Farm Collector


‘A letter that inspired me to write was an article by Lloyd
Creed in the March/April issue about the picture that he believes
to be Steam Injun Joe’s Place. I believe him to be
correct,’ writes STANLEY O. BYERLY, 7155 Corydon Jct. Road
N.E., New Salisbury, Indiana 47161

‘I don’t know beans about steam, but I had heard of Joe
for years. So, one day I stopped and talked to Joe. I found him to
be quite an interesting fellow. His knowledge about all machinery
was extraordinary.

‘I took a picture of his oldest engine, a portable
Nichols/Shepherd. He said the only oldest engine is in the Ford
Museum or the Smithsonian I can’t remember.

‘It was about eight years ago that I was there. He told me
that he and his father bought all those engines so the junk man
couldn’t get them. They are sitting there, rusting away. If he
has a sale, it should be some sale, as he has about everything you
can imagine.

‘As I stated awhile ago, I don’t know steam about beans,
or is it the other way around? Ha, Ha! The closest I came to be
around steam was while I was a child growing up south of Crandall,
Indiana. There was a neighbor, Charles Barksdale, who had a sawmill
about one mile from our house. It was powered by a 65 Case. I can
still hear it run, for on a clear day one could hear the governor
open up when there was a log put through the saw.

‘Charles got rid of the engine about 1954 or thereabouts.
The engine went to Kentucky and stayed there until about ten years
ago, when Arville Hendricks and Doc Klinerts brought it back to
Indiana. Arville fixed it up like new. After Arville passed away
the engine went downhill and when Doc had his sale three or four
years ago, it was in sad shape. I don’t remember who got it or
where it went.

‘I enjoy the IMA very much, because machinery is my

WALTER WARDEN, 184 South Washington Street, Binghamton, New York
13903 writes us: ‘In the May/June 1979 IMA, you
printed a recipe for a Stew Hot Dish from Mrs. Robert Street. We
tried it and like it and have it often. It works well with lamb,
veal or pork and a purple topped turnip chopped up in it is good.
It is such an easy dish to make.

‘Now, to the engines in the photos. I don’t have any
large engines; no place to keep them. I do like to build

‘I’m sending two photos of models I have built. Photo
#1, the traction engine was built from photos and sketches in Floyd
Clymer’s book Steam Traction Engines. The saw I built
from photos I took at a show.

‘The upright #2 steam engine I also built from photos. The
engine this was copied from used to drive a cider mill at the Old
Stump Jumpers Show.’

‘I was interested by the picture of the remains of a large
tractor, page 14, March/April issue,’ writes ANDREW L. MICHELS,
302 Highland Avenue, Plentywood, Montana 59254. ‘My curiosity
led me to look what it is. In Wendel’s tractor book on page
169, Kemble & Dentler seems to be it. It is the only one close
to it.

‘A question: Why do sawmills run straight belts?

‘Back to ‘wheels,’ the frame would indicate it is a
gas tractor.’

The following writing is submitted by LEIGH B. DENNISON, Box
873, Delta Junction, Alaska 99737. (Welcome, Leigh! I don’t get
too much mail from that area.)

‘You keep saying you want letters, so I will offer a
somewhat disjointed effort. I don’t have much knowledge in the
field of steam, but I love to read about it. A bit more knowledge
in gas and oil, though not enough to write a textbook.

‘I enjoy reading Rich Barlow’s letters because he talks
about familiar things.

‘I would almost bet the Porter locomotive he mentions in his
letter in the November/December issue is the one that sat in front
of the Fairbanks railroad station until about 1960. I have a
picture of it there in the early 1950s. It served the Tanana Valley
Railroad in the early part of the century. I went to work for the
Fairbanks Experiment Station in 1950. In the process of clearing
the land on the farm we uncovered a perfect set of car wheels that
were left by the track.

‘The 1925 industrial complex Rich mentions in the
March/April issue is undoubtedly the large building from the USSRM
(Fairbanks Exploration) headquarters. I can imagine the treasures
in there. I turned down a job with them in 1950 because it was 12
hours a day thawing frozen ground for dredging using cold water and
inch pipes in a grid of about 10 square feet (memory may be a bit
faulty on distance) and slopping around in the cold mud all day (or

‘This company had many D-2 Cats for moving many things
around, plus of course larger Cats for the heavy work. They also
had several electric dredges in the Fairbanks area. The power plant
for operating the dredges was in the complex Rich mentions. I
believe the building went to one of the dredges north of town which
is now a summer tourist attraction.

‘We have Chena Hotsprings about 65 miles east of Fairbanks
which has a large collection of steam winches and stationary steam
engines, dredge buckets, a Model T tractor conversion, a grain
binder and miscellaneous assorted old items. Rich is right. There
are old steam engines, winches, boilers, etc. scattered all over
Alaska wherever there was, or was thought to be, gold. It is so
costly now that it is hardly worth it to bring them out.

‘Also, the Federal Government owns 98% of Alaska, so you
have to be extremely careful where you leave a footprint lest you
end up in jail for destroying the environment.

‘There is some old machinery, a large riverboat and several
old buildings in Fairbanks at Alaskaland. At the University of
Alaska Museum, there are more examples of old mining equipment, and
the first automobile in Alaska, homemade by a local man
approximately 1900, give or take a few years.

‘Personally, I would love to see a pioneer power association
take root in Fairbanks. I, personally, could not be a huge help
since I live 100 miles away, or 85 miles from Rich’s residence,
but who knows? I have only a 1935 Farmall F-20 and a 1922, 3 HP
McCormick Deering, Model M engine, but I enjoy working on them in
the short summer time I have.

I have no idea how many Iron-Men Album or GEM
subscribers are in Alaska. I know of one in our town who I have
recommended to be a subscriber. He has already started a small
homestead museum with a few engines and machines at Mile 1415
Alaska Highway. His particular interest is steam. His name is Larry

‘As for the House on the Rock, it is well worth a visit by
anyone. I will not venture a guess as to what the traction engine
is, but it is huge. As someone once said, the only way to be sure
would be to get up close and check serial and patent numbers cast
or stamped into the metal.

‘The place is easy to find. It is 12 miles south of Spring
Green and 6 miles north of Dodgeville, between US 14 and US 18 in
Wisconsin. Rand McNally shows it on their road atlas.

‘My only experience with steam was watching a steam shovel
go by my house in East Lansing, Michigan, in the early 1920s. It
burned coal and the fireman stepped off occasionally and went
behind to rake the ashes out onto the road (gravel).

‘I am enclosing a picture of a steam crane on a barge at the
docks in Seattle in 1987. It was tearing down an old dock.

‘It looks like I have rambled on long enough. One of these
days I hope to drop in on Rich. We have a daughter and family
living in North Pole, but we usually get there too late to go
anywhere else considering an 85 mile trip back home at night.
Someday I will revolt and go visiting.

‘Anna Mae, keep on writing and printing letters. I love

On the previous page are six really nice pictures sent to us by
CHARLES O. HARTHY, 1629 Robbins Road, Grand Haven, Michigan 49417.
He didn’t send a letter but they are each identified says he
found these cleaning house. (Thanks Charles!)

‘Dear Friends, Members of the Iron-Men Album and
Gas Engine Magazine staff: I was recently sorting through
some of my father’s estate and came across the enclosed
pictures, which I had copied for your pleasure.

‘The gentleman seated on the float is the late Rev. Elmer
Ritzman, founder of your organization. These pictures were taken
June 24, 1955 at the National Thresher’s Reunion which was then
held at the Williams County Fairgrounds near Montpelier, Ohio. The
steam engine pulling the float is a 40 HP undermounted Avery. If I
recall correctly, its owner was the late Justin Hingte (spelling?).
Presumably, the float was assembled and staged by the ‘National
Thresher-women’, a ladies auxiliary organization. It is obvious
from the photo that Rev. Ritzman enjoyed a bit of humor.

‘It would please me if you could include these photos in the
next issue of IMA and GEM, as my fellow readers
would then be reminded of the fact that this year celebrates the
National Threshers 50th Reunion. I am 36 years old and consider
myself fortunate to have attended 36 NTA reunions.’

This communication comes from WILL CUMMINGS, 8710 Vickery Road,
Castalia, Ohio 44824-9777.(Thank you, Will. It’s good to know
we still have young folks interested in these magazines.)

I’m so happy I had more material this time than I have had
in many months Praise the Lord! and please keep the material
rolling in it’s great!!

This letter comes from SUE HALEY, R.R. 2, Box 120, Odell,
Illinois 60460. ‘Though my husband has written several articles
in IMA over the years, this is the first time I have
written. The March/April IMA came in the mail today and I
saw it lying on the arm of the chair and decided to scan through
it. I turned to the first page and read ‘Soot in the
Flues’. It talked about miracles and how some say they are not
for today. Well, those folks have reached me too late. I guess
those who have never experienced a miracle don’t believe in
them. When you asked for people to write in about their miracles, I
couldn’t resist telling you this one.

‘Some very special friends of ours, and avid steam buffs,
Tracy and Teresa Powers from Morenci, Michigan, had their second
child, Tyler, a couple years ago. Tyler was a premature baby and
also had some serious complications, pneumonia and jaundice being
among them. Tyler had tubes on him everywhere. He was being given
morphine and Valium for pain. After being in the hospital for a
week already, the doctors said he would remain in the hospital in
Ann Arbor, Michigan, for at least three to four more weeks.

Well, at the end of that first week, Tracy and Teresa went to
see Tyler again, as they did every day. Only this time, he was
worse to make a long story semi-short, I called her that night and
told her we’d prayed for Tyler at church. She called me the
very next day and told me when they went back to see Tyler, the
jaundice was gone. He had suddenly started doing much better and he
could come home in three to four days, not weeks! Needless to say,
we knew God had performed a miracle in this precious little future
engineer’s life. Today, you would never know Tyler had such a
rough beginning. I’m sure he’ll be right up there beside
his sister Tiffany, on the family Port Huron, with coal dust on his
face, as they travel to steam shows this summer.

‘Also, I will always know that God performed a miracle when
he used Teresa Powers to introduce Jim Haley, an Illinois boy, to
me, an Ohio girl, at the National Threshers Association in June
1988. The real miracle of it all is that he proposed less than a
month later and we were married by December of that year. We’ll
be celebrating our sixth anniversary this year, and we’re
expecting our second child in October. So you see, miracles really
do happen today!!’ (And to that, Sue, I say AMEN! and thank
you for sharing this with my column. Maybe we’ll get some other
letters on them. I have had quite a few of my own! Miracles, that

A contributor to our magazines many times, this letter comes
from THOMAS STEBRITZ, 1516 E. Commercial Street, Algona, Iowa
50511: ‘About Mr. Stutzman’s letter from Canada, concerning
his big set of wheels he bought recently and to comment first on
the big steamer at the ‘House on the Rock’ exhibit. The
steamer in question sits up on an altar in a half-darkened state,
is rigged up to look like a British Showman’s engine with a
couple hundred lights on it, as are the two smaller steamers
alongside it.

‘The ‘big’ steamer is a 110 HP Case of a 1910
vintage, near as I could tell looking at it several years ago. The
engine was owned for a number of years by Peter H. Burns of
Woodman, Wisconsin. The BS concerning the 150 HP Case never ceases
to pop upa few beers and certain persons believe any wild tale they
hear. Eleven 150 HP Case boilers were built; three engines were
built; all lemons! One engine, #14666, was junked out west. The
other two quite apparently were returned to the factory and

‘Now, as for the 150 Case numbers that persons believe were
engines, Case built skid boilers and put numbers on them
consecutively to engine numbers. So, it is quite apparent the 150
skid boilers, ten of them were disposed of in this manner. I have a
number of Case repair books and I urge anyone who wants to learn
anything about Case or any other company, look at the repair

‘I have to repeat to the unbelievers that my 1917 original
Case repair book lists repairs for the first side crank which was
#6747; but lists only boiler repairs for what was called the 150 HP
skid boiler.

‘A number of years ago, two stunts were pulled off using
special hitches. Three Rumely OilPulls pulled a 50-bottom plow and
three big I.H.C. tractors pulling a 55-bottom plow. The stunts were
just that! You couldn’t turn the whole mess!

‘Several years ago a man from Canada made a statement that
years back a 150 HP Case pulled a 50-bottom plow out west. I urge
anyone who believes this to be possible to make a scale drawing of
any size of this plow and the engine and try to believe that the
plow would follow and do a good job. Impossible!

‘Case listed the 110 Case to pull 10 to 20 plows breaking.
The 150 Case engines that went to Kansas pulled 16 bottom plows
breaking; really, in breaking, a 20 bottom plow would have been a
load for the 150 Case, because it’s not that much bigger than
the 110 Case.

‘In early 1900s, don’t know the exact date, a man named
L.C. Wood of Alden, Iowa, designed and built two loose cable drum
type engines for grading and excavating. The wheels and frame that
Mr. Stutzman owns is the remains of one of the engines.

‘I talked to Mr. Wood sometime in the 1950s. I believe I had
stopped at Alden, Iowa, to look at what Mr. Stutzman now owns. In
his shop, a number of pictures of the two large engines in
operation were on the walls. Mr. Wood’s younger brother who
helped build the engines told me about them. Apparently, they were
dismantled after World War II. Neil Miller of Alden, Iowa, later
bought the articles Mr. Stutzman had, and was sold later at his
1980 sale.

‘Mr. Wood told me that he came up with his unique design of
cable drum engines that fed the cable out under the smoke box. This
way, the two engines faced each other. The grading machine worked
back and forth between the two engines. When a stretch of work was
completed, then one engine backed up the other, forward to a new

‘A conventional cable drum engine would never have been
practical in road building, because of the size of the engine and
having to reset repeatedly sideways in a narrow right of way.

‘About the idea that the engine was a stump puller. Mr.
Wood’s brother told of hooking onto large trees that were in
the right of way.


  • Published on Sep 1, 1994
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