Greetings to all my Iron-Men family and like any publication,
even though this is the September/October issue, I’m sure you
are all visiting the steam engine meets and gala demonstrations,
and seeing your old friends and making new ones. Enjoy! You have
quite a few weeks ahead, for summer is in full swing.
I’m sure we probably all know the 23rd Psalm, which I love.
The following writing is an Indian version of the 23rd Psalm. I
like it, and I’m sure you will too. This is just a little
different version. No name, don’t know from where it was
‘The Great Father above a Shepherd Chief is. I am His and
with Him I want not. He throws out to me a rope and the name of the
rope is love and He draws me where the grass is green and the water
is not dangerous, and I eat and lie down and am satisfied.
Sometimes my heart is very weak and falls down but He lifts me up
again and draws me into a good road. His name is WONDERFUL!
‘Sometime, it may be very soon, it may be a long, long time,
He will draw me into a valley. It is dark there, but I’ll be
afraid not, for it is in between those mountains that the Shepherd
Chief will meet me and the hunger that I have in my heart all
through this life will be satisfied.
‘He gives me a staff to lean upon. He spreads a table for me
with all kinds of foods. He puts his hand upon my heart and all the
‘tired’ is gone. My cup He fills till it runs over. What I
tell is true. I lie not. These roads that are ‘away ahead’
will stay with me through this life and after; and afterwards I
will go to live in the Big Tepee and sit down with the SHEPHERD
And GOOD NEWS I have more material this time than I have had in
a long while. Praise the Lord! Keep the letters coming, folks, I
love to hear from you. And now on to the communications, and we
have a lot of pictures too. I think you’ll enjoy all the
This writing comes from GARY YAEGER, 146 Reimer Lane,
White-fish, Montana 59937, phone 406-862-7738. ‘I’m sending
some photocopies of the ‘homework’ I’ve done on the 150
HP Case. Just mention this type engine at a gathering of steam
people and listen to the expert information that comes spewing
forth! It generally turns into conversation to keep most of us
‘Number one is from a 1905 Case catalog, and shows a 1905
150 HP traction engine, 14′ x 14’ bore and stroke. It is
believed that only about three of these giants were built, and they
were used for ore hauling and heavy drawbar work. Number two is an
unusual right side view of the 150 HP engine, from the Harry Kline
collection, Racine, Wisconsin.
‘Number three is from a 1906 catalog. It shows a 9 HP beside
the 150 for size comparison. The 1906 engraving of 150 HP has round
spokes in rear drive wheels. Number four shows the same engraving
of these two engines, only in this 1907 catalog picture the 150 HP
has flat spokes. Photocopies number 6 and 7, I’ll explain
‘All of the above engravings could be of serial #14666. I do
not know. I know J. I. Case recognized early on that the round
spokes weren’t standing up to the strains this monster was able
to provide. Some other parts, especially the two speed set-up,
weren’t handling the strains and that probably accounts for why
so many of the 150s were turned into skid engines, at a later
‘I have a prized book in my library which couldn’t be
bought if I couldn’t get another one. It is my third revised
edition of Mr. Jack Norbeck’s Encyclopedia of American
Steam Traction Engines. It is a magnificent work and we are
all fortunate he saw fit to spend the many hundreds of hours
necessary to assemble this book.
‘This is where photocopy #5 comes in: I’m certain Mr.
Norbeck used factory information that accompanied the literature
used to assemble this book; therefore, I think the discrepancy
I’ll bring up is one of the J.I. Case Company or their
printers, but not of Mr. Norbeck. On page 101 of Mr. Norbeck’s
book, in the bottom right hand corner is an engraving of a ‘110
Case steam traction engine.’ This is actually what I think is
another picture of a 150 HP that many have overlooked!
‘Photocopies number 6 and 7 are of very early (32 HP) 110 HP
Case engines, for comparison to the 150 HP pictures.
‘The engraving in Mr. Norbeck’s book shows this 110 HP
with the flat strap rear wheels which were 8 foot wheels on the 150
HP as compared to the 7 foot wheels on a 110 HP. Notice also the
relationship to the differential gear and the height of the coal
bunkers. They were higher than the standard 110 HP bunkers and also
notice the two cast iron steps leading up to the top wooden step.
This engine has a Marsh steam pump behind the crank disc. I have
never seen any information on a 32 HP or 110 HP having anything but
a gear drive pump. Notice how the sheet metal of the smokestack
seems to be fitted outside of the cast iron stack base. You will
notice the (32 HP) 110 HP smokestack sheet metal is always on the
inside of the cast iron stack base. One last thing: notice how the
king post in this engraving has a horizontal steel gusset riveted
in, about half way up. This is consistent with the 150 HP
engravings and not with the 110 HP. I also used a caliper to
establish a scale between the cast iron steps on the side platform
and the diameter of the cylinder. This engine scales roughly 2′
larger than the 12′ x 12′ of the 110 HP and consistent with
the 150 HP.’
BRAD VOSBURG, Farmersville Station, New York 14060 sends the
following, saying, ‘Enclosed is a picture of a very old engine.
Written on it is: ‘Built in Athens, Ohio in 1866 by Oliver
Burdette.’ If the date is accurate this must have been one of
the first attempts at making a self-propelled engine. Note the
under-mounted engine and the wooden rear wheels.
‘The front end is supported by a wagon and the man in the
wagon is holding a long pole for steering the machine. The two
cylinder engine drove a flat chain to the back wheels. Truss rods
run from the top of the boiler, holding everything in place. The
man in the cab is leaning on two wheels, one of which could have
been a brake wheel.
‘The boiler must have started out as a portable, as you can
see the saddle for the smokestack on the dome; also the old style
weight safety valve was used.
‘At least the engineer had a nice comfortable cab, not bad
for one of the first self-propelled engines!
‘I have several scrapbooks which were put together by the
late Ed Edson, who was a good friend of Elmer Ritzman and was a
frequent contributor to the Farm Album. I don’t know
where he got this picture, but I do know he traded pictures and
catalogs with other interested people back in the 1940s.
‘In Jack Norbeck’s Encyclopedia of Steam Traction
Engines, a picture of a much later version of the Burdett
engine is shown, dated some time after 1887.
‘The article states that Burdett built three engines in New
Athens, Ohio, then was taken over by a James Means Company. This
engine must have been one of the three.
‘If anyone knows any more about this company, I would like
to hear from them through the Album.
‘Sadly, most of the details of these small companies have
been lost in time.’
‘I have some Soot in the Flues that has been there for a
long time,’ writes ERIC J. CAMPBELL, R.R. 3, Shawville, Quebec,
Canada JOX 2Y0
‘Back in 1916 and 1917, my uncle Fred Campbell (now
deceased) went out West on a trip on the train to work in the
harvesting. Now, I am not sure if he had gone to Saskatchewan or
Alberta to work, but he was out there both years. He had gotten a
job with a man by the name of Tom King, who owned seven townships
of land. Now, I don’t know how much land this would be, but I
am sure it is quite big.
‘Anyhow, they were threshing and my uncle told me when they
got done in one area, they would shut down the outfit and move, not
taking with them the threshing mill, as the engine he had to move
and this machinery at the other farms where they would be going to
thresh next. My uncle told me they were threshing at one place and
the men had gotten into a mix-up at the mill and a team had backed
into the feeder of the mill and broke it off. When they went
looking for Tom, they couldn’t find him anywhere and someone
went into the house and he was in there playing the fiddle. Nothing
worried him too much, as my uncle had told me. I guess they had
their bad days too, back then.
‘Anyhow, one fall when they were getting near the end of the
run threshing, a neighbor came to Tom King and said he got a new
International gas tractor that fall with 3-fur-row plough and
wanted a job from Tom, ploughing for him. Tom said it would be okay
and away he went. A few days later, he came to Tom and said he
couldn’t plough as he couldn’t pull it the same, if the
weather was good or not so Tom said to leave it and when they got
done threshing they would plow it with the steam engine. They
hooked three 7-plow sections together, making 21 plows and they
hitched 24’ discs behind that and ploughed with the steam
engine. I am not sure what kind of engine, but it would have to be
big like 110 Case or 40 x 140 Reeves.
‘My uncle told me it had steam steering on the engine which
these two engines would have, where they were plowing from one end
of the field to the other, four miles, and they turned on the road
at one end. My uncle told me he was drawing coal for the engine and
he said he went with horse and a wagon to a spot like a gravel pit.
He shoveled on his load like you would a load of gravel. He had to
go five miles for this and there were two of them drawing coal and
three drawing water, two or three miles away as well.
‘What I would like to know is if anyone in IMA Land
would know anything about this man, Tom King. And if you do, please
write to Anna Mae and let us all know about this, or write to me
and I will pass it along to Soot in the Flues and it will be for
the record. Yours in hot water!!’
‘I still enjoy IMA and especially Soot in the
Flues,’ writes JOE B. DILL, Route 1, Box 26, Las cassas,
‘I’d like to have the steam men answer a question for
me. I read in the May/June 1987 issue where a Mr. Hardy had a super
heater for his engine on a sawmill and his super heater equipped
engine used a lot less water. How was a super heater built into a
steam engine and was the super heater factory made? I think his
super heater was a Case 65. The engine used a lot less water. Why
weren’t super heaters added to all engines?
‘I’d like to know something on this subject and those
who answer could send this for Soot in the Flues so everyone can
read about super heaters. I’m hoping this will get some letters
for some good reading for all of us.’
SCOTT THOMPSON, 12109 Mennonite Church Road, Tremont, Illinois
61568 sends this communication: ‘I found this interesting old
photo of a steam locomotive in an antique shop, unmarked and
thought it might be interesting to our railroad buffs. From the
period of clothing, could it be in the late ’20s sometime? Note
the flags on the engine and the cover over the headlight. Would
anybody care to speculate on what this train was all decked out
for?? Perhaps an excursion?’