Hi Thereto all the good folks out in Steam land and I know many
of you are not at home, but on the road traveling the route of the
steam and antique shows. All winter long, this is what you dream of
and anticipate renewing acquaintances and making new steam buddies
and it never gets dull, does it? If you spot anything new, unusual,
or just plain interesting, please write me and we will share with
the Soot in the Flues readers.
I hope life has been good for all of you this past year and will
continue to be that way. I mentioned before some of the illness
that my hubby and I have had and now the most recent misfortune Ed
had a large stroke on May 23, but he came home on June 6 and is
slowly recovering and looking ahead to better times. There are some
problems as many of you know, when recovering from a stroke, but we
just take a day at a time and depend on our Faith to see us
through. He is not allowed to drive yet, so that makes me head
chauffeur for the time being but we can still enjoy going out for
some meals and visiting with our families and grandchildren.
I have another interesting story from Wellsprings of Wisdom, by
Ralph L. Woods, called ‘Gift and Reward’:
‘I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path,
when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance like a gorgeous
dream and I wondered who was this King of all kings!
‘My hopes rose high and me thought my evil days were at an
end, and stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth
scattered on all sides in the dust.
‘The chariot stopped where I stood. Thy glance fell on me
and thou earnest down with a smile. I felt that the luck of my life
had come at last. Then of a sudden thou didst hold out thy right
hand and say, ‘What hast thou to give me?’
‘Ah, what a kindly jest it was to open thy palm to a beggar
to beg! I was confused and stood undecided, and then from my wallet
I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and gave it to
‘But how great my surprise when at the day’s end I
emptied my bag on the floor to find a least little grain of gold
among the poor heap! I bitterly wept and wished that I had the
heart to give thee my all.’ (Rabindranath Tagore)
And now, on to our interesting letters.
Seeking the help of the subscribers, this letter comes from R.
J. DAND, Box 905, Wainwright, Alberta, Canada TOB 4P0:
‘I would appreciate it if you would place this request in
your ‘Soot in the Flues’. I will be retiring from the work
force in a few years and am trying to get myself prepared to work
at my hobby, which is building steam engines and related
‘I have seen some very nice working scale models of steam
engines and scale model threshing machines. I am at the present
time, trying to set up to build a scale 65 HP Case steam engine and
hopefully, a scale Case 22 inch threshing machine.
‘I have been able to gather up all the technical data that I
require to build the engine, but have nothing pertaining to
building the threshing machine. Perhaps some other pensioner would
be able to help me. If someone has the time and expertise to make
working sketches, and the information pertaining to building the
scale threshing machine, I would be very happy to hear from
you.’ (This is a fellow hobbyist, waiting for a reply from
someone who has more knowledge in this steam engine hobbyhelp him
out Fellas, if you feel you have the answers to his request.)
The following pictures were sent to us by DEL SEUSER, Box 143,
RR 2, Leavenworth, Kansas 66048:
The officers for 1989 for the Kansas Antique Engine Safety
Association are (1 to r)Deemer Unruh, vice president and charter
member, as I am; Doug McQuitty, president; and Tom Terning, chief
inspector at Valley C.T.R. meeting, March 11-12.
Richard Dixon, Assistant Treasurer of the Pioneer Harvesters,
receiving the Golden Safety Award for the Jackson family, in memory
of George Jackson. George was a charter member of the Antique
Engineer Safety Association, and with other interested steam men
helped to build the Fort Scott Pioneer Harvester Show. From 1. to
r. Francis Sevart, Vice-President; Richard Dixon, Serving Assistant
Treasurer of Pioneer Harvesters; and Doug McQuitty, President of
State Antique Engine Safety Association.
The following communication concerning safety comes from JIM
BYRD, 1310 Viadeluna Drive, Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561: ‘By
now, you may have become aware of the growing tension in the
bureaucratic community about boiler safety around show grounds that
normally feature steam traction engines.
‘The reason I write this is because I’ve learned that
the Ky-Tenn Threshermen’s Reunion (always held on third weekend
of July) is facing the possibility of not being allowed to feature
any engines under steam this year. This is because of the idea held
by a state official that the engines are all too old to be safe any
longer, around a group, or crowd of people.
‘If this idea is carried through and spreads, it will no
doubt, be the end of the steam shows. I for one would surely miss
them, because that is one of the main things I have to look forward
to each summer.
‘The steam men that I know are all very aware of the safety
factors involved with live steam. If they weren’t, they would
not last long as steam men. After all, they are nearest the boiler,
of anyone, when under steam.
‘Another thing I’ve noticed is that most engines are
tested periodically for pressure and then limited to operating well
below the pressure test limit during show hours, when the people
are around the engines.
‘It remains to be seen, how this all turns out, but I’m
surely hoping for the best. I think the setting of a perimeter
distance from engines, during steam-up, and close inspection of
boilers, would assure about as much safety as attending spectators
would have anywhere.
‘I suspect everyone of us face much more risk these days
driving our cars to the shows, than we would ever face with a
precaution or two taken with the steam engines at show-time.
‘Did you know about Thurman Walker’s passing away? He
was a well-known steam man who lived in Pensacola, Florida and
frequently exhibited his scale Port Huron engine at Adams,
We spoke to show contact Sam Henninger, who said this show will
have only two steam engines operating this year. Henninger shared
the reasons for the cutback with us, stating that all of
Tennessee’s government bureaus are ‘uptight’ about the
scrutiny they have recently been under. The Ky-Tenn Reunion is
being closely watched by the boiler inspection board.
The group will be working toward legislation for an
‘agricultural antique category’ which should help. They
hope that a clause in such legislation would allow municipalities
to appoint their own boiler inspection boards.
An interesting writing and questions comes from ED STRACK, 2133
E. Pierce Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85006: ‘I have been a
subscriber to I.M.A. since about ’50 or ’51. I do enjoy
reading it very much. I would like to see more stories from the
old-timers who actually had real experiences on these old
steamers.’ (We would like to receive these letters, too, Ed
send them in, Fellas!)
‘I know there are not too many old-timers left. I am in my
60s and as you well know, traction engines were practically out in
my time, except for a very few.
‘I was raised in wheat country dry land. I know what wheat
harvesting and threshing are all about. I also remember some
terrible days in the header barge, fighting the ants in miserable
‘I have often wondered why we never see anything on the
tobacco farmer. I know they used steam to steam the beds of
tobacco. They must go through a lot of interesting hard labor. I,
for one, would like to see a complete write-up on tobacco, from the
time it is put into the ground until it is cigarettes and tobacco
on the shelf. What do they do to it to make it so mild? I have
tried smoking leaf tobacco and it’s strong enough to knock off
‘I have been a smoker all my life, and regardless what they
say, it cured asthma for me when I was just a kid.
‘Several years ago, I inquired about some information on the
top mount straight flue for an Avery steam engine. Would anyone
know who has one? If so, I would be interested in seeing a picture
so as to compare with my father’s engine.
‘A few years ago I made a terrible mistake by listening to
people telling me to move to Arizona for my son’s health; he is
an asthmatic. I left my engines in Colorado and moved here. From
what I have read, this place must be what they refer to as Hell
same as being locked up in prison.’ (I wouldn’t know, Ed,
as I’ve never been there, but I know people who have moved
there and think it is great each to his own!)
‘Lately, I have had so much sickness in my family and I am
unable to get out of here. I would love to move to the Pacific
Northwest. I will either have to sell my engines in Colorado, or
make a move with them that will run into a lot of money.
‘I had many steam and old engine parts, but since I have
been down here, some of my good friends have relieved me of a lot
‘I will wind this up, but I do hope you find the space in
your super good magazine for more articles from the
old-timers.’ (Thanks for writing Ed, and to my knowledge, we
print all this type of stories that we receive so old-timers, get
your pen or typewriter working and we will look forward to hearing
The following letter is a copy of one sent to John
Vanlandingham, Route 2, Box 148, Crete, Nebraska 68333, regarding a
comment on John’s article on page 8-9 of July/August 1989
‘I read your opinion in I.M.A. concerning museums,’
writes ROBERT A. HOWARD, Engineering Curator, Hagley Museum and
Library, Box 3630, Wilmington, Delaware 19807. ‘Museums have a
duty to be professional and ethical. Things are occasionally
deaccessioned, but a museum which has a public trust needs to be
very careful that it is indeed acting in the public’s best
‘Things are taken in the collection for a reason, which
means there needs to be a better reason to remove them. If
something serves an interpretive goal in static form, there may be
no good reason for an institution to put it in working order. For
example, Steam town does not need to make their Big Boy
‘Some museums do not take good care of their collections.
This is unfortunate but true.
‘My advice is, if you want to get something out of a museum,
you need to find something that they will want a lot more and is
not available on the open market. A curator would have a hard time
trying to justify selling something because a collector wanted to
restore it and play with it. His administration would question why
it was acquired in the first place and why acquire anything else if
objects were to experience the same disposition.
‘How museums are: We are not a vast sinkhole where good
stuff goes to be obscured forever, but on the other hand, museums
need to be cautious and responsible with their trust.’
JON MYERS, Route 6, Box 392, Shepherdsville, Kentucky 40165
would like to share with you the restoration of his engine: ‘I
purchased a 13 HP Gaar-Scott engine #14162, on June 8 1986, from
Mr. Howard Miller, Liberty Center, Ohio. Howard had bought the
engine from Mr. Ed Paulson, Pendleton, Oregon about two years
Threshing wheat at Byron Leathermon’s, July 1988. Left is 16
HP Advance owned by Bill Raisch of Louisville, Kentucky; Center is
Garr-Scott owned by Jon Myers; and right is Case owned by Bill
Raisch and Byron Leathermon of Lexington, Kentucky. Men in picture
are Bill Raisch, Byron Leathermon and David Pitchford.
‘In the fall of 1986, David Pitchford and I started
restoring the engine and by working on it almost every night and
weekends, we had it completed in June, 1987. We put on a new smoke
box ring, new water tank, rebuilt clutch linkage, axle stubs, new
platform and fuel boxes. We also rebuilt the throttle valve and
gave the engine a new paint job.
‘The next fall, we decided to build a ‘regular’
style cab for the engine and we started on this project by
borrowing a boiler mount casting and a top mount casting from our
friend, Mr. Bill Raisch, Louisville, Kentucky. By using these for a
pattern, we had duplicates cast at a foundry that Bill had
recommended to us. We got the top completed by July of 1988, in
time to thresh wheat at Mr. Byron Leathermon’s, Lexington,
We enjoy running and caring for this engine very much. We feel
that for the size, it doesn’t take a back seat to any other
‘At this time I want to thank Mr. Kenneth Kallin, Brooks,
Kentucky, owner of Bullit Machine Company, which did the lathe
work; Mrs. Joyce Pickett, Louisville, KY, who painted the
Gaar-Scott emblems, and most of all, Mr. David Pitchford who works
as many hours as I do in caring for the engine.’
‘I ran a steam engine in the Talbott Brothers coal mine for
six years, writes PAUL GEER, Route 2, Box 322, New Cumberland, West
‘The engine was manufactured in Columbiana, Ohio. It was
bought new in 1930. The boiler had 78-2′ tubes in it. The
engine had a 12 x 12 cylinder. It had double flywheels; there was
56′ and 28’ facing on them. It also had a piston valve. It
was belted to a 37 kilowatt generator. It made electricity for a 50
horsepower cutting machine and water pumps and fans in the coal
mine; also screens on the tipple.
‘The building, along with the steam engine, burned up in a
fire at the Talbott Bros, mine in 1936.’
PAUL R. STEPHENS, Rose Cottage, Down Road, Alveston, Bristol,
England BS12 2JQ, writes to inquire ‘if you have any record of
any letters or articles published in the Iron Men Album written by
my late friend George Middleton Watkins, who passed away in January
of this year. It is known that he had an interest in American
stationary and marine steam engines, as one of his letters asking
for information on American steamboats was published in the Model
Engineer as early as 1927.
‘George spent almost his entire life researching and
photographing stationary steam engines in the United Kingdom. His
unique collection of photographs and papers are now with the Royal
Commission for Historical Monuments in England, while his library
is at present in store at the University of Bath.
‘At present, the Stationary Engine Research Group (SERG) is
planning to publish the 1989 edition of SERG’s annual Journal,
Stationary Power, as a memorial to George’s work. I would very
much appreciate it if you would print a request for anyone having
had correspondence with George to contact myself or Tony Wool rich,
Canal Side, Huntworth, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA7 OAJ, England.
Of the SERG, Stephens writes that the primary aims of the group
are ‘To foster, encourage and coordinate an interest in and an
appreciation of the history, recording and preservation of
stationary steam engines throughout the world.’ They produce
several publications, including a quarterly bulletin, an ad hoc
newsletter, annual journal, and a steaming dates suupplement
listing show details, as well as offering a range of publications
from other publishers. Members of SERG have in many instances been
engaged in research and consultancy work for museums in the UK and
This year’s Journal, with a projected length of 120-160
pages, will chronicle the life of George Middleton Watkins and will
include a number of reprints of articles he has written.
And I never leave you wonderful folks without a few thoughts to
ponder: Each morning seek some task begun, Each evening sees its
close; Something attempted, something done Has earned a night’s
repose. Longfellow. …Habit is either the worst of masters or the
best of servants. .. .Before you run in double harness, look well
to the horse. … He who cannot forgive others breaks the bridge
over which he himself must pass. Take care on your interesting
steam trips and love you all