinauer, Nebraska 68441 sends
a short letter and chats with us: ‘The Soot in the Flues is the
first part of the magazine that I read. I enjoy every ones concerns
and hope they keep writing. There is something that I’ve never
seen in the column and that is the Steam Engineer’s Whistle
Code. I would like to learn it, that is, if it is possible to learn
after 77 years. (I’m sure you could learn it Ed now who will
send it in?)

‘I enjoyed ‘Flossie or The Tractor’.

‘Just when I was almost old enough to help operate a steam
engine my father sold his 16 HP Case and 32’ Case separator,
but I still have fond memories as a small boy being allowed to sit
on the tool box, feet out over the drivers and listening to the
sound of it doing its part in threshing.

‘Best wishes to all for the balance of ’86!’

Another interesting letter comes from GERALD DARR, 2220 Bishop
sgate Drive, Toledo, Ohio 43614 as he writes: ‘Yesterday we
drove from St. Paul, Minnesota to Toledo, Ohio. It is about 630
miles we usually drive in a day with my wife helping part of the
way to drive.

‘Just west of Toledo is Exit 3 of the Ohio Turnpike at
Wauseon, Ohio where the National Thresher’s Assn. has their
yearly steam show and I endeavor to attend. I looked over the
grounds with a glance as we passed and thought of the coming show
in June, per the ad in/MA page 37 June 26-29. I have been to a few
other shows. I really enjoy the NT A Show.

‘Wayne Kennedy should be commended for getting a Steam
Engine class started. Perhaps some other groups will start a class
in their area which is a fine idea.

‘Sometime I hope to send you an old-time threshing scene
with my Grandfather Gustav Hop finger pictured in Ottawa County,
Ohio near Port Clinton. My sister has the picture left over from my
mother’s things.’ (We’ll be watching for it
Gerald).

‘The gentleman pictured looking into the front of the boiler
on the IMA column, perhaps Case engine, reminds me of the cartoon
by J. R. Williams from Out Our Way. Do you remember that
cartoon?

‘I am enclosing a note which came in the mail today from a
friend. It is called ‘No Excuse Sunday’, perhaps some of
you folks will enjoy it:

To make it possible for everyone to attend church next Sunday we
are going to have a special ‘No Excuse Sunday’. Cots will
be placed in the vestibule for those who say, ‘Sunday is my
only day to sleep in’. We will have steel helmets for those who
say ‘The roof would cave in if I ever come back to church’.
Blankets will be furnished for those who think the church is too
cold, and fans for those who say it’s too hot. We will have
hearing aids for those who say the pastor speaks too softly, and
cotton for those who say he preaches too loudly. A few unattached
relatives will be in attendance for those who like to visit on
Sundays. And one section will be landscaped with real shrubbery and
as tro turf for those who find God in nature on Sunday mornings.
Finally, the sanctuary will be decorated with both Christmas
poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who have never seen the
church without them. IT’S NO EXCUSE SUNDAY! SEE YOU IN
CHURCH!

From KENNEDY FIEGEL, Route 3, Box 14, Kingfisher, Oklahoma 73750
writes: ‘I am sending some pictures of my family’s header
crew taken about 1910 at Kiel, now Loyal, Oklahoma.

‘Stacking the loose heads was an art to make the stack shed
water and not fall over. The only experience I had with heading was
when I was 11 years old. My dad was running a Case threshing rig in
Kingman County, Kansas in 1924. They were running two headers and
four barges and threshing from the barge. The boys drove the barges
and they had one pitcher to a barge.

‘They were breaking mules on these two headers. The three on
the left, or swing team, as they were called were broke. The three
on the right were tied in and no way could they get away. On
corners the driver would kick the swing team in the butts and I
would have to trot my team on the barge to keep it under the
elevator and if I didn’t, he would cuss me something
terrible.

‘One day the tiller wheel hit a hole or wash-out on a corner
and threw him off. That did me a million dollars worth of good, as
kids didn’t talk back to the elders in those days.

‘Picture No. 1 is my Uncle Charley Fiegel on header and my
dad, Emil Fiegel on stack. No. 2 snapshot is of Uncle Charley on
stack. And No. 3 is my dad with a straw hat on header.’

‘The picture of the Case 65 on the back cover of Jan/Feb. 86
issue, that was owned by Bob Matheny of Kearney, Nebraska is now
owned by me,’ proudly says DENNIS PADEN, 334 S. State St., Box
7, Norton, Kansas 67654.

‘I traded a 2′ scale model of this same engine and some
cash for it. The model was built in a showman’s engine style
with chrome bands around the boiler and steam dome jackets, lots of
polished brass here and there. It took me about four years to
complete that engine and I hated to part with it, but I have always
wanted a full-sized engine, so Bob and I made the deal.’

V. H. STROUD, 319 E. 16th Street, Hutchinson, Kansas 67501
writes: ‘It was particularly noticeable in the
‘Response’ how many commented on the need for qualified
operators, in the ‘Good Old Days’ article printed in the
March/April issue of IMA. Kansas shows and the operators are well
aware of this fact. We are very much aware of the inspection
procedures and boiler condition. Good operators and good boilers go
hand-in-hand.

‘A few years back the most concerned in Kansas formed the
Kansas Antique Engine Shows Safety Association. Our concern then,
as now, was safe boilers and operators. We concentrated first on
boilers to get uniform and thorough inspection and records
established. Deemer Unruh, an active member of the Gossell, Kansas
Association and long-time secretary can be credited for much of the
procedure set-up and was ably assisted and advised by the Kansas
State Chief Boiler Inspector, William Brown, and staff. After the
boiler inspection was instigated and going, came the consideration
of qualified operators. We started by issuing operator’s cards
and apprentice cards to operators as judged so by their peers.
Beginning as now, all new operators must pass a prescribed set of
questions and prove his actual operating skill to an examiner. The
older operators can receive their 1986 and later card by passing
the prescribed test.

‘This year at the annual workshop we stressed SAFETYas usual
and that meant operators, boilers, and spectators. The workshop at
Valley Center, Kansas had on its agenda such qualified people as
the Kansas State Chief Boiler Inspector, a licensed and qualified
pressure vessel welder, a boiler builder and repairman, a large
implement factory engineer, a former railroad locomotive boiler
inspector and a licensed sheet metal layout man and installer. At
past annual workshops we have had well qualified people on the
program also.

‘The above is a short resume of what is being done and has
been done in Kansas. We were among the first for safety, know-how
and ‘hands-on’ workshops. There will be a continuation of
these educational policies in Kansas.’ (We presume many other
organizations follow this plan or will certainly look forward in
the future to work toward such a program.)

A long informative, interesting and enjoyable letter comes from
E. A. ‘FROG’ SMITH, SR., 99 East Mariana Avenue, North Fort
Myers, Florida 33903: ‘Would you care for a letter from the
past?’ (Yes indeed Frog, and where have you been for so
long?)

‘It has been so long since I subscribed for, or saw, the
ALBUM. I used to be a regular, even though at the time I was caring
for an invalid wife for 16 years, two years blind and paralyzed. I
lost her, the great-great-granddaughter of ‘Ole Dan Tucker’
of folk song fame. But before she went in 1966, we made it for 48
years without a fuss.

‘I married again in ’68, but although she was a good
wife, she showed me who was boss. I let my subscriptions to several
magazines go, and about that time Freeman Hubbard, Editor of
Railroad Magazine died and I dropped everything but my regular
Sunday column in the local paper. However, I have put out four
books; the first you could not let the preacher ‘ketch you’
reading, two books of folklore, one of which has been reprinted and
sold out within two months.

‘My last book is my first attempt at a fiction novel, with
several incidents from real life, both humorous and tragic. It
takes the reader through an old-time Florida sawmill town of 1910,
through the mill and out on the logging road. A man who has made
his pile and retired while still young enough to enjoy life, but
lost his old personality in his rise to fortune. As a youth, he was
a rambler and takes one more fling at life in the raw by going back
to his old way of life in hopes of finding himself. He finds a wife
within two days via shotgun marriage. I wrote it for old folks, but
the young’uns liked it better.

‘Since I wrote you, I have retired on Social Security and
have diabetes, arthritis, bad eyesight and partial use of both
hands. I can use only old-time manual typewriters and will be 90
when I eat my next birthday cake. I lost my second wife last year.
But I have had an interesting life. Went to work at 12 in a
‘Pecker-wood’ Georgia sawmill for 40 per day to help feed
the family. Was lumber marker at 13, drawing 60 per day and a
quarter extra to go down at 2:00 A.M. get steam on the 20 HP boiler
and blow the wake-up whistle at 4:30. That is how I saw
Halley’s Comet in 1910. Fired the boiler and learned to run a
log loader after a fashion in 1911. Could have loaded a train if
necessary. That fall I started firing a logging locomotive and
ended up running before Christmas. The next year, 1912, I was put
to oiling under one of Florida’s big sawmills and was there
when the Titanic went down. When I was sent upstairs to operate the
‘butting’ saw, the black men refused to stay in the mill
with a kid working the 72′ steam jump saw with live rollers.
But when Revenue men arrested the boiler room man for bootlegging,
Chief Engineer sent me to take his place.

‘There I was, a 15-year old freckled runt in a place where a
kid my age would not be allowed today. I could barely reach the
sawdust feed levers about my head, bare-footed, wearing fifty cent
overalls and a thirty cent shirt and no underwear I didn’t have
any, but I kept those big boilers hot.

‘Now that I am too old to do anything but gab, I try to make
the most of it. I was at the Bi-Centennial in Washington, D.C. at
the invitation of Smithsonian and on display for five days I mean
stage, when my missus and I walked around the Old Jupiter of Golden
Spike fame, I told her sixty-five years ago, I was running one like
that. The caretaker overheard me and came on the double, asking
when, what and how come. But I wasn’t kidding! That was one
reason I was able and the first to identify the old eight-wheeler
dragged from the Suwanee River in Florida in 1979. I knew by the
reverse gear.

‘Some ten years ago I started painting primitive scenes,
mostly old log trains, sawmills and steamboats, tractors and farm
scenes. Now I am working on a historical of Old-Time Florida
logging trains.’

Frog sent along come clippings and pictures and remarks from the
IMA of long ago also one of his columns he writes. I’ll be
using them in a later issue. It’s real good to hear from you
again, Frog Welcome back!!

It was great having more material this time so come on Folks,
keep it up don’t just sit there and think about those memories
to yourself. Get paper and a pencil and jot it down and send it to
Anna Mae. I love it and so do the readers. And in closing, you know
I have to give you some thoughts to ponder The chains of habit are
generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be
broken. It is hard to express life with a clenched fist. The one
thing worse than a quitter is a man who is afraid to start. One can
never catch up with good intentions. Do it now! Today will be
yesterday tomorrow.

That’s it for this time, Folks! Do enjoy the great days of
upcoming shows the good times together with old and new friends.
See you in two months Love ya all!

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment