Henry Brovont’s Advance outfit a 32 x 48 thresher, and I
believe a 12 HP engine, my uncle Aaron Brovont on board. Photo
taken about 1909 or 1910.
They hooked cables onto them, shook them a couple of times, then
pulled them over. Mr. Wood made the patterns for the large
castings, built up and riveted the frame. The lugs or spuds were
all turned on a slight taper, out of steel shafting.
‘The first engine was equipped with 25 HP Geiser boiler and
engine mounted on the frame. The second engine for some reason was
equipped with a commercial boiler, but they still used a 25 HP
Geiser steam motor.
‘It would have been quite a thrill to watch these large
cable drum engines at work. I am thinking surely some relative or
maybe the town’s library must have something saved, information
about these large engines and their place and Mr. L.C. Wood in
Iowa’s past history.’
I’m sure you fellows of Steam Land will be interested in
this letter from HOWARD BROVONT, 64954 C.R. 15, Goshen, Indiana
‘Here it is ’94 already. It has been many years since I
have been through your fair city. I spent a while 60 miles south
near Port Deposit, Maryland.
‘Would like to add my two cents worth to Bill
Eversfield’s letter in Soot in the Flues, March/April 1994. He
is right about the duckbill steering on the early F-30s, although
from what I have gathered they changed to the later worm gear
steering in 1935 both F-30 and F-20 (page 310 upper right hand
picture shows a 1935 F-20 with the worm gear steering). The regular
Farmall 1923-early 1932 had an open steering gear with a large
half-moon gear and a couple pinion gears. Pictures page 308 all
from 150 Years of International Harvester.
‘The old regular is what I used to drive through my teens.
That steering set-up could be a real hand crippler on rough
‘Now a little history. My father was already doing custom
sawing in the Lake Odessa, Michigan, area along the Barry County
and Ionia County line by 1908, along with farming and threshing.
Late 1916 he started dealing to saw out a woods for a close
neighbor, John Groff, timbers for a large hip-roof barn and the
rest to be bought by the French Lumber Company, Battle Creek,
Michigan. On February 3, 1917 Dad gave his order for a #5
Enterprise Sawmill, made at Blissfield, Michigan, with edger and
blower. He first powered this mill with a 22 HP Wood Bros, steamer.
They only sawed a little and then his diary says March 19, 1917
‘I brought the Pitts engine home (Buffalo Pitts
Henry Brovont’s 21 HP Advance engine,
75/8x 10 x 10 compound, belted to an Advance
32 x 52 thresher. Man on right is water boy Roy Strong, and at left
is engineer John Wek. I think.
Keck Gonnerman double cylinder rear mount, early model, lap seam
boiler. Donated to the railroad museum near Monticello, Illinois,
where this photo was taken.
Minneapolis 28 HP, butt strap boiler, formerly owned by Fred
Nolan, has since been sold. Photo taken at the Douglas County steam
”On the 21st I got my line shaft and installed it on
the 22nd. They belted both engines to the line shaft, then the line
shaft to the mill.’ Then according to Dad they built a walk
from one engine platform to the other, and one man fired both
engines. My uncle Aaron Brovont was to have the say as to how hard
they could pull the engines.
‘When Dad would file the big saw he would sit on the back of
it on a stool and as he filed the teeth he would hook the file in
the saw teeth and roll it toward him. It so happened the one engine
stopped on dead center and it also had a leaky throttle valve. When
he rolled it off-center he said he heard a chug at the same time.
It started to pull him up over the back of the saw. He instantly
threw himself sideways away from the saw and narrowly escaped
injury or worse.
July 19, 1917 diary says, ‘Sawed 170 logs today, 12,553 ft.
of lumber.’ By the 21st they had moved the engines out of the
woods. Dad bought the #5 mill from Banting Brothers, longtime
manufacturers and machinery dealers at Toledo, Ohio, and sold it in
1919 to Harvey Blough and Sons for $425.00.
Harvey was a sawyer, farmer, and thresherman along the
Ionia/Kent County line in Clarksville, Freeport, Michigan, area. I
verified this with his sons at the Clarksville, Michigan steam show
last summer. I also had a nice visit with Old Steam Man Harry Wood
man see at that time. This information for the above article was
told to me by my father Henry Brovont, and is also from his and his
brother Aaron’s diaries. I am 71 and not too good health.
‘I have a Case steam threshing outfit, water wagon and all,
sitting on the shelf in my living room, all belted up and ready to
go. Am sending a couple of pictures.’
LLOYD CREED, R. R. 3, Box 381, Danville, Illinois 61832 sends a
short letter and a lot of pictures (previous, this, and next
pages), which I’m sure many of our steam engine enthusiasts
will appreciate. Lloyd writes: ‘I hope that all is well for you
and yours as well as for our family out in Engine Land. During the
last several years, I have collected most of the Iron Men
Albums and read from cover to cover, including your columns. I
would like to think that with your status in Engine Land that you
have the use of a 65 HP Case or a 21-65 Baker, kind of like a
company car, provided by Stemgas Publishing, of course. What is
your favorite kind of engine?’
(I really don’t knowI like them all and love the people
more. My favorite engine has had to be a railroad engine as my
husband, now deceased, worked there many years and thus gave us a
good family life, not without problems, for he was out many times
for long, long trips. Ed was an engineer from May 1937 to May 1980.
It was in ways rough on a family because you could never really
plan too much.
He and Elmer had many a chat about the railroad and the farm
steam engines. I must tell you though that in 1960, my daughter
Dana and I were invited along with Elmer Ritzman, Earlene,
and daughter Marsha out to the Montpelier
Reunion. Talking about engines, I had fun then, for I was on
several of them, and had pictures taken, etc., and met a lot of
people who were subscribers and sent me material. It’s been
‘These are some pictures of un-restored engines which I
thought might be of interest to the readers.’ (I’m sure
they will, Lloyd.) ‘It’s surprising to know that there
are so many unrestored engines around if you know where to look.
I’ve taken all these pictures within the last few years in
central Illinois and central Indiana. The sight of an old engine
brings out the eternal optimist in a true steam man; in other
words, there is very little that would be spared to ‘bring the
old engine to life.’
‘Perhaps some of these pictures will serve to bring back
someone’s memory of when they first found their engine. I would
like to call these engines ‘uncut diamonds’. Additionally,
I would like to urge other people to go through their photos and
submit pictures of their ‘uncut diamonds’ to Soot in the
Rare C. Aultman undermount, of which fewer than five exist.
Owned by Allen New family, this engine is scheduled to be restored
and then exhibited at the 1995 Rushville show.
Rare 16 HP Heilman, of which fewer than eight exist, being
admired by Matthew and Leylan Creed and Al New. Owned by Allen New
family, this engine is scheduled to be exhibited at this year’s
Mr. M. A. POOLE, 09, Glebe-lands, Pulborough, West Sussex, RH 20
2JH, United Kingdom, writes to say that he is now the magazine
sales officer for the publication Steaming. If you are interested
in that magazines, drop him a line for more information.
We have a lot of material in this column and how wonderful but I
have been wanting to send this along to you folks. It is called
‘Can You Find 16 Books of the Bible?’ (It is rather
interesting, you try it.)
‘I once made a remark about the hidden books of the Bible.
It was a lulu, kept people looking so hard for facts and for others
it was a revelation. Some were in a jam, especially since the names
of the books were not capitalized, but the truth finally struck
home to numbers of readers. To others, it was a real job. We want
it to be a most fascinating few moments for you. Yes, there will be
some really easy ones to spot. Others require judges to help them.
I will quickly admit it usually takes a minister to find one of
them and there will be loud lamentations when it is found. A little
lady says she brews a cup of tea, so she can concentrate better.
See how well you can compete. Relax now for there really are
sixteen names of books in the Bible in this story. (A preacher
found 15 books in 20 minutes, but it took him three weeks to find
the 16th one). Author unknown.’
You may find it interesting to do this. This had been in with
some copy I’ve had for a long time, but I have no name as to
who sent it. Maybe someone out there knows the answer.
I hope and pray the material keeps coming as it has for this
issue; it makes me so happy. There seemed to be plenty of material
through the years but it’s decreased a lot in the last few
years. So get those pens, pencils, typewriters in hand and spread
your accounts, ideas, interesting hobbies and places you attend to
foster your hobby. I’ll be checking the mail to hear from