# SOOT IN THE FLUES

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Hi! to my dear readers and friends I am very happy we have quite
a lot of copy, good stories and information, so I’m hoping it
will make you very happy and I am, for this time, not going to add
anything, but to hope you are having a wonderful summer and I know
there are still a lot of activities going on. Read and enjoy and be
sure you read all the articles and stories and especially the last
letter in the column.

And now for the article…

‘I have been a subscriber to the ALBUM for over 30 years and
this is my first letter. On pages 10 and 11 of the May/June issue,
an article of Mr. Rixmann covers the subject of Drawbar Horsepower.
As a mechanical engineer, I become incensed when others present a
solution to a mathematical problem without any consideration as to
the units used and how they arrived at the answer.’

Although 60 divided by 17 is 3.428, what are the units of 60 ?
Answer: 88 feet x 60 sec/min x 60 min/hr x 1/5280 miles/feet =60
sec-miles/hr. 60 sec-miles/hr x 1/17.5 sec=3.428 miles/hr. Why the
author solved for miles per hour is a puzzle. As stated in the
article, one horsepower=33,000 lb/ft/min. Obviously the units of
12,958 are lb/miles/hr. But now the real puzzle? -375! The author
calls this a ‘constant factor’. Actually its units are
lb-miles-HP/hr!

A simpler and more traditional solution as generally used by the
profession, is 88 ft x 1/17.5 sec x 60 sec/min x 3780 lb x 1/33,000
min-HP/lb =34.56 HP. The foregoing is as important in knowing that
foot!’

This letter came from WILLIAM H. RICHARDSON, JR., 540 Mill,
Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin 53085 and I’m sure the readers that
are into this kind of fractions and statistics will understand.

KEATS PULLEN III, Arm Company, P.O. Box 2255, Baltimore,
Maryland 21203 sends this: ‘Here is a note to let you know how
much I enjoy your magazine. It is very interesting and
informative.

I’m too young (35) to have seen steam at work, but it is in
well as being a professor at John Hopkins University before he
passed away around 1953.

I am building a Terning Case 65 in half scale. I hope to have it
in steam by the steam season this year. The project has been going
for two years now, but is going gangbusters right now. (I imagine
by now Keats is at the steam shows.) See picture of scale Case and
also scale Freelance engine built by Keats in 1981.

This writing comes from DENNIS EMERY, 4391 Stewart Road,
Metamora, Michigan 48455: ‘I have been a reader of IMA for many
years and do enjoy it very much, especially ‘Soot in the
Flues’, and readers who comment on interesting subjects.

I especially enjoyed a letter written by Mr. Randy Schwerin in
the May /June issue regarding the reliability of the Reeves engine.
Just thought I’d throw in my two cents worth also.

It is a known fact that the big 150 HP Case traction engine did
have gear trouble. Now there is no doubt they were a very powerful
engine. That goes almost without saying.

The Reeves factory used a combination of steel and cast to make
their gearing extremely strong. Now at that particular time, Case,
during the manufacturing of the 150 HP, did not make theirs as
strong as the Reeves. The Case 150 gearing could not withstand the
tremendous torque it does take to start a load. The gears were
simply not built strong enough.

I have had the pleasure of riding on (and helping set) the
’14-14′ John Deere plow used at Antique Acres near Cedar
Falls, Iowa, myself. I can truthfully say that their big 40 HP
Reeves handled the 14 bottom like a toy being towed with a
child’s tractor; effortlessly, to say the least. What a joy to
stand on the platform of the plow and just simply listen to the
Reeves chug along. The only thing greater would be to sit up in the
cab and run the engine.

We still have our 12 HP Huber, and are presently helping to
restore a 20 HP as well.

Thanks for a great magazine and may God continue to
bless!’

We received the following picture from AL CROPLEY, Hot Air
Engine Collector, 4807 Lake Washington Blvd., S., Seattle,
Washington, 98118.

Pictured at left, 20 c.c. Andy Ross Hot Air Stirling Cycle; at
center, 15 c.c. Andy Ross Hot Air Sterling Cycle; and at right 35
c.c. Andy Ross Hot Air Stirling Cycle; 1 horse @ 3600 RPM.

A picture comes from ADOLPH ALLOY, Route 1, Box 958, Roshanon,
Texas 77583 with this request: ‘Please send me what information
you may have on this engine. In the casting it has Chuse Engine
Company, Mattoon7 Ill. 8. The piston is 8′ and the stroke is
8′. Brass name plate has F. M. RitesPatents August 783; May
1886; June 1187; Oct. 294; Oct. 1694; Feb. 1995; May 1197; Mar. 27
00. Need to know HP, speed, boiler size, color. Any information

Just a nice friendly letter comes from CHARLES W. SMALL WOOD,
240 S. Bostwick, Charlotte, Michigan 48813: ‘We have just
finished reading the March-April IMA. This brings back pleasant
memories of copies during the 60’s. We have Volume 21, 1966-1,
2, 3, 4, and Volume 221,2,3. The others were passed on to
friends.

We were born in a lumber camp about the end of the lumber era in
north central Michigan. Dad had a lumber mill and farmed a few
acres for his livestock. Dad bought a 45 HP Case steam engine and a
28′ separator and a Huber beaner in 1910. We were priviliged to
work around the engine. In 1912 Dad turned the engineer’s job
over to me. We were a three-man crew-engineer, separator man, water
boy. The season started the Monday after the Fourth and usually
ended at Thanksgiving. There are a lot of happy memories of those
days. Iron-Men helps us in our old age to re-live a long-gone time.
The BEST OF EVERYTHING TO YOU!’ (Thanks and the same to
you).

Another letter of reminiscing comes from QUENTIN W. SHULTZ, Box
83, Griswold, Iowa 51535, and we are happy to hear from
Quentin.

‘I have been a subscriber since July-August 1953 and have by
now filled quite a large box. In 1952, I fulfilled a childhood
dream of owning my own steam engine. There were quite a few still
in service around here all through the 30’s, and were being
abandoned one by one by the end of the decade. I had always wanted
to buy one, but where would a poor farm boy ever be able to come up
with fifty bucks? The W.W.II scrap drive almost eliminated
them.

Then when I heard about Mt. Pleasant Old Threshers, I decided to
look aroundthat was when I found this 50 HP Case in a shed, that
had been in use during the scrap drive; so that was how it had
escaped being cut up.

Through the years I have learned much about the care and
operation of a steam threshing engine. I was fortunate in having
had the opportunity to actually thresh for three days a year for
sixteen years on the Eshelman Show at Grant, Iowa.

Not to sound like bragging, but I was never caught short of
steam and there were whole seasons that the pop valve was never off
its seat. I had many compliments from other steam men on how quiet
my engine ran and how even the valve was cutting the steam. I will
not go into valve setting, as that subject has been well plowed
over however, there is one area that I have never read about which
concerns the rocker.

A lot of old engines, very quickly evened the valve up by using
the turn buckle, which made a quick job of making things sound O.
K. for the moment. However, after 30 years of this, the rocker
became pulled one way so far that the valve had more travel one way
than the other. To remedy this, I fastened a board up behind the
rocker and began to use measurements and marks and with the use of
the turn buckle would make quick adjustment. Of course, the valve
itself had to be brought back to compensate. The exhaust really
sounded great after that.

There is one last comment, that everyone may not agree with and
that is on a hard pulllike a fan absolute perfection as to sound
can never be obtained. The reason beingthe rear of the cylinder has
the displacement of the piston rod.’

GEORGE R. MILLIMAN, 5892 Ballard, Wolverine, Michigan 49799
’87 issue as one of the best. About the poem (To Me My Farm Is
-)if once more we could have this kind of farmer! From Mike
Parker’s letter, let’s hear from those who were there and
also more technical articles as to the hows and whys on rebuilding
machinery.

From Russell W. Lamp’s letter,. I second the idea of more
info on all of the producers of steam-related items like the page 4
story of ‘The Steam Engine of New York’.

society, museums, flea markets, book stores or steam shows.

For Alvin Gustin and his Watson Wagon, a copy of the
wheelwright’s shop by George Stuart would help him with his
wagon project. The book details wagon construction in England from
1884-1891.

As to which engine or separator was best, there is an easy
answer. From the stories that were told to us by those who were
near and dear to us made lasting impressions and later on, we
accepted this as fact. The simple wordson a down hill haulexplains
how many were looked on as the best As to Gerald Darr’s comment
on the green straw stack, add to that the story by Steve Smyth on
page 9 and you have more reasons why some machines were thought to
be the best.

A good operator who had at his disposal a power unit that had
been properly maintained with good fuel, lots of good water, all
gears adjusted and a person who knew how to get the most from that
unit connected to an operator set-up as Steve Smyth
explainedthreshing good grain on strong straw and heavy heads that
had been shocked until the grain was fully ripened and being paid
by the bushel; with a good crew would do a better job than some who
had equipment that people claimed was the BEST. The best was that
man or machine that did a good job for YOU.

As an ex-paraprofessional in a high school auto shop, the story
on page 1 was number one with me. As to anyone who had restored
anything, the amount of labor that was put out by those people must
be complemented by all.

Now that I have skimmed the top cream from this issue, I wish I
could take care of the mills. Many words could and should be
present and to the future, but other matters rear their heads so I
will close for now.

‘I have enclosed some pictures and details about each,’
writes BILL KENNEDY, P.O.Box 64, Rosedale, West Vriginia 26636.

‘These photos taken at the LaG range Indiana Show, which we
attended last summer. Photo 1 and 2 are of my 21-75 Baker Uniflow
built in 1917.

Photo 1 is the Baker barking on the Graham Sellers 6-bottom
plow. On the engine is Adam and Alan Kennedy and myself. The Baker
handled the plow very nicely and barked beautifully.

Photo 2 is the Baker, 21-75, on the sawmill at the LaGrange
Show. It was the same crew as plowing. During the four days of the
show we gave the old 21-75 a good work-out.

Photo 3 is Graham Sellers 25 HP Garr Scott eating up wheat
stubble at the same show. This big old engine eats coal, wood or
bird feathers as it puts its best ‘paw’ forward. It is just
playing with the 6-bottom plow.’

Requesting your help the next writing comes from PERRY WILLIS,
R.DJ3, Louisville, Ohio 44641:

‘I need your help as we all do at times. I purchased a
basket case of two steam engines, right and left unit. No valve
gear and some parts are missing. The valve chambers have inside
valve admission to the cylinders, like so (1) When valve is shifted
steam enters through the center valve and goes to the openings to
propel the unit.

(1) A brief description of valve chamber (2) When valve rod is
in motion, steam enters the top of valve chest on cylinder. The
valve is spring loaded steam, goes through center of valve to
ports.

(3) The length of the frame of cylinders is 17′ in length
from frame of cylinder to crankshaft. I have parts for one side
only. I would like to know if anyone may have a unit of the same
said, I don’t have it as someone took the unit apart and there
are no parts. The unit is 2′ bore and 2′ stroke. Valve
travel 5/8′. It appears a flywheel was on the unit, in between
the frame, in other words, center drivers

Maybe someone can help me. I ask for little in life. I share
with others, some help, some don’t.

Keep steaming, as in life, a warm friendship is a desire to keep
living and sharing.’

From CORNELIUS F. PAULUS, Route 3, Box 79AG, Douglas, California
31533 comes this story of earlier days: ‘Reading the letters
from various ‘oldtimers’ has finally moved me to write a
few lines in the same vein. I was born in 1918 on a farm in west
central Wisconsin. I hardly knew anyone did anything but farm until
I was about 10 years old, and by that time was well trained in
milking cows, hauling manure, cutting wood, and performing the many
chores that were part of life on a dairy farm at that time.
Internal combustion tractors were just coming onto the scene but
most farmers were not in a financial position to own one. Of course
the old steam men felt that steam engines would never be replaced
by these newfangled tractors that were in many cases a nightmare to
get started.

My father owned a steam engine a 23-90 A.D. Baker purchased new
in 1917. With it was a 36-60 Rumely separator that he took out on
regular threshing runs each year. He had two brothers that were
steam men also, one of them had no favorites; he would run any kind
of engine, but the other was a cast in concrete Case man.

thought was the only thing, too. He was quite a musician and had
the engine fitted up with a set of whistles that covered an octave
and he would play various tunes of which probably the best
remembered in that part of the country was ‘Home, Sweet,
Home’ as he played it when heading for home at the end of a
run.

About the time I learned to drive an automobile I also was given
the job as fireman/engineer of the Baker. I learned to drive in my
brothers 1917 Buick which he had bought from a farmer in 1928 for
\$15.00 and the car had been on blocks for yearsit had 8000 miles on
the odometer. The wheels were large, it used 34 by 4 tires. It was
a six cylinder touring car.

The years I am writing about were 1930-38, the years of the
great Depression. In addition to that, our part of the country
suffered through about 4 years of drought. One year was the worst
of them. There was practically no grain that year, I can recall
threshing oats that didn’t come up, with 15 bushels to the acre
and that was only chaff. In the better years we would usually start
threshing shortly after the 4th of July. We would ‘shock
thresh’ until around September 1st. Then we would begin stack
threshing and there were years when this lasted until snow was
flying.

On occasion the engine was used on a silo fillerwhen a tractor
was broken down or wouldn’t start or? That job for that size
engine was really a breeze.

It wasn’t always like that, though. I recall one Saturday we
were trying to finish up at a farm and the grain was very long and
heavyit had been sprinkling off and on most of the day and the
stuff was getting very tough. I was burning pine stumps that had
been pulled up to the area where the engine would be set, all in
one piece just as they had come out of the ground. It was no easy
job to cut this up to use for fuel. The engine was working quite
hard and toward suppertime I had trouble holding steam and water
level. By allowing the water level to creep down I was able to keep
running until time for supper. I stayed with the engine and started
taking on water and getting my steam up. This was no problem at all
and I couldn’t figure out why I was having such a hard time
with the load. We finished threshing after supper and as it got
dark I saw the firedoor was glowing, and I still had problems with
the load. I made it through to the end and on Monday morning when I
went over to clean the flues and fire up what did I find but that
the exhaust pipe had worked loose in the elbow from the hard
pulling I suppose, and had turned back into the flues! No wonder I

I could go on for pages, but just one more bit of nostalgiaWe
had finished up at a farm and were moving to the next one about
sundown. This was on a narrow country road, just about wide enough
to take the Baker’s 30 inch wide drivers. I was following Dad
with the tank wagon and had stopped on a bridge over a small creek
to top off the water tankDad was going up a fairly steep grade
about a quarter-mile ahead of me; from where I was I could look at
the top of the separator and the top of the engine canopy the
evening was dead quiet with the exception of the BEAUTIFUL sound of
the Baker taking that grade! This happened about 50 years ago and I
remember it as well as if it had been yesterday!

I joined the Navy in 1938 so Dad hired help and managed to use
the outfit until 1944 when he sold the whole thing for a couple of
hundred dollars for junk. It was badly needed in those days I
guess. His health had failed to the point that he had no choice,
although the entire last two winters before he sold it he ran the
Baker on a sawmill.

My first duty station was aboard the USS Altair AD-11, a
destroyer tender that had been built during WWI. The ship’s
service generators were turbine driven and the main engine was a
Curtis turbine, but otherwise all machinery was reciprocating steam
from the anchor engine to the steering engine. Refrigeration was
CO2-vertical steam engines driving vertical CO2 compressors. We had
two vertical Simplex (yes, Simplex) air compressors that were built
in 1898. The ship had much machinery that had been salvaged off
scrapped ships of earlier days.

I followed that ship with 22 more years of running shipboard
machinery, then spent the last 23 running power plants, teaching
plant operation and working as a power plant consultant. Now I
would like to take time to build a couple of small engines for the
fun of it. Now I know that I have taken enough of your time and
thank you very much for hearing me out.

PAUL ARMSTRONG, HCR 2, Box 86, Hart, Texas 79045 sends this
informationI’m sure many of you will appreciate it:

‘Regarding your request for information on the five pictures
from Montana Museum, Clemont, Nebraska, I own an 1897 Case center
crank, 12 HP straw burner. I also have an 1893 Case catalogue. The
engines on page 18 (May/June issue) are probably prior to 1897
because my 1897 has the ‘pop off coming out of the top of the
steam dome while the 1893 catalogue shows it coming out of the side
of the dome as in your pictures. Also, the pictures are ‘flip
flopped’ as the right side of your picture is actually the left
side of the real engine.

I would welcome communication with anyone who might have the
seat and bracket attached to the smoke box and the upright steam
operated injector pump and the smoke stack.

Also find pictures in Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction
Engines by Jack Norbeck, page 92. The fuel boxes are not shaped
right and the engine did not come with the mechanical cylinder
oiler as shown on lower right corner on page 92.

‘Just a few lines of nostalgic rambling for the ALBUM,’
says CHARLES P. HARTMAN, Route 1, Box 231, Rocky Comfort, Missouri
64861.

‘As I have mentioned before, I grew up in the country,
mostly in the steam engine era. This was a year around thing as we
operated a threshing run, filled silos, shredded corn and then back
to the sawmill. I am familiar with the binder, header and
header’s barge, and on back to the walking plow and the
tongueless cultivators.

All of these things are vivid in my memory, but as I am not able
to own any of these items, I must depend on the ALBUM, and the
efforts of those who are able to keep this memory alive for me, and

But while we are so gleefully engaged in this hobby, and all of
the wonderful antiques and collectibles, we should not forget the
time period in which these things took place.

It seems that this generation is inclined to look back to this
time with a sense of pity, on a generation they consider to be a
little less intelligent. They have a mind’s picture of great
grandfather working long hours, six days a week and great
grandmother carrying water up the hill, cooking on a wood stove,
making hominy, and lye soap in an iron kettle, and many other
laborious choresall to care for, in most cases, a large family.

Then as the great granddaughter glances at the crock pot,
microwave oven, dishwasher and various other labor saving devices,
she looks upon their only child and this sense of pity comes to
mind, how depressed and unhappy these old folks must have been!

But being a great-great grandfather, I lived in much of this
time period, and perhaps I am biased, for I do not see the same
picture.

True, there was lots of hard work, no TV’s or stereo, but as
I watch the world around me, I see people with a different frame of
mind. I see in this generation so many that are greedy, selfish,
interested only in selfso much depression, suicide and a multitude
of other social prolemsthat it makes the earlier times seem like

As I remember there was a little depression, very few suicides,
people were friendly and seemed to enjoy life more than today.

Andall was not work, while they had a different form of
entertainment, they did have it; pie and box suppers, literary
societieswhere they found local entertainment, and debating teams,
barn dances, church socials, county fairs, etc. These were all
attended with gusto and socializingyou might say that a good time
was had by all, as they munched on their peanuts and popcorn.

I say we should not pity this older generationperhaps we should
envy them, for they had something, and we lost it in our urge to
modernize.

Only people that lived in that time period can appreciate the
fact that there were many good and positive things.

And while I hold many of these fond memories and cherish them, I
doubt that we can take any of them with us when we cross the river
of life, but if there were to be just one item that we could take
with us, I am sure it would be a shiny steam engine, so to all in
Engine Land, and to the ALBUM, help the rest of us to keep these
memories alive.’

(At the beginning of this letter, the writer said: ‘Dear
Editor, I am submitting this handwritten lettermy typewriter
doesn’t work, my sight is failing, and by the time this is
printed, if it is, I will be 90 years oldthus my writing has not
improved, so if you cannot read it, I will understand.)’

Folks, in my mind, this is a precious piece of nostalgia, and
one we might all take heed to and if you are, as many of us, we do,
as modern folks, miss out on a lot of these precious qualities of
life. Thank you, Charles, from the bottom of my heart for such a
wonderful contribution. AND truly it was not hard to readI only
wish all handwriting could be so legible. God Bless You!Anna Mae) I
could not find anything to better close the column with than the
above!

• Published on Sep 1, 1987
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment