310 S. Frankling Street Dwight, Illinois 60420
In almost every issue of the magazine you ask for stories and pictures so I decided to write a few words on the past years events and send some pictures to go along with them.
To introduce myself I will say I am 24 years old and have been a steam enlover for many years. I attended my first steam show at Pontiac, Illinois in 1957 and have been going to many shows around the country ever since.
I would like also to introduce my good friend, Sylvester Fosdick, of Fair bury, Illinois. He is 57 years old, has steam in his blood, and had his Port Huron steam engine at the first steam show in Pontiac, Illinois 20 years ago. He helped his good friend, the late Dan S. Zehr organize this show back in 1947. It has grown to be one of the biggest and best shows in the country and is known as the 'Central States Threshermen's Reunion' of Pontiac, Illinois.
Last September I purchased a 50 H.P. Case Steam Engine in unrestored condition from the widow of the late Reuben G. Bohman of Alpha, Illinois. After having the engine trucked home I started to work on the restoration project. I re-piped the entire engine, replaced the smoke-box bottom, made a new smoke stack, did a lot of cleaning and painting and then I spent the winter and spring building an entirely new contractors water tank for the engine. I still have to build contractors coal bunkers for the platform and install tool boxes and a canopy to complete the restoration. I was able to show the engine for the first time at the Pontiac, Illinois show this year. It really performed well with its 150 pounds of steam pressure as allowed by the Illinois State Test.
Last October', Sylvester Fosdick bought a 60 H.P. Russell Steam Engine in Montacello, Illinois. It looked like it was ready for the junk pile. During the winter it got two new water tanks, a new canopy, a new operators platform, flue sheet repairs, and a new set of 10 gauge flues that we installed ourselves the old fashion way. Then he cleaned and painted it and worked on the mechanical parts. Now it looks and runs like new and is allowed 100 pounds pressure by the State Boiler inspection.
On July 25, we threshed over 1300 bushels of oats at Gridley, Illinois for a demonstration sponsored by the 'Christian Apostelic' church in that area. We used my 32-54 Case separator which is in excellent condition, built in 1916, to do the threshing. The oats were wet but that little ole Case thresher ran right along and did a good job of it anyway.
On August 27, we had another threshing bee at Franklin, Illinois sponsored by Pat Kinney on his farm, near the late Melvin Reese farm. Pat Kinney is a steam lover and also an antique car collector. We used a 36-60 Baker wood separator, rebuilt and restored by the late Tom Burke of Chenoa, Illinois. We believe this will become an annual affair.
Steam wise, this years activities have about ended and we have another win-of engine restoration jobs lined up before us. I only hope that the next years jobs will be as rewarding. If so I may have something to write about next year.